It’s not just products ….it’s service!

Author: Andy Mudie Head of Product Management for Etex BP and Vice Chair of CIM Wales

Andy Mudie of Etex writes our latest blog talks about the importance of customer service.

I have worked for product manufacturing firms within the construction sector for many years. My heart lies in New Product Development, yet as a Marketeer I have a very keen interest in the service offer that often accompanies those products, especially considering the importance of our products role in the final building.

When I discuss service, I don’t simply mean the services afforded through BIM data or an online portal – I'm talking real customer experience. Call it service design, customer journey mapping, UX…. whatever. It’s how you, as an individual, and a company deal with your customer. If you’re in a marketing role it’s one of the most important things you need to be aware of.

I have recently had first-hand experience of both bad and great service. During this Covid period I have had a family bereavement (not Covid related but from a long-term terminal cancer diagnosis). While sorting out financial paperwork the worst company I contacted had no telephone service (as they were ‘impacted’ by Covid), had a poor web page, and the e-mail service had an automated response. So how on earth do I get in touch with them and follow up an issue?

The great experience I received on the other hand, had an dedicated telephone line for bereavement, where someone called me back the next day to check all was OK, they even sent the relevant information quickly, had a co-ordinated system that aligned details by case reference, and their information was in plain English. To top it off they even sent helpful documents on things to consider outside of their services.

Now bear in mind they didn’t have to do this. It was a bank, and I don’t bank with them! Yet after my experience I would definitely consider it in the future. They were personable, genuine, and above all helpful.

Now consider your company. You position yourself as a product manufacturer, however have you ever stopped to consider what your customer would say if they were ask for feedback on your service levels during the pandemic? Has your service offer changed since the pandemic began, has it evolved into something more suitable for your customers? Or are you still treating things as if it were ‘business as usual’ with your head in the sand that the pandemic will end and we’ll all be back to how it was before! Ask yourself - Are you really embracing the ‘new normal’?

It’s time to think – and for many it’s time to wake up.

For marketeers it’s not just another NPS score CES survey or simply looking to profit from a service bolt on. It’s about offering the very best customer service experience you can, then going that extra bit further too!

Customers appreciate that businesses have to adapt given the uncertainties, but it’s how those adaptations affect them that they’ll remember and one thing is for certain; you’ll retain more customers long into the future if you’ve evolved your customer service to suit their needs.

You can have the best product in the world but if your service is lousy then you won’t be selling much of it.

Andy is Head of Product Management for Etex BP and is Vice Chair of CIM Wales. A chartered marketer with significant new product development experience, his focus is on product management, strategic marketing, business development, commercial activity, entrepreneurship, service design and innovation.