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Customer Service is Top Priority for CMOs in 2012

Customer service should be at the top of any CMO’s priority list, making sure the customers are satisfied with their experience, and be willing to listen to them for future feedback. And the post on today’s Marketing Tech Blog from Douglas Karr illustrates this point perfectly. (Disclosure: I appeared on Doug’s Marketing Tech Radio show last year.) He discusses this year’s IBM Global CMO Study (released after “face-to-face interviews with 1,734 CMOs spanning 19 industries and 64 countries”), which studied what the CMOs thought were their most important priorities for the year.

Based on the results, IBM made these observations:

These conversations and our in-depth analysis of study findings underscore the need to respond to three new realities:

  • The empowered customer is now in control of the business relationship
  • Delivering customer value is paramount — and an organization’s behavior is as important as the products and services it provides
  • The pressure to be accountable to the business is not just a symptom of hard times, but a permanent shift that requires new approaches, tools and skills.

Table of CMO Priorites for 2012

This is interesting, exciting stuff for anyone who is in the customer service or customer experience management business.

  • It means that CMOs are recognizing that they no longer control their brand or their customer relationships, the people do. This means they have to listen to the customer.
  • The customer experience is just as important as the products or services the company offers. This means they have to interact with the customer.
  • Over 2/3 of the CMOs recognize that customer loyalty is the top priority. This means they recognize the changing landscape of customer service.
  • Priorities #3 and #5 demonstrate the importance of using social media to both engage with their customers, as well as monitor their customer experience management efforts. That is, if people are happy (or upset), they’ll share it via social media. And if companies are on the ball, they’ll respond and engage on social media as well.

For anyone in customer experience management, these are some important shifts in the thinking of CMOs. They recognize that a) social media is not a passing fad, and b) the voice of the customer has gotten louder than ever.

This even demonstrates the blurring of the lines between the customer service department and the marketing department, and the idea that bad customer service now equals bad marketing.