Three ways to drive great business outcomes by connecting customer care and marketing teams

Catherine Anderson shares three ways that the Powershop team brings together customer care and marketing to drive better business outcomes.

A few years ago, when my role changed from CMO to chief customer officer, I was forced to become a better marketer overnight. Picking up responsibility for sales and customer care really highlighted to me the opportunities that exist for marketers when you integrate customer care teams at all levels of the business.

Marketers should have an unquenchable desire, and healthy respect, for the knowledge and insights that the customer care team can deliver to help achieve better business and marketing outcomes. Although this is a nirvana we’re always chasing and we are by no means perfect, our whole team knows the value and importance of connecting our customer care team into the marketing team and marketing activity in general. 

Here are three ways we bring customer care and marketing together for better business outcomes at Powershop:  

1. Investing in the customer care team as marketers and deliverers of insights

By investing time and training in our customer care teams, they have invertedly become both a key marketing and sales channel. They are also a valuable source of insights, inspiration and guidance back to marketers. 

Firstly, for many of our customers, interactions with our care team are so good and are so true to our brand promise and experience, they are willing to tell their friends about us. These moments ultimately drive sales via our friend referral program. This advocacy is money-can’t-buy-marketing, especially for a smaller business like ours. With hundreds of customers joining every month through our referral program, this is a great sign of customer care delivering valuable marketing outcomes. We all aim for customer advocacy but being able to link it to investment in customer care and elevating customer care as an important marketing and sales function, is incredibly important to us.  

Secondly, in an industry like energy, the closest place marketers get to our customers is often in the contact centre. As such, ensuring your business understands the importance of being guided and informed by customer care teams is incredibly important. A recent example of Powershop being able to utilise the insights of our customer care team was during the bushfires. And, more recently, COVID-19. The marketing and communications teams rely on the good humans in our customer care team sharing with us how customers are during these times. They can share where support or extra communication is needed and even inspire new ideas to create a previously unimagined brand, and more excitingly, positive community impacts. 

This free-flowing respect of people, insights and ideas between marketing and customer care delivers great marketing results. It also delivers better customer and community outcomes too.  

2. Understanding each other’s data and co-dependencies

Given the customer care, customer experience, sales and marketing experts are all part of the wider Powershop customer team, all groups have the same seat at the table. This allows for true collaboration, ideation and often… debate! 

A key step forward for us was to help onboard the different teams to each other’s key metrics, data points, priorities, lingo and information sources. This can mean training marketers to understand contact centre metrics like average handling time. Equally, it is important to help customer care teams understand why digital funnels or brand awareness metrics are important. These shared moments create more respectful and considered conversations and problem-solving. If customer care teams don’t understand marketing’s ambitions and reasoning, they can’t embody that for customers to experience. 

3. Sharing technology to leap forward

Working from home during COVID-19 has been the unexpected push we needed to get our teams operating on the same platforms. Seems ridiculously obvious in hindsight, but even the simple move of having all our customer care team members on Teams makes everyone much more accessible to each other. What used to be a journey to travel to the contact centre, or a pre-planned meeting, is now a Teams call. We now have the ability for anyone to virtually observe live customer calls, emails and activity. This brings marketing closer to customers at the drop of a hat. It shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to cause this gear shift, but we’ll take it as a rare positive from it all! 

It also means we can now easily implant customer care team members into key marketing projects, briefings to agencies, brainstorms and other meetings across the organisation. A customer care agent can hang up a call from a customer and jump immediately into a review of some creative work to share their feedback and ideas. 

Linking individuals in our customer care team to marketing and the broader business has unlocked market intelligence, customer insights and data that has been so valuable to Powershop. Don’t underestimate the suggested changes to wording, the feedback on visuals or the importance of involvement in the early stages of a marketing idea from your customer care teams. More often than not, it’s golden.   

Just a final point, in each of the three ways we bring our teams together listed above, the word share (shared or sharing) is unintentionally appearing in each summary paragraph. That surely highlights an important theme for how customer care and marketing work together. 

 

Catherine Anderson is the chief customer officer at Powershop Australia.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels.

 

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