Bentley College Marketing- Honors

This blog is for MK 402-H01 and the greater Bentley College population.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Customer Knows Best

Customer Service: Letting the Customer Choose the Remedy

Customer Service always seems to be a hot topic. People are always sharing their horror stories of situations in which they did not feel valued as a customer. It is a consumer’s nightmare when they purchase a product and there is some type of problem. They attempt to contact someone about it only to get stuck talking to someone who does not really care about the problems.

Katherine Stone, however, talks about a good experience she had with Typepad and their customer service. Typepad had some difficulties with their service. Rather than hiding from a problem that their service encountered, Typepad sent out an email to all of their customers and allowed the customers to pick their remedy based on the individual experiences and problems. They took the initiative to provide service to their consumers. It helped to prove to their customers that Typepad value’s their patronage. Typepad opened themselves up for losing about 13.5 million dollars if all of the customers chose the highest reimbursement. Typepad could have just waiting till people complained and then helped those people but not others that did not complain. Stone explains how important it was to her that they recognized the problem, rectified it, and offered her a solution that met her individual experience. She did not have a big problem with the service; however, she was still offered the option of receiving a reimbursement. Overall, it was not the remedy offered that was important, but that Typepad was willing to admit to the problem, take ownership for it, and offer their customer’s something for their troubles.

This article informs marketing because an integral part of marketing is keeping consumers happy. If the customer is not happy then customers will not continue using the company’s products. Marketing helps to create a life long relationship with the customer. Marketing helps to inform the customer. Customer service allows the relationship to continue at various times. When done right, customer service can help improve and sustain the relationship with the customer. Additionally, good or bad customer service can help or hurt the company’s reputation through word of mouth. While marketing can not manage or control word of mouth, it is important for companies to be aware of what is being said by the consumers. Therefore, it is important part of marketing to offer the best customer service, as it is part of the post-purchase experience. If companies offer poor customer service then they are telling consumers that they should not waste their time with that company in the future. If the customer service is great, then the post purchase experience is positive and people are willing to use the company in the future.

Customer service is a part of the post-purchase decision that I believe does not get enough attention. This article helped to inform my own personal knowledge about marketing because it helped to validate that customer service is in fact, important for marketers to know about. Additionally, from a marketers’ point of view, it is helpful to know that often just the fact that the company is attempting to remedy the problem is enough.

I benefited from reading this article. Therefore, there was not a lot to criticize. I did think that if Stone had expanded the article it would have allowed her to go into more detail about how customer service can be beneficial to marketers. The article helped to bring up the subject; however, it could have been followed up with more information. It would be interesting to know how companies can perfect their customer service practices. Customer service appears to get pushed to the sidelines when budgets are tight or time is scarce. However, more attention and money needs to go into the customer service that is given to the consumer. Companies obviously want to be able to see the impact of the money that is being spent. Therefore, it would be interesting to see what customer service approaches are most successful in various industries so that companies could be more confident in their approach. Overall, however, the article did a great job to peak my interest in the topic and find out more information.


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