Powerful Customer Service Drives New Customers, Retention, and Revenue


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THE PROBLEM: Customer loyalty is decreasing, attrition is increasing and so is the cost of generating new customers.

THE SOLUTION: Re-think the role of customer service. Deploy it as a revenue generating resource focused on retaining customers and generating positive word of mouth which drives new customers.

Innovative marketers are proving once and for all that customer service, long perceived as a cost center, can be deployed as a strategic resource that generates revenue. Following are examples of how two Relationship Marketing Innovators, QVC and Songza, are effectively leveraging the power of high impact customer service.

The legendary merchandiser QVC has built a long-standing record of customer loyalty by focusing on improving the front-line customer experience. Executive leadership for change and innovation in the customer experience has been provided by John Hunter, Chief Operating Officer. According to John, “The penalty for not listening to the customer today is a lot steeper than it was in years past; similarly, the penalty for service failures becomes steeper in a social media environment with more impact to your brand”.

“Reducing customer wait time, providing customers with the information that they need to buy the product, and making buying fun and simple are all critical deliverables for our customers. As a result, our percentage of repeat customers continues to rise."

QVC’s many initiatives to drive constant improvements in the customer experience include:

Frequent Voice of Customer tracking surveys.

A culture that constantly rewards the circulation of customer recommendations and suggestions about new product offerings.

Regular customer roundtables with call center employees to identify new ways of improving customer satisfaction.

Songza is the social music service that helps users discover and stream music which is curated based on their interests and their friends. They have achieved significant user loyalty by prioritizing the role of high impact customer service. The goal: memorably prompt, upbeat responses to customer inquiries or problems. Elias Roman, CEO of Songza, explains the importance of this goal from a marketing perspective: "Invariably, even customers with complaints are shocked that a) they got a quick response, b) they got a quick response from a human being and c) the human being was responding with in-depth information, positive tonality, and perkiness”.

“Creating positive perceptions about your brand is all about positive engagement, and that is possible, almost regardless of the content of your communication, if your response is sent quickly, with honesty, and with positive emotion. The service response is a very important marketing opportunity for companies that are aggressive about immediately responding to customers".

As CEO, Elias is making customer service both a personal and organizational priority. His belief: the job of a CEO is to drive maximum return on all company resources, and the ROI from customer service is exceptionally high, which makes service a critical component of Songza’s marketing mix. Far from delegating, cutting back, or outsourcing his organization’s service operations, he is personally committed to managing it as a profit center.


Re-think the role of customer service, from a cost center to a revenue generating, high ROI operation. High quality customer service drives positive word-of-mouth, which drives high quality new customers.

Make it a corporate priority to provide rapid response, as measured in minutes, not days or hours.

Use messaging that is honest , positive, and personalized in addressing the person’s need or question.

If you’ve made an error…take responsibility for it. Deal with it honestly and openly, don’t beat around the bush by using tired, meaningless phrases such as “sorry for any inconvenience”.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ernan Roman
Ernan Roman (@ernanroman) is president of ERDM Corp. and author of Voice of the Customer Marketing. He was inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame due to the results his VoC research-based CX strategies achieve for clients such as IBM, Microsoft, QVC, Gilt and HP. ERDM conducts deep qualitative research to help companies understand how customers articulate their feelings and expectations for high value CX and personalization. Named one of the Top 40 Digital Luminaries and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing.


  1. “Honest”, “positive”, “quick response”….so simple yet so difficult for many customer-facing businesses to execute.
    Excellent article!

    Lee Silverstein

  2. Ernan – Thank you for a thoughtful article. I totally agree with you on this subject. Voice of the customer and innovation is key to the success of the organization. Analytic tools are only one part of monitoring the voice or textual conversation though. The real changes have to begin before the call even happens. Using BI to make sense of the social media sphere, voice, text is the next step. No doubt, prompt and courteous response is key… Thank you for hitting that point home. Best wishes, Keith Fiveson http://www.itesa.com

  3. Thanks for your feedback Keith.

    Thinking about customer service as a high ROI activity will help companies take it more seriously and give it the funding, training and respect it deserves.

  4. Thanks Lee.

    It’s ironic how, in this complex world of ours, these fundamentals of life, not just business, are so hard to come by.


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