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The line between marketing and customer service has been blurred for quite a while. Both organizations have direct interactions with prospects and customers and when you add the sales team into the mix, the line becomes even more blurred. Who actually owns the customer relationship?

Given the rise of abundant digital interaction with customers and the completely connected customer, it appears that Marketing may be winning the race towards owning, if not strongly influencing, the contact center — at least in the Enterprise.

Today, customers actually own their relationships with brands and control the level and frequency of their interactions with them. So, what role does the brand steward play in contact center customer engagement? And further, who owns customer engagement within the brand’s province?

Customers want personalization at every touch point.

Customers want personalization. A recent report from Accenture states that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history.

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  • 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decisions.
  • Over half of consumers (56%) think brands could do a better job aligning with how they prefer to engage.

By all accounts, personalized marketing maximizes results and creates lifetime customers. The key is to rise above the noise of all the messages that consumers receive every day and then deliver authentic, convenient communications. So, what’s the secret to delivering that magic bullet? Create an integrated, multichannel customer service strategy that reaches customers where they are and in the manner in which they want to engage with a brand.

The contact center is integral to customer engagement marketing

Customers are choosing when, how and how much interaction they have with a company so when the opportunity to have those one-on-one moments arrives, it is critical to maximize them. When it comes to delivering authentic, relevant, personalized messaging, the contact center is an invaluable channel. The contact center team members are on the front line in communicating on a one-to-one basis with prospects and customers every day. Factoring in contact center communications in combination with data-driven digital marketing analytics, campaign management, e-commerce and more, a seamless chain of customer communications is complete.

Reinforcing brand messaging with contact center agents

The very nature of the contact center agents’ role places them in a critical position when it comes to brand support. That’s why it’s so important that they be provided with the most current and appropriate brand and marketing messaging. Many times, a contact center agent is the only real voice for the brand and there’s a lot that rides on that responsibility. Contact center agents need to be facile in their customer engagement techniques so that they appropriately represent the brand while providing personable communications with customers.

Mapping alongside the customer journey

As part of the marketing function, the customer journey maps the relationship from consideration to purchase to conflict resolution if necessary. Marketers rely on journey mapping to understand why customers move from the awareness phase to the purchase stage. Contact center agents are called on now to understand the mapping technique and become marketers in a sense in that they understand the customer journey and can engage appropriately.

The science of engagement

Data drives today’s marketing initiatives and the contact center will become increasingly involved when it comes to gathering raw data and turning it into actionable insight. New contact center technology can also be helpful in transitioning daily data to improve not only marketing initiatives but also contact center effectiveness. Contact centers have a prominent position in conflict resolution and sales but it’s becoming increasingly more evident that their role in customer engagement and marketing support is critical.

The end of customer information silos

Quite simply, it’s just not effective for enterprises to have multiple silos of customer information spread across the organization. To be most beneficial to the brand, it makes sense that one organization should own the data for optimization. To that end, it does make sense that the largest group, with typically the largest budget, should own customer facing operations and that group is Marketing.

In a Marketing-driven initiative, anyone with a direct customer touch point would fall under that umbrella complete with the simplification of messaging and targeted customer interactions. The new rule of customer engagement is a seamless brand experience and that can be accomplished more expeditiously if managed by one group.

At this point in the digital economy and the world of one-to-one experiences, Marketing is the logical hot spot for customer engagement. How it will play out will of course be determined by a brand’s insight and willingness to overhaul the enterprise but it seems—at least for now—that the contact center will call Marketing its home very soon if it hasn’t already.

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Tags: Call Center Management, Call Center Metrics & KPIs