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Customer service IS marketing

8th Jun 2017
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There is a lot of talk out there about the supposed convergence between advertising technology and marketing technology. And there are certainly some interesting opportunities. But, that doesn’t interest me as much as the impending convergence between customer service and marketing. Because customer service IS marketing.

Marketing, in my opinion, is in charge of creating the proper user experience, start to finish, for the customer. Just a few years ago, that mostly meant that marketing controlled only outbound focused events, but today, the inbound effort is just as critical as marketing’s outbound reach. The customer experience is not only about getting to a purchase, it is about the delivery, use and ongoing loyalty of a customer as well -- which inevitably creeps into customer service.

Adaptive marketers – those who are committed to staying one step ahead of individual customers with the right message no matter where or when they interact -- are starting to work more closely with their customer service counterparts to create a more positive customer experience across the board. Some really cool examples include:

  • Passing data from a web visit into the call center so that the rep can immediately help the caller. Sort of pick up where they left off on the site.
  • Upsell offers presented to the call center agents based on the trip already booked or they are booking at the time.
  • Post purchase surveys sent asking the customer to rate the experience. (NOTE: some of these include cross sell offers too).

It is a trend that we are we seeing more and more, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to accomplish. Often, there are lines that companies struggle to cross internally to get an initiative like this started. For you marketers out there who want to get started on this, here are some thoughts on how to start up the conversation.

  1. Do some quick customer analysis that helps illustrate the point. For example, by passing data from the web interaction into the call center; in one real example, a client marketer was able to increase customer renewals by 35% in the first month.  
  2. Hold a meeting with your customer service counterparts and ask them how it might work with their system. Engage them in the solution to this problem.
  3. Start planning – and start asking: What data is needed? Who has it? How do we come up with the rules of engagement? What is the measure of success?
  4. Execute. Together, as a team.

The key here is to get started. Like I said, that’s not always as simple as it sounds. But the opportunities are out there in your “eco-system".  Start with small victories that pay off for both customer service and marketing, building a bridge of success between them.  Help customer service get data-smart, and show the connection between data, their success and the bottom line.

The marketing and customer service convergence is a direct route to improving customer experience. Yes, data is the glue that holds this sometimes complex relationship together with insights that drive action on both inbound and outbound fronts. But the customer’s focus is just on their experience: recognition, receiving the right offer at the right time and feeling valued by a well-orchestrated team that puts them first.  And that is customer service done right.


Jeff Hassemer is chief strategy officer at Alterian, an Adaptive Customer Experience company where marketers gain the power to maximize customer opportunity in milliseconds, allowing brands to stay one step ahead of individual customers with the right message no matter where or when they interact.

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