Marketing with Service

The soap box  I spend a lot of time standing on is always about the intersection of Marketing, Sales and Service – so here is an example that I think merits a comment.

Service in and of itself is one of the best marketing tools that any organization has.  It’s pre-sale, during sale, and post-sale impact can boost or blast a company’s reputation and image.  One of the best examples of this is Gentle Giant Moving Company Feet http://www.gentlegiant.com  – where service is one of their primary marketing weapons.  Proudly emblazoned on their website are the following service awards:  2002 Small Business of the Year – Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Local Torch Award (2002, 2003, 2005) Better Business Bureau, Improper Bostonian’s Business Best – 6 time winner, and Best of Boston 5 years in a row.  Phew!   Just for the record, I’m a repeat customer – 3 times to be exact.  Why?  Service.   Above and beyond service.

So how do they market service?  They strive to win these awards consistently and then they tell people about them.  In their interactions, on their website, on their "on hold" message when you’re waiting to be connected to a service associate.  They offer a real service guarantee http://www.gentlegiant.com/guarantee.html and aren’t afraid to spell it out.

On my first move with them, the crew leader introduced me to every member of the team (4 guys), and then said that they were going to make sure that I was competely satisfied, and when I was, they were going to ask me for a testimonial letter.  Talk about setting expectations! 

Here is the key.  Instead of wasting my time marketing to me by telling me a lot of things that any moving company may say – they just focus on the one thing I care about the most: that I’m going to get great service.  And if for some reason I don’t, they’ll address it.   How can they make such a claim?  Easy – by delivering every single time.  And then doing extra.  For example, after my first move was done and everything was in place, they asked me if I was happy with the position of the furniture, because they would be happy to move it around some more until I had everything in the perfect spot (an offer even my husband doesn’t make).  They offered to help me insert a water pan under my washer and dryer (which came with the house and was already in the unit and hooked up when they got there).  They thought a plumber would charge me too much to do this. So they did it for free.  On move #2, they fixed a broken door in my basement, and again offered to move any of my furniture that was already in the house to a better spot, if I was so inclined.

And better yet – they focus on service for their employees AND their customers.  In my upcoming move this week, the service associate asked me if I had any pets.  I told them they would not be moving into this new space and that all the furniture was coming out of storage. He then asked me if they had ever been around the things that were being moved.  "Yes," I said.  "Why do you ask?"   The answer was that they wanted to be sure not to assign any moving person who might have pet allergies to my move if there was risk of exposure.  What an amazing thing to even think about that – and to engage your customer in providing that level of service to your employee.  I’ll tell everyone I know who needs to move about that one simple but amazing thing.  How powerful is THAT kind of marketing?

   — Lisa Dennis

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