Impact Learning Systems


Customer Service: The Key to Brand Differentiation Peggy Carlaw

Customer Service KeyThe recent issue of Customer Relationship Management magazine features research from Gallup showing that fewer than 1 in 7 B2B customer relationships are optimal.

“It’s becoming more difficult to stay ahead of your competitors with just a product-oriented differentiation.”   —  Ed O’Boyle, global practice leader of Gallup Marketplace

According to O’Boyle, “You have to add more to the relationship there. B2B in particular, has a maniacal focus on the features, products, and delivery mechanism but sometimes fails to recognize the strength of the relationship that they need to build.”

Fully engaged customers, according to Gallup’s definition are those who “are strongly emotionally attached and attitudinally loyal. They’ll go out of their way to locate a favored product or service, and they won’t accept substitutes.” These customers were found to average a 23 percent premium over typical customers in overall wallet share, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.

There are a number of ways to create engaged customers beyond offering an outstanding product or service. One way, of course, is through various forms of brand marketing. However, while a well thought-out and creative marketing campaign can create the strong emotional attachment needed to form a high level of customer engagement, customers will quickly switch from engaged to actively disengaged if they have a bad interaction with customer service or support.

Hence the growing focus many companies are placing on achieving world-class customer service. By spending a fraction of their marketing dollars to improve the customer service skills of their employees, providing their service and support teams with the appropriate technology to support them, and making sure company processes and procedures are customer-friendly, these companies are achieving outstanding results. Investing in service delivery will not only measurably improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, but also reduce operational costs as well.

With the economy beginning to improve, it’s time to consider re-allocating resources to ensure that your customer service and support teams stand ready to build on your brand promise, and create customers who loudly sing your praises.

Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems, a leading training company specializing in improving communications between front-line employees and customers. Peggy is co-author of several books published by McGraw-Hill, including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees and The Big Book of Customer Service Training Games.
Peggy Carlaw
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    The truth is you have to put out a good product to even have a prayer of competing. That’s a given of any industry. But the way you treat your customers and the kind of relationships you have with them can really set your company apart. Plenty of studies indicate that people are willing to pay more for great service, so it’s also in your best interest financially to focus on it. 

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