Before you go calling for me to turn in my social customer service clubhouse key (not that mine has ever worked since I found it on the bus), this isn’t my conclusion. I looked it up; “customer service is the new marketing” that is.
I asked Santa for it. but, like I came to learn when I was a kid, you don’t always get everything on your list. Apparently there was a run on this request at the North Pole. And, since I didn’t see any after-Christmas sales on it in last Sunday’s paper, I went looking for it myself.
To find this elusive beast, naturally, I headed straight for Wikipedia. And, hey, if it isn’t in Wikipedia, it doesn’t exist, right? (apparently unicorns do exist. They’re in there.) I typed in “customer service marketing” and, among others, here’s what I found:
- Marketing (services marketing)
- Customer Relationship Management (redirected from customer service management)
- Service System
- Relationship Marketing
But no definition of “customer service is the new marketing”. So, is it real? Does something need a definition to be real? Love is real. I can feel it. But I’m not so sure I could define it. And, even if I could, my definition is probably different than yours.
So, what do we make of this statement: “customer service is the new marketing”? It’s a great tag line, for sure. And its a noble goal to envision the breakdown of functional silos between marketing, sales and service – all focusing on the common objective of a superior customer experience. Marketing and sales for sure need to think more like customer service; shut up and listen. Got that. So, conceptually, I get where folks are coming from when they say it.
As I interpret it, organizations have an opportunity to create a competitive advantage by becoming more customer-centric; focusing on understanding customers better and using that knowledge to co-create an experience that truly delivers measurable value for the customer. So, with all that, yes, we could all learn a thing or two from customer service in terms of how to engage with our customers.
But, at the end of the day. Marketing has a job to do, regardless of the revolution in its methods. Customer service has a job to do, regardless of what new social channel emerges next.
Remember when we thought customer service was the new sales? Cross selling? Up selling? Service to sales call flows? And, then hit the backlash from the front lines. “We’re not sales people”. “I don’t like sales”. And, there was the backlash from customers. We see how well that worked out.
So, how about this instead? Rather than “customer service is the new marketing”. Maybe we ought to think in terms of “Customer Service is the New Business of Business”.