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The business magazine Inc recently posted an interesting story on the convergence of marketing and customer service. The subheading on the story said: “No one calls up a customer service representative to air grievances. Instead they post a review!”
Anyone involved in managing the customer experience has known this for a long time now. The Inc story uses the #McDStories case as an example. McDonald’s asked customers to use the #McDStories hashtag to share great stories about their restaurant experiences. Of course, it was hijacked as people used the hashtag to report negative experiences.
This has happened to so many brands, artists and politicians now that it is a wonder that brands still run these campaigns. A marketing manager once asked me how he could delete all the negative comments using a hashtag associated with his company and he could not believe that he could not remove the comments.
Inc believes that to avoid all these problems around disconnected messages, you need to blend your marketing and customer service functions. But how can this best be achieved? There are really three steps:
Merge the budget: it might be tough, but these teams need to be working together and that means the cash has to be shared.
Stay consistent: all channels, all the time, all need to have the same message.
Strike a balance: think about how marketing, PR, and customer service fit together for your business. How can they support each other as an integrated function?
Many companies are facing a large upheaval, but it’s essential, as the way that customers relate to brands has changed dramatically. You cannot keep teams that work with customers separate from each other today.
What do you think of marketing and customer service convergence?
Operating in a digital environment requires the expertise of both the marketing and customer service teams. Businesses can no longer afford to operate in silos if they want to succeed – it’s time for positive change.