“Relationship marketing” is a term often identified with network marketing or “attraction marketing.” However, it seems to me that relationships are at the heart of all kinds of successful marketing in the 21st century. Generation after generation of marketers have learned that Love endures and that good service breeds brand loyalty and referrals.
Good customer service is even more important now that consumers have easy access to multiple competitors online. The internet has put customers in control, due to search engines and customer reviews — among other things. The fact that people choose to “buy from those they know, like, and trust” has been so widely acknowledged that it even seems trite to mention it.
According to Frederick Reichheld, author of Loyalty Rules, it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer.
Ted Rubin wrote an excellent article, republished in the Social CMO blog, entitled Customer Service “is” the New Marketing, in which he said:
The democratizing nature of social media has returned power to the customer, making Brand Advocates one of our strongest marketing assets. If we want to share their power (not take it!), we need to adopt customer service as the new way of marketing – or “unmarketing,” a term mentioned by Brian Solis in the introduction to his book Engage, and Scott Stratten details extensively in his blog and book UnMarketing.
Considering this power shift, the #1 question we should be asking our Brand Advocates is “How may I serve you?” Ask early and ask often.
To you, the readers of my blog, I now ask, “How may I serve you?” Sincerely, Buddy