Is Customer Service Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

Consumers are 90% more likely to trust and purchase a product or brand recommended by a friend or family. There’s no way around the fact that word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of marketing available, driving $6 trillion in annual spending. With social outlets and review sites offering a platform and amplifying voices, word-of-mouth now reaches a much wider audience. Yelp!, Angie’s List, Epinion, and even Facebook give buyers voices to share their experiences with others.

So, what are your prospective buyers hearing when their friends and family are talking? News of bad service can reach twice as many people as positive reviews, and in some terrifying cases, they can tank a business. Bad service is bad business, period. It can render your marketing and branding efforts useless.

Providing good customer service, on the other hand, bolsters your marketing efforts. In fact, the two are so connected that customer service should be part of your marketing efforts. Your customer service marketing shouldn’t just be about acquiring new customers, either. You’ll receive many more benefits than just a boost in word-of-mouth marketing.

Return Customers Cost Less

At one point, the buyer’s journey looked a little something like this:

Awareness >>>> Consideration >>>> Decision

Marketers then created a marketing funnel so they could develop content to reach their buyers at every stage during this buyer’s journey. The only problem was, there was no phase in the journey that led a buyer back to make another purchase. That’s when HubSpot, in their infinite wisdom, created a new version of the buyer’s journey. The steps look more like this:

Attract >>>> Convert >>>> Close >>>> Retain

This new version of the buyer’s journey focused just as much on retaining customers as it did on acquiring them.

The benefits of customer retention are clear. You are 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer, as opposed to 5-20% likely to convert a new acquisition. Not only are returning buyers more likely to complete the purchase, but it’s also 7X more expensive to acquire new customers. Even better, a returning customer will spend up to five times more money.

Bad Service Will Cost You

Your customers simply won’t return for future purchases if they have a bad experience. Potential buyers may even scrap their plans to make a purchase if they have a negative experience during the consideration phase of their journey. This means that businesses miss out on a $62 billion in annual sales simply because they aren’t committed to providing good service before, during, and after the sale. One-third of American consumers say they will switch to a new brand after one bad experience!

Can you afford to lose sales to existing buyers while also spending more to bring in new customers?

How to Make Customer Service Part of Marketing

Understanding the need for customer service in your marketing is one thing; putting it into practice is another. After all, many companies still have separate departments for customer service and marketing, and the two rarely meet. However, many colleges and universities are starting to introduce the concepts in their marketing degree programs, and still more certifications are available through other marketing education sources.  

Training your marketers to also pay attention to customer service to cover some customer service tasks doesn’t have to be hard. Incorporate follow-up emails after a purchase to inquire about their satisfaction with the product. Ask your loyal buyers if they’d like a sneak peek at new products you’re developing. You may even involve them in the creation of new items.

Because so many consumers now turn to social media to share their experiences, be ready with your social media marketing to address their concerns. If they express delight with their experience, thank them! That engagement goes a long way toward building rapport that turns into brand evangelism.

Remember: return buyers are more valuable than the ones that haven’t shopped with you yet. Start developing a strategy now to incorporate service into your marketing, and then sit back to watch your bottom line grow.


Richard Parker