Customer Service is the New Marketing

friendly hardware store worker showing customer a sander

Marketing used to be a message that got customers “in the door.” But it has evolved into more. What once was a marketing message is now a marketing experience that keeps customers coming back.

The link between marketing and the customer experience/customer service is becoming stronger, and the lines between them are becoming blurred. The marketing department has always been responsible for delivering a message or brand promise that makes customers want to do business with you. Its main focus was on the product. However, some companies—smart companies—have realized that the product is simply a commodity, and that in most cases customers can buy the same product from many other sources, at other stores or online. So, they have expanded their marketing message beyond the product. They market the benefit of buying the product from their company, and in most cases, the benefit is a better customer service experience.

Have you ever heard or read an advertisement that publicizes various customer service awards a company has won, such as J.D. Power? Companies make these known as a way to de-commoditize themselves from their competition. They want you to know that they deliver value above and beyond the product they are selling.

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This “New Marketing,” if done right, should continue after customers hear or see the original message. It should be apparent throughout the customer journey, each and every time the customer visits. The customer journey includes various interactions, or touch-points, and the marketing promise should be good enough at each of these points that the customer not only returns again but also evangelizes on behalf of the company. This is called word-of-mouth marketing. Successful companies know how important it is to have customers who tell their families, friends and associates about the product they love as well as the business from which they bought it.

Tom Baldwin, the former chairman and CEO of Morton’s The Steakhouse, understood this concept. He said that the restaurant chain’s best marketing came from the employees doing what they were supposed to do. Having repeat customers who talked to their friends about the restaurant was more effective than traditional advertising on television, radio, newspapers or magazines.

The touch-points are the key to keeping customers happy. At every step of the way, at every interaction, you have to reinforce to the customer that he or she made the right decision to do business with you. In today’s world, this extends from interactions that the customer has with your people to your website, your support channels and more.

Customer service that drives the customer experience—that’s your best marketing. That’s the New Marketing.

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is the Lecturer of Customer Experience for the Tarkenton Certificate in Entrepreneurship and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business go to