Is Customer Service A Marketing Function?

Customer service personnel in large companies often think of customer service as a separate function of the business.

But when you think about your own thoughts and feelings about receiving poor customer service from a company, you begin to realize that it truly is a marketing function.

Recently, I call a company from which I buy a monthly service. Two days after upgrading that service, I received an e-mail offering a 15% discount on the very service I upgraded to. I called the "customer service" department to ask if they would honor the discount on my upgrade.

Here's what happened: "Well, it's too late. We can't do that," I was told.

I told the customer service rep, who had a personality somewhere between an iceberg and a pile of compost, that I had been a customer for years, and it seemed to unfair that they wouldn't honor this permanent 15% discount for someone as loyal as me.

She became argumentative, and snapped that she would check with the supervisor, but that they "never" honor the discount under the circumstances I was in.

When she got back on the line (clearly, from her tone of voice, she hated her job, her supervisor, and me) she said, in the manner wardens use to tell prisoners they are being paroled but the warden doesn't agree with it, "We are going to give you this discount this time, but that's it. We won't ever do this again."

Without going into details, it would be very difficult to move from this vendor to another one. However, I have stopped recommending them to my friends, and business colleagues, as this isn't the first time I've encountered a rude customer service rep at that company.

A letter I wrote to the president of the company once went unanswered. A fish rots from the head down.

Customer service truly is a marketing function. In your own jewelry making business, consider all the processes that you use to handle order-taking, fulfillment, follow-up, returns and complaints.

In all of those areas, you want to make the customer feel terrific about how they were handled.

One way or the other, they will tell others about their experience. Make sure the story they tell about you is a great one!

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