My thinking on this subject has refined over time since I first wrote this post, encouraging customer service to grab the brass ring and seek its seat at the strategy table, along side marketing. the main reason? I think that well-intended message has been distorted.
Just a random guess, but I’m thinking its safe to say there’s been thousands of blog posts written over the past couple of years declairing customer service is the new marketing. I’m also guessing its safe to say that just about zero CMOs or other heads of marketing have since genuflected at the office doorway of their customer service bretheren in a demonstration of submission. Just a guess.
In most companies, marketing is king. Always has been. Marketing has the big budgets. Marketing creates the positioning. Marketing drives revenue (even though nobody can figure out how or why we even need to measure it).
I’m not talking about a reversion to old internally focused, product centric culture. No. Customer centricity and a superior customer experience is still the goal. Companies like Virgin, Zappos and Amazon will continue to create value through well designed customer-focused experiences. But, maybe the better way for customer service to deliver on that goal is to work in support of marketing. Allow each function to do what it does best, while learning the best parts of each others’ value proposition. Customer service serves. why not serve marketing?
The role of the Chief Customer Officer has, in large part, been to bring these two functions together as equal partners. I haven’t seen an example yet of that one position being effective in accomplishing such a feat. Two in a box on an org chart never works. Somebody needs to be the king of the castle.
How about the customer?