The Role of Customer Service in Marketing

Expectations of customer experiences have matured over time, and today’s consumers demand consistent, positive and streamlined experiences through all channels. Big-name companies like Apple and Amazon have raised consumer expectations, becoming market leaders in the process. Now, marketing executives’ chief concern is improving the customer experience, as it has become the top differentiator among brands, surpassing even product quality and services offered.

To ensure that customers have a superior experience, many forward-thinking companies are evolving from the traditional, independent marketing and customer service functions to a collaborative combination. Companies that fail to grow similarly will risk consequences, especially now that social media provides a platform for opinionated consumers and influential voices. Today, the role of customer service in marketing is to ensure that companies meet the expectations they set consistently.

Traditional Roles of Customer Service and Marketing Teams

After a communication exchange, marketing and customer service teams have traditionally operated in sequence where marketing hands off to customer service. Customer service converted responses to purchases and addressed customer issues and complaints.

In many organizations, customer service has been an afterthought. However, customer service is critical because it is the direct connection between customers and a business. As a result, it has an substantial stake in the customer experience (CX) and several key performance indicators (KPIs), including customer lifetime value, retention rate and churn rate.

The silo approach to customer service and marketing is a failing one. Since CX is about brand perception, every interaction a customer has with the company must be aligned. Benefits, brand messaging, offers and pricing all must be consistent throughout traditional channels (television and print advertising), digital media (websites and social platforms) and customer service channels (online chatbots and service center phone lines).

Marketing strategies and company organizations must foster a seamless experience turning buyers into loyal customers and loyal customers into brand evangelists.

How Convergence Improves the Customer Experience and Aids Retention

According to Salesforce, “customers expect consistent interactions across departments.” Convergence of customer service with marketing is about breaking down department silos, opening internal communication and eliminating customer frustrations. For example, customers despise re-explaining information to different representatives or explaining what marketing offered to a customer service representative.

Here are a few ways that marketing and service alignment can improve the customer experience and retention:

Personification of the brand image: Marketing communications create and develop a brand image, but it is just as essential to make that image memorable in customers’ minds when they contact the company. Direct engagements make it easier and more efficient to positively shape perceptions, which explains why 70% of consumers say they have already decided to support a brand with an excellent customer service reputation.

Consistency of marketing messages: According to the Salesforce State of the Connected Consumer report, 78% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. When marketing and customer service teams align messaging and key information, consumers trust the brand.

Integration of customer data and feedback: Marketing and customer service metrics describe related activities, yet there are barriers to sharing key performance indicators (KPI) and anecdotal information that tell the story of customers’ journeys. By sharing data and customer feedback, companies can correct CX issues and learn what’s effective and what needs improvement.

Optimization of customer touchpoints: Customers are individuals with unique preferences and needs. Aligned customer service and marketing functions share data on customer preferences and which channels result in more robust response and conversion rates.

Automation and streamlining of work: Companies can either simplify or automate tasks in processes, including customer onboarding, issue resolution and campaign approvals.

How Marketers Can Implement Customer Service in their Strategies

Here are a few specific ways marketers can use customer service skills in their marketing strategies:

Content creation: Develop more compelling marketing communications that factor in the customer service experience as part of the selling proposition. For example, some people argue that one reason to use AT&T wireless over competitors is its superior customer experience in stores.

Development of customer personas: These are fleshed-out portrayals of prospective customers as actual people, enabling marketers to create more engaging materials and customer service scripts. When marketing and customer service have conversations about “Jessica, the teen TikTok video creator” or “Mike, the senior, experienced jetsetter,” it is much easier to develop resonant marketing campaigns and cater to the interests of real people throughout the customer journey.

Digital and social media customer support: Integrate customer service support personnel into the digital marketing channels through which customers engage, such as chat functions on websites and social media. Customers expect brands’ channels to help them gain product knowledge, resolve issues and address their questions and complaints.

Organizations typically begin the alignment process by training personnel to implement united marketing techniques. They also schedule training sessions and meetings that solicit input from both functions and enable professionals to develop shared objectives. Graduates of the Fitchburg State University Master of Business Administration in Marketing online program are prepared to step into these situations and help in the convergence of customer service and marketing.

Learn more about Fitchburg State University’s online Master of Business Administration in Marketing program.

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