Julian is an entrepreneur, advisor, board member and writer. He’s also co-founder of Shaw/Scott, Sageflo and Nfluence Analytics.
As marketers, we tend to focus on supporting customers up to the point of sale but then pass the customer experience baton to other teams once a sale is complete. This is a missed opportunity to not only drive more sales but enhance the overall customer experience and foster ongoing customer loyalty throughout their entire journey.
All one has to do is look at the comments section of any commerce website to see that, when an issue arises, there is often a significant disconnect between the intended customer experience and actual customer satisfaction. While customers are often happy to share on social media and talk about purchased products and related brand experiences, unfortunately, it’s even more so the case when something goes wrong. Whether they express their dissatisfaction through ratings, reviews or word-of-mouth, once the damage is done, it is hard to undo, even if the issue is ultimately resolved to their satisfaction.
It’s often said that people are much more likely to mention a bad experience with a brand to others than they are to talk about a good experience.
This means marketing and customer experience teams must work together to get ahead of poor customer interactions. As an example, one particularly neglected area by marketers is what happens when something goes wrong with a marketing touchpoint, such as when a customer cannot find a promo code they were sent, needs a confirmation email re-sent or has a question about a specific marketing communication — whether text, email or direct mail. Despite many advancements of the major marketing platforms, the simple task of retrieving a previously sent personalized marketing communication within the contact center is remarkably hard to accomplish, despite there being tools readily available to do just this. The issue in simplest terms is specific to dynamic personalization. A brand may send out one campaign to a million subscribers using just one template, but each of those subscribers will receive a completely unique version based on personalized dynamic content. It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack when you are trying to track down one email among millions without the right tools and processes in place. Often brands have to re-create the email based on the data that drove the personalization just to figure out the issue.
However, by coordinating with your customer care and experience peers across your organization, you can start to jointly tackle these types of customer issues. Here are three recommendations based on my company’s experience and interactions with brands:
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1. Work together to create a consistent experience across all interactions and channels.
Customers don’t differentiate between internal department hierarchies, and neither should you. From social media, website, physical locations and customer care, it’s only one team to them, and any one of them can negate all the hard work of the others. This means that teams should not only check in with each other, but they should actively work together toward common goals and benchmarks that ensure a consistent customer experience that creates joint accountability.
2. Errors and issues are inevitable — it’s how you jointly handle them that makes all the difference.
Map out the most common customer pain points across your organization and create processes and guidelines to not only mitigate but effectively and efficiently resolve common issues. This will help to empower your colleagues across the organization and ensure increased customer satisfaction and future sales.
3. Investing in the right tools can make all the difference.
The reality for most marketers is that they are already overwhelmed with too many technical solutions that are costly and often poorly utilized. However, there are a lot of up-and-coming solutions out there that are reasonably priced, easy to use and complement your current technology stack, which warrants the initial research and investment. The right investments in your customer experience will always pay off.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s very expensive to retain existing customers, but even more costly to acquire new ones. The smart money is spent on ensuring a positive and consistent customer experience across all channels so when something does go wrong, it’s an opportunity to deepen the relationship. New processes, guidelines and technical solutions are almost useless without team collaboration leading the way. Breaking old corporate habits and barriers is not easy, but once you collectively agree that a consistent customer experience must come first, it will be that much easier to then work together and make the necessary changes. Another benefit aside from improved customer experiences and sales is that when you break down the artificial barriers between internal teams, everyone across the board tends to be more engaged, motivated and ultimately successful.
As they say, happy employees mean happy customers!
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Author: Julian Scott, Forbes Councils Member