My older brother, a head of sales and marketing in the hospitality business taught me long ago, particularly with consumer products: You’re always selling your product and serving potential or actual customers…with every conversation you have. Act accordingly.
Fact is, both marketing and customer service are the responsibilities of every employee in the business. We are always marketing and we are ALWAYS engaged in serving customers.
But businesses have created specific teams designed to handle the major processes of those two functions, and those two functions can learn much from each other!
So when the eTail blog’s editor-in-chief, Kelly Hushin, asked me to write about what both teams can learn from each other, two things immediately came to mind:
What Marketing Can Learn: Talk to the customers!
Marketing can sit behind their systems…the databases…the email software…Google Analytics…and easily forget to just pick up the phone (or get out to the store) and talk to just 5 customers a week. Thank them for their business, find out what they thought about the product, ask them if they had a positive experience, would they buy again? Get a referral. If the experience was negative, apologize and try solve it.
It’s amazing how easy it is to neglect such fundamental and critical actions while being bogged down by all of our other daily duties. Customer service exists purely for this purpose, but they aren’t the only employees that should be practicing these habits.
What Customer Service Can Learn: Marketing = Measurement.
The data capture component. We can’t market effectively without information. Take source of business, for instance. Was it a referral? Did the customer see something in a magazine? What led them to buy? How did they hear of you? What was the buying decision process?
Customer service is an extension of our marketing team here are WBR, where we produce, among many other conferences, the big eTail events. We focus heavily on making sure our customer service team also performs marketing activities and vice versa.
At one point, I had wanted my marketing team to answer customer inquiries for a half-day each Friday. We tried it and the team learned quite a bit, as did I. Perhaps I’ve focused too heavily on turning our customer service team into marketers, rather than the other way around.
…I’m rethinking it all right now.
Thank you for reading and as always, I welcome your comments.