It takes two to tango: marketing and customer service in the contact center

Spoken | August 9, 2016

15646550_sby Heidi Miller, Chief Conversation Officer

When you think about the face of the modern contact center, Customer Service Representatives, supervisors and maybe a nice automated Interactive Voice Response generally come to mind. Due to the high visibility of these customer-facing roles, most people associate these frontline folks with their first touch to the contact center. But the marketing and public relations departments are finding more and more occasion to step in and collaborate in the world of customer service.

In today’s customer-centric world, one in which loyal customers can help generate up to 70 percent of your sales, businesses must use every opportunity to build and maintain strong relationships with customers at all touch points, some of which fall within the traditional domains of PR or marketing. After all, it’s considerably more expensive to onboard new customers, so it makes more sense for marketing and customer service to collaborate than to compete.

As such, marketing has become… well, if not married to the contact center, they are definitely spending enough intimate time together to get people talking! Let’s take a look at three areas of this trend of tangoing between marketing and customer service:

1. New technology

Simply put, customers don’t want to get stuck on hold or receive round-robin treatment for call routing. Rather, they want first call resolution. Today’s marketers have access to a wealth of public customer data regarding channel preferences, service expectations and personal data as well as daily and monthly trends in terms of customer demands for features and benefits. Therefore, they can and should to play a direct role in advising on contact center technologies. They can suggest the right CRM platforms, unified messaging capabilities and multi-channel functionalities based on customer activity. Armed with the right technologies—like big data tools that grant access to customer-specific information—marketers can solve problems quicker and identify cross- and up-sell opportunities.

2. Social media

Social networks serve as powerful media through which businesses can directly engage with customers, provide customer service and even launch new campaigns. But there’s a fine line when it comes to effective social campaigns (think Epicurious, The Home Depot and JP Morgan). Businesses across all verticals have seen what can happen when such campaigns are slapped together without a 360 view of the customer experience, and collaboration can prevent those missteps from occurring. Additionally, customers expect their questions and complaints to be addressed quickly over social media. With all this in mind, it’s important that contact center managers remember that social media channels are ideal tools for addressing customer concerns in a public way that also supports marketing functions: branding the organization as responsive, accessible and down-to-earth.

3. Customer service

Customers who feel as though there’s a service-related problem are four times more likely to take their business elsewhere than if the problem is product- or price-related. As a result, customer satisfaction and customer experience need to be worked into every company’s marketing strategy. If marketers consult big data metrics, including customer attrition rates, average on-hold times and first contact resolution statistics, they will be able to suggest ways to enhance customer service. In so doing, marketing may find that contact centers need to upgrade call scripts, invest in presence technology and launch self-service initiatives.

Thanks to the transparency inspired by social media and the evolution of call center technology, marketing and customer service no longer need to be strangers—and they shouldn’t be. When the two departments collaborate regularly, businesses quickly realize the resulting benefits as customer satisfaction is bolstered through well-rounded, targeted outreach and service. Companies must employ  strategies based on a 360-degree customer view when it comes to customer care. By encouraging marketing and contact center teams to tango together, the caliber of customer service delivered increases, resulting in long-term fruitful relationships between businesses and their customers.

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