It’s quite commonplace to hear how the advent of social media has altered our lives. Upon first glance, such changes do not appear drastic or far-reaching; however, a closer look reveals something different. Social has paved the way for a new generation of customer advocacy and has brought with it a sweeping disruption of business as usual tactics typically employed by traditional customer service and marketing departments. Today, these once siloed divisions have found common ground and come together to jointly serve the needs of customers in an effort to not only increase the bottom line, but to maintain relevance in the market place.
It is no secret brands are built on superior customer service. To achieve maximum customer satisfaction, organizations must truly understand the concept of the customer journey and maintain consistent conversations across all communication channels and touch points. Today’s customers demand service to be agile. They think nothing of starting a conversation in one channel and concluding it in another. With an understanding of the power individual recommendations hold across digital networks, anything but a complete investment in meeting these demands would be remiss. While customer service handles monitoring and response, marketing must ensure brand continuity across each point of interaction. Within small and large organizations alike, meeting these needs requires sound planning and flawless execution.
Deeper examination reveals a latent, long-term benefit of the convergence as well: the achievement of cross-organizational goals and the assurance of each department’s vitality. Marketing without question benefits from the knowledge and insight provided by customer service. By examining existing contact centers and bucketing the feedback regularly received regarding products and services, crucial information can be gleaned and considered throughout the development of major initiatives and campaigns. In tandem, customer service may act as an additional arm of marketing by interacting in real time with customers, sharing key messages and more.
The need to manage this process and monitor customer behavior has even earned a place within the highest levels of organization. The chief customer officer represents the customer voice in the executive boardroom and is charged with conveying consumer communication preferences and providing insight into the channels they are using. The message is simple – if you don’t start managing from the customer’s perspective, your hard-won customer may become a defector. Customers are inundated by hundreds of choices, offers and prices on a regular basis. To win the land grab, businesses need to captivate consumers and continuously improve the experience. Customer retention is a business imperative and this active voice at the executive table is now a necessity. It’s truly a sign of the times.
Ushering the convergence of marketing and customer service isn’t necessarily an easy task. However, breaking down the walls between these once segregated divisions only helps better serve the customer and ensure the delivery of a superior and memorable experience. Organizations that deliver can expect returns that include fierce customer loyalty, revenue growth and overall brand health. Staying focused on the journey, instead of the destination, is key and organizations that recognize this and plan accordingly will undoubtedly fare better than the competition.
Marchai Bruchey is chief customer officer at Thunderhead.com.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi