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Marketing and IT: CX Enemies or a Perfect Partnership?


Image: Antonioguillem -
"Hello, caller, whatever your name is, I'm not sure why you’re calling or what I can do for you, so I'll just let you listen to some terrible music for a few hours while we try and decide how best to serve you.” - (Honest, Automated Customer Service Message)
Behind the scenes, the Marketing department often accuses IT of adding too many complicated steps to the interactive voice response (IVR) for which no one has the patience. In contrast, IT complains that Marketing is too fluffy in their approach that may look good but won't keep customer data secure.
Unfortunately, competing departmental priorities can distract from what matters when delivering the required customer experience (CX) outcome: The voice of the customer.
Departments are Changing Roles
CX has become more critical to a business's success. According to a recent survey, 39% have a dedicated CX budget, whereas the remainder have budgets with Marketing (19%), IT (11%), Operations (11%), and Sales (7%). Consequently, Marketing and IT/Operations have become more aggressive in their desire to control the customer experience function and budgets due to the changing nature of their roles.
The role of marketing has changed due to the growing importance of data and its role in better understanding customers' needs. In addition, many customers prefer to interact with brands on social media, which has led to digital marketers delivering customer service through this channel. As a result, it's not uncommon for marketers to want to be in charge of technology decisions (especially) when they impact the customer experience.
The role of IT has also changed. More departments are relying upon technology solutions to run their day-to-day functions as the digital transformation of businesses accelerates. For example, IT was previously responsible for back-of house-functions, help desks, and servers. Now the IT department is at the forefront of orchestrating business outcomes.
Misaligned Goals Leave Contact Centers Stuck in the Middle
The varying focus of different functions has resulted in contact center managers feeling stuck in the middle between Marketing and IT as they fight to get themselves and the contact center's needs heard.
IT Goals
IT and operations focus on business processes, IT infrastructure, integration with existing systems, data security and privacy, systems stability, and cost reduction. In addition, they must schedule regular maintenance and upgrades. IT staff also need to upskill to stay on top of the latest technology and security requirements.
An IT-led CX solution could be highly secure. However, it could also lead to customer frustration due to being over-engineered and not correctly aligned with the customer journey. This situation is a marketer’s nightmare; 52 IVR choices, four levels deep with three stages of customer ID-verification. It may successfully direct the customer to the correct department after 15 minutes, but most customers will have hung up out of confusion and frustration.
Marketing Goals
Marketing focuses on elevating the customer experience, increasing long-term customer loyalty, delivering on brand promises, and implementing CX initiatives to improve customer lifetime value. To do this, they need customer data and analytics and something easy and convenient for customers to use wherever and whenever they need to.
A marketing-led CX solution could be accessible from anywhere, anytime by anyone. Still, it may lack the security to adhere to privacy and data sovereignty laws and the integration capabilities to pull together different systems across the business. IT’s nightmare would be ‘Fluffy the Beautiful Bot—welcoming customers by name to tell them that she loves their latest Instagram post because ‘that color looks good on you.’ She then directs them to choose their hold music. Unfortunately, while this may surprise and delight callers, it doesn’t get them closer to resolving their issue.
Contact Center Goals
The contact center's goals are to resolve customer inquiries and complaints as quickly and efficiently as possible. They also need to deliver reporting on CSAT, first, call resolution, call handling times, and abandonment rates. High staff turnover leads to constant onboarding and training, taking time and focus away from achieving the all-important cost reductions required by the business. Contact center managers need clear visibility of what’s happening in the contact center, enabling them to make necessary changes.
It’s easy to see how sometimes, in these scenarios, the IT department feels it has lost critical control over contact center technology.
Achieving CX Alignment
Is it possible to make everyone happy while still considering the customer's needs?
CX and technology are both significant drivers of positive business transformation. Only by working together and involving the contact center to understand the customer journey, deploy scalable and extensible technology, securely collect and utilize relevant data, and deliver a wonderful agent experience can Marketing and IT ensure that the customer experience remains the hero.
Make Bold Changes For Future CX Success
As companies focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences, departmental conflict isn’t only holding them back in terms of communication. It’s significantly slowing down the pace of innovation.
We must move from departmental structures and focus instead on the required outcomes. Those brave enough to re-organize their business based on customer journey stages could achieve what has long evaded many—a company with fully aligned CX goals.
If you aren't ready to go that far, make sure that Marketing and IT have aligned CX goals that include the contact center's needs. Only then can this ideal partnership give birth to an exceptional customer experience and live happily ever after.
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