Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers:  105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a  business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

 

Today’s question comes from a busy professional:

When does marketing meet customer service?

If your marketing and customer service strategies do not meet somewhere, your customers will fall through the gap. Having an understanding of how these two departments come together for the customer experience is critical to delighting your customer throughout their relationship with your company. After all, the customer will look at these functions as coming from the company as a whole, and as independent departments.

With marketing’s job being the first contact with a customer and customer service happening much further down the customer life cycle, these two departments seemingly have no overlapping strategy. But, we know this is simply not true based on research which indicates that the customer expectations set by marketing in the beginning have a significant impact on customer service’s ability to please a customer later on.

 

Thank you so much for your well-thought out question.  Although the answer may be slightly different depending upon the specific market or industry, a good market plan normally starts with two pieces:

  • Marketing with the client in mind
  • Marketing with the product/service in mind

 

Marketing with the client in mind

The market plan begins with the target customer in mind.

  • Define your product/service/company’s differential or niche.
  • Define your target market or specific customer that needs or wants your product and service.
  • Imagine what will attract your target customer base and then create effective campaigns that will attract that customer base.

So – in essence, the entire market campaign is centered on attracting that perfect client.

Marketing with the product or service in mind

You also need to keep your product or service in mind while marketing.   You very well cannot market an automobile when you are selling a cat.  At the same time, some marketing campaigns over sell the product to get that signature on that dotted line.

This is the situation that sets the improper customer expectations. This is the situations that will impact your over customer satisfaction ratings and increase your customer service calls.

Money is in the balance

Customer and Company satisfaction occurs when customer and marketing expectations match.

  • The company makes money when the purchase price of the product outweighs the cost of making the product.
  • The company makes money when the client returns and refers other customers.
  • The client returns (and refers) when their expectations of value have been met or exceeded.

If marketing consistently over-promises to make a “sell”, they run the risk of eventually:

  • Overrunning the budget of time, materials, and resources to complete the task (costing the company more money than they would receive for the project)
  • Missing over-promised deadlines and product features to the client (costing the company the client’s return visits and referrals)

Even if the sales and marketing teams do succeed in this client contract, it’s unlikely that the client will return.

Ensuring Balance

To ensure balance, the marketing sales account manager work together with their production or creating services teams, from the start.

  • Both teams review the client contract or Statement of Work (which the production team is expected to fulfill).
  • Both teams are required to approve and sign-off on the features and delivery commitments.
  • The account manager then meets with the client to explain any changes to the feature list or delivery schedule.
  • The production team can also be available to answer any technical questions regarding the changes.

Once the contract or SOW is signed by the client, the product team can get started on the product or service.

It is also important to note that the account manager owns that customer relationship.  Therefore, once the product or service is completed, the account manager meets with the client to deliver the product, review the changes, explain its usage, review the original contract to illustrate all commitments have been met and get a feel for the client’s satisfaction.

the Main Event isn’t the Sell

Keeping both the company and client expectations in mind – upfront – can lead you to a successful conclusion.  A sell isn’t the main event.  The company is in the business of making money.  Therefore, you must always consider the cost of making that sell.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

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