It’s no secret that historically, the marketing and CX functions in an organization are siloed – each focused on different KPIs and steps in the sales cycle. However, especially as digital channels move to the forefront of customer interactions, it is of utmost importance that the two organizations become aligned. This is because your customers don’t differentiate between “pre-sale experiences” and “post-sale experiences.” When it comes to their relationship with your company, it’s one continuous experience to rule them all. 74% of customers won’t give brands a second chance after a bad experience, and it doesn’t matter where that experience occurs.
But by breaking down those silos and linking impactful marketing and excellent customer service, woven with the common thread of data, you can create loyal brand advocates while creating a potent revenue generator for your business.
Here are a few tactics that CX and marketing leaders can use to break down internal silos, ensuring impactful pre-and-post-sale experiences and loyal, satisfied customers.
Recognize your customers as your best revenue acquisition channel
Let’s start with the power of word-of-mouth advocacy. Every marketer knows this basic principle, but its importance may be overlooked in favor of traditional lead gen. Referrals are among the most valuable sources of high quality leads, and referred customers have 25% higher lifetime value, making customer advocacy a potentially extremely lucrative revenue channel.
Advocacy has a natural connection to the customer service experience, as great CX makes for happy customers. In an ideal scenario, marketing brings in interested customers, CX wows them with excellent service, and a brand advocate is born.
The opposite is also true; with a negative experience, customer detractors also have a strong impact on a brand’s reputation, not to mention sunken costs of the marketing efforts that brought them to the business in the first place.
But how do you implement customer support programs that produce five-star fans every time and smooth the CX transition from pre-sale to post-sale?
Start with reframing your approach to CX. Many businesses still consider the customer service department a cost center instead of a revenue generator. Customers must be at the heart of every business strategy, so keep the focus simple: Solve customer problems and be rewarded with their loyalty.
Be available. Being available when – and where – your customers need you is also critical to building their trust. CX channels are constantly evolving, and brands need to commit to staying competitive. This includes fielding after-hours calls and inquiries on social media, and having plans in place to mitigate hold times during particularly busy times of the year.
Use technology and human agents together strategically. The way in which your CX team connects with customers is just as important as being available to them. AI tools, like chatbots, are excellent at answering certain types of inquiries, but high-value inquiries like cancellations or sizing questions should always go to a human that can help move the sale through or offer an alternative. We call this “value based routing,” meaning that higher value interactions (value defined by the risk of revenue loss and potential of revenue gain) are automatically routed to humans, who can inject rapport and empathy into a conversation to guarantee a successful result for the customer. This is also another way that the CX team can generate revenue.
Invest in and empower your CX human agents. What really makes the difference in customer experience is giving your agents the tools and training needed to solve customer issues. Let their natural empathy work its magic with the full support of your resources.
Leverage CX data and insights to improve marketing
As Dana Klein, DM Digital, North America for a global footwear brand noted for my book, Experience is Everything: “The customer journey is whatever the consumer decides it’s going to be. As a company, it’s our job to be present along the customer journey, to be consistent at every point on that journey, and to engage one-on-one with the consumer as a person.” There is no room for internal disconnect between CX teams and marketers – data can help fill in some of those blanks.
Marketers go to great lengths to understand their customer’s needs so they can reach them with messages that resonate and inspire action. Luckily, CX teams are already receiving valuable real-time customer feedback that can be used to fine-tune marketing messages and even discover new angles or personas. Sharing this data empowers your marketing team to use budget strategically, understand what messages are working, and give insights into untapped markets.
The tricky part is effectively managing large amounts of customer data. It’s important for CX leaders to create data protocols that focus on quality and accuracy. This ensures that the information tells the real story of how customers are interacting with your company.
This naturally leads to the question of what KPIs are best when it comes to CX and marketing. I recommend starting with one of the most powerful but underused CX metrics: Customer Effort Score (CES).
CES is used to understand how easy (or difficult) it was to get their question answered or request fulfilled. It provides insight into the “why” behind low customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score ratings, plus the barriers that need to be removed in order to drive loyalty and happiness.
According to Gartner, customer effort is the strongest driver of consumer loyalty – or disloyalty. Their research found that reducing customer effort has a proven relationship to higher-level goals in an organization, such as maintaining loyalty and minimizing service costs. Additionally, customers with a high-effort service experience are much more likely to stop using the company altogether and spread negative word of mouth. Gartner’s 2020 Loyalty Through Customer Service and Support Survey once again reported 96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction are likely to switch to another provider, compared with only 9% who experience low-effort interactions.
CES data should also be considered gold for marketers. It will help pinpoint the exact areas in the customer journey that are either accelerating or hindering the growth of passionate brand advocates. When it comes to fostering a thriving customer community – which is becoming essential in the era of lifestyle brands – CES can be your north star… or canary in the goldmine.
Marketing is already a data-driven function of a business. Using CX insights to strengthen messaging will make your marketing initiatives more effective, and your marketing dollars go further. Having the ability to know exactly what your customers love about your brand allows your communications team to shape a powerful story they need to make connections with customers, drive leads, and generate conversions – backed by data. Using data to foster cross-team collaboration in turn improves the customer journey throughout its entire lifecycle.
It’s time to recognize that marketing and CX are complementary pillars in the full lifecycle of your customer – from pre-sale to post-sale. After all, your best marketing campaign is only as strong as your CX strategy.