Is Customer Service a Part of Marketing?

Customer Service is part of marketingJim posts about the alarming fall of the Chief Marketing Officer and the rise of the Chief Customer Officer in today’s business. Which only prompts the question -is Customer Service a part of Marketing?

I guess it depends on your definition of Marketing (or, more importantly, your company’s). If Marketing is advertising and promotions and graphics, then Customer Service probably doesn’t belong there. They just need to be equipped and prepared by Marketing.

Of course, since the above definition is not what Marketing is, then I think Customer Service will always work best when it answers directly to Marketing from an organizational standpoint. Because Marketing is about facilitating evangelism. Helping other people spread the word. Making people feel good just when they brush against your brand. Exceeding expectations whenever possible and fessing up and making up for it when you don’t.

And Customer Service can accomplish all of that. It’s ultimately a Marketing Function.

The idea of having a Chief Customer Officer is pretty humorous, but it shows how today’s businesses are groping and reaching for a way to succeed in a market when, more than ever, the customer really is always right.

Similar posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. If You Can Think It . . . .
  2. Love Thy Customer
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3 responses to “Is Customer Service a Part of Marketing?

  1. Pingback: Is Customer Service a Part of Marketing? | Marketing

  2. Brett,

    As a marketer, of course I would say that everyone should answer to Marketing. All kidding aside, in the short run I think its fine for some CS departments to answer to Marketing if the CS department is not catching the vision and needs something that I think a good Marketing department could supply (usually not their own fault, but more born from management).

    But ultimately I think it should be the goal of a company to have the CS department be self-sufficient and even lead the way in creating the customer experience. Take for example, Southwest Airlines. Can you imagine a marketer talking to a flight attendant about how to be engaging and the importance of creating magical customer experiences? This may not go over well. And why is that? Because SW starts and ends with customer service. Its culture is infused with it.

    The goal of Marketing should be that of a parent – teach principles to the unlearned and young so that one day they can make it on their own. But once they understand what needs to be done, get out of their way and work towards the common goal as a cross functional team. Heck, we marketers might even learn a thing or two about our customers from the well-trained CS department.

  3. Bill – I like your idea of Marketing being the parent, hoping the kids can make it on their own (and maybe even do better). You got me thinking . . . .

    In the case of Southwest, customer service is a strategic area of differentiation. It’s really more than customer service – it’s the strongest part of their brand essence. So I think the line between Marketing and Customer Service is pretty blurry in that situation.

    And maybe that’s the whole point anyway.

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