Marketing is Now Part of the Customer Experience
Once upon a time, call center management supported direct communications from customers, and marketing management attempted to create customers. There was little interaction between the two functions, and they sometimes worked at cross-purposes. When the two did meet it often caused conflict, duplicate efforts and confusion.
Today, we have a goal of building a great customer experience, and both marketing and the contact center are an inextricable part of this effort. The old definitions of marketing – check your old business management textbooks – don’t really fit very well in the twenty-first century, according to a recent blog post by Shep Hyken writing for the UK site CallCentreHelper.com.
“Marketing appears to be about putting something out there, an advertisement, email campaign, promotion, etc., that will hopefully pull in business,” he wrote. “Engagement is about interacting and attraction. Both are part of the customer experience (CX). So, which customer experience would you rather create? One that is pushy and promotional or one that is about interacting and relationship building?”
Marketing has traditionally been a one-way process, and customer support, by definition, is a two-way process. Rather than dumb down customer support to be a one-way exchange, companies need to be building marketing up so it works two ways. Hyken writes that the evolution of the business website illustrates this premise. Once upon a time, a website was simply a static brochure on the Internet.
“Some creativity, great color and maybe even a little animation made it stand out,” he wrote. “If it was good, it might prompt a customer to pick up the phone or email an inquiry. But, today a good Web site is about offering up new content, sometimes daily (or even more often), in the form of articles, white papers, videos and even games. Customers can post comments and interact. It’s all about engagement with the customer.”
Today, essentially, marketing has become the customer experience. Of course the old skills – attracting the eye, creating engaging content and finding the right target markets – still apply, but they need to be designed in a way that encourages the customer to respond. To be in a position to do this, however, today’s companies need to overhaul their marketing platforms and processes and build bridges between marketing and the contact center. Without collaboration, technologies and campaigns that build on the shared expertise of marketing and customer support, the customer experience will continue to be disjointed, uneven and confusing. Ultimately, the goal should be to market in a way that creates a customer experience that turns customers themselves into your brand advocates, according to Hyken.
“Create an amazing service experience that gets customers to not only come back, but to also share that experience with their friends, colleagues and family members,” he wrote. “That may be the best form of marketing there is.”
Edited by Alicia Young