A popular marketing theme asks how well you are managing your customers’ expectations. Centered around the theory that sales goals are equal to good customer service, the operative word “managing” signals a less than enthusiast desire to plan and execute superior customer service. The question becomes “Are you managing service (applying the basics) or actively engaging customer experiences to build loyalty?”

Customer loyalty remains one of the foundational parts of a marketing plan. It condenses many smaller marketing initiatives into a more comprehensive master formula for customer appreciation and return business. Even with the many marketing options available now, putting the customer at the center of the equation, sets the stage for success.

How you plan to structure each marketing segment means you may employ different options while also creating overall customer awareness. You determine what the customer wants and what will engage them to become repeat buyers. At the same time, you’re developing marketing options for new audiences as well.

If “managing” refers to keeping customers at arm’s length or settling buyer disputes, how you plan for and do better customer service should define how to build a loyal base, encourage new business growth and always strive to deliver good experiences. Strategic planning depends on how well you know your customers and can anticipate their needs in the future. All of this involves invaluable customer feedback.

Utilizing all of the analytics available today, you have a lot of customer information at your fingertips already. To stop there, however, risks developing plans minus personal customer input.

Is customer feedback really necessary? For direct marketers, engaging customers in conversation is perhaps easier than other sales options, but with the number of after-service surveys that clog our email, someone sure wants to know how we feel about our customer experiences!

Gathering information is just the first step in strategizing for optimum customer service. How you evaluate feedback and then build around it determines how valuable it can be to your overall marketing plan.

Managing customer expectations serves as a beginning platform for customer service. Moving past management offers additional information to utilize in building successful marketing plans based on customer engagement as well.

The above information is presented for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.