The marketing landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and the increasing demand from customers is one of the main factors in this.
Nowadays customers want ‘immediate’, whether that’s immediate results, immediate satisfaction, or immediate blame. A customer needs to trust in a business’ products and services before they even think about buying from them. This idea of ‘immediate’ affects every level of marketing a product orservice, from designing a website through to training staff, to handling complaints over the phone correctly.
How a business handles customer service has a direct correlation to brand perception and longevity in today’s landscape. Once a business gains a bad reputation it can be extremely difficult to recover, especially in a digital world where everyone is critiquing your business and its decisions.
Therefore, businesses use strategies, training, and organisational cultures to help build a strong foundation of trust in a business, because the time a business has to build a good relationship with its customers is becoming increasingly shorter. This is the exact reason why customer service and marketing need to work hand in hand.
The notion of “immediate”
Customers’ expectations of businesses are constantly changing. The idea that customers need everything as soon as possible can be detrimental to a business. Research from a study by Salesforce “found that 76% of customers now report that it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere — switching from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations.” If your business can’t fulfill their needs your competitors will. Consumers forget that some things take time and quality doesn’t always come overnight..
Building a strong brand perception and positioning a for success cannot be rushed, which is usually what happens when the time scale is shortened to focus on manufacturing and delivery. Based on the same Salesforce survey, studies show that “51% of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.”
The key is to show your customers that your product or service can add value to them, even if it may take longer than expected. Meaningful marketing, sales, and eCommerce all play a crucial part in making a customer trust that you have their best interests in mind.
By now most businesses understand the importance of having a strong presence on social media. However, there are still so many businesses that are unaware of how much you can do on this platform. Customer service doesn’t always need to be faced to face. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are quickly becoming the most used platforms for customers to communicate with businesses. When businesses use Analytics and organisational tools to track their user’s journeys and schedule multiple ads, they are investing in their customers and improving their responses through effective digital marketing, if a company can’t do this themselves, due to time or staffing constraints then they will sometimes employ a digital marketing agency.
Word of mouth marketing is still the most effective means of marketing to date, if a business implements a fair, honest and respectful customer service strategy aligned with relevant digital marketing their customers will value their services and products and in turn become brand advocates. As positive as social media can be, if managed incorrectly these platforms can be your worst enemies. In today’s digital landscape the phrase no news is bad news doesn’t stick. If your business doesn’t handle an issue in the correct way you can tarnish your reputation at terrifying speed and scale. This is why many businesses outsource this responsibility to marketing agencies, not because they are too lazy, but they understand the value of employing an agency that is solely focused on ensuring their brand promise is fulfilled.
Customer influenced business strategy
A business’ strategy, environment, structure, and culture are all factors that directly affect the operation of a business. A strategy is created to outline a business’s vision and purpose and provides a framework that informs operational plans and the delivery of products and services. The notion of “immediate” and social media are both factors that influence a modern business’ approach to its strategy.
A business strategy can be designed to build loyalty between a business and its customers for long term success. This benefits a business to build long term revenue and provides opportunities for word-of-mouth marketing between clients. A commercial focus that incorporates customer loyalty as an objective can be expected to delivered greater levels of customer satisfaction and service. Higher satisfaction levels open doorways to improved profits, referrals, reputation and sales. Keeping a business’s solutions ‘fresh’ is an important step in retaining customers, therefore business strategies are constantly changing to keep offerings on-trend and ahead of the competition.
In today’s market, customers are already fuelled with information about your business before starting the buying process. Social media, reviews, and chatrooms are all tools in a customer’s arsenal, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of your business. A business needs to then do everything they can to provide value to their customers. A customer-focused marketing strategy is designed for exactly that. The better you know your target audience’s wants and needs the more effective your business strategy will be.
The bottom line
Great marketing brings customers through the door but it is customer service that will keep them there. Does this business add value to my life? Do they fulfill my needs? Can I trust them? These are all questions customers think about and a business’s response to these questions will determine whether they stay. Good customer service is the effective tool a business has for retention. Be considerate. Be observant. Put a customer’s needs first and make sure they know you are there to support them.
It is easy for businesses to do themselves harm by focusing too much on growth by attracting new customers and not prioritising keeping and pleasing their existing client base. Neglecting to nurture and retain customers destroys the foundation that all businesses are built on. Reputation.