Irina Jakovleva discusses the importance of the relationship between marketing and customer care, while focusing on the customer journey.
It’s clear that many organisations do not have formal relationships established between customer care and marketing. If we are serious about addressing customer needs in a timely manner, we need to truly align these groups.
Not fully convinced? Here’s my case for stronger customer care/marketing integration:
The Traditional Customer Journey
Let’s envision a traditional linear customer journey. Marketing sources a new lead, converts them into a sales-ready prospect, then hands them over to the sales team. The sales team turns the prospect into a customer, and then the customer gets transferred into the hands of the service delivery team.
Once project implementation happens, the customer care team would “adopt” the customer and support their needs going forward.
From a marketer’s perspective, I had full control of keeping a prospect engaged and happy at the pre-purchase stage, lost half of that control when handing over to sales, and then completely gave up control at the implementation stage. By the time the prospect reached the customer care stage, I had no insight into daily interactions with customers.
Some marketers simply have yet to invest the time and energy required to fully explore and understand this phase because the majority of investment and resourcing has been applied to pre-purchase customer experience.
This model is clearly not ideal for building unified and consistent customer experience (CX), and the gap between functions needs to be bridged.
The Modern Customer Journey
The digital transformation is pushing brands to adapt and evolve traditional customer care approaches to truly make them an integral part of the larger customer experience.
Whether we like it or not, the modern customer expects instant gratification when they encounter an issue, and they are savvy enough to find their own answers. This means logging a request and receiving an auto-response stating that someone will be in touch within 24 hours gives them more time to find other options— including in your competitors’ backyard.
Companies need to rethink how to manage expectations and address customer needs in real time.
The good news: plenty of tools and technologies exist that can be integrated into customer care’s charter, resulting in stronger CX.
The challenge: one team cannot manage these tools in a silo.
Let’s use live chat as an example. Customer care owns and mans the chat, right? However, chat has to be integrated into the website, and marketing traditionally owns and manages website infrastructure. Clearly, there is an interdependency between these teams in order to successfully execute a seamless CX.
Additionally, as a marketer, I realise the customer care team has a tremendous amount of insight and anecdotal evidence that marketing can use to be even more effective in understanding our customers.
The Million Dollar Question
Who owns the entire CX? Marketing? Customer care? The Chief Marketing Officer? The Customer Experience Officer (CXO)? Several teams? While organisations are figuring out the big picture, we can proactively apply a modern approach to customer care, which includes marketing as part of the process.
The message to my customer care colleagues is that it’s time for customer care and marketing to be friends! While I don’t believe marketing should take full ownership of customer care, because honestly – we don’t know how to do your job – we should align quickly, outline all customer touchpoints in the post-purchase CX phase and figure out how to play an equal part in making each other successful to provide more benefits to our customers.
Our collaborative efforts will not go unnoticed – trust me!
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