Why customer service is your new sales engine

In the Conversational AI world, marketing, sales and CS teams now live under the same roof

As ecommerce sales continue to grow year after year, brands with a helpful customer service (CS) strategy are coming out on top. With so many choices at their fingertips, consumers now have more power than ever, which is changing the face of marketing. To grab buyers’ attention amidst the wealth of choice, immediately helpful companies are winning the sales game.

Advertising used to be about shouting, but now it’s about helping. Assistive advertising and selling has become the new playbook for helpful brands, creating on-demand relevancy and utility for busy customers who are looking for a helping hand during their online journey. Rather than pushing products on customers, this model guides them in making the best purchase decisions based on their personal needs and desires, which creates a great user experience that people want to return to. When you shift your sales model to focus on helpfulness, the selling part evolves naturally from great CS.

Product, Marketing and Customer Service Need to Merge

If you take a look at organizational charts or LinkedIn titles, you’ll notice that product, marketing and customer service are often treated separately in silos instead of in a seamless cross-functional way. To successfully create this relationship, customer service needs to become the nexus of user experience, rather than being relegated to its periphery. Within new consumer interactions, CS is the direct line between a brand and its clientele, acting as the sturdy bridge between first interaction and conversion. In this model, CS becomes the foundation upon which lasting, ongoing relationships with customers are built through every single interaction. Over time, as these interactions compound, they become a sum of their parts made up of every single exchange. The result is either overall satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and we’re pretty sure we know which side you want your brand to fall on.

When scrolling through websites on their phone, consumers no longer differentiate between marketing and customer service when interacting with companies. Instead, they’re continuously living the product experience dictated by the website’s following three elements:

  1. Intuitive design or, on the unfortunate flip side, its lack thereof
  2. Marketing components delivered via messaging, imagery and storytelling
  3. Tailored CS that customers interact with through helpful live chat (the absence of this quickly becomes a glaring gap in the user experience)

Seamlessly integrating these components is the key to creating a powerful, holistic user experience that will keep customers coming back time and time again. On the other hand, misaligning these moving parts can easily land companies on a consumer’s blacklist: a sticky spot that few brands can bounce back from. People no longer want to be advertised to and, the better the customer service, the less sales-centric your marketing approach needs to be: Flawless user experience is the first step towards sustained loyalty.

The best marketing actually doesn’t feel like marketing at all. Instead, it comes across as a conversation where you’re talking with people and not at them. Rather than pushing a sale on consumers, customer service advises, guides and assists them through the process without interrupting them with ads. In the customer service model, marketing becomes an integrated part of the experience rather than an invasive layer slapped on top, which results in the most powerful form of marketing out there: word of mouth and personal recommendation.

Heyday can be the glue that holds these three components together, the ligament that lets a company flex its marketing muscle in an integrated, non-invasive way.

VISUAL: Venn diagram (3 circles = sales, marketing, CS, middle = customer experience)

Improving your Product

The conversational channels we provide can also improve your actual product because they act as a living marketing lab. The amount of data collected through live chats becomes a sort of focus group on steroids where you can gain direct insight into your clientele’s choices and preferences on their terms, in a natural setting where they feel comfortable. This information is invaluable in providing a glimpse behind the curtain of what consumers are looking for, including everything from what colour is trending to what kind of drinks people will be sipping this summer.

Show screenshot of DAVIDsTEA

Improving your Marketing

As the entire online shopping experience becomes increasingly tailored to individual needs and desires, marketing is also following suit with tools like chatbots and immediately accessible live chat. Rather than blasting a worldwide ad campaign out to the masses, brands can now create tailored conversations that turn messaging apps and chat into a new advertising channel focused on utility instead of hard-sale promotion only. This approach is not only less intrusive and more effective but it also brings the consumer into the brand story and builds it around their responses instead of pushing a generic message down their throats.

In a messaging-first world, a brand is now defined by the sum of all customer conversations and interactions. How businesses manage these conversations will be pivotal in establishing a solid marketing strategy that focuses on personalization, engagement and relationships, which in turn will maximize sales and lifetime value.

Show screenshot of MAKE UP FOR EVER

Improving your Service

A chat-centric model puts an emphasis on the individual customer in each interaction, so they end up feeling like a VIP rather than an IP address. People should be treated as people, not as tickets that need to be resolved. Conversational channels provide the tools to build these solid business-to-client relationships rather than the ephemeral interactions we once accepted as the norm.

Of the three elements we’ve outlined here, this one is hands-down the most important. If customers encounter a product defect or if the marketing messaging isn’t right, CS reps can swoop in and save the day by providing smooth, positive and tailored user experiences. Conversely, bad CS has the power to instantly damage or break the relationship – it’s important to realize that bad service can spell death, even for a good product. If the product or service (or worse, both) don’t meet expectations, marketing is just lipstick on a pig and there’s not much left to do to salvage the customer relationship.

In the current consumer climate, the best marketing lives at the intersection of brand promise and utility, which is why it makes the most strategic sense to have it under the same roof as customer service.

Your Most Defensible Competitive Advantage? An Exceptional Customer Experience

By taking a helpful, detail-oriented and service-driven sales approach, your company will make itself a standalone in your industry, no matter how long it’s been around for or how many players are in the game. In the overcrowded world of business, providing great customer service through AI and live chat could mean the difference between rising above the rest or sinking to the bottom. It’s all about augmenting your current sales and customer service teams and giving them the superpowers they need to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

A great product will obviously always be necessary for success, but having a killer team and tools backing it when something goes awry is almost more crucial for winning long-term consumer loyalty.

Share this article

Sign up to FutureReady

Get your executive briefing on the future of customer experience in an AI-driven world.

Meet your new customer experience champion

Enter a new era of customer experience management, powered by AI.