Customer Service is an Investment in Marketing

It might be odd to hear, coming from someone that delivers marketing strategy but can I suggest you speak to your FD saying that an investment in great customer care is an investment in marketing.

Consider a company I learnt from when I was in the States recently, they have an inbound call centre - when the call is completed the call centre worker immediately looks up the caller on social networks (facebook, myspace, orkut, twitter...). They immediately request a friendship and start a conversation that goes along the lines of: "I hope you found that useful? It's great to hook up on Facebook, I'll do my best to keep you up to date on things here; hope you have a fabulous day!" (They absolutely do not sell.) The call centre worker is almost programmed to be a personal friend to the customer ultimately building a trusting relationship. The customer gets personal updates and information that is specific to them - they typically have a lot of love for the company and start telling all of their friends, recommending and suggesting via email and their facebook page and so on.

This is the future of customer care / marketing using social networks - if you invest in your people and the process of looking after your customers your marketing spend will need to be much less.

Such is the success of social networks and using them effectively.