8 Tips for Making Customer Service a Priority in your Marketing

Think customer service isn’t an integral part of your marketing? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What part of your company do existing customers deal with the most?
  • Have you ever avoided a business because of a negative remark a friend made?

If the answer to both is yes, you’ve just seen how an effective customer service program is also your best marketing strategy.



Need more proof? In our latest Tip Sheet, we’ve laid out eight tips for making customer service a priority in your marketing efforts, and as always, it’s geared toward manufacturers, distributors and others in the B2T marketplace. You can sign up to download it for free here.

Let us know what challenges you’ve had with customer service and check out our other tip sheets here.

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Are You Winning at Customer Service?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

Everybody wants answers, especially to problems, and they expect your customer service department to be on 24/7. This is especially true in the B to C market.

I recently had trouble with a wine cooler that was one month out of warranty and quit. Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper and I let the manufacturer know on their website over a weekend. To my surprise, I got an answer within a few hours and they are working with upper management to solve my issue. Now they may just be blowing smoke and we’ll see, but their responsiveness made me cool down a bit.

I ran across a study recently in emarketer.com “How to win at customer service,” that claimed most people just want their questions answered.

Attitudes Toward Customer Service Among Internet Users Worldwide, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

Here are some highlights:

  • 81% of those surveyed just wanted their questions answered
  • 89% feel more positive about brands that give good customer service
  • 46% tell their friends and family about a quick response time

So what does all this mean to the manufacturing sector? Well the bar isn’t raised too high and we certainly don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Here are some tips on how to serve the professional tradesman:

  • Keep your customer service department open on business days from 7 AM to 5 PM EST. If the contractors are having issues, you need to be available when they are working.
  • Staff your customer service department with experienced people who can answer questions, troubleshoot a problem or forward them onto someone who can.

A post you may want to read, Customer service: How are you handling unhappy people, may be a good read. A good customer service department can help increase future sales by giving them a positive experience

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When Was the Last Time You Actually Talked to Your Customers?

I get so frustrated sometimes, both internally and externally, with emails going back and forth a million times to answer questions or get the proper information that I could scream!

PICK UP THE PHONE! Sometimes we get so caught up in things that we forgot about some of the basics in selling and communicating techniques. Emails are great for getting info and normal communications, but it’s difficult to build a relationship with them. Same holds true for texting.

Those of you that are older than 40 can remember back in the day when you actually talked to customers on the phone and even went and saw them face-to-face sometimes and maybe even had lunch with them. Now I know times have changed, and I’m not trying to downplay the importance of tools like email, but don’t you agree that it’s nice now and again to actually talk to another human?

Here’s a suggestion. Take your top 10 customers and try to have a conversation with them a few times a year. Here’s a novel approach, call them up and thank them for their business and for the long-standing relationship you’ve had over the years. Ask about what keeps them up at night and if you can help resolve some of their business issues.

Don’t you think that might get more mileage than sending them an email? If nothing else, I’ll bet you’ll feel better after talking with them.

There are studies out there and I’ve seen it first hand that the under-30 crowd would rather text than talk. What happened to interpersonal relationships? How are they going to make it in the business world?

We need to keep the basic communication tools as we move down that super internet highway.

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Are You Communicating With Clients Effectively?

No matter what business we’re in, we’re all in the communicating business. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day that we forget some simple pointers.

Today we have a guest post by Ryan Franklin, a small business blogger and marketer who writes on behalf of Ordoro. He points out the obvious but sometimes we need to be reminded.

Did you know that the golden rule applies to business, too? That is, treat clients how you would like to be treated. How do you expect to be treated when you have to call into a supplier with a customer service issue? That is how firms and tradesmen expect to be treated when they contact your company. So here are a few key points to communicate with those customers effectively.

Listen to your client. You may be hearing what your customer has to say, but are you listening? Active listening is an essential part to communicating with customers effectively. There is nothing worse than getting on the phone with a service provider to explain your issue with their product or service and realizing that the rep is just not listening – causing you to repeat everything you just said! Pay attention to what your clients are saying; picking up on keywords can assist you in directing the conversation to address the problem.

Do not interrupt your client. Another step to communicating with clients effectively is to avoid interruptions. The last thing your client wants is to be cut off mid-sentence. Show them respect by letting them have a fair chance to speak, and then address the issue carefully. If a client has a complicated issue or is upset about something, it can be helpful to repeat the situation back to them to show that you understand. This is plain common courtesy and good customer service, and clients will appreciate your willingness to listen.

Smile. This may seem a bit ridiculous when you are making calls on the telephone, but this point still applies. Call center representatives across the nation are taught to smile when they speak because it conveys a friendly demeanor between the rep and the customer. How do you feel when you clearly reach a customer service representative that obviously does not want to be at work that day? Customer service agents should always smile and make the customer feel like they care. This will ensure return customers and high client satisfaction.

Make small talk. Avoid dead air even if you are researching an issue for the customer. If you must put a client on hold, be diligent in checking back with them every 60-80 seconds. Even a minute can feel like an eternity when you are placed on hold. Every customer feels like their issue is of great importance and that’s how you should make them feel. Without your clients, you don’t have a job; treat each one of them like they are the only one you have. At that moment, they are.

Again, communicating with customers can be as simple as treating them as you would want to be treated. Train your representatives to think the same way.

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