Marketing Poised To Take On Customer Experience Role

The recent KPMG Nunwood research that listed the top brands for customer service was not only interesting in its own right as a league table of high achievers. The big takeaway for brands was that those who know their customer the best deliver the best service.

That might sound like a point that is so obviously true that it is not worth making, but it is a fundamental rule we all know, and the question remains -- do all brands truly know us? Put it this way -- I got an email from TripAdvisor asking me where I went on holiday this summer. Nothing too odd in that, you may think, but considering I had researched the holiday on the site and they had constantly retargeted me with offers for our intended destination, you would think they would already have a strong suspicion. Given that I'd also filed half a dozen or more favourable reviews for the popular island, all for August 2015, you would think they would have a very good idea.

I know it's a generic email sent out to get people to think of their holidays and add reviews, but it does underscore the importance of knowing your customer through the huge amounts of data they are quite wiling to share with you so they can be served better.

It wasn't surprising to see that John Lewis in the top three of the customer service league table for the very simple reason their advertising shows they know exactly who their customer is and what makes them tick. Throw in a promise to be "never knowingly undersold" and a no quibble returns policy and you have the shop of choice for a huge swathe of families across the country. Lush, the cosmetics brand, was also not a surprise to me. I've been dragged into a few of their stores by my teenage daughter and, I have to say, it's a great experience -- far warmer and lighter than rivals, with amazing aromas and young staff who are truly engaging and sincerely appear to want to be there and help. Most retail stores would kill for the enthusiasm their staff show. 

So this is why CMOs are increasingly being tasked with the role of improving customer service. If you know who the customer is, it makes sense that you can devise new products and service propositions. That doesn't go just for in-store or face-to-face moments, but also the data that marketing should be diligently collecting to get a personalised view of each person they serve.

The huge takeaway, then, is that not only are customers willing to swap data for convenience and better service, but they expect that data to mean you know them better, There's a bigger expectation now, which puts more pressure on brands to get it right. Sending out generic emails, for example, and asking a question you should already know the answer to is no longer excusable. It just appears to the customer that they've been telling you everything you need but you haven't been listening.

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