Customer Engagement: 4 opportunities to increase synergies between service, sales, and marketing in Retail

A while ago a friend told me an interesting story. He had bought a new laptop online. A great deal, he thought. Until he received an e-mail several weeks later from the same supplier, in which he was offered the same product for a much lower price. You can imagine the feeling with which he was left. I was recommended to never shop there again.

A pretty big mistake of the supplier that painfully shows what can go wrong when different department such as sales, marketing and service are not aligned well enough. Something that still occurs too often, unfortunately. In this blog I stress the importance of deep integration, which is a must for retailers to be sustainable in this digital era.

Sales, marketing and service: they are all required to offer a seamless customer journey. However, to my surprise, I see that in many organizations these departments still work autonomously on both the operational and technical level. I’ve previously commented on my view that it is becoming increasingly important to develop an emotional connection with your customer based on empathy. When trying to achieve real customer engagement, the aforementioned departments should intensively work together. The biggest improvements can be made in the fields of data and intelligence, because technology is there to help.

Frustration and irritation

Organizations that still work in so-called silos, are not able to create the optimal customer experience and often run into several challenges. Your customers might have liked your brand initially, but the reality is that the experience differs per channel – online and offline.  This creates dissonance, meaning that the customer is less likely to really identify himself with your organization, decreasing customer engagement.

Moreover, your service department is not efficient and not able to be effective in its services.  Simply because they insufficiently know what kind of person is in front of them, and what previous interactions the customer has already had with your organization. That knowledge is often stored at marketing or sales departments, but not made available to service agents. As a result, the customer inquiries aren’t being answered fast enough and a lot of time is lost by retrieving this required information, if that is even possible. Frustration and irritation arises when the customer is being redirected several times or is met with lang waiting times before he or she receive the answer.

Besides that, working in silo can lead to painful mistakes made by the marketing department after a positive or negative experience a customer has recently had since they do not have a full 360-degree view of the customer interaction history. For example, if you have a complaint, you want your organization to respond correctly, by conveying understanding and recognition. If this doesn’t happen because a previous incident is unknown by the person contacting the customer, it is very likely that your business will lose clients.

Strive for alignment across departments in your commercial approach

Things will have to change. Break down the walls and ensure that your sales, marketing and service departments are become a single, aligned commercial team. Make it easier for them by connecting and integrating all digital platform that they use. The brings several advantages:

1. You can offer proactive customer service

You can inform and serve your customer wherever they are in the customer journey, even when the customer hasn’t actively asked for it. This is proactive, not only reactive. This means you could, for example, send your customers (live) status updates of their order.

2. More opportunities to cross-sell / upsell

As soon as your service is operating at a high level, you can use customer data to predict if other products or services can be relevant as well. Say you are contacting your client about an inquiry for a black shoe that you sell. You check his search history and notice that the customer has searched your website for brown shoes, you can offer them brown shoes that are still in stock.

3. You can personalize your marketing extensively

Allign your offline and online channels and merge them by integrating the digital platforms with customer data to bring your personalization to the next level. You can target your marketing activities specifically on certain needs of the individual which gives you the opportunity to cross-sell and upsell.

4. You are able to work smoother and more efficient

When you configure this in smart way, all digital platforms and tools are managed and monitored via one central platform. It’s easy to use and saves you a lot of time, money and effort.

Your customer expects it

You are adapting to consumer expectations! Based on research done by Salesforce*, we can conclude that 76% of all customers expects consistent interactions across all departments of a company. So there is no reason not to live up to the expectations. Globally, this percentage is speeding up rapidly**:

  • 81% of the marketers has social media connected to commerce systems
  • 80% of the marketers share the goals and statistics with the e-commerce and service departments and 81% shares these with the sales department.
  • 81% of the marketers cooperates with the sales teams on account-based marketing programs.
  • 64% of the marketers gives prioirty to an open service inquiry than to a marketing campaign.

Connected departments, connected customer experiences

In my opinion, connected departments ensure a connected customer experience. In order to be scalable and future-proof, it is essential to work out of one central platform. As soon as all data and tools for sales, service and marketing operate out of one single source of truth within one platform, in which you even add Artificial Intelligence, you are able to make the right steps towards next level customer engagement. Everyone within your retail organization is aiming for that higher target: an optimal customer experience and a sustainable engagement of your customers with your organization.

*Salesforce State of the Connected Customer, 4th edition.

**Salesforce State of Marketing, 6th edition.

Want to know more about Customer Engagement?

I am happy to tell you more about the opportunities of a better cooperation between your sales, marketing and service departments. Send me a message and we’ll plan a meeting. Do you want to plan a meeting directly? Go to www.vaneigens.com/booking.

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