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How PR and customer service connect—and how they benefit each other

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Public Relations

Customer service and public relations have a lot in common. They both shape people’s opinions about your business and can be intentionally leveraged to support your success. The difference is that customer service applies to your customer base and PR shapes the general public’s perception of your business. Both are critical for your long-term, sustained success. 

Customer service is a form of PR

It’s crucial for today’s businesses to deliver outstanding customer service that leaves people feeling valued and respected. When commercial interactions take place online through email, support tickets, and chatbots, the immediate perception of warmth when greeted by a happy employee is absent. Unlike in-person interactions, customers can’t gauge a representative’s demeanor or general mood, and that’s why online customer service needs to be top-notch. 

Many businesses now use an enterprise chatbot powered by conversational AI to handle their automated customer interactions. Unlike chatbots of the past that didn’t really help much, an AI-powered conversational chatbot is designed to provide high-level service. 

A conversational AI enterprise chatbot can discern the context of a question and respond with a human-like answer. Based on the input, it can also refer people to relevant pieces of content from your FAQ section. If the user still hasn’t found a suitable answer, they can request to connect with a human, so nobody is ever left feeling ignored. 

No matter what methods you use, delivering consistent, exceptional customer service is vital because each time someone from your business interacts with a customer or potential customer, it can cultivate loyalty or breed dissatisfaction. In this way, having high standards for your customer service reps when they interact with customers is a form of PR. 

Where PR and customer service intersect

While these two elements will always remain separate strategies, they intersect in some key places: 

  • Brand image. Public relations and customer service both build your brand image. When done right, this will help you grow your business and create loyalty. You want your customer service interactions to embody your brand’s values. If there’s a disconnect, people will notice. 
  • Customer retention. Keeping customers is essential because it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to sell to existing ones. Plus, retaining customers, even if they only buy once in a while, is a great way to keep a positive reputation. PR addresses customer concerns and helps create solutions that work. 
  • Customer satisfaction. It’s imperative that you meet customer expectations to keep them happy. With that said, remember that you create most of those expectations through direct and implied claims. Also, as you personalize your brand messages in your PR campaign, your customers will respond better and feel more satisfied. 

CSAT surveys can help you manage customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a metric that you can’t afford to ignore. If you don’t already run surveys to get customer feedback on their experiences with your business, it’s a good idea to start. Your ratings will tell you where your weak areas are and give you insight into how you can improve. For example, it will tell you if you have any detractors – people who are likely to post negative reviews and comments about you.  

Applying the insights you get from your CSAT surveys will help you improve satisfaction and develop a loyal customer base. Loyal customers are the ones who will tell their friends and family about your business, post raving online reviews, answer other people’s questions on social media, and become brand ambassadors for your company.  

Want to gain an advantage in your industry?

Exceeding expectations is what gives businesses an advantage, even in saturated, highly competitive markets. It’s not hard to do this and it all hinges on communication. 

Effective communication is the heart of both PR and customer satisfaction. Whether you’re communicating through an AI chatbot, Facebook Messenger, a support ticket, or email, every single interaction has the potential to positively shape your brand’s image. 

PR and customer service are a team

Customers want to feel appreciated and acknowledged. PR accomplishes this by making customers aware of steps taken to improve its products and services. Similarly, amazing customer service fosters a sense of appreciation. 

Being committed to a positive customer experience through communication will go a long way to show your brand’s image in a positive light. Whether you meet this commitment online or in person, the result is the same: you’ll get a great reputation, your customers will be happy, and your business will thrive. 

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is a freelance tech and computer writer

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