How-to 15 min read

How to build a relationship with a client using the customer service approach in marketing

Author of Serpstat Advanced Tools
Alexander Pechalov
Head of Education Department at WebPromoExperts
Digital marketing is a powerful tool that allows you to turn an unsuspecting user into your customer. Customer service is a way to turn a one-time customer into a regular one. One makes no sense without the other.

Why customer service is so important

In the present day, when there are deadly wars for a client's wallet, many companies simply forget about the fight for the client's heart. And without love, it is very difficult to build long-term (including financial) relationships with someone.
It is painful to see when good budgets, the talent of marketers are wasted due to disgusting service. Just one mistake in the service can lead to the fact that the client goes to a competitor.
Of course, you don't need to worry about customers if you adhere to the "sell and run" strategy, but if you have a long-term strategy, you simply have can't do without customer service.

To understand the importance of building a customer relationship system, it's enough to calculate LTV (which means the customer's Lifetime Value) once, and then all doubts will disappear. Even if you don't think about how much word of mouth is in your business.

To calculate it, we need three parameters:
  • AOV (Average Order Value) — average check;
  • RPR (Repeat Purchase Rates) — the frequency of repeat purchases;
  • Lifetime — the duration of your "friendship" with a customer.

Now, multiply these indicators by each other, and you will get the LTV value.
Formula for calculating LTV (Lifetime Value)
This is a good figure, right? This amount is possessed by the one who won the battle for the client's heart.

I think that each of us had to deal with a bad attitude towards ourselves as a client. Starting with the primitive unwillingness to help and sell ending with outright rudeness. Remember your feelings at the moment. In such situations, anger often falls not on the most negligent employee, but on the company whose representative he is.
A user experiences exactly the same emotions when he comes to an incomprehensible or poorly working website via your advertising.
And it's even worse when a manager doesn't pick up the phone and does not call back (here I use the word "manager" in the meaning of an "employee responsible for communication with the client"). Is that familiar? In such situations, you don't even know that you just lost a lot of money (remember LTV).

The larger your promotion budget, the greater the role of customer service

The phrase "individual approach to a customer" makes me nervous, so let's move away from the cliche and get down to business.

We will talk about the notorious mission, values and principles, customer touchpoints and the fear of being a deceived client.

At first, there will be a little theory, and then I will try to answer the question "Well, what to do?".

The role of a company mission

How often do you have to face the missions of companies where you buy something? After all, all business gurus teach that a company should have a mission.

Very often this is only a couple of lines on a piece of paper, even less often employees heard about it, and very rarely it is really taken as a real guideline for the enterprise development.

Well, of course, you can declare anything you like, you can even hang your statement in a beautiful frame, but who will benefit from it?

The mission should be determined by your real attitude to your business, customers, employees, and suppliers, otherwise, it is not worth the paper on which it is printed.

Well, what to do

If you did not have insight from above, then brainstorm. If your company has been operating for a long time, then your employees will be able to help you formulate the right mission.
A mission should have a touch of the soul not only of the senior management but also of the ordinary employees.
The mission should not have double standards like "Actual", "Required", "Desired".
The mission should be subjected to critical analysis of compliance with the actual affairs of the enterprise.
The mission must comply with the internal philosophy of the company, otherwise, it will not catch on like any foreign object.
After the mission is formulated, it should be recognized by all employees, they should begin to follow it, and you need to control it.

The system of company principles and values

It should be simple and understandable. "Customer is the King" another battered cliche, I think you and I understand that this beautiful principle rarely comes to life.

The more applied principle is "Sometimes customer is a fool, but he is always right as a customer".

The only exception of this principle in my practice is consumer terrorism; it is better to immediately direct such customers to competitors.

You need to understand where you belong and what you want: instant profit, long-term profit, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, product quality, etc.

I usually preach this hierarchy:

A customer.
An employee.
A product.
A supplier.
An owner.
The customer comes first since he pays money and his desires are the first thing.

Employees come second since an unhappy team cannot work effectively.

The third is the product. Product development is an important part of your marketing and service.

Suppliers are the fourth because without their quality work there is no good product and, as a result, a satisfied customer. Sometimes a dissatisfied supplier can bring a lot of problems to your business.

The fifth is the owner; although the essence of the business is to bring money to the owner, such a pyramid allows you to avoid mistakes when being tempted to get short-term gain.

It is worth noting that sometimes there are options when the happiness of employees is placed above the happiness of customers, or when you are so significant for your suppliers that their happiness does not matter.

An edifice is built on the basis of values, for example:
  • any conflict that can be resolved at the manager level must be resolved at the manager level;
  • the duty officer must always remain in the office to answer the customer calls;
  • the manager works exclusively with prescribed scripts or is free to improvise;
  • employees respond to messages in a messenger within three minutes;
  • if the client called after working hours, call him back until 11.00 in the morning;
  • if the client begins to insult the manager and becomes personal, he is free to politely interrupt the conversation and is obliged to inform the manager about the situation.

And many other principles.

Well, what to do

Describe the priorities by which you will interact and spend resources.
Describe the basic principles by which your employees will work with customers.
Give your employees the authority to follow these principles (for example, employees can spend without agreement any amount up to $100 to resolve a case of a dissatisfied customer).
Monitor the implementation of the interaction principles with a customer without exception.
When this system is built and understood by your managers, it immediately becomes clear how to build communication in all touchpoints.

Customer touchpoints

A mistake is often made when customer touchpoints only mean those situations when your employees communicate directly with the client, but the client begins to contact your company much earlier.

The banner ad you showed on Facebook is a touchpoint.

Your video on YouTube is a touchpoint.

Your website is a touchpoint.

An invoice email is a touchpoint.

It gets worse...

The parking lot in front of your office is a touchpoint. Your employees are a touchpoint.

You need to work on absolutely all touchpoints, especially people. Today we are talking about digital marketing, so let's take a closer look at this area.

  • How long ago have you watched the behavior of users on your website through special services?
  • Do you analyze the click map to make the website more convenient?
  • Is it easy for a user to find information about your products?
  • Do you give all the information that the customer needs?
  • Do you remove any obstacles that may arise during the purchase and use of your product?
  • Is it easy for the user to find your contacts?
  • Can a user contact you after working hours?
  • Is it easy for them to get directions?
  • How else can you make the life of your user easier and turn them into a happy customer?
  • Do you present gifts to your customers?

Chatbots, online chats, messengers, callbacks, calculators and a huge number of other services are created just to make the lives of your users easier.
Use it and do not forget to think each time how to make the life of a user easier.
When three pop-ups appear on your website; if every 15 seconds a chat, or another callback widget appears, is it really convenient?

Now let's also talk about the people.

When a user writes to you on Facebook, he is unlikely to think: "If only they answered me at least three days later", or during a call: "If only nobody picked up the phone". Maybe your customers dream of a dumb, foul-smelling delivery person coming to them?

I think you understand the whole absurdity of the situation, but nevertheless, calls still remain unanswered, delivery people come drunk, and the marketing budget goes to pot.

Even if you are lucky to turn a user into a client, what is the chance that he will buy from you again?

Well, what to do

List all the points which the client uses to contact your company.
Make an improvement plan for each touchpoint.
Think about how you can exceed customer expectations at each of these points. It doesn't always work out, but that doesn't mean you have to stop trying.
Assign responsible people for each touchpoint create all conditions for employees to work with clients efficiently. A many-armed and many-legged employee can not do good service.
Conduct an independent usability audit of your website/application to identify all the subtle issues.
Pay special attention to the first contact of the customer with your company: the first screen, first conversation, first letter.
Also, pay special attention to the last contact with your company: a delivery person, a letter of appreciation, and a customer loyalty survey.

Don't punish your customers

Sometimes, due to the fear of being deceived by one customer, the lives of all other customers turn into hell.

I think you also had to experience a below-average pleasure when returning a product.

In 99% of cases, customers are great people who decide to give you money, so don't worry if 1 out of 100 turns out to be an asshole because it is more than outweighed by the remaining 99 customers.

Here is my principle (borrowed from Carl Sewell): "Can you deceive me for $100? Yes. Does this make me worry? No".

Well, what to do

Think about what additional services/conditions you do not provide for the fear of being deceived by the client.
Calculate the possible profits and losses from this service/condition. Remember that in most cases your customers are good people.
Conduct a test on a small sample of customers. Keep in mind that the sample should be representative enough.
Make implementation decisions based on tests.
Regularly carry out a customer loyalty survey.


Customer service as a philosophy

I believe that an enterprise does not exist for the sake of customers, but for the sake of money, although in the course of the story you might have thought otherwise.

Digital marketing is a powerful tool that allows you to turn an unsuspecting user into your customer. Customer service is a way to turn a one-time customer into a regular one. One makes no sense (nor philosophical, nor financial) without the other.

In a nutshell, customer service is the catalyst for your ROI (return on investment). Think about the customer, earn more money, and think about the customer again. This process cannot be interrupted.

Moreover, customer service requires constant monitoring. Your employees are people, and everyone can have a bad day, but this is not a reason to make a client's day bad. Therefore, quality service requires quality control.

Well, what to do

Take on the role of a mystery shopper, ask your friends to do it or consult a specialist.
If you do not have a CRM, get it.
Listen to conversations with the client, especially the first and last ones.
Make a list of touchpoints.
Remember that an employee should be rewarded for a good service (not necessarily financially), and punished for a bad one.

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