How to Effectively Market Your Excellent Customer Service

by Kate on 26 March 2010

in Straight Marketing

I’ve been working with a company that has great customer service.  No, really, they can actually say they have some of the best in the industry – they get orders filled quickly and can produce niche products with relative ease because they’re small enough.  They have customer after customer who says they’re among the best people in the industry to work with – they fix problems immediately, continue to work hard at getting the best products out, always answer the phone and know customers by name.  If I were a customer, I would definitely say these guys had stellar performance in this respect.

The problem?  They don’t know how to market it - or not market it -  to potential customers or new business.  One of the biggest things is that they forget that the reason the customers above can say this about them is that they’ve experienced it, they haven’t been told.  Among the offenses: A non-distinctive “tagline” that uses words like “dedicated” and “customer service” and “excellence.”  If you’re not familiar with how a tagline works (or doesn’t work) check out this write up by Killian.  Their web copy is also LOADED with these words and similar words and phrases like “we continually strive to make sure our customers have the best service….” *snore* (oops, sorry).

The point is:

  • You can’t sell your customer service to people who have never come in contact with your company.  At the very least, it’s really hard to do this.
  • They aren’t going to buy your product or service because you said they have good customer service.  They don’t say “gee, this stereo looks like it’s of only average quality, although good for the price.  But check THIS out. They’ve got excellent customer service!  I’m in!”
  • EVERYONE says they have good customer service, whether it’s true or not.
  • Do the math.  If everyone says that, and I’m not able to really tell until I do business with you, and you use bland copy, frankly you’re boring me.
  • For any current customer looking at any of your copy packed with service jargon… well, you’re not telling them anything they don’t already know.  And, should it be the case that you don’t have good customer service, you’re just putting a target on your back.

And so, a few things to think about when you want to highlight your customer service to new and existing customers:

  1. Use testimonials.  Have a place on your site dedicated to “straight from the horse’s mouth” comments.  These can be tremendously effective in most industries.
  2. Say it once or twice, then be quiet.  If you want to use it in your general copy, that’s fine, but don’t overdo it. Say it once on the home page, once on the About page, maybe once somewhere else, and then cut it.
  3. Avoid blandness.  If you do use it in copy, don’t use any of the words we listed above.  Instead of “we’re dedicated to your experience as a customer blah blah blah,” say something at least partially snappy like “whatever you need, we’ve got ya covered,” or something even more peppy like “don’t worry, we haven’t even met you but we already think you’re awesome.” (Sidenote: level of snappiness depends on level of comfort and risk aversion in bold content).
  4. Remember why they’re there in the first place.  As I said above, they aren’t there to buy your customer service.  In fact, they probably expect that to be there regardless.  They’re there for a solution to their problem, which is your product or service.  Focus your valuable marketing copy on that.
  5. Consider customer referrals as a form of marketing.  Just like testimonials, if your customers have good things to say about you, that’s some of the easiest pieces of marketing juice you can get.  Encourage them to not only provide you with testimonials, but also let others in the industry know how they feel.

What are other ways to market customer service?  What are some of the worst offenses you’ve seen?  What are best examples?

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