Fellow marketing professionals, I have a quiz for you: What costs US companies $62 billion annually and fuels 99.9% of the angry, misspelled tweets you hate answering?

If you replied with "poor customer service," you win.

Digital technology was supposed to make customer service fast and seamless. Instead, it made service slow, impersonal, and dissatisfying. Still, by ensuring that you retain more customers than your competitors, your customer service can double as marketing.

First, let's better understand the problem.

Infinite Ways to Fail

There are endless ways to scare away a customer, but limited ways to keep one. Today, without much effort, you could make 20, 2,000, or 2 million of your customers disappear; it's much more likely, though, that you're losing customers one conversation at a time.

In the tech industry especially, people don't contact Customer Service because they're abounding in joy. Interactions usually begin with a frustrated, distressed, and stymied customer. When service leaders talk about "delighting" customers, I call BS—unless they plan to give away product.

More realistically, you're dealing with a human powder keg and trying to prevent it from igniting. Sometimes, people pre-ignite on social media, and there's nothing you can do other than damage control.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Steve Hartert

Steve Hartert is chief marketing officer at JotForm, an online drag-and-drop form builder for online payments, contact forms, lead collection, surveys, registrations, applications, online booking, event registrations, and more.

LinkedIn: Steve Hartert