Service is the new marketing – realign your business priorities
The world of customer service is evolving and understanding the next generation of consumers must be a priority for marketers in order to best understand where to focus their efforts. Retaining and generating loyal customers, healthy profit margins and crucially, positive coverage on social media channels is important, but are marketers focusing their attention in the right areas?
We recently conducted a survey with over 7,000 respondents which clearly showed that consumers across Europe and the US are only marginally satisfied and often frustrated with poor customer service levels. If you take a look at the UK for example, the ‘bargain buster’ culture may be on the way out as 45% of consumers disagreed that price is more important than service – and only 23% agreed that price was king! Common failings such as long waiting times and unnecessary mistakes were cited as two of the biggest complaints among customers. With the constant pressure to compete retailers and other businesses should strive to continue to support a ‘culture of service’ – one where high standards, a faultless service and loyal customers are the norm.
Service is the new marketing
Service has become a new means of marketing and is overwhelmingly favoured over price. What’s more is that in the UK less than a quarter (19%) read and respond to marketing messages and special offers, meaning marketers need to re-think their approach. Retailers seem to fare better than other sectors and have the highest level of satisfied customers (67%).
People are getting angry and telling their friends
Consumer anger levels are high with long waiting times (64%) and mistakes (56%) topping the list of grievances. Consumers seem to be on the receiving end of unnecessary and avoidable issues; often ones which can be resolved through tighter processes and staff training.
As the online communication channels continue to expand, consumers are taking to social media channels to share service experiences with their friends and family. Our research found that as many as 32% of consumers will share experiences, good and bad, online via social media and blogs. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and when brands are frequently rebuffed publicly, it can cause consumers to question their loyalty to a brand.
What can marketers do about it?
If they are not doing so already, marketers must invest in listening to the voices of their customers and act on what they say, in particular the new, social-savvy. Marketers need to face up to the challenge of unlocking the feedback from those that aren’t talking or remain indifferent about the service received (26% showed this level of ambivalence). In addition, social media channels often provide organisations with a large, untapped source of consumers that can be converted to first time, satisfied and even loyal customers.
Marketers can play a key role in helping their organisation to understand what your consumers really want, need and expect. These insights can help specific departments within the organisation make the necessary improvements to resource planning, pricing and ensuring customers are regularly ‘surprised and delighted’ with their experience. Consumers are telling us through our research that they aren’t responding to traditional marketing tactics so it’s time to take note and reassess how we reach our target audience. With the knowledge that price isn’t everything, companies won’t have to rely solely on aggressive pricing tactics to win over customers. By placing service at the heart of their customer focus, companies can gain the competitive advantage - and stop disappointing customers.