First publicly announced in September at INBOUND 2017 as “HubSpot Customer Hub”, the rebranded Service Hub platform purports to be more than just another CRM tool — at least, the way HubSpot puts it. The marketing-software company lauds Service Hub as “a complete front-office solution” based on customer workflows and customer feedback. Service Hub joins other HubSpot offerings, Marketing Hub and Sales Hub, as a way of integrating customer data to simultaneously enhance both customer service and marketing efforts.
“With Service Hub inside of HubSpot, customers have a single, complete view of the customer and can truly put the customer at the center of their business,” Marcus Andrews, principal product marketing manager at HubSpot, told me. “The most unique ability relates to blurring the lines between service and marketing. Using tools like feedback and automation to identify and grow through successful customers.”
It can certainly be jarring for a customer who had such a personalized experience with their sales rep to be thrown for a loop and treated like a commodity by an under-informed customer-service team. HubSpot’s research suggests that companies have it backwards. Since INBOUND 2017, HubSpot has cited rising customer-acquisition costs (including one figure reporting that it costs as much as 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a preexisting one) as one of the primary pain points the company seeks to solve with Service Hub. The day before the official announcement, HubSpot released a research report on the same issue — concluding that, because of rising marketing costs and equally rising customer distrust of vendors and advertisers, focusing on customer retention is a better bet than focusing on new-customer acquisition.
“When you have a base of successful customers who are willing and able to spread the good word about your business, you create a virtuous cycle,” writes Michael Redbord, HubSpot’s VP of services and support, and the general manager of Service Hub. “Buyers trust people over brands, and brands are getting crowded out of their traditional spaces, so why throw more money at the same go-to-market strategy when you could activate a group of people who already know and trust you?”
HubSpot’s focus on customer activation isn’t that surprising considering the HubSpot community’s nascent efforts to build a seemingly paradoxical inbound form of account-based marketing (ABM). One of the key benefits of such an approach is the inbound-demanded aggregation of account information and notifications, so as to create ABM-like multi-departmental account-strategy collaboration and alignment. As a potential solution for this demand for hybrid marketing methodologies, Service Hub looks to indeed be a hub for customer information and communication — leveraging the ultimate touch-point of customer service to, per Andrews, “populate an insights dashboard” centrally with customer data.
Therefore, automation and feedback-tracking aside, the real value of an offering like Service Hub may lie in how this alignment of information can lead to an alignment of brand.
“We’re excited about Service Hub because it’s going to allow what’s helped us grow as a brand be consistent as we grow exponentially,” said Jay Perkins, co-founder and managing partner of Texas-based kettlebell-seller (and HubSpot customer) Kettlebell Kings, in a HubSpot customer testimonial video. “Having this central location where we can log all of our interactions with our customers is going to help our team, [including] new members of our team, be consistent with what we’ve tried to create as a brand.”
HubSpot is presently offering a free, customized demo of Service Hub here.