Published: February 27, 2014 | Comments
As a marketer, I love the process of building a great brand. It’s about communicating a company’s core values and unique identity through messaging that resonates with customers. But in today’s social media environment, all of that brand-building flies out the window when a customer problem is ignored online. People are flocking to platforms like Twitter and Facebook to engage directly with companies, and aren’t shy about letting the world know the good, the bad, and the ugly of the support experience they receive. This online customer sentiment is more powerful than any advertising or marketing campaign, which means today’s brands are being defined by customer experience.
It’s a reality that marketers better come to terms with quickly. According to Gartner, failure to respond to inquiries on social channels can lead to a 15 percent increase in existing customer churn rate. So we know social customer relationship management (CRM) is critical – but who is in the best position to own it? Traditionally, marketing teams have managed social assets. The idea is to extend corporate messaging across online channels, which as a marketer, warms my heart. But there’s a fatal flaw - marketers simply aren’t equipped to handle the one-to-one customer interactions that are so essential to a company’s bottom line.
People expect personalized service, and that requires context. Like any relationship, customers bring a history to each conversation, and they expect company representatives to know who they are, and what they need. How long have they been a customer? What previous challenges have they experienced? What products have they purchased? What other social interactions have taken place? As the centralized hub for customer support, the contact center is the no-brainer choice to lead these conversations.
The key to empowering social CRM success in the contact center is information sharing. Social sentiment data should be integrated and play nice with every other piece of critical customer service data. Agents need one holistic view of the entire customer relationship, and today’s cloud contact center solutions are designed to seamlessly integrate social data with CRM, billing, and scheduling tools, paving the way for personalized, consistent customer experiences. And when social discussions warrant a different communications channel, modern contact center solutions enable agents to seamlessly move the conversation to phone or chat to expedite resolution.
Good marketers never lose sight of what customers want, and in today’s online age, they want responsive, informed social service. The only way to deliver that is through the contact center. So I call on my marketing colleagues to stand down, and let contact center agents do what they do best. Your CEOs will thank you.