Why Social Media Customer Service And Marketing Should Be Connected
It’s fairly well-known that workplace silos at the corporate level can significantly weaken your company’s approach to both marketing and customer service. A recent Forrester research project conducted by Ian Jacobs and Erna Alfred Liousas has identified this as being one of the major hurdles for large companies.
The bottom line of their report makes it clear that when companies fail to address departmental silos, the big losers are customers, and when customers lose out, the impact is correspondingly felt by the corporation itself.
Management of the social media channels is rapidly developing as a means of handling customer expectations and maintaining relationships, and this in turn is applying significant pressure to those teams responsible for social media management. By aligning the objectives of marketing and customer service, a much more consistent experience can be provided to consumers, and brands have much better control over the entire consumer experience.
Below are described some of the most powerful benefits which accrue to companies that have the foresight to make a strong connection between their marketing and customer service efforts.
Holistic customer view
Obviously, customers don’t care at all about any organizational silos which exist in your company. What they do care about is not being treated like stranger every time personnel from different departments in your company reach out to them.
By uniting the efforts of customer service and marketing, a more holistic view of the customer can be obtained, and they can be made to feel like part of a large family.
Customer service and support will be the department in the company that has a full history of customer interactions, so that it’s unnecessary to repeatedly ask customers for information already provided.
Marketing personnel are aware of other valuable information about customers, such as why they have contacted the company, and what their needs and desires are. When these two bodies of information are combined, a more complete view of each customer can be obtained, and a much smoother interaction becomes possible.
Silo breakdown through technology
Technology is one of the best strategies for breaking down silos between departments. In the past, companies have lacked a unified interface or management tool for controlling the numerous company personnel who have access to the social media, and use them daily for influencing customers. Now however, there are a number of tools readily available which can be used to control any of these social media accounts and manage them in a unified way, which crosses departmental lines.
This allows a company to have a broad view of all customers on social media, maintaining valuable information on history and influence. You can also have a strong visibility for any planned content, potential collaboration among teams, group workflows, and the sharing of important asset libraries used by the company.
Once a company has the technology to manage their social media channels, it becomes a matter of deciding whether customer service or marketing will address specific kinds of interactions on any given channel. Generally speaking, marketing would have a more proactive approach, which emphasizes brand awareness and lead generation and conversion. Customer-service would be more reactive, handling customer complaints and issues.
Consistent brand voice
In order for any company to live up to its brand values, especially as they are conveyed through the social media, there must be a strong linkage between marketing and customer support. Marketing is generally responsible for being the voice of the company, and it’s up to customer service to strongly support that voice in any ways available.
Both teams are highly experienced in dealing with customers and with prospects, so it becomes very important for a unified voice to be presented to all those customers and potential customers.
Marketing personnel must communicate with customers in a way that matches how customer service actually responds, and customer service must match their actions to the core values being proclaimed by the marketing team.
Uniform customer experience
Every touchpoint in a company should provide the same kind of customer interaction, so that a customer or potential customer has a unified customer experience, regardless of which department they’re dealing with. This is just as true in the social media as it would be for person-to-person phone calls, because no matter how a customer makes contact with the company, he/she should be able to anticipate the same kind of treatment from every customer representative.
This in fact, can be used as a selling point by the company, to guarantee that all customers will always receive the best possible experience when dealing with company personnel.
When marketing and customer service personnel are on the same page, better planning for both departments can be achieved. Any messages which are planned to be conveyed to consumers can be formulated well ahead of time, either for daily contacts or for important company announcements.
Spontaneous messages can also be coordinated much better, to treat events which pop up and are worth commenting about. With strong coordination between marketing and customer service, your brand’s general response can be much smarter and much better planned.
When your customer service team is given access to the upcoming social media calendar, they will be able to plan their resources better, they can consider response language ahead of time, and they can even prepare frequently asked questions to help users. Marketing personnel can keep customer service apprised of any major brand events or upcoming posts, and both teams come out way ahead of the game.
When customer service and marketing teams are working well together, they can be mutually supportive, which can be a very powerful positive for any company. The marketing team will generally have a good grasp of any major trends on the social media, so they can work with customer service to keep them informed of prevailing user opinions and trends.
Customer service can identify possible public relations threats and keep marketing informed about them, so that both groups can prepare before it better. Customer service can also let marketing personnel know what kind of messaging is most effective, and when messages are falling short of achieving their objectives.