In this series, we have been uncovering how Customer Service can contribute to Conversion Rate Optimisation. Through Wout Cox’s investigations, he has found that the relationship between Customer Service and CRO is often considered to be a one-way street. Meaning, Customer Service can add direct value to the CRO process. However, taking cross-functional interdependencies into consideration, a two-way relationship can be detected. For example, any improvement realised by the CRO team that smoothens the online journey for the customer can lead to a lower amount of customer contacts to be handled by Customer Service. Sadly, it became apparent from Wout’s interviews that this bi-directional relationship is often not being recognised by either of the two business teams.
Our previous article began to discuss how organisations can deepen their Customer Service-CRO teams relationship. In this article, Wout has taken the findings from his research to give practical recommendations for how to develop a cross-functional collaboration between Customer Service and CRO teams.
1. Create awareness of each other’s worlds
In order to start or strengthen the collaboration between CRO and Customer Service, they need to be aware of each other’s existence, what their goals and tasks are and what their role is within the organisation. Bringing focus to creating this awareness of each other’s “worlds” can be done by simply bringing teams together in a room, discussing their goals and talking about how the two business functions can help each other be successful. Another way to create awareness is to include each other in communication about team performance on key metrics and other developments within the business function.
2. Create willingness to collaborate through shared and interdependent goals
Customer Service and CRO should explore the interdependencies between their performance goals and find common grounds. If possible, create concrete and measurable shared goals. Through these shared goals, successes can be celebrated together and performance issues can be tackled together.
3. Have Customer Service take a “voice-of-the-customer” role
Explore the possibilities for the Customer Service team to own the customer feedback loops or have the leading role in voice of the customer projects. Customer Service is often well-equipped to play the qualitative “voice of the customer” role in the CRO process. By adding Customer Service’s customer knowledge and expertise to the data-driven CRO process, the desired mix of qualitative and quantitative input to the CRO process will be established.
4. Build a qualitative, data-driven customer feedback process
The research shows that it is of utmost importance to have a well-defined and solidly structured customer feedback process in place. The Customer Service team needs to ensure all customer contact reasons, complaints, reviews and other qualitative feedback are being logged, analysed and structurally fed back to the organisation (including CRO). This can become part of the feedback process in the “voice of the customer” role.
5. Formalise the collaboration
The collaboration between Customer Service and CRO should be formalised and structured. Clear agreements should be made about what exactly “working together on shared goals” looks like in practice. For example, who are the key players in the collaboration, what are their tasks and responsibilities, what meeting structure should be followed, and how are successes measured and celebrated.
6. Create a “linking pin” between CRO and Customer Service
As mentioned in the previous article, interviewees recommend creating a linking pin between Customer Service and CRO in order to smoothen the communication and feedback process. This can be either an individual person within the Customer Service or CRO team specifically tasked with liaising between the two business functions. It also can be a group of people (e.g. a Customer Insights Team), separated and independent from both the Customer Service and CRO teams. This linking pin person or group owns the customer feedback loop between the teams, ensuring the relevant quantitative and qualitative customer data is analysed and shared between the teams.
7. Define a customer-centric leadership team
Ultimately, all the above recommendations are strongly dependent on the approach and quality of business leadership. Organisations need to clearly define what customer-centric leadership in practice means for the organisation, and how this translates into facilitating the collaboration between CRO and Customer Service. In addition, top-level management needs to be visibly bought into the idea that Customer Service should and needs to contribute to the CRO process.
In this series, we have found that a strong collaboration between CRO and Customer Service has a positive effect on CRO maturity. The foundation of this relationship is customer centricity, as it creates the common purpose for the two business functions to work together
Being at the frontline of the organisation and interacting directly with customers, Customer Service has the unique position to provide customer context to the CRO team. By adding Customer Service’s customer knowledge and expertise to the data-driven CRO process, the desired mix of qualitative and quantitative input to the CRO process can be established.
In Customer Service, the world is evolving rapidly due to technological innovation. Therefore, it is now more important businesses create opportunities for Customer Service teams to contribute to improving the online customer experience.
Read the rest of our Customer Service x CRO series:
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- Paul Rouke appears in Leaders Council podcast alongside Sir Geoff Hurst
- How to develop a strong Customer Service and CRO relationship
- The role of Customer Service in the CRO process
- How Collaboration and Customer-Centricity influence CRO maturity
- The relationship between Customer Service & CRO