Customer Service and Its Place in the Public Relations Mix

20 Oct

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“Never underestimate the value of customer service to your Branding, and never think for a moment that customer service is not a form of public relations.” — Michael Levine, A branded WORLD

There you have it. Seems simple, right? Well, not always. I don’t know why, but sometimes we forget the smallest and easiest way to keep people talking about our businesses; and it can be so simple. In fact, according to Levine, “customer service might be the purest form of public relations.” I have to say that I absolutely agree with that. Think about it: How often do you patronize a business and decide you never want to go back because of the way you were treated? Consider that perspective in your business dealings. Are you approachable, compassionate, friendly, etc? Do you do your very best to exceed your customers’ expectations? If not, maybe it’s time to revisit some basic principles of customer service.

Your goal is to attract customers and ultimately receive business from them. You’re not going to do that if you (or your staff) don’t make a good first (or second, or third….) impression.
1) It starts with making a promise to your customer and above all else, sticking to it! Your regular customers — and even potential ones who hear positive things (remember, word-of-mouth is POWERFUL!) — are going to start counting on you to deliver on your promises and will continue to come back if you continue to keep that promise. Make a friend, you have one for life. If you make an enemy, they are sure to tell everyone!
2) How do you deal with customer complaints? It’s good to have a “policy”, but sometimes you need to be flexible in how you enforce it. Consider it a sort of compromise so that you are still meeting customers’ needs while maintaining your integrity.
3) The way you greet your customers is important whether you’re face-to-face on on the phone. I once worked for a company who’s most basic value was customer service. We were encouraged (a nice word for “required” in this case) to answer the phone with a smile and greet customers the same way. Believe it or not, you can hear a smile in someone’s voice even over the phone!!

I think the Bottom Line is: Put yourself in the place of your customers. How do you want to be approached? Translate that into your every-day practices. Honestly, your clients will go out of their way to see you over your competition!

True story to emphasize my point– Where I live, there are basically two ways to cross the river: a) extremely busy highway/bridge or b) the costly Turnpike (costly, relatively speaking; $1 to go about 3 miles). 90% of the time I’m going to take the Turnpike because nowhere else that I have traveled has there been such incredibly pleasant employees! Honest! Every time my husband and I drive through, we comment about the amazing customer service…and it’s just the Turnpike. But it makes the drive a little less stressful (because a half mile down from the toll booths you can expect to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic).

Take a good look at your customer service. If it’s not already a priority, consider making it one! Customer service is public relations, too. Good luck!

~Laura~

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2 Responses to “Customer Service and Its Place in the Public Relations Mix”

  1. Ken Filipovic March 20, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.”

    Our blog page
    <'http://www.prettygoddess.com/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Good Customer Service = Customer Loyalty « Marketing Musings - October 26, 2010

    […] week, I talked about the importance of customer service to your publicity. Now, let’s talk about customer service and how it pertains to customer […]

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