Earlier this year I wrote two blog posts on aligning customer service and marketing, see part 1 and part 2, and a post about Proactive Customer Care. I recently read an interesting interview with John Goodman, Vice Chairman of Tarp Worldwide and author of “Strategic Customer Service: Managing the Customer Experience to Increase Positive Word of Mouth, Build Loyalty, and Maximize Profits” and thought he provided some valuable insight to add to my previous posts.
Goodman notes that Tarp Worldwide was the original group to quantify that it “costs five times as much to get a new customer as it does to keep one.” This is a vital statistic for contact center managers because customer retention has a great deal to do with customer service.
One thing I found most interesting in the interview I read is a theory of Goodman’s that he calls “psychic pizza…that is, ringing a customer’s doorbell and saying, ‘Here is the pizza you were about to order.’” Goodman believes, and I agree, that if a company can anticipate the next question a customer will ask or the next service a customer will need, the company can proactively provide the answers or services without the customer having to do anything. One example of this is AAA bringing you a cold bottle of water when your car breaks down on a hot day and apologizing for being late even if the serviceperson is early. Goodman points out that this kind of service dazzles the customer and even if the rest of the service is a disaster, survey results are still outstanding because of that initial dazzling contact. In other words, the unexpected positive contact overshadows subsequent service issues.
Goodman’s book offers advice for maximizing the relationship between service, sales and marketing such as setting proper expectations up front and educating people when the product or service is sold. Working with your sales and marketing teams can help you establish a way for your agents to pass up complaints through the chain so you can decide how to proactively dazzle your customers throughout every department in your organization.