Data. As a marketer, you can never have enough of it. The more you have, the better you know your customers, and the more relevant you can make your campaigns.
However, most marketers only have access to data that is specifically tied to marketing and ecommerce functions: email opens, social media interactions, average order value, and so on. Even if you’re lucky enough to have detailed analytics into customer lifetime value and repeat purchase rate, you still don’t have the whole picture.
One area that marketers have typically not had access to is customer support data. This includes information on open tickets, complaints, and interactions with the customer service team that can have a huge impact on your customers.
While this data may not seem directly connected to marketing, it is incredibly relevant for marketers. It seems obvious, but you need to understand if and when your customers are having issues with your products, and whether they’re happy or not. This information should feed directly into your marketing campaigns, and determine what messages you send to your buyers and when.
By bringing together your customer support data and marketing data into one dashboard that can be accessed by both departments, both teams will be better informed. Even better, you can improve loyalty and transform the customer experience in unexpected ways.
Know when NOT to contact customers
There are times when you should be sending your customers perfectly-crafted, A/B tested, personalized, and geographically-relevant emails, text messages, push notifications, or social media messages. And there are times when you most definitely should not.
As a marketer, you can’t just assume that every customer wants to hear from you all the time. On specific occasions, you need to leave your customers alone.
The strongest example is when your buyers have an open support ticket. In that case, you definitely do not want to send them an email notifying them that a product they were looking at is back in stock. You don’t want to tell them about a sale on a new line of products. And you definitely don’t ask them for a review of a product, especially if they’ve recently had a problem with it.
This is exactly why marketers need access to customer service data. It seems obvious, but to ensure you don’t accidentally contact unhappy customers who have open support tickets, you need to flag and exclude customers with open tickets from marketing campaign segments. If your customers have an open ticket, you should maintain complete radio silence until your customer support team has resolved the problem. Then, hopefully, your customer is happy and you can start sending marketing messages again.
Improve your product offerings
This data isn’t just great for keeping your customers happy and improving the relevancy of your marketing efforts, it’s also useful feedback on your products. Sometimes — much to the relief of your customer support agents — customers will get in touch not to make a complaint, but to offer suggestions on how you could improve your service or to suggest products that they would like you to offer.
Instead of just forwarding along these emails, you can use them to your brand’s advantage. By collecting this data over time, you can understand which suggestions come up most often in aggregate. You can use this both as a platform for feedback on what kind of products you should offer next and as a way of getting more sales (increasing AOV and LTV).
If you decide, for example, that enough of your customers have asked for a specific product, you may decide to offer it. Then, with your customer service data tied to your marketing execution engines, you can send out an email to every single customer that asked for that product over the years. You can let them know that you not only listened and now offer the product they suggested, you can even offer a coupon for a discount on their first order of that product. Customers are incredibly loyal to brands that listen to them.
Create new brand advocates
Buyers really appreciate this type of thoughtful and personalized marketing. And word-of-mouth advertising from brand advocates is very powerful and can drive long-term customer loyalty. If you connect up your marketing and customer service data, you can turn a negative situation into a positive by providing a superior customer experience to all of your buyers.
Firstly, customers will appreciate your brand being organized and thoughtful enough to hold off sending promotional or review emails while they have an open support ticket. They’ll be even more impressed if your brand actually pays attention and listens to their individual feedback on products. Caring about customer experience is crucial, as by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Secondly, if a customer gives your brand and support team a low satisfaction rating, you can send them an automated email asking them for feedback on how you can improve, and if there is anything more you can do to help. As a further step, if they’ve had a bad experience, you can try to make it up to them by sending them coupon codes to say sorry. Instead of losing a customer, you can actually cultivate a new loyal customer by turning their experience into something positive.
You can also nurture customers who have had a good experience with your brand or have given you a high satisfaction rating by asking them to leave you a review. In ecommerce and B2C marketing, everything feeds into the brand experience and reputation.
Customer support benefits too
It’s not just marketers that benefit from having access to customer support data; the reverse is true as well. In order to be able to best resolve any issues, customer service agents need access to as much data as they can get on shoppers to help them resolve problems quickly and efficiently. If, for example, an agent is dealing with a loyal customer who has shopped with your brand many times over the past few years, they will want to prioritize that customer support case and get it solved as soon as possible.
Having access to marketing data can also give customer support deeper context into the situation. For example, has this customer complained about your brand on social media before (either about this ticket or another problem)? Have they had a habit of returning products only to buy them again? Is this their first, second, or one of many purchases with your brand?
All of this data can help customer support do their job well. When a customer support agent has a more complete view of the context and history of each customer and their interactions, they can better work out how to deal with the complaint and resolve the issue quickly. With more data, your brand is less likely to lose a valuable, loyal customer and instead more likely to keep your buyers coming back for more.
More data is never a bad thing. By bringing together marketing and customer service data in one place, the whole company can benefit by significantly enhancing the customer experience, improving customer loyalty, and increasing the ROI of marketing campaigns.