Should marketers care about service?

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The gloves are off
The gloves are off

Marketers and customer service leaders need to unite. The customer expects no less. See what our readers had to say on the subject.

YES

Dave Capuano, VP of Solutions Marketing, Voice of the Customer Analytics, Verint

Customer service and the associated experience forms the foundation for customer perception and expectations. When direct marketers (DMs) reach out to potential customers, it's with the intention of soliciting a positive response and intended action.

Communication channels today are blending and direct marketing is no longer about emails and direct mail. It has evolved to a function where, to be effective, it is imperative to present the most relevant opportunities. Customer insights allow DMs to understand and maximize that opportunity. For example, when customers call the contact center, DMs have the opportunity to deliver the right information at the right time, but also identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities. If direct marketing efforts are successful, they can influence the customer experience from the start and contribute to the long-term brand loyalty of the product or service.

According to the Customer Insight Group Loyalty Infographic, with data provided by the Temkin Group, when asked “when is the most critical time for a company to gain loyalty,” 11% responded “before I buy”; 49% responded it was when they were beginning service or as part of their first purchase. This supports the strategy behind factoring customer service into the initial direct marketing equation, and the potential first contact with a customer service area. Establishing a positive experience from the get-go contributes to the long-term health of a customer relationship.

Customers want to feel as though their needs are well-understood or that they are special in some way. Infusing lessons extracted from customer interactions into daily operations not only provides insights of customer expectations versus the experience, but also presents an opportunity for DMs to better tailor the offering for an audience in order to maximize their efforts. As a brand ambassador, marketers and customer service groups can't look at their function in isolation. Ultimately, DMs should consider customer service as a critical part of their outreach efforts, because their customers expect them to.

YES

Lisa Arthur, Chief Marketing Officer, Aprimo

Absolutely, direct marketers should and need to care about customer service. Why? Last year we surveyed chief marketers in Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco, and Sydney. We asked them, “What's your number one strategic focus right now. The number one answer, by 37% of respondents, was a focus on creating compelling customer experiences.

What does that focus on customer experience mean to direct marketer and customer service leaders? Collaboration. It's an era of relationship marketing and an era driven more by customers and more by consumers today than even 12 or 18 months ago. Customer service can make or break the customer experience. Consumers don't look for great products and ignore service; they want the quality of both to be high. Marketers must understand that they can win customers by tearing down organizational silos to engage customers across touch points, online and offline.

Direct marketers are in an ideal position to take down those silos. That's why direct marketers are also pivotal in leading customer experience initiatives and making customer service the forefront of that experience. Direct marketers have long been data scientists, and with that background can help to create a complete picture of the customer and the customer experience through data analysis.

It really comes down to the customer. Social media and the proliferation of customer interaction channels has driven consumers' expectation of control; that you're not going to spam or push me, you will engage me, and will do it on my terms with an offer or

message I care about in the channel I prefer—like when I call in for service. This presents a great opportunity for direct marketers to evolve their role to that of engagement marketers. To do so they need to embrace the digital world. Direct marketers will be able to prove through analytics how marketing and service working together can drive top-line growth. Better experience drives better revenue and better engagement drives better brand loyalty.

Direct Marketing News Decision

It's become imperative for marketing and customer service leaders to unite. It's time for more sharing of information and more collaboration. Not because “we all should get along”; instead, because customers demand it. If businesses are to deliver on customer expectations (e.g. make me the right offer at the right time in the right channel), silos need to become a thing of the past. Opportunities to generate revenue, enhance service, and build loyalty will become obvious as marketing and service collaboration improves. For example, responding to customers via social or in the contact center with pertinent information or offers. The relevance of interactions will only improve when supported by customer service data and marketing insight.

HAVE YOUR SAY. Email your topic to ginger.conlon@dmnews.com or comment on this story below.

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