Take a moment and answer this question, which of these business “must-haves” feels like marketing, and which belong in the lofty realm of “Operations”:
- Signage on the exterior of your location, letting customers know where to find you
- Monthly statements, with balance and remittance information
- E-Newsletter that has a sales agent’s contact info, and presents general industry and company information to customers
- 404 Error or “Under Construction” pages on your forward-facing website
- Inbound telecom representatives who help set up clients and reset passwords
If you answered that 1 and 3 are clearly the domain of marketing, but the rest belong to operations, you would be wrong. If you said that 2, 4, and 5 belonged to marketing and the rest to operations, you would also be wrong. All five of these activities are deeply rooted in the key element marketers are responsible for – the customer experience.
Not customer service or customer satisfaction (itself an implication) but the customer experience. While any firm can try to engineer the right path for customers, it’s important to give the marketing team unfettered access to, the chance to interact with, and the means to alter, the customer experience.
Giving the marketing team unfettered access means allowing them talk to salespeople, operations staff, and sales leadership. Giving them access means introducing them to these groups so that everyone understands why they are here and why they are monitoring and asking questions.
Having the chance to interact with customers during the research, consideration, and purchase phases can be incredibly enlightening. Once you’ve created a space where the marketing team can interact with the sales process internally, you must push them to collect more information from the customer at critical points in the sales cycle.
Providing the means to alter the customer experience doesn’t mean marketing has operational control over the phone banks, the e-mail system, the CRM, and employee scheduling. It means that the executive team believes in the skills of their marketing team and genuinely cares and understands how important this type of input is. It means they understand that perspective is important and that no process should ever exist in a departmental vacuum, especially if it touches the customer.
Once you have a firm grasp of the customer and their interaction with the process of and purchase of your products, you can ensure an experience that is properly engineered to encourage them to reengage.