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Is good customer service = Marketing or is marketing all about customer service?


July 27, 2011

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Scott Nelson, a Managing VP at the Gartner Group asked the question yesterday: “Is Good Customer Service Really Marketing.” This is an important point because many businesses see marketing and customer service as separate functions. My view is that the trend is moving to marketing becoming a customer service function (which might sound like tail wags dog).

Customer Service as Marketing

And there has been a lot of talk about the impact of customer service with interesting work from  Peppers and Rogers and Regis McKenna. Patricia Seybold showed how the web could improve customer service. Tracy and Wiersema showed that customer intimacy was one of three effective strategies for market leadership. So, effective customer service retains customers and provides good word of mouth. Hence, marketing, in the traditional sense.

Marketing as Customer Service

Here’s my comment on the blog entry:

In the social media era, marketing is becoming customer service, especially in customer centric organizations. Marketing is becoming less about broadcast and more about listening and interacting. It’s about engaging the domain, listening to improve products and services.

We once said that product managers represented the voice of the customer in an organization. This was not always true. Now, social media ‘marketing’ opens up another channel for the voice of the customer. It also provides a forum for crowdsourcing solutions to problems and kickstarting innovation.

In other words, as  I suggested in my post yesterday on social business, social business and customer centricity is a business model.  It’s not good enough to have good customer support to market your company. It’s critical to leverage marketing, particularly social networking, for interaction. It’s not looking for customers trashing you with tweets and trying to prevent a negative impact, it’s about learning from these mistakes to change products or processes.


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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