• February 17, 2022
  • By Ted Mico , founder and CEO, Thankful

5 Reasons Why Customer Service Is a (Often Missed) Path for Marketing Conversions

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What’s a digital marketer’s favorite cake?  


The marketing funnel is conventionally thought of in four layers: Attract > Convert > Close > Delight. But this has become antiquated. 

Traditionally, marketing is all about the acquisition of customers, not retention. Those areas are usually regarded as two different sides of the business. This is why there is so little synergy between marketing and customer support. 

An undeniable gap in the marketing funnel is the “delight” stage. Customer service is the core function that truly moves customers to promoters. There needs to be more strategic thinking about what customer support could be beyond the decades-old break-it/fix-it model.

I propose a fifth stage in the marketing conversion funnel: connection. 

People mingle through marketing collateral and channels but don’t form true connections. Customer support interactions provide brands with the unique opportunity to connect with customers one-on-one. This is achieved through empathy and personalization, which build strong relationships with customers as they navigate challenges. 

This is what primes one-time buyers into repeat buyers. But this isn’t the only reason why customer service can be a missed path for marketing conversions.

Reason No. 1: Customer Service Leverages Sociology and Neurobiology to Deliver Repeat Customers

We were all born to connect with one another. In fact, there’s some pretty interesting neurobiology that occurs when we connect with and help other people. Our brains release oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which contribute to a sense of belonging and community. This is the foundation of what meaningful, long-lasting relationships are made from and is at the heart of any great customer experience. 

Brands put an immense amount of effort into marketing and customer support as an opportunity to capitalize on digital marketing efforts. The Havas Group conducted a consumer brand study and reported that “for every 10 percent increase in meaningfulness, a brand can increase its purchase and repurchase intent by 6 percent and price premiums by 10.4 percent.” 

Reason No. 2: Customer Service as a Retention Marketing Strategy

The world of advertising is notoriously noisy and can often be an annoyance or irrelevant to the audience. Unlike advertising, high-quality service increases the likelihood that customers will do business with a brand again. In fact, 65 percent of customers say that great experiences are more influential than advertising

While great marketing captures a customer’s attention and drives business, quality service experiences are what keep them coming back time and time again. A Zendesk study found that 42 percent of customers said they bought more after a good customer service experience, while 52 percent didn’t buy from that company again (no matter how many ads they saw).

Reason No. 3: Better Service = Increased Brand Loyalty = Higher LTV

Historically, there’s nothing sexy about customer service to creative (Mad Men/Women) marketing professionals. Customer support is perceived as messy, hand-to-hand combat as opposed to the more computer-targeted drone strike of growth marketing. 

In 2020, ProfitWell found that customer acquisition costs (CAC) are 70 percent higher for B2B companies and over 60 percent higher for B2C companies than it was six years ago. As CAC increases, so does lifetime value (LTV); so the only surefire way to increase LTV is through a solid customer service experience.  

Service interactions are where companies establish and build upon relationships with their customers. When done well, a service experience can foster an individualized one-on-one connection that is not possible with marketing. This is why customer service is what determines brand loyalty for 96 percent of consumers. Brands that fail to prioritize and deliver high-quality support are ultimately missing out on a huge revenue opportunity. 

Reason No. 4: Customer Support Is the New Acquisition Model

Customer service is a strategy to attract new customers. Survey data shows that after a single positive experience, 77 percent of customers would recommend a brand to a friend

The power of word-of-mouth advertising is expanding, but brands with the best customer service are famous for it (Hi, Nordstrom and Zappos) and attract more customers. Fifty-five percent of consumers become customers because of a brand’s reputation for great service. What’s your brand’s reputation for customer support and how does it impact marketing efforts? The answer to this question is a possible opportunity for a new path and approach to conversions.

Reason No. 5: Building a Proactive Experience Along the Customer Journey

When marketing and customer support teams partner together to monitor trending issues, they can deliver proactive experiences across the customer journey.

Through social listening platforms, marketing teams monitor trends and customer sentiment on social media platforms. On the flip side, customer service teams use business analytics to monitor trending issues, sentiment, and feedback. The two teams can deepen how they leverage this data to accomplish a holistic understanding of customers. There can also be a proactive effort to offer a discount or refund, or provide the next steps on a known issue—all in favor of staying one step ahead of any customer friction.  

If it neglects these five paths, marketing can be missing out on prized conversions. If brands think customer support is all about problems that need to be solved (cheaply), then that’s what they’ll get. If brands think of customer support as a relationship-in-waiting, then that’s what they’ll achieve—a path to better relationships. This is the foundation of any revenue-driven strategy. 

Ted Mico is the founder and CEO of Thankful, a leading AI customer service platform, creating better customer relationships through exceptional service.

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