Aligning Customer Service with the Marketing Department

A few months ago I wrote a post about how to get marketing on the call center’s side.  It seems this topic is becoming more and more popular thanks to social media exploding in businesses around the world.  I came across three separate articles just in the last week that discuss this very issue so I thought I would dive back in.

The first article I read was in this month’s issue of Contact Center Pipeline called “Setting the Bar for Multichannel Customer Contact” by Maren Symonds.  She discusses a survey of contact center practitioners conducted in November 2010 that focused on multichannel customer contact.  Symonds says one thing she learned from the survey is “the action in social media and mobile applications is happening largely outside of customer service.”  Another key takeaway is that respondents reported feeling “they are lagging in adoption of social media and mobile applications.”  Typically, marketing departments are charged with developing social media strategies and mobile applications, but customer service needs to part of that process too.

Another article in this month’s CCP, written by industry expert Tim Montgomery, points out that most of the calls made to contact centers are a result of activities in other departments within the organization.  Montgomery makes it clear that without “strong interdepartmental relationships” contact centers won’t be successful and neither will other departments within the company.  He says “contact centers have metrics and goals that connect all departments with the center, and vice versa.  This alignment allows for open communication across all channels, with conversations focused on the customer experience— not on individual department results.”

My last proof point for why customer service and marketing alignment is crucial is a blog post by Ernan Roman on the 1to1 Blog.  He gives a personal example of a poor experience he had with a chimney cleaning company that was quickly smoothed over by none other than the owner of the company who happened to answer Roman’s customer service call.  The owner of this small company understood that by acting fast to resolve the customer’s issue, and empowering all customer service reps to do the same, he had the opportunity to make Roman a long-term customer and earn his business for years to come.  Roman acknowledges one of the most important metrics for a successful marketing initiative is its capacity to generate repeat purchases.  However, having the ability to generate repeat purchases does no good if customer service and marketing are not aligned and working towards the same goal.

So what actions can you take to actually foster alignment between customer service and marketing?  Here are two steps you can take right now:

  1. Get to know each other: Walk down the hall, make a phone call or send an email and introduce yourself.  Let your marketing department know that you’d like to work with them to better the brand, increase customer retention or whatever makes most sense for your business.  And of course send them this article to help demonstrate how crucial this relationship is for your company!
  2. Set up regular meetings: Whether it be weekly, monthly, quarterly or some other time period it’s important to update each other and know what’s going on.  Is marketing about to start a new social media campaign?  Your agents should know about it!  Have you seen an increase in customer complaints about a particular problem?  Your marketing department should know about it!

Stay tuned for more ideas on how to align the call center and marketing department.

About Jim Mannion:
Jim joined Inova Solutions as the Marketing and Channel Development Director in 2012 and has enjoyed working in the Telecommunications industry for over 11 years. Outside of the office he enjoys being active with his two small children. You can contact Jim at jmannion@inovasolutions.com.

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