NEW YORK: Entrepreneur Peter Shankman and former Middleberg Communications principal Rachel Honig have partnered to launch a consultancy to help businesses build brand loyalty through improving customer service.
The firm, named Shankman|Honig, aims to assist organizations with the operational challenges of integrating and aligning customer support and marketing communications.
Prior to founding the consultancy, Shankman was at Vocus, where he was a small business evangelist, having founded and sold Help a Reporter Out to the wire service. He is also the founder of the Geek Factory.
Honig joins from Middleberg Communications, where she was MD and principal.
The business officially launched this week, but Shankman and Honig have been working with clients since June. It has five clients, including retail chain Westfield in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport and Steiner Sports Memorabilia.
Shankman said that while marketing and customer services tend to be siloed in organizations, bringing the two functions together can build brand loyalty and generate coveted word of mouth.
“In society, we expect to be treated like crap when it comes to customer service. So if you offer customer service that is a level higher than crap, they will become loyal customers,” he said. “If you go a few levels beyond crap, these loyal customers will become loyalists, which means next time they will return with 10 of their friends.”
As an example of how marketing and customer service should be aligned, Shankman referred to a joke tweet he sent Morton's Steakhouse a couple of years ago, asking the company to meet him at the airport. It responded to this with a representative giving Shankman a free meal, and the story went viral online.
“Every experience, good or bad, you are sharing online. The CMO tries to find new customers so they can grow their business, but they never spend time on the clients they are losing in the churn, which can be incredibly expensive,” said Honig.
The consultancy now consists of Honig and Shankman as well as a number of freelancers. However, the pair is likely to make a hire soon, Shankman said.