As businesses seek to compete on CX, marketers increasingly leverage customer problem resolution to offer a positive brand experience that leads to increased satisfaction and loyalty and potentially, sales. In effect, this approach integrates marketing and customer service in the ways that customer relationship management (CRM) always promised.
For years, marketers have focused on adding new customers with methods like social media, content and outbound interruption. Recently, we’ve seen a decisive shift in focus to providing existing customers with personalized support experiences. Gartner’s 2017-2018 CMO Spend Survey indicates that, after several years of increases, marketing budgets for capturing new customers are recoiling. CMOs surveyed by Gartner are choosing to focus budgets on existing customers.
For instance, many big brand marketing plans are less focused on disruptive outbound marketing and more focused on how to leverage and engage inbound communications. This is especially relevant in categories where traditional advertising is ineffective or industries where advertising is highly regulated. For brands operating in these kinds of spaces, interaction with existing customers is one of the few real touchpoints they have to drive growth.
Messaging apps offer ways of engaging the customer at key moments of truth and can have an amplified effect on building the brand
On the frontlines of customer service, we’re seeing an increase in brands that want to operationalize how they engage through instant messaging channels. It’s no secret that rich, responsive interactions (e.g., polls, video, chat, live streaming) drive engagement. Gartner indicates that messaging apps have become incredibly “sticky” with users, with 72 percent of mobile messenger survey respondents using the app at least once per day. Savvy marketers are leveraging both public and private social apps, seeking personalized conversations with consumers as they move about, and layering on chatbots and AI.
A United Kingdom-based nutrition and sustenance client is using WhatsApp to build relationships and enable customers to keep interactions on their devices for future reference. This forward-thinking company apparently lives by one of Sir Richard Branson’s suppositions – “A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better.” Making your customers’ lives easier by providing a convenient, comfortable communications channel delivers on that purpose and meets customers where they are.
The business results speak for themselves with customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores of 90% and a substantial Net Promoter increase. Most importantly, positive word of mouth is driving brand growth by creating an army of brand ambassadors through positive customer interactions.
In a time when consumers have less time and more brand options to choose from, leveraging channels that a customer is already using to resolve issues and making those interactions a positive brand experience is one of the most effective ways to seamlessly engage with today’s consumer.
Deftly managing inbound customer requests creates opportunities for business growth for companies that have barriers to traditional advertising techniques
Not all companies are able to touch consumers through traditional advertising. Marketers in highly-regulated industries who face this challenge can turn to integrated, multi-channel communication approaches to connect with customers who were once unreachable.
One of the most successful ways to bridge gaps in marketing planning is to create more opportunity for direct consumer engagement. Opening the door to creating positive customer interaction successfully expands a company’s network, spreads the company message via word-of-mouth and leads to new business opportunity.
An example of this is when a leading regulated consumer brand ran a promotion that allowed consumers to submit their own photography for an opportunity to win prizes, including trips around the world. This method yielded great success, with nearly 1 million customer submissions in a six-week period of time.
Customers with successfully resolved issues are more likely to interact or transact with that brand again
It’s well known that successfully addressing a customer’s needs positively affects customer satisfaction, loyalty and sales. In 2015, a Forbes article proclaimed that “Customer Experience Is the Future of Marketing.” The author, Seth Godin, noted that, “Customers equate brands with experiences. From customer service to the digital journey to retail ambiance, our association with a brand is based on how it makes us feel.” Godin also believes that feelings are at the crux of providing a great CX. He states, “The only purpose of ‘customer service’ is to change feelings. Not the facts, but the way your customer feels…” Improving the CX, then, requires a dose of good marketing. That’s why Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shouts from the rooftops when his company wins top marks for customer service―he knows it leads to sales.
The blending of marketing and CX is not a new concept. All signs point to the need to overcome cross-departmental obstacles to become corporately customer-obsessed. The first wall to smash is the artificial separation between customer service and marketing to ensure the brand experience is truly integrated.