|Improving Customer Service
Issue # 22 of 70
By: Dr. John T. Self
Marketing versus Reality
Is your Marketing department better than your customer service? Put another way, is your Marketing department's media message promising more than you can deliver? After all, the Marketing department is in the dream making business.
But danger lies when marketing produces customer expectations that exceed reality and produces not dreams but nightmares when customers actually experience your business. The dream makers cannot set higher standards than your customers can hope to experience because it will just mean entering a vicious cycle of advertising, sales, disappointment, loss of sales, then back to advertising to bring back the same sales you had in the first place. Consider the following scenarios:
Your marketing department screams at your customers with billboards, television, radio and newspapers the following:
But your employees are mumbling:
This is a classic case of the Marketing department not communicating with Customer Service and Operations. Before any marketing plan is unleashed on an unsuspecting public (a.k.a. your customers), Marketing and Operations must work closely together or disastrous results await.
When coordination has not taken place, the danger is that promises, commitments and guarantees that are advertised may not be met from an Operational standpoint. Not without additional training or staffing.
There have been some truly outstanding marketing programs that have won national awards with advertising campaigns that were inventive, creative, and were ultimately able to cause tremendous public awareness. The marketing department accomplished their task to get people in the door or on the phone to make the sale. But they didn't foresee the repercussions of promising too much. This could have been prevented by using the "C" word, a.k.a. communications.
When customers experience products or services that don't match their expectations, they leave and carry with them much more than just one bad experience. They will each tell an average of 12 people more. This creates the need for advertising to come in again and the vicious cycle starts once more of advertising, increase in sales, customer disappointment, loss of sales, then advertising once again. Talk about job security!
When rolling out an advertising campaign:
A closing thought; Bad service happens all by itself, while good service comes from being managed.
Text © Dr. John T. Self, 1997,1998. Part of the original Sideroad.