Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Marketing and Customer Service are Butting Heads

July 11, 2014

As businesses continue to expand their views on call centers -- namely their key role in driving revenue through customer satisfaction -- they are allowing such departments to integrate themselves with other core elements of business operations.

Specifically, customer service is pairing off with marketing to provide a one-two punch that targets consumer’s needs and solidifies brand image and loyalty. Customer service representatives speak to consumers to solve their problems and provide them with answers to their questions regarding business operations, and marketers advertise their business’s goods and services to keep those consumers informed about new and updated products; at least, that is how their traditional roles define them.

These two entities are now meeting with one another to discuss strategies because their roles are so closely linked. However, they are butting heads because customer ownership is getting in the way. As a recent CMO Australia article points out, there is a lack of clarification regarding the exact boundaries between these departments. The article quotes Melissa Hamilton, CEO of Stellar, a contact center provider, who commented on the nature of this collaboration and one of its common links -- social media:

"We deliver social media services to our clients and marketing is now sitting at the table as we go through these processes," Hamilton said. "Marketing wasn't there historically, but today we're seeing these teams involved in decisions about customer support channels in 60 to 70 per cent of client engagements. That change has occurred as recently as 18 months ago."

Duncan Bryce, general manager of strategy and marketing at Direct Connect, another contact center services provider, spoke about a similar trend in his own experience:

"Two or three years ago, marketing would have had no view on the customer experience piece," Bryce said. "Now, marketing is highly involved."

Bryce explained the example of text messages that, in his organization, marketers handle -- rather than customer service representatives -- to ensure that his brand's message is consistent. Of course, he says, when this began there was customer relations representatives were hesitant to give up their long-held responsibility.

The two groups are learning to coexist, however. They are sitting in the same meeting rooms and trying to figure out which roles and responsibilities are best for each group. They are finding common connections in social media, and elements such as texting services are switching hands to look out for brand identity.

That is, perhaps, the way it will continue. Marketers have historically been in charge of brand identity -- they create advertisements and the like -- while customer services has been responsible for catering to the immediate needs of customers, who require their problems resolved regarding, for instance, financial or product services. The fact that some marketers are taking over texting and other similar services should come as no surprise, but employees should also expect some small turf wars to continue until the dust settles and roles become solidified once again. Hopefully they will solidify as a result of their cooperation.

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