Marketing Week recently carried a major feature exploring how marketing professionals should be taking control of the customer service function in their company.
The article was quoting research undertaken by Deloitte and Salesforce where 228 global marketing heads were questioned about their changing role. 38% of these marketing leaders indicated that customer service was now entering their area of responsibility, but almost a quarter of them felt unprepared to take on this new role.
The study suggests that inadequate customer service can impede revenue growth, so there is a real need to get this right. But how?
In most companies there has been a very traditional split between marketing and customer service activities because marketing was a pro-active and strategic activity aimed at changing public perception of the brand. Customer service was always seen as a reactive service, essentially just supporting customers post-sale, but this has radically changed.
Customers are now demanding information before sales; they are checking review sites and comparing prices online. All these channels are directly influencing sales and therefore starting to become a part of the marketing process.
Customers are blogging about purchases and making review videos. Unhappy customers can publish their opinion and get it shared globally within minutes. Managing this feedback is bigger than just operating a service where complaints can be phoned in.
Customer service is itself changing the way companies are structured. If the marketing heads in some of the biggest companies in the world are confused then just imagine how leaders in smaller companies feel.
I foresee a complete blending of marketing and customer service in future. After all, if marketing is about influencing how customers feel about your brand then hasn’t it always been linked to customer services?
Leave a comment here or tweet me your opinion on @juliagibbs1
Photo by Rajesh Pamnani licensed under Creative Commons