In all my years as a marketing professional, I have come to realise that the customer is the most dynamic asset of a business and that all savvy marketers should endeavour to keep this asset on the good mend.
brand savvy with Stha Magida
Many articles have been chronicled on customer service and customer service expectations such that one would think that by now service should be at its very best, but well, days are different yet the service that a customer gets from businesses should be consistently the same and very good at all times. The fact that the customer has over the years become more informed and knows exactly what their money should get for them has made businesses want to tailor-make their experience and products to cater for this whole new generation in marketing. As you read, you are probably asking yourself at what point I am going to descend upon your active concentration by giving a good scholarly definition of what customer service is. It is not my intention to define customer service remotely as I am sure all marketers know what this is. I will, however, in my own way try and remind you of the theoretical framework by giving examples of how we as marketers can improve the service that we give to our customers and clients.
What one needs to understand as a marketer is that consumers buy a product or service to ensure their convenience. They do not buy a product because of its features or packaging. They buy products for the benefit that they will derive from them. Among some of the reasons why consumers buy our product or service are the comfort, safety, security, image, quality, price, relationship and emotion. For me, as a marketer, if I can get the balance between client relationship and emotion right, the rest becomes easy. Primarily, when a business services the need that a consumer might have, a consumer actually buys a relationship in the process. People enter relationships in order to feel secure and to enjoy the attention that comes with being in a relationship and to be treated with love and respect, among other reasons. So as a marketer, one must understand that the consumer is there to buy a relationship. We rarely deliberately treat those we are in relationships with rudely. We talk to them with respect, we give them our utmost attention and we are patient with them besides continuously wanting to learn more of who they are as individuals so as to be able to remain relevant in the relationship and to remain happy. Remember too that the person we are in a relationship with must be happy in our presence and away from our presence because we conduct ourselves well in the relationship.
Trust is also quite imperative in relationships. The consumer must therefore be able to trust the marketer as one who stands for his word all the time. Customer trust builds the much-needed confidence in our business, which leads to improved sales and profitability. On the contrary, a lack of trust results in impaired customer confidence and the outcome for the business is catastrophic. What am I really talking about here? Well, I am talking about customer service.
The minute a consumer walks into our premises, it must be very clear from our security personnel, front office manager, the marketer and indeed to everyone in the business that they are there to seek a relationship. I am always intrigued by the Allan Gray Investments advertisement that goes, “If you value something, stay committed.” So, as marketers we need to commit to delivering a service that is superb to our clients. We should not be driven by just explaining the product or service features of our offerings in a bid to drum into our customer’s head, but to sell an experience that the consumer will come back for. Your product or service may be 100% superior in its nature and have no flaws but all this can be undone by the attitude of the person relaying this information. We as marketers need to understand that as the ambassadors of our brands, we must carry ourselves very well so that those who are set to receive our messages are convinced. Good customer service will earn us repeat business as all who bear testimony of that good service will undoubtedly put in a good name for us wherever they go. Word of mouth is the free advertising that we should be ensuring we are getting when we interact with our customers and clients. In case after having read this, any marketer is still not convinced what customer service is, then I can also just remind you that customer service is about ensuring that the customer or client leaving your premises with your product or service must be one who will happily come back for more.
Stha Magida is a qualified marketer by profession, with experience spanning over 15 years. She writes in her personal capacity and is contactable on email@example.com