Brad Wolansky, president Consumer Direct and CMO of Yankee Candle, was the keynote speaker at a recent eTail West event.
He made some interesting points about why companies need to treat customer service, and ultimately providing a great customer experience, as a marketing investment.
- Price isn't the only differentiator. People will pay more for excellent customer service and a great customer experience (e.g., Nordstrom and Disney).
- The current sales tax advantage for online retailers will go away. You would be wise to differentiate on customer service rather than price and commit to providing an excellent customer experience.
- It's not that hard to improve the level of customer service your provide and improve the customer experience of your customers. It does take commitment, focus, determination and measurement.
- Happy customers are good customers. They buy more, they buy more frequently and they tell their family, friends and colleagues about your products, service and their customer experience.
- It doesn't require leading edge software. However, it does require a good customer relationship management (CRM) software and a commitment by everyone in the firm to use it.
- It's cheaper to retain current customers than acquire new customers. Some studies suggest by a factor of 7.
- Any company of any size can provide consistently excellent customer service and "wow" customer experiences. It's a customer-centric attitude that starts at the c-level and cascades down to everyone in the organization.
- Happy customers find new customers for you. They provide referrals, testimonials, they share their positive thoughts and experiences with family, friends and colleagues, they post on social media sites.
- It pays for itself. Think of providing good customer service as a marketing investment.
- Most companies provide lousy customer service and a negative customer experience. This is a great way to differentiate your firm from your competition.
A customer who has an issue that is resolved is more likely to become a long-term customer, and spend more with you over time, than the customer that doesn't complain.
Providing great customer service and a "wow" customer experience can help create "raving fans" that will sing your praises to family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers via the internet and social media.
A dissatisfied customer leaves and tells their friends, and possibly many others, about what a poor job you did.
You're much better off resolving the issue to the customer's satisfaction.
Use simple math to convince the CEO to bring marketing and customer service together.
Listen intensely to learn customers' needs and expectations.
Empower everyone in the company to have a role in providing outstanding customer service.
Attitude is everything. When every employee considers themselves part of the customer service team, your company is able to deliver a level of customer service that's a competitive differentiator for your firm.
Pay back customers for their business with excellent customer service. Raving fans will evangelize your brand.