When I was thinking about what to write for this week, I wanted to zone in on customer service. I’ve had some really interesting experiences the past few days that I’d love to share.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to setup an Israeli bank account…not the most exciting task to accomplish when you don’t have a firm grasp of the language.
Since I’ve been working in the banking industry for nearly 4 years, the past year in customer research, I know that customer service can be a sore subject. I also have a better understanding than most on setting up a bank account as I’ve been the woman behind creating account opening forms in the past. On a personal level, I’ve also opened up accounts in a number of countries.
A couple of weeks ago, I went into one of the top banks in the country and asked a few simple question about fees, type of accounts and access to funds. This bank in particular, to be frank, confused the heck out of me. They had no marketing material to present me (in English or Hebrew) and gave me the impression they weren’t even interested in me as a customer. I ended up walking out of the branch with no account to speak of.
After this experience, I was told by many not to expect much more as customer service wasn’t the norm across banks in the country. Giving the Israeli banking industry some benefit of the doubt, I kept pushing forward…
Round two…last week I walked into another bank – not as big but still a national player. I asked nicely if there was anyone who could assist me in English. I was met by a lovely woman who asked me a few questions about my needs, if I had the required documentation to open the account and handed me an information leaflet that she would walk me through. And so began the account opening experience.
Considering most of the information presented to me was in Hebrew, she took the time to explain everything to me – including fees, types of accounts available to me and access to funds. So, all the information I had asked the other bank now became clear to me. She also took the time to reiterate that she was here to help anytime and even gave me her direct line – which in this day-and-age, I think we can all say, is rare.
So what is the point of this example? My point is that customer service is so important for so many different reasons.
Not only am I going to continue to have my account at the second bank (customer loyalty) I’m also going to tell people I meet to go to this woman to open their accounts (word of mouth).
One of the sad things that comes out of this tale, is that the woman at the bank I now have an account with, is a part of the customer service minority. I think we can all agree that most of us don’t expect to get a fantastic service at a bank but even at a restaurant or an airport. We have begun to accept that mediocre service is all that we will be on the receiving end of most of the time.
If this is all about customer service, how does that relate to marketing?
Servicing the customer is what marketing is all about. Marketers have a duty to understand what the customer thinks about the company’s brand and that is intrinsically linked to the service they receive.
It's a simple equation - Happy Customers = Good Marketing
One of the ways marketers can influence customer service is by feeding back what we find out from customers. This is the reason why market research – whether on service, the brand or products - is so crucial to differentiating and staying competitive in this global market.
What do you think? I’m sure we all have had positive and/or negative customer service experiences. Share away!!
Have a great marketing week and see you next Monday,