Why Startups Must Look At Marketing As A Customer Service Extension

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In 2017 and beyond, customer service and marketing channels need to be actively working together to create something more powerful.

For decades, sales and marketing teams essentially existed in two totally separate silos. Marketing teams would craft content that would raise interest and generate leads. Those leads would then be handed off to sales teams who would try to work those people farther along down the sales funnel towards an ultimate purchase. Rinse, repeat.

Rest assured, those days are long gone.

Thanks largely to the digital and mobile-driven world that we’re now living in, customers are looking for more than just the online version of a door-to-door salesman. They’re looking for a true experience in every sense of the word. They don’t want to be sold to – they want to make a decision on their own, but they also want you to help them.

This is why if your business hasn’t already broken down the silos that exist between your sales and marketing teams, you need to do so as fast as you possibly can.

Customer Service & Marketing: By The Numbers

In 2017 and beyond, customer service and marketing channels need to be actively working together to create something more powerful than the sum of its parts: a true customer experience. Regardless of how your customers are interacting with your company, you can’t argue the fact that they are – which means that you need to deliver a pleasant, easy, uniform experience across the board.

Take a look at some of the following statistics to get a better idea of what you’re costing your startup if you don’t start thinking this way:

  • According to one study, 54% of millennials said that they stopped doing business with a particular brand because of poor customer service.
  • 50% of Gen Xers said the same thing.
  • Even 52% of baby boomers felt the same way about poor customer service.
  • Consumers often get frustrated if they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives.
  • Customers think that most brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience, regardless of how they’re interacting with that brand in the first place.

When you insist on looking at marketing and customer service as two separate channels, you’re working against what most of your customers are trying to tell you. You’re setting up just one more hoop to jump through that shouldn’t be there.

Think about it like this: according to a study called “Understanding Customers” that was conducted by Ruby Newell-Legner, the average company only hears from about 4% of its dissatisfied customers. 96% of customers who have complaints don’t voice them, while 91% of those customers likely won’t come back because of their experience.

Now, remember that your marketing efforts reach a lot more than just 4% of your customers every time you send a new piece of collateral out into the world. Your marketing is also the first exposure that someone has to your brand and it’s also a powerful tool used to nurture them as they move farther along the sales funnel.

In other words, you’re already actively reaching out to far more people than will ever reach out to you – you’re just doing it preemptively. Therefore, it stands to reason that marketing is one of the best chances you have to address the complaints of the 91% who have no intention of coming back after a poor experience, provided that you’re willing to do so.

Customer Service As Marketing: Your Major Goals

Consider the fact that according to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the single most important factor in earning and retaining customer loyalty is a reduction of customer effort on behalf of a brand. Essentially, customers want you to make their lives easier in literally every way – from making purchasing decisions to using those purchased items and everything in between.

What does that sound like? To savvy marketers, it sounds a lot like customer service. This is why we’re living in an age where you can no longer afford to look at something like infographics or your presentations as sales tools – they need to do more than just deliver information or try to close a sale. They need to actually be the beginning of a larger customer experience that you’re eventually going to ask your customers to pay for. You need a tool like Visme (which I am the founder of) at your side to craft compelling content for the right market at the right time.

To that end, you need to start designing marketing collateral to answer questions that users might have before they have a chance to ask them. Don’t just design presentations that are glorified spec sheets – build compelling content based on the principles of visual learning that show someone A) what your product can do, B) how to properly use it and C) why that will matter for their lives.

Learning how to communicate visually in your marketing content will give you a huge advantage in this regard, as people already follow directions better visually than they do just through straight text. In essence, you’re trying to strike a balance – you want to use marketing to generate brand awareness but you also want your collateral to be a necessary stepping stone on the way to your ultimate goal: complete satisfaction for your users and the people you’re trying to serve. Resources like the Visme Visual Learning Center will become invaluable on your journey towards becoming a better visual communicator and visual storyteller.

Customer Service Of The 21st Century

So much of success in marketing comes down to getting the right message in front of the right person at the right time. However, the same is true of customer service – reach out to someone early enough into an issue and go out of your way to correct it and congratulations, you’ve got a customer for life.

This simple idea is why startups must look at marketing as a customer service extension first and foremost. Marketing teams can learn more about individual customers by being more involved in their relationships early on. They can then remain a point-of-contact as someone works down the sales funnel, creating a more unified and consistent experience.

Gartner Research already estimates that most companies will compete mainly on the basis of customer experience by the end of the year. Guaranteeing consistent, omni-channel communication is one of the most important ways to win that battle in the first place.

If you insist on looking at your marketing and customer service arms as two totally separate entities, you’re not only doing your customers a disservice – you’re doing your bottom line a disservice, too.


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