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Industry Trendspotting: Social drives integration of marketing, PR and customer service

25-November-2014
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Industry Trendspotting: Social drives integration of marketing, PR and customer service

Since the advent of social media, it’s no secret that the marketing, public relations and customer service have evolved in a major way. Now-a-days these three terms typically fall under the larger umbrella of general marketing. So who is responsible for what? How does the PR team handle social? Does the business need a separate social media division catering to customer grievances?

Perhaps the biggest overlap between PR and marketing comes down to managing customer support. A poorly executed social campaign — or even something as seemingly innocent as a response to a customer complaint on Twitter — can easily turn into a PR nightmare. Brands need prepared to respond to both positive and negative feedback consistently.

“Social” Centre

It's crucial that whoever handles the social media efforts for your company also integrates with the rest of the marketing team. Social media has, in essence, turned traditional PR on its head. In the past, PR was very much about controlling the message. A brand cannot do something on social and forget about it; they need to embrace the dialogue and the customers then influence and guide the conversation.

According to Alok Kumar, Head-Customer Service Delivery at Aircel, “E-commerce has taken off in India because marketing and customer services are speaking to each other, even though the former is perceived to be an investment while the latter a cost.”

“Customers buy products and services and also productivity. How franchisees and dealerships respond to customers will determine the recommendations brands get and in turn future referrals,” he added.

Departmental Integration

NPS is an evolved methodology which in order to be practiced and understood needs marketing, sales, and technology to work together, said Dhiraj Chadha, Head - Marketing, Voltas. “NPS is emerging as the most straightforward way to find ROI on customer service,” he pointed out.

“Online plays a huge role in customer purchase lifecycle. With many companies, it is the customer who owns the brand experience. For instance, on social media customers of a brand help each other out on product or service related queries. Their perception is formed not just with speed of response but also quality of service. A good first response but poor resolution will not help the customer relationship,” said Anupam Dikhit, Industry Manager, Twitter.

“Marketers at the end of the day want to sell an experience that customers talk about favorably and also recommend. The revenue part then gets taken care of automatically,” he added.

Integrated campaigns have been on the rise in recent years and while some businesses may identify as online or offline, when it comes to marketing, it's likely their methods run cross-platform.

Tech Push

Industry experts feel that with the evolution of technology, customer experience management will drastically change over the next few years.

Technology enables communication in the pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase process, and ensures a consistent online and offline consumer experience.

According to Ankur Singla, ‎Founder and CEO at Akosha, “An effective application of technology addresses areas in which customers seek a better and easier service experience. Data becomes an important enabler in this process to factually understand hurdles or new habits of customers. The use technology to solve preempted bottlenecks is the way forward. Building a framework to map out how the customer journey has been; time spent, information gathered and transactions conducted by the customer, and understanding and preempting these behaviors is the first step towards solving them, using technology.”

“Investment in technology will depend on real benefit realized to company and customer,” he added.

Integration of social media with internal CRM, use of social media for generating leads, use of technology in creation of an experience for the Indian consumer, incentivising marketing and customer service executives to think holistically and preventing customer issues is turning out to be the way forward to generate brand loyalty in the increasing competitive online and offline space.

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