Zappos’s recent jab at Kanye West elicited mixed reactions, some calling the move brilliant and humorous, while others saw it as an inefficient use of content. That aside, there’s no denying that the online retailer embodies excellent customer service, considering its horde of loyal customers and the lengths it would go in the name of customer dedication.
The birth of a new search era
As Zappos has consistently exemplified, branding is about stories. The great stories, however, aren’t necessarily about products or services but of experiences consumers derive from the use of such. As Seth Godin put it, “Great marketers don’t create stuff. They create meaning.”
Google, it seems, has been avidly listening.
The glory days of migraine-inducing spun articles are, thankfully, becoming but a blur in the online consumer’s psyche. The barrage of algorithm changes the search world was introduced to in recent years is proof that the search engines are getting smarter, and better at identifying user intent and interpreting query through semantics.
If that isn’t Google stepping up its customer service game, then, it’s Google leveraging customer experience to expand its business opportunities.
Says Jon Clark of Fuze SEO, it’s a great time to be an Internet marketer. Whether it be about leveraging content or trying out new social media tools, this post-Hummingbird search landscape provides a gamut of options for savvy business owners, in much the same way delivering outstanding customer service stimulates creativity.
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SEO and customer service
The words “SEO” and “customer service” in one sentence isn’t a scenario most people are keen to visualize. There’s this notion that if you employ SEO strategies in your online marketing efforts, you’re trying to game the system. This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you recognize black hat tactics for what they really are – problems rather than solutions.
Sure, they may work short-term, but who goes for short-term except for fly-by-nights, right?
Given Google’s intensified focus on user experience, even SEO proponents recommend working on customer service to recover from Google penalties instead of obsessing over search rankings, more so until the dust settles and best practices are figured out. Word of mouth, which can come in the form of online reviews, can make or break a brand, including its level of visibility in the local SERPs.
You can argue that given all the changes Google has forced upon the search universe in general, excellent customer service makes for excellent SEO. That, of course, doesn’t mean foregoing active SEO for good. At the end of the day, it’s pooling all your resources together to make for a long-term strategy that will outlast the test of Google’s algorithmic volatility – customer service being at the forefront.
A great time to be a consumer, if I must say so. And much as businesses have more than enough tools in the box to help them better understand their target consumer’s behavior, it’s indeed a great time to be an Internet marketer, too.
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