Great customer service = great customer relationships

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Great customer service =  great customer relationships
Great customer service = great customer relationships

“I just want to kill myself,” says the United Airlines customer service agent at O'Hare Airport. She's dealing with an overbooked flight and trying to get some customers to take a deal ($400 in travel credit and flight the next evening) to free up their seats so that the rest of us (all too highly) paying customers can board and get home.

Oh yeah: And the computers are down. And all of the want-to-be passengers are huddled around her tiny booth wondering when—and if—they'll get on this plane to New York tonight.

She's stressed out, and understandably so.

Promotions are only good if you can implement them. And customers will only return to you if you make them feel informed and valued, and if you keep them informed about the status of their purchase—or, in this case, their flight.

We don't always cover customer service at Direct Marketing News, but in today's hyper-saturated media market, it's true as always that a little bit of customer TLC can go a long way toward strengthening your brand—and, ideally, your response and conversion rates.

Let's take a look at Zappos.com, for example. It's built the basis of its business on great customer service, easy shipping and returns, and the whole idea of surprising and delighting their customers. That's why next year, the company is planning to move to a huge new office in downtown Las Vegas and add to its employee roster.

When it comes to shoes, Zappos is my first thought and my likely retailer of choice. Yes, shoes are far different from airline flights, but customers are customers, and sales are sales. People will buy from companies that make them feel wanted and desired.

Don't treat customers like cattle and train your customer service agents to do the same. And of course target your customers, especially when they're literally in front of your face.

Do what direct marketers does best: Single customers out, in a good way.

We're talking about customer relationships, after all—and growing companies should treat them that way.

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Founded in September 2009, Stirista is an integrated marketing agency that specializes in ...