David Meerman Scott is a sought-after marketing strategist, speaker, and author or co-author of 10 books, including three international bestsellers. The New Rules of Marketing & PR, now in its 4th edition, has been translated into 26 languages and it has sold more than 300,000 copies.

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I asked David to return to Marketing Smarts so we could talk about his latest book, The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business, and how companies can attract prospects by taking excellent care of their current customers.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

"Timely" service is much faster these days (like real-time) (14:04): "The whole idea of what's changed with the Web is, sure, content—and that's critically important, we all know that—but the other thing that's changed is the idea of instant communications. The idea of instant engagement. And the whole idea of Twitter and Facebook and LInkedIn... it's all about right now, isn't it? If I send a tweet, you can see it instantly. If somebody changes their relationship status on Facebook, you know it right away and people comment on it literally within seconds. You can have hundreds of comments on a relationship status change within a minute on some people's Facebooks. The same thing's true with LinkedIn. If you change your job... bang, everybody knows that. And in that real-time environment, unfortunately most sales people and most customer service people, as well as the organizations they work for—in other words, the whole way the company's organized—is not around real-time."

Communicate with customers on the channels they prefer (19:21): "I've always had very good service through Twitter [from] American Airlines. I ended up interviewing the people who run the customer services department of American Airlines with social networking, and they have an internal goal to get back to people on social networks...within 15 minutes. So, if I'm sitting in an airport and my light is canceled and all of the sudden there's 45 people in line waiting to reschedule their flights, I can tweet American Airlines and they can help me right away... I think that's the way that customer service needs to go. Not so much Twitter, but whatever the customer is most interested in—the form of communications the customer is most interested in—should be the way that that company is getting back to them."

Every industry needs to follow the new rules of sales and service, including healthcare (21:00): "I think that the healthcare industry participants would tell you [that poor customer service is just part of] their industry, but that's bull... I don't know whether it's because healthcare organizations are hiding behind the government regulations and laws that they believe (absolutely wrongly) won't allow them to communicate with patients...but that doesn't mean that they can't communicate. I actually interviewed a number of doctors who are communicating in an amazing way. For example, Dr. Natasha Burgert—a pediatrician in Kansas City—communicates with patients on social networks (Facebook, Twitter). She communicates with families in the way that they want to communicate with her. It's not just the social networking...thing. She also is very aware of what's going on in her community...and she has a great blog, where she'll blog about issues that she sees happening.

"Another example is Dr. Kate Burke, and she's an emergency room physician... What's interesting about her is, if you've ever had an opportunity to go into an emergency room...it's incredibly traumatic. At the end of that visit, the doctor will tell you 'here's all the things you need to worry about: Here's how you take your medicine, here's what you do, what you don't do.' All this information's being delivered to you. What Dr. Burke does is, she actually films that with her iPhone or her iPad, and uploads it to a secure site, and then sends you the link. So, before you've even gotten home, there's a link there with a video of her explaining exactly what you need to do take care of yourself after you've had this problem that caused you to go to the emergency room. That form of customer service is just so much better than sending you on your way with a bag of pills. There's no question that the healthcare industry can do better."

You can order The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business on Amazon. To learn more about David, visit DavidMeermanScott.com and follow him on Twitter: @dmscott.

David and I discussed much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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