Customer service: Why is it important, what makes it exceptional, and how does it impact marketing?

The thing about customer service is that you'll always remember when you've had a really good experience and when you've had a terrible service, too.

That's true in the minds of our clients and customers as well. Exceptional customer service isn't just nice to have. It is necessary.
Floral customer service

Why is customer service important?

Did you know it is less expensive to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones? According to Entrepreneur, it costs approximately five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.

Providing excellent service helps many businesses gain new customers as well through word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, happy customers tell nine people on average about their experience. (HubSpot).

On the flip side, a recent Customer Experience Report study determined that 82% of people have stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer service experience. So yeah, customer service is vital for business success and even provides a competitive advantage.

What is excellent customer service?

Often the phrase "customer service" is relegated in our minds to a technician answering customer complaints at his tiny cubicle, wearing a headset and typing away. While this scenario is certainly a part of the customer service concept, it extends well beyond a company's support hotline.

Excellent customer service begins before a client even engages with your business, is apparent throughout any sales process and product implementation, and then in the support and any future engagements.

We subscribe to HubSpot's "Pillars of Delight" model of customer service, which sets up a relationship between customer and company built on a trust and includes three core ideas:
  1. Answer your client's questions,
  2. Solve your client's problems, and 
  3. Achieve your client's goals.
Related article: Dig deeper into delighting your customers.

What does exceptional customer service look like in practice?

One of the driving principles that creates loyal customers is the trust. TBH Creative strives to maintain trust is by a simple concept that packs a big punch: We do what we say we're going to do.

Simple, right?

Yes, it's simple but also very powerful. In practice, sticking to our word means we are making informed, strategic promises to our clients and communicating the status each step of the way.

While we do our best to predict project milestones and timelines, some obstacles outside of our control can occasionally steer a project off course. In those instances, we don't hide the issues or attempt to rush through delivery but communicate any unforeseen hiccups with the client so they are always in the loop and know what we are planning to resolve the issues.

By regularly communicating project status, it takes the anxiety and mystery out of the process on the client side, and it has the added benefit of assuring each of our clients that their project is a priority to our team.

Other examples of going above and beyond for clients include:
  • Writing personal, hand-written notes,
  • Sending birthday wishes,
  • Emailing check-in or say thank you,
  • Making time to answer their questions thoroughly, and
  • Referring qualified leads to their product or service.

    How does customer service impact marketing?

    Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the oldest, most effective marketing methods, and great customer service is the heart of all business and marketing strategies. Customer service relates specifically to three aspects of your marketing strategy. 

    1. Online reviews

    Customer feedback is important in practically every industry. Good or bad, your online reputation impacts how potential customers perceive your products and services. If your company is struggling with customer service, adopt a plan to cultivate positive customer experiences which can lead to positive customer reviews.
    #ProTip: Good or bad, your online reputation impacts how potential customers perceive your products and services. Tweet this  

    2. Customer needs

    Keeping the lines of communication open from the outset will allow you to learn more about what your customers are looking for and what problems they are trying to solve. Knowing these details can drastically improve your marketing.

    3. Case studies

    By providing stellar customer service, you'll start to collect positive feedback as well as intentional improvements to your process that make the customer's journey that much smoother. With access to such good material, you are well on your way to developing some compelling case studies that showcase your products and services.

    Are you ready to work with a digital partner who values the customer experience?

    Tell us about your project.
    Sarah

    About the author | Sarah Matlock

    Sarah is the marketing manager at TBH Creative, specializing in social media management and data analysis. She likes to blog about social media strategy, the latest trends in the industry, and how to engage the online community more effectively.

    View more posts by Sarah

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