Customer Service Is the New Marketing

Sprinklr’s Arun Pattabhiraman explains how brands can close the gap between these two functions.

Happy customers make for a strong brand. Companies that provide excellent service to their customers not only boost retention, but can also positively impact marketing through message amplification, positive reviews and strong public perception. Despite this clear opportunity, however, marketing and customer service are still viewed largely as separate, unrelated functions.

CMSWire spoke with Sprinklr CMO Arun Pattabhiraman to better understand the link between customer service and marketing, and how brands can develop a more unified approach to customer experience.

A Flywheel, Not a Funnel

Despite the customer journey becoming more complex in today’s digital-first environment, which necessitates greater team collaboration, there’s still too big of a divide between customer service and marketing. “Marketers are trying to bring in new customers, while the customer service team is working quickly to get customers off the phone,” Pattabhiraman said. “The result is a crippling inability to truly understand – and serve – the customer.”

He added that the disconnect between marketing and customer service is increasingly challenging in today’s social-media powered society. What customers on social media say matters most, and what they say about your brand is largely defined by the customer service you provide.

“Increasingly, the customer lifecycle is a flywheel and not a one-way funnel,” Pattabhiraman said, noting that selling must happen at all customer touchpoints, and that customer contact centers can become important revenue drivers through cross-sells and upsells.

Building a Connection

Pattabhiraman says that companies can start closing the gap by placing social and other digital media at the center of their customer service strategy.

“Traditional strategies and systems hold companies back,” he said. “Customer service leaders need to approach service in a digital-first way that unifies teams, processes, data and technology.”

It also needs to be easier for all teams to collaborate, including social media service teams, traditional customer service teams and marketers. They should all share the same customer view and data to ensure that customers receive a consistent experience regardless of which channel they use.

Finally, to enable this kind of collaboration, companies need the right technology. Having an integrated stack that works across departments will allow customer service, sales and marketing teams to all have access to data across various customer touch points.

Quote: "Customer service leaders need to approach service in a digital-first way that unifies teams, processes, data and technology.”

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