When we talk about achieving success in the information technology industry, we usually concentrate on advanced solutions, pricing, and marketing of services or products. What we’ve found is that very important parameters are usually omitted: customer service, client-business relationship, and long-term satisfaction.
While helping many clients with their promotional and advertising needs, we clearly see the tendency to concentrate business efforts on sales and marketing. Unfortunately, in many cases the ROI of marketing campaigns remains low and is rarely correctly calculated due to the complicated nature of the campaigns and inability to monitor results of advertising. It seems as if advertising is the right solution to build a client base and grow your business. The motto here is: “If everybody does it, why shouldn’t I?”
However, there are many studies that argue with this approach. The belief is that focusing on service departments is much more cost effective. When your customers are satisfied, that means repeat business and more referrals. The problem is that building and maintaining high quality service department is not a cheap endeavor. The main question becomes: What is the right ratio between the funds spent on advertising and customer service?
The answer is not that simple. You need to keep your company competitive and constantly growing. My business sense tells me that the focus should be 70% on customer service and 30% on advertising, but of course, the numbers should be carefully applied to every specific case. I think a startup should be more aggressive from a marketing point of view, but once the critical mass of clients is achieved, the focus has to be switched more to customer service and building ongoing relationships with clients.
By the end of the day, there is no magic formula for success. What’s been your experience with customer service and advertising?