Customer Service Tips From The Queen of Customer Bliss, Marla Smith

In Business, The Team, Tips

Marla Smith Seafoam Media St LouisIt is the minty fresh feeling in your tooth paste, or the extra pretty bow on a present. It is the free gift with purchase or the extra doughnut tucked in the box.

What are we talking about?

Customer bliss, that combination of outstanding service plus a little something extra. When it comes to customer service tips to promote excellence, Marla Smith is our go-to-gal. This week, we turn to our Director of Client Success and ask her about her favorite customer service tips for turning content clients into blissful business partners.

Customer Service Tips for Creating Client Bliss

As a prelude to our interview, Marla wanted to offer some insight into her evolving role at Seafoam Media, which is fodder enough for a blog on its own. In her words:

“It is important to note that I started at Seafoam Media as a part time gig; something to do while my kiddos were at school that would engage my brain but leave me free to be a full time mom. You know the old cliché, life is what happens when you are making plans. That perfectly describes my 2016.”

“Last year was the year that saw me (amicably) divorced, with a new home, new responsibilities and a newfound need to work. What didn’t change was my number one priority: two little girls that mean the world to me. I need to start this story off with them, and my profound gratitude toward the team at Seafoam Media. This part time job quickly evolved into a full time (and completely new) career, one that still allows me to put my girls first. I guess that would be my first customer service tip for creating brand loyalists: Hire people that love what they do. They will be the best brand ambassadors you will ever have.”

Q&A with Marla Smith

What is your job role at Seafoam Media?

My primary role is client happiness, although my technical title is Director of Client Success for Seafoam Media. I think this nuance is important; any company can create satisfied customers. We want to do more. We want to ensure our clients are truly thrilled by the work we do. That goes beyond business development or account management; that is customer bliss.

Why is business development important to the marketing industry?

To be fair, I think business development is important to any industry. This commonality allows me to walk in my clients’ shoes every time I talk to them. By putting myself in their place, I can really gauge the job that we are doing. Digging into their industry allows us to make sure we are making smart goals in partnership with the client — this is beyond customer service; this leads us to customer bliss. We want our customer experience to be the “minty fresh” feeling you get after you brush your teeth. Happy clients make our jobs just that much easier.

This attitude will set us apart in the digital marketing space because we have such a customized approach for our clients. No marketing plan is the same, which means each one of our clients will have a very tailored plan. It also means that each plan has very measurable goals. It’s my job to ensure that we stay on top of their goals/strategies.

In terms of business development, can you explain the most interesting thing that happened in 2016?

My background is first in FASHION! I was an assistant retail buyer for Montgomery Wards when I graduated school. I then transitioned into National Print Advertising Sales, working for some of the best publications in the country- and worldwide: Food & Wine Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Nickelodeon/MTV Networks & Cosmopolitan Magazines. I gave it all up in 2008 to stay at home with my daughters. When I started at Seafoam, it took me a little while to find parallels between my old world and this new digital world.

Then one day, something just snapped into place. Look at the world of fashion: there is a huge difference between what is seen on the runway and what is worn in the real world. The cutting edge is tends to walk a line between custom-designed couture and wearable style. Every body is different and unique, and a silhouette must be designed to flatter individual shapes and sizes.  It keeps an eye for the latest trends in the fashion world, while applying them in the real world.

Digital marketing is no different. This is a world that is constantly updating with new requirements and tools for success. That being said, not every new “style” is right for every company. The right “designer” can help integrate a plan that is both on trend while offering timeless best practices. The basic idea is the same, even if I am using a different medium.

How has your role evolved since you’ve been with Seafoam Media?

My role has changed in every way, except in the ways that are most important. While my role has evolved into sales and account management, I still have a flexible schedule that allows me to be a full-time mom, as well as a full-time employee.

As the chief proponent of client happiness, I work with the team to ensure that every action we take will lead to blissful customers! So much of this means that we really do partner with our clients, honing in on their pain points and working through any trouble spots to create success across the board.

Are there any unique qualities about your role as it pertains to Seafoam’s marketing strategy that you’d like to share?

Since I started off working on the technical SEO side of things, I had the opportunity to be trained to do all the nitty-gritty parts of SEO: keyword research, backlinking, etc. This has helped me to speak intelligently when I meet with clients and create tailored proposals.

I think more importantly, as it relates to customer service tips for client bliss, my years of experience in client relationships and account management allows me to speak for the client in every internal meeting we have. I am their voice, making sure that their goals are always top of mind for the team.

Are there any lessons you learned in 2016 that will make you better at your job next year?

If I’m being honest, everyday I learn something new; that is one of my favorite parts of my job! Each day is a learning experience, each day is a chance to do great things. Every day I work on building a better personal foundation to become a better team member, account manager and sales manager.

One of my favorite customer service tips is: in order to create customer bliss you, must treat every day as a challenge to do better than you did yesterday. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed, but every day I work toward making my clients’ happiness my goal (all while raising two smart, funny and self-assured little girls. What can I say, I never back down from a challenge.).