Group of customers using their smartphones

Customer Service is the New Marketing – What This Means for Your Business  

Consumer trust in the more traditional marketing and advertising strategies is on the wane – with only 49% who actually believe the information they see in paid ads. So it’s no wonder many businesses are deciding to re-think their marketing approach. The first question is – who do consumers listen to and trust? Research shows that  81% of consumers trust the experience of their friends and family, co-workers, and other consumers when making a buying decision. This means that customer service is not only important for the long-term success of a business – it needs to become an integral part of a company’s marketing strategy. This is what is meant by the popular idiom “customer service is the new marketing”. 

This concept is now so proven, that a new form of marketing has evolved from it: Customer Marketing – a wonderfully creative synergy of customer service and marketing best practices. 

Customer Service and its Role in Marketing

Access to digital word-of-mouth via the internet, smartphones, and social media has dramatically increased the power of today’s consumers to influence buying decisions of prospective customers by sharing their own experiences. Scott Cook, Co-founder of Intuit could not have worded this better:

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is—it is what consumers tell each other it is.” 

So providing a great customer experience can work like free advertising for your business. The reverse is also true: Bad service can cost a business a lot – in the form of a damaged reputation and lost revenue. Let’s look at the ways in which customer service not only reinforces but can also play an active role in an organization’s marketing efforts:

Customer Service Excellence – There is a lot that needs to go on behind the scenes in an organization for it to be able to provide a great customer experience. A dedicated, well-trained customer team that is led by an experienced, qualified customer service manager is essential, in addition to a customer-focused culture, company-wide training on customer service protocols as well as systems and processes to track and analyze every touchpoint in the customer journey. In the words of American author and entrepreneur Jonah Sachs: 

“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” 

So it is important to make sure the story is a consistently positive one!

Customer Retention and Loyalty – The best way to enhance your company’s reputation and really stand out amongst your competition is to not only meet but exceed, your customer’s expectations. Customers who receive this level of service are not only satisfied, they are delighted! And that delight is the basis for customer loyalty. As we know, acquiring a new customer costs a lot more (up to 5-25 times more!) than retaining a customer, so it makes business sense to include customer loyalty programs in your overall marketing strategy. 

Customer-focused Content – By knowing your customers and understanding their needs, you can create quality marketing content that will help them at each stage of their buying and support journey. So instead of simply pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects so they can make an informed decision. Providing informative content also positions you as an authority and trusted resource in your business sector – thereby increasing your brand awareness.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials – Encouraging customers to share their feedback and write about their experiences via online reviews or testimonials is one of the most effective ways to promote your business. So it’s essential to make it as effortless as possible for customers to rate and share their experiences, by providing links to surveys, testimonial forms, and 3rd party online review sites.

Customer Referral Programs – Happy customers are happy to help a business grow, and one of the best ways they can do this is by providing referrals. A referral program should offer an incentive and be easy to participate in. There is nothing more exciting than having your most loyal customers take an active part in your organization’s success!

User-Generated Content (UGC) – A more recent trend known as User-Generated Content is inviting your customer base to engage with your brand and promote it on social media. Studies show that 37% of consumers rely on social networks for their pre-purchase research, so getting on the UGC bandwagon makes marketing sense!

customers holding starbucks cups while taking a selfieThis can be done by holding social media polls and quizzes, themed photo/video contests with prizes or giveaways, and special hashtags that refer to your brand or special events.

Engage in fun activities with your followers while increasing brand awareness!



Promotional Products – Give your loyal customers branded products (mugs, cups, pens, or mousepads) or attire (t-shirts, hoodies, or jackets) instead of generic gifts! They’ll not only be thrilled with the free gift, but they will also become walking advertisements for your business! You might be surprised to discover that loyal customers would be glad to pay for your “merch” (aka “swag”), so consider setting up an online shop and making it available to them!

Depending on your particular business or sector, there are other creative ways to involve customers in your marketing efforts. But the basic formula remains the same: customer service excellence creates loyal customers who can become powerful promoters of your business! 

Additional Resources:

How to Achieve Service Excellence for Your Business – 6 Important Steps

Customer Service Training: 4 Reasons Why You Need It for All Departments

4 Ways to Collect Customer Feedback and Why It’s Important

Do Customer Loyalty Programs Really Work?

7 Ways You Can Convert Delighted Customers into Brand Advocates

Creating Fandom with Customer Service 

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Customer Service Institute of America