Good PR versus good customer service

Good PR versus Good Customer Service
Which one really impacts your bottom line? This is not a trick question.

There is a common misconception that “good PR” is what you pay your agency or in-house executive to drum up. While this is true, I think there is a new mindset that companies should adopt. Ready for the best free PR advice you will get all week?

Customer service and PR go hand-in-hand more than you would think. Good PR starts from inside the four walls. I just read on PR in Your Pajamas that “The goal of customer service is to keep customers happy. Whereas the goal of PR is to establish and maintain the company’s good reputation. This is where PR and customer service intersect: Unhappy customers can smear a company’s reputation.”

Sure, that ad in the local paper or magazine will attract new trial customers, but how will they actually feel once they step inside your establishment? If there is a disconnect in what you are promoting and what you are delivering, then we need to talk.

There is nothing worse than creating hype around your brand and leaving the customer cold with poor service. You honestly need to get back to the basics and think logically about the ways people perceive your brand and what you can do to improve these impressions.

I was at a local Hibachi restaurant (to be kind, I will not name names in this case) last year and experienced some of the worst-tasting food I have ever put in my mouth. When I informed the owner, he screamed profanities at me—which translated to, “No, you will absolutely not get your money back…so get the *bleep* out and *bleep* you.” Suffice it to say, that was the last time I stepped foot in there. And yes, I was sure to debrief just about everyone in my contacts about this. Not to mention, there are a few reviews floating around Yelp and Google+ that I take credit for.

Here’s a complete contrast—I was at Chili’s last weekend and watched as a disgruntled family questioned the hour-long wait for their food. The manager, very apologetic, was transparent about the issues they were having in the kitchen and offered to cut their bill in half. With this simple effort, the company gained the loyalty of a group of customers (and myself) with one simple act.

So let’s address the original question: good PR versus good customer service—which one really impacts your bottom line? Never fail to realize how important customer service is—it is the gateway to good PR. Customer service supports or derails the way your brand is perceived, and should always be seen as the first stepping stone to attaining the good PR you desire.

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