Content marketing, meet customer service

I’ve recently experienced the best and the worst, the yin and the yang of customer service. From being lost, in one instance, in a morass of phone prompts and endless loops of hold music, my concerns never to be shared with a human being – to a pleasant and caring representative by the name of Mary Alice who not only listened to but met my needs and put a bit of sunshine back in my world. I’ve received nonsensical mailings spit out by databases in need of update. And I’ve appreciated thoughtful, personalized business communiques that made my whole day a little brighter.

content marketing and customer service - thank you note

The definition of customer service

“Customer service” isn’t readily found in the dictionary. But we all – because we’re all customers ourselves – have a sense of what good customer service should be. And a quick online search brings up common themes. Good customer service – successful customer service – embraces tenets like respecting human connection through personal, nurturing attention, the importance of listening, empowering the front line to do their best with adequate training and support, and remaining genuinely committed as a company to superior service.

I’d say it’s also about the details. “Content marketing” is a current buzzword – and rightly so. Businesses on the competitive edge are immersed in all manner of it. But while content marketing focuses on creating relevant media content that attracts and informs your target audience, simply producing content to feed various marketing platforms becomes an empty exercise if it loses sight of the end goal.

Marketing made personal. Customer service for the customer.

Whatever your content marketing strategy, your overall marketing efforts can and should also include investment in personal reach outs to clients and customers. Think of it as content plus marketing plus heart. Because the ultimate goal in any marketing is to effectively connect with the customer person who purchases your goods or service. And a commitment to quality and a focus on the customer quickly become standouts in today’s landscape of “content glut” and ever more de-personalized service.

I’ve been sold as a customer myself not just thanks to a company’s intelligent, user-friendly website – the “frontline” of most initial consumer contact today. I’ve not been enticed solely by their blog posts or active social media scene. But when I’ve been provided a sales packet of quality content that clearly and concisely answers my questions, it has mattered. When it’s been followed up with a friendly, personalized mailing that includes a smart looking business card and discount coupon, I’ve felt kinda warm and fuzzy inside. And when a hand-signed thank you note from the company has landed in my mailbox after a sale or project, well, call me a customer for life. That’s total marketing strategy with an emphasis on thoughtful, engaging content. Well-written copy. With the target market – and an overarching commitment to customer service – firmly in mind. (Top that off with helpful customer reps at the ready when I call, and I practically swoon.)

The thing is, it’s the smart business that “invests” in superior customer service – and the marketing plan to support it. Because the returns are so clear. Happy customers are loyal customers. Repeat customers. Customers that let other prospective customers know where to take their business. And in this day and age, with the power of social media at every consumer’s fingertips – whether disgruntled or satisfied – being secure in your customer relations should be your priority.

How do you define good customer service? And what do you do to make that personal connection with your customers?