TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1: THE PREAMBLE
1.2: The Ten (10) Commandments of Great Customer Service
2.1: LITERATURE REVIEW: DEFINITION OF TERMS
2.2: CUSTOMER AND CUSTOMER SERVICE DEFINITIONS
2.2.1: Who is a Customer?
2.2.2: What do we mean by the term ‘Customer Service?’
2.3: The Definition of Marketing
2.3.1: TYPES/FORMS OF MARKETING
2.4: MARKET- DEFINITIONS
2.4.1: Classification of Markets
3.1: THE ROLE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE IN A MARKETING CAMPAIGN
3.2: Customer Service and Marketing – As Two Sides of a Coin
4.1: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Honestly, this mini project is purposefully dedicated to God Almighty; the giver of wealth and wisdom and also to my indefatigable Sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Ugwuja as well as my entire family members for their fervent prayers love, support and wishes for me to become a member of a professional body.
In the first place, my undiluted thankfulness goes to my heavenly father who made my academic journey a success
With profound gratitude and indebtedness, I acknowledge fully those authors and other researchers whose works and write-ups were cited, either paraphrased or quoted verbatim in the course of writing this mini project.
In a very special way, I wish to acknowledge the uncountable roles played by my ever loving mother; MRS CAROLINE UGWUJA as well as other members of my family through which God has made me what I am currently.
My profound gratitude also goes to the entire management of the Chartered Institute of Customer Relationship Management for giving us the access to this invaluable course, ‘Customer relationship management’ which is rapidly trending in the business world. God bless you all
1.1: THE PREAMBLE.
The center-piece of all marketing activities is the customer. In the words of Peter Drucker, as cited in (Cohen, 2012), marketing is not a function but the whole essence of a business seen from the customer’s eyes. Thus, the key to a company’s survival, profitability and growth in a highly competitive market place is its ability to identify and satisfy unfulfilled needs of consumers. Hence, a company’s most vital asset is its customers since customer creation is the main aspiration of every business. Without them, we would not and could not exist in business and that is why we say that marketing and innovation should be the only two most basic functions of an Enterprise. When you satisfy your customers, they not only help you grow by continuing to do business with you but they will also recommend you to friends and associates. The practice of customer service should be as present on the showroom floor as it is in any other sales functions and pertinent in the overall company environment. This means that customers in any stage of their purchasing cycle and interacting with any department should receive excellent customer service. A bad experience in one department can bereft your company of customers.
Specifically speaking, it is true that a strong marketing strategy can attract customers’ attention towards a company’s product. It is equally true that the marketing department does aid a company to record a profitable growth by presenting the company’s product to the public/customers in a more fascinating way. This is why Business owners spend money to market and drive customers into their places of business, whether it be via print/non print method or electronic/non-electronic means. By this, a path is created and customers or clients walk in on that path, but the contentious question is; what happens after the customers are there? What services do they encounter?
However, good marketing tells our customers why they should choose us, customer service shows them why they should keep coming back. This heavily implies that customer service has a great role to play in a marketing campaign of any company. While this aspect of the roles of customer service in a marketing campaign would be exhaustively discussed in chapter four (4), the remaining part of this section would focus on the ten (10) commandments of customer service.
1.2: The Ten (10) Commandments of Great Customer Service
By being able to retain customers that marketing department spends time and money to get in the first place, customer service plays a prominent role in a marketing campaign. Consequently, it becomes imperative to discuss the commandments that should guide customer service in effective discharge of their pronounced roles in marketing. These commandments could be viewed as the Decalogue of customer service and they are presented below;
Know who is the boss : Part of the reasons we are in business is to service the needs of our clients and this can only be efficiently done if we know what our customers really want. When we carefully listen to our customers, they let us know what they want and how we can gratify them with good services. We should forget not that it is our customers that actually pay our salary and make our job security more possible.
Be a Good Listener: It is really worth the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, the tone of their voice, their body language, and most importantly, how they feel. Beware of making assumptions - thinking we intuitively know what the customer wants. If there are only two things that our customers expect from us at the initial point of contact, then, they should be effective listening and undivided attention, particularly, on the showroom floor where there is a great danger of preoccupation - looking around to see to whom else we could be selling to.
Identify and Anticipate Needs: Customers don't just buy products or services, they buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more we know our customers, the better we become at anticipating their needs. We should not neglect regular communication with our customers so that we get to be aware of their problems or upcoming needs. Perhaps, incommunicado is potentially a serious threat to relationships in general.
Make Customers Feel Important and Appreciated: Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to compliment them, but be sincere. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust. Think about ways to generate good feelings about doing business with you. Customers are very sensitive and know whether or not you really care about them. Thank them every time you get a chance.
Body Language Is Key: On the show floor be sure that the body language conveys sincerity. Our words and actions should be congruent.
Understanding Is Crucial : Our customers should be helped to understand our systems. Your organization may have the world's best systems for getting things done, but if customers don't understand them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they simplify transactions. Be careful so that your systems do not reduce the human element of your organization.
Appreciate the Power of "Yes": Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. In customer service, we always try as much as possible to avoid the usage of negative words like; can’t, no, don’t, not. Always say yes and figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing business with you easy. Always do what you say you are going to do. Here, words that depict impossibility should not be found in the diction of customer service professionals.
Know How to Apologize: When something goes wrong, apologize. It's easy, and customers like it. The customers may not always be right, but the customers must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints. As much as we dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. Even if customers are having a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable.
Thou shall Outperform your Expectations : Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following:
What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere?
What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don't buy?
What can you give customers that is totally unexpected?
Thou Shall Thirst For Feedback : Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you could improve. There are several ways in which you can find out what customers think and feel about your services. Listen carefully to what they say. Check back regularly to see how things are going. Seriously crave for feedback by providing a method that invites constructive criticism, comments, and suggestions.
Seek Yee the Happiness of Employees First and Many Other External Customers Would Be Added unto Yee; E mployees are your internal customers and need a regular dose of appreciation. Thank them and find ways to let them know how important they are. Treat your employees with respect and chances are they will have a higher regard for customers. Appreciation stems from the top. Treating customers and employees well is equally important. This is because happy employees mean happy customers. The attitudes and behaviors of your employees will determine your customer service and satisfaction. Employees should be put first ahead of customers. I know this may sound contrary to the general belief, but, just take few minutes and think about it . Consider this scenario for instance, SM enterprise is into Restaurant Business and because of the negative treatment to its employees, they became unhappy with the administration of the enterprise. On one fateful day, two workers of SM Company were discussing about the best Lounge around their vicinity and they mentioned another nearby Restaurant as they complained that SM enterprise does not observe proper cleanliness in their food services to the customers. Unknowingly, four of the most influential customers of SM enterprise overhead everything that those two said against SM enterprise which happens to be their place of work. Now, the question is; how would those four customers feel about SM enterprise and their services to its customers? What do you think would be the fate of SM enterprise in the nearest seven days? Business Death, of course. The enterprise would not only stand the risk of losing those four of its mega customers, but would also start experiencing a negative sloping trend in its customer patronizing rate. When your employees are happy they will look forward to working harder because they are valued and appreciated. It was said that Southwest Airlines is a cited example of a company that has demonstrated this tactics well. They've built a culture by instilling entrepreneurship in their employees. Hence, if we first treat employees like our customers, the employee wins, the customer wins, and the business wins - - - QED.
2.1: LITERATURE REVIEW: DEFINITION OF TERMS.
Here, we would channel our effort towards defining the terms/words that are central to this discourse. From the topic; ‘the role of customer service in a marketing campaign,’ the keywords to be defined are ; Customer and Customer Service, Market and marketing, and marketing campaign.
2.2: CUSTOMER AND CUSTOMER SERVICE DEFINITIONS.
2.2.1: Who is a Customer?
Definition 1: A customer is anyone who buys and receives product –either a good or a service- from an organization or a business. A customer will be satisfied with his/her purchase if the product meets the customer’s needs. So, it is essential that a business understands what customers want and need from a product.
Definition 2 : We can comfortably make a good definition of a customer by simply telling what customers are and what they are not. In the most basic form, customers are people – just like you and I – with the same basic needs, emotions and desires. While some may act somehow like it, they are not monsters or being from another planet. However, the followings are what the customers are;
Customers are people with real needs: They do business with us and our company because we address one or more of these needs. Customers are the reason we and our company are in business: If we had no one to purchase our product, our company would cease to exist in business. Customers are the reason why we produce the product we produce and do our business the way we do: Our customers do business with us because we have something that addresses their needs and we present such an item to them in an acceptable fashion. Customers are Diverse: Just as no two snowflakes are the same, no two customers are the same either . Customers are regular people: They are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, teachers, lawyers, doctors and a host of other occupations.
On the other hand, here are what the customers are NOT
The customers are not monsters: Why some may act that way on occasion, it may be usually because they have been led to the point of frustration by events leading to that point. Customers are not inconveniences: Customers should not be treated to feel that they are interrupting our workday. Customers are not all the same: Though they may buy similar product, their needs may be very different.
In general, the above definitions notwithstanding, there are two main types of customers namely; Internal and External customers. While the former are members of staff or outside suppliers that contribute towards the services provided to the external customers and may include colleagues, staff and managers/supervisors, the latter, on the other hand, are people we often usually associate with the term ‘customer.’ That is, the people that actually buy or use an organization’s product or service.
2.2.2: What do we mean by the term ‘Customer Service?’
When we say customer service, what often comes to mind are endless telephone calls, frequent dealing of clients and constant satisfaction of customer queries. However, customer service should be understood as the attitude in doing business with the clients. In short, customer service is anything we do for our customers that enhances the customers’ experience (CICRM: 2018)
Broadly speaking, we can effectively define the term customer service by simply visiting one major required quality of customer service providers. Hence, the ability to think and make emotional decisions is one common quality all customer service personnel should have. This means that customer service is all about thinking. Thinking about how to best serve the customers. Thinking about what is the best for the customers and the company. Thinking about special circumstances that may require special actions on our part. Thinking about what we can do to keep that customer coming back again and again.
2.3: The Definition of Marketing.
Marketing is everything and everything is marketing---Peter Drucker.
There are numerous definitions of marketing. The better definitions are focused upon market orientation and the satisfaction of customer needs
Hence, according to Kotler and Armstrong (2010), marketing is the social process by which individuals and organizations obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging value with others. OR, the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.
Again, marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably (CIM, 2012). This CIM definition looks not only at identifying customer needs, but also satisfying them (short-term) and anticipating them in the future (long-term retention). The definition also states the importance of a process of marketing, with marketing objectives and outcomes. CIM is recognized as being one of the most influential marketing bodies in the world. It is the professional body for marketing in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, marketing, according to American Marketing Association Board of Directors (2012), is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.