How to Better Integrate Customer Service and Marketing


Our panel of experts discuss how you can strengthen the relationship between marketing and the contact centre to improve the customer experience.

Create Easy Lines of Communication

One way to improve communication between customer service and marketing is to create routine meetings. It is great to start with regular face-to-face meetings if possible, or if distance and location is an issue, then Skype and video can help.

Teamwork is best measured cold, so in regular meetings agree joint reporting and metrics as an ongoing judge of how well communication is working.  These could be weekly “stand-up” meetings (held standing up to keep them short) or monthly updates to an intranet.  Whatever is chosen, keep reports short and relevant.  One size doesn’t fit all.

Make it clear to marketing that this is their chance to speak to you and be strict with that, so if they choose to spring a surprise promotion on you, they know the process that they must follow.

Just make it clear to marketing that this is their chance to speak to you and be strict with that, so if they choose to spring a surprise promotion on you, they know the process that they must follow. This will help you, in the contact centre, to better prepare.

Share CRM Data

To devise marketing strategies that are based on customer interests, it is good to get as much of an understanding of your customer base as possible.

Arranging focus groups with contact centre advisors is one way to do this, but – to go one step further – organisations can share data from their CRM system with marketing, if they are in the cloud.

Modern cloud-based applications are built using the latest web services technology.  This makes it easy to integrate and customise CRM systems with core contact centre platforms.

So, make the most of the CRM and enable the contact centre to update information relevant to future marketing campaigns – it’s all in the design and the questions asked.

Develop Joint Metric Goals

Alignment between marketing and customer service typically starts with shared goals, which some contact centres struggle to communicate with marketing, as these are not their primary objectives.

Colin Hay

Colin Hay

While the contact centre might be paid on KPIs such as Customer Satisfaction (CSat), First Contact Resolution (FCR) and service level, marketing will be more interested in click-through rates, cost per lead, conversion rates and revenue.

So, look for joint metrics such as customer lifetime values, churn rates and quality scores and then incorporate these into compensation plans to ensure marketing and the contact centre are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Thanks to Colin Hay at Puzzel

Target Key Customer Personas Together

Marketing will ideally be identifying target segments and customer personas that customer service needs to pay attention to.

Marketing will ideally be identifying target segments and customer personas that customer service needs to pay attention to.

When someone from this target segment contacts customer service, they should have the best possible experience, from low wait times to being matched to the right advisors who can not only solve their immediate issue but offer up the best next possible action.

Also, on a more tactical level, marketing should let customer service teams know of any marketing campaigns, special discounts and promotions that are being planned.

Having this information makes it easier for customer service to plan their staffing to handle spikes in enquiries and train their teams on the appropriate procedures when handling inquiries related to a new promotion.

Give Marketing Easy Access to Key Insights

Now it is no longer a black box of data, a key contact centre goal is to share the Voice of the Customer (VoC) with other departments to help them develop a better understanding of their customers and make better decisions.

Technologies like machine learning and AI-powered text and speech analytics are slowly transforming “contact centres” into “customer experience hubs” that provide ongoing operational insights to various business lines—especially marketing.

 Shorit Ghosh

Shorit Ghosh

A marketing team that can analyse millions of interactions and segment this feedback along demographic, geographic, behavioural, or psychographic lines will have direct insight into customer needs and wants.

Further overlaying sentiment and emotion analysis on this interaction data will allow marketing teams to devise strategies and campaigns that create a strong emotional connection with their customers.

Thanks to Shorit Ghosh at Clarabridge

Identify How the Customer Information You Gather Can Benefit Other Departments

Both contact centres and marketing departments collect and own a lot of data about prospects and customers, but they are focusing on different life cycle stages and interested in very different data sets.

Marketing want to know how to attract, capture, identify, classify and qualify the prospective customers BEFORE their first-time purchase or ahead of a repurchase from the brand, whereas customer service (the primary user of contact centres) is more focused on how to support, satisfy and retain EXISTING customers.

Both data sets are equally important and nicely complement each other; however, these enterprise functions are often operating in silos.

Both data sets are equally important and nicely complement each other; however, these enterprise functions are often operating in silos. They have different lines of management with distinctive KPIs and business goals.

Customers expect there to be perfect cooperation and data exchange behind the scenes between the enterprise functions and can be really surprised and frustrated when it’s lacking.

Therefore, marketing and customer service need to better integrate the knowledge they have about customers (not just the data). When that happens, brands can deliver better experiences across prospect and customer journeys, leveraging these insights at key engagement moments.

Three Ways to Exchange Useful Customer Information

The first (and most obvious) cooperation opportunity between these departments is a continuous data exchange. However, it is not always easy, as the two functions focus on very different KPIs and metrics.

With this in mind, here are three ways to better share data:

1. Use a Customer Data Platform (CPD) – This platform will hold a data set that could be considered as a “Golden Record”, which covers the 360-degree view of the customer, including current and historic data.

However, these data containers should be purposely designed, always kept up to date and easily consumable by all functions.

The key success factor is to get alignment between the functions of the exchanged data set and the common (consolidated) data format, which enables consistent updates, easy consumption and processing.

2. Consider Real-Time Customer Engagements – Marketing and sales can detect service issues and customer service can capture marketing and sales opportunities.

Consistent and immediate announcements about hot opportunities or service issues can be leveraged across marketing, sales and service to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Ultimately, this could mean decreased reaction times, increased sales conversions, reduced customer churn or lost opportunities, which can lower the cost of sales and service.

Brendan Dykes

Brendan Dykes

3. Leverage Voice of Customer (VoC) Feedback – This often helps identify service and marketing improvement opportunities and enables each function to learn from the same feedback (from different angles).

For example, customer service can fine-tune their support processes and/or the technology stack while marketing can modify their offers or collect future product features.

Thanks to Brendan Dykes at Genesys

Align Values by Reflecting on the Customer Journey

Each department within an organisation often operates head-down on individual tasks and initiatives without evaluating each through the lens of an overarching customer experience strategy.

For that reason, leadership from both customer service and marketing – along with sales and other relevant functions – need to periodically take a step back and set the tone for the organisation’s customer experience strategy.

While each department’s contribution will vary, the overall strategy  should be the compass for day-to-day activities, and ensure the organisation is presenting a cohesive front.

When mapping the customer journey to adhere to certain customer promises and commitments, make sure that these are shared with each department, so it can align its strategy with them.

So, when mapping the customer journey to adhere to certain customer promises and commitments, make sure that these are shared with each department, so it can align its strategy with them.

Offer Job Shadowing Opportunities and Share Goals

It’s easy for customer service and marketing to point fingers when relationships haven’t been built between the functions at all levels of the organisation.

While the executive leaders responsible for each may have a strong working relationship, it’s also helpful that managers and even front-line employees are able to “put a face” on the other function. Two ways to achieve this are through shared goals and job shadowing.

Shared goals –  If your employees participate in an annual or quarterly goal-setting process, work with leaders from other functions to create some mutual goals for your employees.

These joint goals across teams can foster effective working relationships and solve cross-functional business problems.

Job shadowing – Cross-functional job shadowing positively contributes to a culture of understanding.

Lauren Comer

Lauren Comer

It’s natural that every function thinks that its role is more complex and challenging than the other roles in the company. However, once employees from one function shadow another, they have a better appreciation for each other’s processes, challenges and limitations.

Additionally, viewing each other’s processes from an outsider’s perspective often results in the identification of process or communication improvements.

Thanks to Lauren Comer at NICE inContact

Use Interaction Analytics to Improve Marketing Campaigns

By analysing every customer interaction, it is possible to use speech analytics to identify which campaigns words, themes, offers or content have delivered the best conversion – or which trigger negative reactions and problems.

Using this insight, the marketing team design-in success and also help to optimise campaigns while they are live.

This makes it possible to identify campaign elements that are working to effect sales and those that are not – so campaigns can be adjusted mid-campaign to improve conversion and the return on investment (ROI).

To go one step further, you can also analyse what your competitors are doing. For example, one mobile telecoms provider was able to identify that a competitor had just begun a campaign to target their customers to defect.

Frank Sherlock

By spotting this early, the organisation could firstly brief their contact centre staff on how to counter the desire to defect when customers called in – and offer them a contract extension that increased loyalty levels.

Secondly, the marketing team were able to create a defection campaign of their own that had very high levels of conversion.

Thanks to Frank Sherlock at CallMiner

Establish a Shared Focus on Brand Intent

Marketing should guide customer service on what the brand stands for so that customer service can align its policies, people, content, process, and metrics to reinforce the brand rather than detract from it.

For example, if a company has a high-end, high-touch brand strategy, the contact centre should make it easy for customers to escalate to human-assisted service instead of burying chat buttons and customer support phone numbers somewhere deep in its website.

Likewise, the contact centre should focus on metrics such as First-Contact Resolution (FCR) for such a brand rather than Average Handle Time (AHT), which is more suitable for a low-end or value brand.

Inform Marketing of Your Channel Shift Strategy

The contact centre should educate the marketing organisation on any new customer service options that they are offering, as well as what channels they would like the customer to be deflected to.

If the contact centre aims to nudge customers more to self-service or digital channels rather than the phone, they could ask the marketing team find ways to inform the customer of these alternative options.

If the contact centre aims to nudge customers more to self-service or digital channels rather than the phone, they could ask the marketing team find ways to inform the customer of these alternative options, especially if it is they who run the company website.

Heat mapping is one way to use the website to attract the customer to certain channels. This is because if you know where on your website your customers’ eyes are attracted to first, you will have a better idea of where to promote the most effective contact centre channel.

In return, the contact centre could ask marketing if they want to promote any type of deal in the IVR hold queue to increase sales through service.

Collaborate on Areas of Overlap

Marketing and customer service often use technologies such as proactive messaging for various aspects of customer service and engagement.

Anand Subramaniam

Anand Subramaniam

These two departments should not only collaborate with each other, but also with ecommerce or sales groups on cross-functional revenue generation and customer retention campaigns.

Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to the objectives, activities, timelines, content, and metrics of such programmes, for the good of the overall customer experience.

Thanks to Anand Subramaniam at eGain

Collaborate by Using Customer Journey Analytics

Traditionally, each department manages their customer communication and feedback independently which has resulted in a siloed, distorted view of the customer, limiting the influence of the journey they bring to every interaction.

To put an end to this, it is good for organisations to use solutions, such as customer journey analytics, across the two departments – so both departments have a shared view of aggregated customer data from various sources, such as the VoC, CRM, digital, web and mobile.

A thumbnail picture of Kenneth Brisco

Kenneth Briscoe

With visibility into an omnichannel customer journey, both marketing and customer service also gain insight into the “silent majority” of customers who prefer not to provide direct feedback to surveys.

So, customer journey analytics gives both departments increased visibility into past and present journeys to identify customer problems or patterns that may help dictate product improvements or solutions to improve the customer experience.

Thanks to Kenneth Briscoe at NICE 

Share Insights Into Customer Behaviour

Marketing needs a good relationship with the contact centre in order to help it understand clients’ needs. By taking any pain points and what it is about your products and the services that excites customers into consideration, you can find out how to market to them effectively, as well as meet the needs of potential customers.

So how do you gain a better understanding of that customer behaviour? What excites them and what are their challenges?  You can use technology such as a speech analytics tool to gather insight.

Brent Bischoff

Brent Bischoff

Speech analytics can help you uncover all forms of communication, such as calls, emails, text and webchat, to spot pre-defined keywords and expressions that indicate further analysis. This can include mentions of competitor names, pricing and language associated with customer satisfaction or rather dissatisfaction.

By proactively isolating these communications, the contact centre and the marketing team can analyse this data to further enhance the company’s proposition.

Thanks to Brent Bischoff at Business Systems

For more from our panel of experts, read our articles:

Published On: 4th Mar 2019 - Last modified: 29th Mar 2019
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