DIGITAL MARKETERS NEED GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE TOO
I'm exhausted. I need a sit down. I've been keeping an eye on quite a few support tickets lately...
Let's start at the beginning though:
Offering great customer service has always been a business differentiator - even if, way back when, business owners didn't consciously acknowledge it as being a business differentiator.
It could have meant the difference between buying your bread from Bill the Baker or Burt the Baker.
Bill grimaced as you as you parted with your penny, whilst Burt asked you how your day was, threw in an extra roll, and smiled.
Good old Burt.
It was about relationship-building, offering value for money, and delivering on what the customer wants.
GUESS WHAT. IT'S STILL ABOUT ALL THOSE THINGS
More recently, the concept of customer service has expanded further into the realms of 'customer experience' - popping out it's own acronym baby (CX). Businesses have spent gazillions on transforming and upgrading their customer service hubs - for example, integrating their capabilities into their owned digital channels - so that they continue to meet customers' expectations.
And it's true. These days, if we want help, we go to the company's site, and most of us dare to presume there'll be a quick and easy way to speak to a customer service adviser through a 'chat now' option - or a redirect to a customer service-dedicated Twitter or Facebook account. It's just how it is now.
According to Bain and Company, businesses that grow their customer retention rates by as little as 5%, typically see profit increases ranging from 25% to 95%.
In the marketing field, having access to the right account support at the right time can be critical to a business's brand, campaigns, financials and reputation.
If you're a digital marketer, you could say that (in a nutshell) your role is to support our employer / clients with things like:
- Managing and developing all of their digital channels
- Creating, editing and promoting great content
- Attracting, capturing and nurturing leads into the top of the sales funnel.
And we will commonly employ a large number of digital tools to help us do all of the above - social media schedulers, SEO monitors, survey builders, content planning tools… (you could even include your trusty CMS in this).
If one or more of these tools / platforms stop working, it can mean the difference between something being launched / sent / promoted on time - and missing deadlines, missing the boat on publishing something when it's most timely, or even wasting / losing the organisation actual £££. It's also fucking frustrating.
I've signed up and paid for the access to many platforms and snazzy tools over the years – and I've hit some kind of problem with most of them, sooner or later. Your first reaction is to reach out to someone for support. I’ve often felt a bit short-changed when it comes to getting a tech / billing / account issue resolved promptly and efficiently. Why is that? Is it because companies think we're only interested in what the platform / tool / plug-in does for us? Maybe. But we need the full package - the product AND the aftercare (don't forget, we work in digital, so we're likely to notice what's missing from the support experience before a lot of people).
ACCESS CAN BE A PROBLEM
The level of accessibility to customer support may be the main stumbling block. The assistance you receive in the end may be great - but it’s a struggle to be noticed when you try and raise your hand for help. Common issues include:
- The support ticket is submitted, but there's no response - or the response is too slow
- The mobile site isn't responsive for customer service purposes like it is on desktop - e.g. live chat doesn't work
- The relevant url links, or the overall customer journey is broken somehow
QUALITY OF SUPPORT CAN VARY WILDLY
I've come to realise that the quality of customer service really does differ massively. You just never know what you're going to get. Don't get me wrong, I've experienced some great support, some of the friendliest responses ever, some super speedy resolutions to tech issues.. but it seems to be wildly variable - and to my surprise, some of the worst customer experiences have come from some of the biggest names in digital marketing.
You only have to look at some of the major social media platforms, and you're entering a world of multiple help menus and forums. "Let the community answer your tech query for you." When you think about it, it only puts another layer in between you and the 'official' support team.
SOME ISSUES CONTINUE TO ENDURE
Another thing I’ve noticed is that I can end up going back to raise a ticket on something, multiple times. The problem may be common to many, yet the platform in question has made little to no progress in resolving the underlying cause. It’s bonkers, because it means they’re spending more money in wasting the time it takes to resolve the same issue again and again, and possibly with floods of people.
*WE RELY ON GREAT CUSTOMER SUPPORT TOO*
It doesn't matter whether you're working freelance, in-house or as part of an agency - not getting the customer support you need means that campaigns and projects can end up being interrupted, or even ruined by poor levels of service.
Digital marketing is not just about attracting leads and nurturing them into customers – we also use digital as an ‘enabler’ to retain customers for the long-term.
Paradoxically, digital marketers need to be thought of in the same way by their suppliers - you need to try harder to keep us. A not-to-be-sniffed-at proportion of us will hold the purse strings on their budget, so there's everything to play for (in 2018, the average firm is expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to digital marketing, and this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020).