Customer service IS your marketing strategy
Kinda open letter to all mobile carriers (and other service brands)
Take a look around and you get a sense of end of season sales, or just a really lazy, desperate marketing culture. It seems like all mobile carriers have lost their plot in the past few years. You spend millions of pounds on obvious, predictable, meaningless, empty ‘repositioning’ (e.g Vodafone Power to You – how bloody empty is that?) and then spending some more gazilion pounds communicating these new empty ‘strategies’.
But the truth is that people today probably care more about the chewing gum brand they consume than they care about their mobile carrier. You have done everything you can to completely commoditise the market with short term tactics and heavy focus on value and to minimise differentiation to the point that not only that people don’t care they can’t even tell the difference between these companies.
And recently it’s all about the freebies, the final sign of desperation – gig tickets, high-street vouchers, 3 months broadband service – you cannot even remember which one offers you what freebie…
Oh and you probably spend another million pound each on ‘social media’. Paying your social media agencies to do some social media campaigns, you have “increase facebook Likes by X%” or “get more twitter followers” on your briefs and I bet (well, I know) you also write ‘connections, engagement, loyalty and advocacy’ on your internal and external marketing presentations.
But here is the grim reality – just search “(name of company) + customer service” on Twitter and you immediately get the real picture:
[note: yes, there are some positive tweets as well, I noticed. But there are clearly more people pissed off at you than people you made happy. fact.]
Hey here’s a free tip. You’re a SERVICE company. Good service is what people need and want from you. Not freebies.
I know it doesn’t fit your organisational structure and verticals and budget allocation etc, but customer service can and should be your #1 priority and it might as well be your best brand and marketing strategy. I bet you, if you take only 5% of your marketing/media budget and invest it back into your customer service – more staff (so we won’t have to wait 45min on the line), better trained staff (so we will actually get the answers when we finally get someone), trully listening to what people say and acting on it, meaningful innovation in Customer Service – these can make a huge difference – just look around or ask people like Zappos and StreetCar.