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Multiple data channels boost service, marketing efforts

Rachel Wheeler Archive
In today's multichannel business world, call centers need to be capable of both postal address verification and email validation. It's an important aspect of customer service, and can be useful whether your employees are looking up a client record or launching a direct marketing campaign.

Additionally, being able to communicate with customers no matter which way they prefer to receive messages enables the company to improve sales and service efforts, according to a Huffington Post piece by marketing consultant Ernan Roman.

"Some customers want to engage businesses on social media, others want to receive email, and significant percentages still prefer direct mail," he writes. "If you focus on a single channel at the expense of others, you're neglecting a significant portion of your customer base." Roman adds that this is also the case in customer service.

Roman lists a few of the ways that organizations can provide their clients with more options for getting help or providing feedback on services and products. Email is great for customers who would like to limit their phone interactions, while social media provides the opportunity to track and direct what customers are saying about your organization online.

Posting a list of frequently asked questions on your website can serve as a useful resource for clients, as can live chats and text messages, he observes.

"Customers should be able to engage your service team any time of the day - even by just sending a question," Roman adds. "Enabling multichannel service allows them to do so."

Integration: Easier said than done

According to a study by the Direct Marketing Association, Rowing as One: Integrated Marketing Today, businesses can take advantage of various technologies to optimize their customer service and marketing practices. The survey indicates that more than 98 percent of responding marketers use multiple channels to communicate with consumers.

However, marketing professionals admitted they struggled when it came time to integrate the forms of communication and deliver a consistent message throughout the channels. The researchers determined that unclear business rules and siloed information were two of the obstacles to effective integration.

Rick Greenberg, the senior vice president of client solutions for MediaMath, told the DMA that in order to overcome these challenges, businesses would need to create policies that enable the creative teams in an enterprise to access and use customer and operational data. In order to maximize the information's potential, companies will also have to focus on data quality and ensure that their records are accurate and complete.