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How customer service is becoming the most important element of marketing

The advent of social media has not only changed the way we relate to our friends and family, it has changed the way we relate to businesses and the world around us generally. Social media has upset the establishment in every sense of the word. It has challenged processes and forced many to rethink long held views and values. Social has also forced customer service and marketing departments, previously working independently of each other, to come together for the sake of an increased bottom line.

It is no secret brands are built on superior customer service. To achieve maximum customer satisfaction, organisations 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 organisations 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-organisational 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 centres and “bucketing” the feedback regularly received regarding products and services, crucial information can be gleaned, considered and utilised 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 behaviour has even earned a place at the boardroom tables of organisations. 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 with product choices, offers and prices on a regular basis. To win the land grab, businesses need to engage 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.

In effect, marketing is the new customer service and customer service is the new marketing. Thanks to the agility afforded by SaaS technology, companies are now able to remove the old siloes that existed between marketing and customer services, and today, are able to enhance the customer experience by using real-time customer insight throughout the customer journey.  The benefits of being able to fulfil customer needs and exceed expectations using relevant nuggets of customer data, or the ‘right’ data, is proving to be a solid business case for customer experience management. Not only does this ultimately lead to a more engaged customer, it also enables a company to be more resourceful and efficient.

For any organisation looking to maximise profits and increase market share, focusing on building a superior customer service should be core to its business strategy and customer experience management will be key to making this goal achievable.