Customer service is marketing that continues post-crisis

Customer service is marketing. Talking about it is marketing on steroids.

We all are learning lessons from the COVID-19 crisis. One that came into focus is the incredible importance of treating people right ALL the time—when times are bad, when times are good, and everything in between.

An article in business2community.com reinforces the even more vital role of customer service during the crisis: “Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, customer service had established itself as the new marketing, a primary way for companies to differentiate and increasingly, is what influenced purchasing decisions. American Express found that 90% of Americans use customer service as a deciding factor when choosing to do business with a company…Now, in the wake of Coronavirus, interacting with customer service agents is one of the sole touchpoints that people have with a brand. With little traveling or going to stores, restaurants or gyms, it’s the customer care agents on the front lines, holding the keys to the customer relationship.” 

Tell stories of customer caring beating out price, ‘wow’ factor, clever slogans.

Human touch and caring takes on amplified status as COVID-19 continues to dominate our lives. Companies that do this well will have a wealth of excellent customer stories to share with the world. Strategy-business.com frames the discussion: “…now, people might be struggling to navigate the many friction points of the ‘new normal’ and need a human touch even more…As a result, what customers care about most right now might be changing. Brands with the best price, coolest product, or most memorable marketing campaign might not have an advantage compared with those that exhibit emotional intelligence and communicate with care, honesty, and empathy, and build trust as a result. In times of crisis, people want to be seen and understood, and they are extremely sensitive to tone and motive. Are you reaching out to help them — or to sell them something? Does your outreach feel authentic and caring — or does it appear self-serving?”

Build loyalty with customer service when loot is lacking.

In some cases, customer service is all about support even when there are no dollar signs on the immediate horizon. QZ.com addresses the current mindset: “In countries including the US and hard-hit parts of Europe and Asia, shoppers have slashed their spending on non-essential items such as clothing and sneakers, raising the question of how companies selling these goods maintain a connection with customers when they aren’t in a position to buy anything. Many are realizing that, if they want to sustain a relationship in the long-term, it’s companies that need to be loyal right now.”

The formula is straightforward: Take care of your customers, engender goodwill regardless of current buying, and build long-term loyalty as a result. Then tell those stories on steroids to let the rest of the world know that you really care, and aren’t just motivated by dollar signs.

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Have you gone out of your way to provide more compassionate and caring customer service during the COVID-19 crisis? If so, those efforts can become a cornerstone of customer loyalty and buying. In addition to those who already know, tell the rest of the world about it! This is a case where prior “good acts” can stoke the fires of ongoing sales and word-of-mouth kudos. But, you gotta let everyone know first. One of the most credible and compelling ways to do that is to develop thought leadership articles, blogposts, social media content, podcasts, and even short videos to address what you did—and hopefully are still doing—to show your appreciation of and respect for those who keep you in business.

Want to figure out the best ways to broadcast your stellar customer service stories to the world? Let’s talk.

Mark Lusky | 303.621.6136 | mark@marklusky.com

Author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage,  Mark (aka The Happy Curmudgeon) is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm.

Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience.

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