Rant: Service IS Sales & Marketing

I dont know about you but I am fed up at being ‘Sold To’ and even ‘Marketed To’ especially by organisations who dont know how to Service their customers.

Wake up business, Service is the new Sales and Marketing.

I have access to more information at my fingertips than ever before. Information about products and services, access to other people’s experiences, both bad and good, and it is easier than ever for me to compare these experiences. There are even online services that will compare these experiences for me.

So, let me decide how I would like to use this information. More often than not, after accessing this information, I know more than your sales reps know. As a retail customer and a business customer I demand service and service starts before you have even sold anything, I dont want to keep repeating my question to every new sales or service person I get flicked to and I certainly dont want to be treated like I dont know what’s going on behind closed doors.

This post has been a long time coming but of late I have had so many bad service experiences from all sorts of businesses that I just have to let it out or risk having a breakdown in some shopping centre or on the phone in front of my colleagues. I know you feel my pain and thats probably why you’ll keep on reading, but Im not going to name names or single out any particular incident other than to say that its unacceptable. Its unacceptable that paying customers need to spend hours on the phone telling and re-telling their stories to disempowered staff who I am sure mean well and are fed up themselves at being unable to help. This is NOT a sustainable business model people and with the explosion of the digital world combined with our Social DNA we can expect that organisations that think they are immune to this new paradigm will perish, this is now a vehicle for contagion.

Consider the following statistics:

  • 91% say consumer content is the #1 aid to a buying decision
  • 87% trust a friends recommendation over a review by  a critic
  • Social network users are 3 times more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions
  • 1 word of mouth conversion has the impact of 200 TV ads
  • Social Media sites are still the fastest growing category on the web – doubling their traffic over the past year.
  • IT buyers trust social media more than any other content source
  • Word of Mouth is he cheapest and most effective form of marketing
  • Negative Buzz from social networks can be devastating as they are less contained.

Social Media impact on the Sales Funnel

So, given this dynamic it would seem pretty obvious what businesses need to:

Increase their level of service and quality of product and people will organically love their brand.

I know, easier said than done right? But the way I see it you have no choice. Businesses need to improve their levels of service by addressing what I like to call the holy trinity:

Culture, Process and Technology.

For a great example of how Culture is key to Service look at Zappos and how they have infused the Tribal Leadership framework into how they provide service and do business. They are also a great example for best practice Process by enabling a Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operative (HERO) dynamic which aligns the business and removes the silos. Of course this is all supported by the right Technology to drive automation, workflows, seamless collaboration, customer intimacy, knowledge management and social integration so that businesses can do one thing: Provide the best level of service to their customers because this is a good thing and will lead to more business.

In the interest of full disclosure I am part of a business which addresses this challenge and does so through the integration of best practices and technology such as salesforce.com however I am seeing that without the Culture aspect there is only so much that can be achieved. An aligned business that is structured to benefit from our social DNA and collaborative efforts will far out perform any business that is built on purely a utilitarian model. So by infusing all three aspects of the holy trinity we create alchemy. Or maybe just a Happy Customer and Staff :-)

I can go on about this for hours but I wont, if you want to know more feel free to reach out to us at Velteo. Or reach out to me directly on twitter.com/congo_


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