In an era of increased competition, smart brands are taking to a new battleground in a bid to win more customers. That battleground is customer experience.
These brands know that today’s empowered consumers can – and will – demand more from the companies they engage with, and so it is vital that they are putting customer experience at the heart of their business. Some have even gone as far as to appoint a Chief Customer Officer, whose sole job is to ensure the satisfaction of customers both old and new.
Of course, not all companies have the resource or necessary scale to appoint a Chief Customer Officer. But, if brands are to stake their claims on customer loyalty - and attract more consumers through excellent customer service – it is vital that they understand who has responsibility for delivering second to none customer experiences.
And yet, research from software company Calabrio shows that this is not currently the case. In fact, the research suggests that almost one-third of senior marketers feel confused about who takes responsibility for customer experience in their business and that this is a key challenge in their job.
Ultimately, it’s up to individual companies to decide where the responsibility for customer experience lies. But, it’s clear that marketers do have a big role to play in building great customer service. As a marketing expert, your job isn’t simply to sell products and move on. Rather, a marketer’s work also involves distinguishing their company from competition, building loyalty among customers, and ultimately, driving sales – all of which can be achieved through fantastic customer service.
Adapting to the new brand battleground can be a challenge for many companies, but it’s a prime opportunity for digital marketers to flex their muscles and help build big brand love. What then, should customer-savvy marketers bear in mind?
A digital balance
Great customer service is all about offering the right mix of channels at the right times. Customer experience still – and always will – demand some person-to-person interaction. This is particularly relevant when dealing with trickier or more sensitive topics, where customers will want the reassurance that comes with a voice at the end of the phone.
But while it’s important to keep tried and test channels such as voice open, it’s important brands don’t shy away from evolving how they engage with customers.
Tech-savvy and time-poor consumers are increasingly turning to digital options to manage their problems – and web chat and self-serve models are a smart way of efficiently and easily offering the service they require.
To help keep up with this increasingly tech-savvy customer base, marketers must work closely with customer experience teams to help drive this digital innovation forward – and give customers the freedom to contact brands when and how is most convenient for them.
The Social Network
A huge part of this digital innovation focuses on how brands can make the most of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to interact with their customers.
Using social channels for customer experience is a huge opportunity to build an intuitive and personalised connection with the customer. Encouraging your brand to use a friendly and conversational tone of voice on social – including emojis or text speak where appropriate – will help show the personality behind the business and build brand affinity.
Social media can also help temperature check customer sentiment towards an organisation. The nature of these platforms means they attract open and honest opinions, whether these are negative or positive. As well as making sure these posts are dealt with quickly and effortlessly, digital marketers must also make sure any feedback or issues are fed back to the business – ensuring a feedback loop across departments.
Integrating analytics into the mix
More and more often, data is being used to manage many day-to-day customer interactions, but it can also help inform back-office processes and business intelligence.
Analytics tools, for example, are a great example of the way technology and humans can work together to deliver the best customer experience. By methodically gathering insights from each of a brand’s touchpoints – including social - analytics tools can capture, measure and analyse the customer journey, allowing brands to develop the insights needed to improve business results.
As a digital marketer, you will be familiar with many analytics programmes, and know how useful they can be to help inform business decisions. Work with other stakeholders in the business to extend the use of analytics to customer service, and help ensure businesses are accurately tracking and anticipating consumer demand as a result.
While the steps outlined above will form the backbone of a great customer experience strategy, it isn’t often as easy as 1,2,3. But by prioritising customer service, businesses will reap the rewards – and digital marketers can have an important role to play in helping to build brand reputation and secure long-term loyalty.
By James Eyre, VP marketing director at Firstsource Solutions
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