If you think customer service isn’t an important part of relationship marketing, think again. Your customer service team can actually make or break your relationship marketing efforts. Best case scenario, your customer service team can take your relationship marketing efforts to the next level.
A successful relationship marketing campaign will be powered, in large part, by a customer service team that keeps open, honest lines of communication with customers, interacts and engages with customers on social media, and monitors what’s being said about the brand online and responds swiftly. All of these efforts show customers and prospective customers that they are valued by the brand, and this dynamic is central to relationship marketing.
Consider the last time you decided to stay loyal to a brand. Maybe you simply fell in love with their products or services or really connected with their mission. Chances are, though, that some of relational interaction had something to do with it: you reached out to customer service and they responded right away to your question or concern, or you posted a comment on their social media and got detailed and meaningful feedback.
How can you get your customer service team on board with relationship marketing? Here are three ways to ensure efforts that have consistent messaging and spark meaningful engagement.
Emphasize the importance of each and every customer service interaction.
Highly motivated employees have one thing in common: they feel a sense of purpose. In some settings, customer service has taken on the reputation of being a thankless job, with employees who routinely field angry phone calls but don’t have any ability to help the frustrated customer. More modern customer service programs are different; rather than being just reactionary, they view all feedback, much of which happens on social media, as vital. In fact, many brands with successful customer service programs actually invite feedback via their marketing, which is yet another way to make customers and potential customers feel valued. That’s important: not only are the customers and prospects valued, but the interaction itself is valued too. With each small interaction, customer service employees are, in reality, doing a tremendous amount to move the needle on relationship marketing efforts. That’s why it’s crucial to create a company culture that values your customer service team: there’s an accumulated impact of each and every interaction they have with customers and potential customers.
Equip your team with a common brand language.
Customer service programs are most effective when they are highly responsive, respectful, and relatable. Outside of banking and utility services, gone are the days where it’s normal to talk on the phone to a robot for any extended period of time. Now, there is an opportunity for your customer service team to act as customer engagement ambassadors on the phone. Your brand likely already has a unified tone and language that your team may know inside-and-out. Still, training manuals or a customer service style guide—which extract the language and branding that’s specifically functional to customer engagement—helps establish a common language that’s easily utilized, recalled, and deployed by your customer service team members.
Let your customer service team get personal.
People want to know that there are real people behind your logo, and who better to drive that point home than your customer service team? These days, the nature of customer interaction is so wide-ranging and variable that it’s impossible to have a script for every situation. Instead, it’s a better practice to provide guidelines that outline standards for interaction while also allowing employees to act intuitively and respond authentically. In many cases, employees who have strong familiarity with your brand will be great ambassadors who can easily engage with consumers—and that’s the mark of a customer service program that’s bound to advance a brand’s relationship marketing initiatives.
The Relationship Your Brand Has With Customers
Brands who have customer service that goes above and beyond most likely have relationship building at their core. This is why your customer service team is so well-positioned to elevate your brand’s relationship marketing efforts.