The marketing funnel (sometimes called the purchase funnel or customer funnel) maps a consumer’s journey toward the purchase of a product or service. Marketers spend a lot of time thinking about the stages of that journey and how to maximize the number who make it from one stage to the next.
The marketing funnel actually dates back to 1898, when E. St. Elmo Lewis created the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action). Since then marketers have added more detail to the model, grafting on repeat, loyalty, advocacy, and other steps.
What’s often overlooked in the marketing funnel is the role of customer service, even though customer service can shape the brand experience more than anything else. Marketers typically prioritize awareness-driving media instead.
I’m amazed whenever I’m exposed to an expensive awareness-driving campaign from a company with awful customer service. A few years ago, Vonage bombarded me with expensive direct mail at the very same time I was pulling my hair out at their poor customer service, and ultimately stopped being a customer as a result.
This dynamic creates a real opportunity for the rare organizations that excel at customer service. The wireless service industry is renowned for poor customer service, and U.S. Cellular stands out as a rare gem. I recently met the Mullen team who worked with U.S. Cellular on a campaign called “Call Someone Who Cares.”
U.S. Cellular spent time scouring social media comments from consumers unhappy with customer service from their current carriers. They then recorded individual songs for each of those consumers, sung by actual call center agents, and sent the videos back to the commenters, with the common refrain, “Call Someone Who Cares”.
Customer service is often overlooked as a retention-driver. But when done well, it can even work as an awareness-driver.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away one signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. I’ll pick one comment. Thanks!)