Recently, we had interesting conversation with the senior executive in charge of customer service at a major client of ours. This client uses our Precision email product to communicate with their customers on service issues, such as outages, delivery, scheduling of service calls, etc.
In this case, email is used as an operational tool. The marketing department of the same company was interested in using the same email tool for their marketing communications. They liked the tool and felt there would be advantages in using the same platform as customer service. Much to our surprise, the head of customer service flat out refused to let marketing share the platform. It was his feeling that marketing would over communicate to the customer base and as a result, the really important (in his view) operational messages would get lost. We tried to get him to understand that marketing was going to go get a vendor and do send emails out anyway and he would be better off sharing a platform and having some visibility into their communication volume than being uncoordinated and appearing dysfunctional to the customer. For example, marketing messages could be suppressed when a specific customer or a segment of customers was suffering an outage or other service related issue. The services manager would not be swayed. Marketing went their separate way.
Was this just an extreme case of this manager being extremely territorial and not seeing the big picture? Or was it a genuine concern based on a grounded fear that marketing tended to overuse outbound messaging and saturate customers? It is probably a combination of both. As I said in an earlier blog, marketers need to be much more careful and mindful about how they communicate with customers. Too often, quantity seems to trump relevance and the marketer’s schedule and convenience seems to matter more than the customer’s preference. Really paying heed to customer’s preferences by setting up a preference center that truly offers the customer choices of what, when and where they hear from a company can make a difference in how customers experience and perceive a brand and company. It can improve response rates. Finally, it may help marketers gain a little more respect internally, from their colleagues in other functions, particularly those that touch customers, such as sales or customer service.