File created with CoreGraphicsYou’ve probably heard it declared that “customer service is the new marketing” on several prolific business blogs.

In an age where bad experiences can easily go viral on social media, it’s a pretty accurate sentiment. Brands should be investing in effective, empathetic service teams if they want to generate more positive word of mouth in our digital, Yelp-ified world.

There’s one problem though: service teams don’t focus on leveraging moments of customer delight to drive brand awareness and growth. That’s thought to be marketing’s domain.

The fact that these two teams don’t work together to harness customer love means brands are missing out on two fronts:

  1. All the hard work CS does building relationships is never leveraged to create social proof for the brand and attract new customers.
  2. Customer success alone is solely responsible for customer churn and long-term loyalty—despite having little to do with the promises made when customers first buy (which is marketing and sales’ territory).

If CS and marketing were more closely aligned, they could become a value-driving super-duo for your brand. Think Batman and Robin (but less spandex).

Create moments that matter with a Marketing/CS partnership
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Here’s a few ways your brand can get started now:

1. Let CS identify future advocates

“Customers are more familiar with the Customer Success team than they are with anybody in marketing.”

– Michelle Ruch, Manager, Customer Success Operations, Zapproved

Since customers have already built rapport with CS, marketing can build off of these relationships to engage customers through their advocate marketing programs. When CS wows a customer, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask if the customer wants to share their love with others. While CS can ask for a testimonial or quote in that moment, they usually won’t remember, nor will they have an effective way to store and track these acts of advocacy. They may also forget to thank or reward the customer appropriately (and miss the chance to inspire future advocacy).

This is where marketing can design a customer advocacy program to give customers recognition for helping the brand out. They can also create an advocate nurture path where customers are provided with smaller tasks (like sharing brand content on social media) before being asked to take on bigger acts of advocacy (like writing a review or referring a friend). CS can also help marketing by pointing out trends they’ve noticed talking to customer about what content, events, or marketing campaigns resonate with them the most.

2. Have marketing lend CS its resources and creativity superpowers

Need a clever way to about a renewal? Want to delight a grumpy customer publicly on social media? How about some additional budget to help your webinars and events stand out? Marketing has the creativity and resources to support CS when they want a little extra firepower. Having regular touch points—where the team can come together to plan customer campaigns and communications—means you’ll find more ways to increase customer loyalty.

Check out this example Jay Baer shared at Content Marketing World 2015 of Warby Parker’s response to a customer asking for help picking a pair of glasses.

See how we united the Three Musketeers (Marketing, Sales and Customer Success) to drive over 1,000 referrals in a year.

3. Change up and align your measures of success for both teams

Basing both teams’ success metrics around joint customer satisfaction and growth will make the customer experience a priority. Give marketing a metric around retention. Give CS a bonus based on the number of advocates they recruit for your program. Measure both teams on NPS scores or the amount of advocacy they generate (You’ll need a reliable system—like an advocate marketing platform—to track this last one).

This blog was originally posted on April 25th, 2016, and was updated on April 6th, 2018.

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