Why CMOs should invest in their customer service teams


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At the end of Feb 2022, Accenture released a new research report called: End-to-Endless Customer Service.

The research surveyed 2,030 service leaders, 13,327 B2C customers and 3,248 B2B customers across 133 countries and 14 different industries. It sought to understand how businesses view customer service and how many use service delivery as an opportunity to create value for both customers and companies.

The headline finding of the research was that one in five companies surveyed now views service as a value center. In addition, those who do so experience more than triple the revenue growth of companies still managing service as a cost center.

The report says that this move is prefaced with a “mindset shift around customer service—from treating it as a problem-solving function and a cost center to viewing it as value creation function responsible for delivering memorable customer experiences.”

However, this mindset shift is supported by greater investment in customer service, with the faster-growing companies reporting that they are spending, on average, 0.5% more of their revenue on customer service.

Putting this into context, Gartner found that in 2020 CMOs reported that they were working to expected budgets that averaged 11% of their total revenue. So, in a company with $100 million in sales, say, that would equate to an extra budget invested in customer service of $500,000 per year.

Many in the customer service and experience world will welcome these findings. For years, they have been advocating that customer service, help, and support should no longer be viewed as a cost center. Instead, they argue, it should be considered a value-adding part of any business and, if done well, plays a massive role in developing strong and healthy relationships with customers.

Despite these research results, however, the reality for many in customer service will be that lobbying for an increased budget and an increase in the overall operating budget is likely to face stiff opposition, particularly from the CFO’s office.

In lieu of that, here’s what I would like to see happen.

It’s fair to say that most CMOs generally have one of the largest budgets in any organization. Given that, I would like to see more CMOs take some of their budget, equivalent to 0.5% of total revenue, say, and invest it into customer service.

This investment should, as Accenture suggests, go to initiatives that will:

  1. Grow trust through increased levels of both proactive and predictive service,
  2. Grow usage through greater personalized and contextually relevant assistance to help customers get the most value from their purchases, and
  3. Grow possibility by gathering and leveraging insights to help with the product and service innovation process.

CMOs investing in customer service is not far fetched.

The most progressive CMOs already consider the contact center an engagement and loyalty hub and invest some of their budget to improve service delivery.

Personally, I’d like to see much, much more of this.

In fact, I’d like to see CMOs go further and change the way they use their budgets, so they become like internal VCs funding projects, particularly in the understanding, service and engagement space so that it helps improve the overall experience of both the customer and the people that look after them.

Contact centers have long been asking for more funds, support, and help.

So, could this be a way to help with that and, at the same time, foster closer cross-functional working and the breaking down of those silos that hold up and impede many customer engagement initiatives?

This post was originally published on Forbes.com.

Thanks to Nature_Design on Pixabay for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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