In a speech given in South Africa in 1890, Mahatma Gandhi said, “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent upon us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption on work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business; he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do it.” Gandhi knew the key to good customer relationship management, but somehow his profound words seem to have faded over the past 122 years.
As a full service marketing and public relations firm, McCauley Marketing Services strives to help our clients maintain lasting relationships with customers and patients while reaching new audiences. An internal marketing strategy is important to any business because like Gandhi stated, the customer is doing the business a “favor” by giving the business the opportunity to serve them. However, it seems as if more and more businesses care less about maintaining relationships.
In fact, in dealings outside of the office, some of the team members of McCauley Services have come to the realization that one of the only ways to have an issue resolved by a company’s customer service department in a timely manner is by reaching them on social media. Sitting on hold for 30 minutes just to reach a voicemail so that someone will call you back within 24 hours (most likely when you’re at work) or sending an email request in order to receive an automatic response explaining that your matter will be responded to in 24-48 hours (with no reference to when the issue will be fixed) sometimes just isn’t enough when a service you pay for isn’t working properly. In our experience, businesses often respond to social media requests within hours, usually fixing the problem completely within a 24 hour time frame.
While the power of social media is astonishing, should businesses not be responding to private phone and email complaints just as quickly as they do public complaints? Why is it that a customer who protects the business from unnecessary negative publicity by going straight to the source without posting a negative comment on Facebook or tweeting a complaint gets a slower response than those who do? By doing some research on various businesses on Twitter and seeing long lists of complaints and replies, it is obvious we are not the only people who have figured this out. It seems like it would take the same amount of time and energy for a company to respond to calls and emails about problems as quickly as they do social media requests, which would improve the company’s customer relationship management as well as their social media presence.
Be it social media or review sites like Google, Yelp, Yahoo, etc. negative online reviews are unavoidable even with the best internal marketing strategies—you can’t make everyone happy. It is still important to strive to keep customers happy by serving them well and in a timely manner to minimize negative reviews, but if you can’t avoid it, be sure to respond to them. Don’t ignore them, and try to make amends. Never assume your business is more powerful than the consumer, but don’t let the consumer overrun the company.
The members of McCauley Marketing Services have high customer service standards and attempt to reflect these standards in our company as well as to our clients’ companies. Visit our website to learn more about our marketing and public relations services, and contact us if you’re looking to revise your internal marketing strategy. For more examples of the power of social media and other marketing news, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.