How to Include Customer Service in Your Business Marketing Strategy

Customer service representative wearing a headset happily works to assist customer.

If you aren’t thinking of customer service as part of your marketing strategy, you’re leaving revenue on the table. You have a 60-70% chance of getting business from your existing customers, as opposed to a 5-20% chance of selling to new prospects. That means excellent customer service is key to renewing business and maintaining healthy sales numbers.

Companies have come around to the understanding that customer service isn’t just about reacting: directing calls to a center and sticking a social media specialist on various platforms. In fact, New Voice Media found that after one negative experience, 39% of customers will never do business with a company again. Instead, today’s environment requires regular, proactive customer service, as well as ongoing customer acquisition.

It is also getting more expensive to acquire new customers. Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends report found that Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) are rising in competitive industries to approximately $40 per acquisition. Her solution to that was a simple formula: Effective + Efficient Marketing = One’s own products + Happy Customers + Recommendations. Bain & Company also found that focusing on current customer retention and increasing it by 5% could increase revenue by 25-95%.

Considering the significant data supporting a customer service-focused strategy, how can you incorporate that into your business plan?

Identify All Touchpoints in Your Customer Journey

If the only time you connect with a customer is when they have a question or a complaint, you’ve missed out on all the other times they connected with your company. This includes everything your customer does before engaging in business with you—from Googling a question to searching for a review to receiving a shipping confirmation for your business. Maybe they landed on your site as part of their research. You may see signs of dissatisfaction with your brand in passive ways, such as leaving items in their carts, high bounce back rates or clicking out after visiting one page.

All of this happens before they even enter the sales funnel. It’s crucial to know where and when they’re connecting with you and your product and be at those touchpoints to encourage them to finish the journey.

Incorporate Automation and Data Analytics

As part of connecting with customers, consider using chatbots and phone messaging that can answer simple questions, provide information, and direct them to the appropriate person or solution. This gives customers a frictionless path to information and will help free up your team’s time to respond to more advanced customer service requests quickly, as they are not distracted by repetitive requests for information.

Data can help a company understand how much a customer spends, how often they purchase, and what they buy. This can help marketing efforts towards customers, ensuring they’re served what they want as quickly as possible. Data can also help identify strong recommendations based on previous purchases, which helps increase sales and strengthen customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Customers are also the best source of research and information. They can identify pain points in their journey and your product and can help you identify future marketing and product development opportunities.

Convert Your Current Customers Into Brand Advocates

Customers talk, and when they do, you want them to say great things about your brand. Having a good reputation helps you grow your business. Happy customers become brand advocates and provide word-of-mouth marketing. That means they will talk about positive experiences and refer new customers to your business without the need to spend acquisition dollars.

Acquiring new customers is expensive for a company. While marketing is often to new potential customers, investing in customer service means marketing to current customers. This keeps churn down and saves your marketing and acquisition dollars for other areas of the business, such as data analytics, data security and retention.

Integrating customer service into your marketing strategy can lead to traceable growth for your business. Keep the call center and the sales team, but know that customers want more than a long wait to talk to a person. They want to know that they’re a valued part of your business and you're paying attention to them during the entire purchasing journey.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank, National Association, and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank, National Association or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank, Member FDIC.