Selling doesn’t end with a sale

I read with interest in your news analysis (MW October 30) that car manufacturers are spending &£400m a year on television advertising alone.

It’s hard to disagree with ad agencies’ and brand managers’ claims that such a powerful medium can motivate consumers and alter their perceptions of a brand. But all too often, manufacturers fail to recoup the full value of their investment by neglecting to place sufficient emphasis on customer service after the sale.

An equally important ingredient of a successful marketing mix –

and therefore healthy sales – is the provision of effective and professional customer care.

Money spent on wowing consumers with impressive TV and press advertising is wasted if the call centre agent who handles their enquiry three months after the sale gives a poor service.

Excellent standards of customer service are critical in ensuring loyalty to a brand. A poorly handled call at a contact centre – or, even worse, a succession of poorly handled calls – can easily ruin a customer’s perception of the brand; the perception its managers have spent so much on creating. And once a positive perception is changed to a negative, it’s even harder to turn it back.

Knowledgeable call centre agents who deliver quality service and act as true ambassadors for the brands they represent can add an enormous amount of value to the customer relationship.

I would argue this has a huge influence on a customer’s decision whether or not to buy the same brand again when they come to renew their car.

That’s why it is important for any manufacturer’s contact centre to function as an integrated part of its marketing strategy, rather than being simply “bolted on” as an afterthought.

Whether they’re on-site or outsourced, a call centre agent who is motivated, well-trained and who truly understands the values of the brand and its customers is a tremendous asset.

Marketing clearly helps to set brands apart and differentiate the product in the customer’s eyes. But marketing isn’t just about selling once – it’s about selling time and time again.

Phil Crossley

Sales and marketing director

Arvato Services

Liverpool

Merseyside

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