Customer experience and marketing: Key tactical ways to team up
What do marketing and customer service (CS) teams have in common? Both these functions exist to enhance customer experience, of course! But as obvious as this may seem, the reality is that in most businesses, marketers and CS staff know precious little about each other, functioning quite independently in silos, so to speak.
The absence of an integrated working style – the proverbial left hand not knowing what the right is doing – can lead to frequent customer disappointment and losses for the brand. For example, marketers who launch a promotional campaign without appropriately clueing in the company’s service staff are likely to face complaints and negative feedback on social media. Conversely, if these two business divisions understand that both of them are working towards the same goal and collaborate strategically, the potential wins are enormous. Some of the spinoffs likely to result from such teamwork are:
- The brand’s image and its support services will both appear consistently good.
- When company divisions “speak” in one voice, buyers’ interactions with them become seamless and result in a relatively stress-free customer experience. That in turn reinforces customers’ loyalty to the brand.
- Service staff possess extensive information on customers’ concerns – a gold mine of knowledge that marketers can tap to create relevant content. On the other side of the coin, marketers generate fresh ideas and have resources and varied tools that can help support staff in enhancing customers’ service experience.
Here are some tactical ways in which your marketing and customer support can team up to create a rich customer experience.
Build a persona
Buyer personas, or semi-fictitious, generalised representations of a brand’s customers are typically developed by content creators based on data from market research and surveys. But here’s a thought – who knows buyers better than customer support representatives who interact with them one-on-one, 24x7? Yet, their rich store of knowledge goes untapped. When your customer service staff share their expertise with marketing, they contribute to developing more reality-based customer personas based on which marketers can design appropriate content strategies.
Show empathy in content marketing
It’s a no-brainer that marketing content which identifies deeply with customers’ needs and problems is the bridge to attracting and retaining customers. Virtually every interaction that CS teams have with customers can be analysed to derive insights into the customer experience. This will, in turn, inform your marketers' efforts to create content that is rooted in empathy and hence, more likely to strike a chord with customers.
When your content marketers and CS teams work together, the former will realise that marketing plans are more than routine assignments to be completed by a deadline. Rather, these tactical team interactions allow marketers to gain realistic inputs into who their customers are. Marketing plans that are generated based on such information can thus be aligned successfully with customers’ real concerns.
Create a resource/learning centre
A typical working day for customer support staff involves fielding queries, registering complaints, and resolving a range of problems. It is tough, stressful, and exhausting. One way that marketers can ease this workload and bring hyper-productivity* is to establish a resource or knowledge centre populated with appropriate content. Such centres, typically located within micro-sites, enable customers to search for answers to generic concerns. A good resource centre should have easy navigation features and content that provides clear, up-to-date information and solutions to queries and problems posted by customers.
Customer service teams can use their experience to educate marketers on common issues for which buyers seek solutions. With this information, marketers will be able to identify topics and frame relevant questions and answers that will provide guidance to customers. A well-designed resource centre offers two benefits:
- Support teams are likely to receive far fewer calls, with customers doing their own problem-solving research.
- Content that anticipates customer concerns and provides genuinely useful answers reinforces loyalty to the brand and enables positive word-of-mouth or social media feedback from happy buyers.
Handle mistakes and problems jointly
Every business makes errors and at some point or the other, must face the wrath of customers. Teams that handle critical situations together can make a big difference and can help limit the damage to their brand.
To accomplish this, your CS and marketing teams could get together to identify typical pain points derived from customer feedback and develop guidelines and procedures to mitigate or quickly resolve issues. Such initiatives can generate all round positivity; teams who are able to successfully sort out a problem and deliver good customer experience feel empowered to further boost customer satisfaction and sales. When their productivity rises, so does their enthusiasm to deliver ever more enhanced customer experiences.
Integrating your marketing and service support teams, who have traditionally worked at a distance from each other, requires considerable thought and effort. However, rather than sharing physical space, the solution to collaborating effectively could come from videoconferences, using an appropriate content management system (CMS) or scheduling weekly chats. The efforts put in for digital transformation* in this direction will reap multi-fold benefits.
*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.