Webhelp talks to Anne-Marie Forsyth at the CCA on the subject of the marketing connected contact centre

anne_marieThe key metric for success is now customer experience quality. A poor customer experience has repercussions across the board, particularly when it comes to profit. When companies understand this and operate accordingly, there are overwhelmingly positive results. Here are Anne-Marie’s thoughts on the subject:

Webhelp: Dimension Data recently reported that customer experience is now the number one performance measure for executive teams and boards ahead of both sales revenue and profits, do you feel that is reflected in the customer management strategies that you see?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: Customer experience is a very broad church. The true measure of how important experience is to an organisation is the extent to which c-suite executives are rewarded and efforts recognised to improve customer experience and not just focused on profits – not just about what but how.

How big a role do you feel customer experience now plays in marketing? Has it become the most important factor?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: There is a cliché now that customer service is the new marketing. Inevitably it means the silos of customer service and marketing are moving closer together and it could be argued that social media has acted as a catalyst to drive this forward.

Marketing and customer service departments have historically had vastly different different sets of priorities, in reality how practical do you think it is for functions like these to become more closey integrated?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: It has now become essential. New organisations with no legacy tend to have these departments work together instinctively. Roles such as Customer Experience Officer and Chief Marketing Officer are likely to become amalgamated creating a more integrated approach.

What would you say the key priority areas would be to for companies wishing to improve levels of integration between both areas?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: It is critical to think about analysing the data coming out of the contact centre. Is it robust, accurate and presenting the most realistic voice of customer? Once the contact centre is confident in this it can influence marketing strategy going forward.

What are the biggest barriers in doing so?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: Siloed and legacy organisations have ways of doing things that are no longer fit for purpose. Measures which may not serve the overall strategy well as it drives the wrong behaviours could make or break for a business. Measure what counts not what you can.

How big a part do you feel technology should play in connecting both marketing and customer management?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: Recent results from CCA reseach shows that 85% of organisations have a digital strategy in place and a willingness to transform but only 17% feel they have the right technology infrastructure in place to support their transformation efforts. This paradox is played out in many organisations and needs a fundamental shift to transform.

What would your prediction be of how this might evolve over the next 3-5 years? What exciting changes do you feel are ahead?

Anne-Marie Forsyth: There are so many drivers coming together that we are beginning to perhaps see the dawn of a ‘perfect storm’. A new level of connectedness will be expected and demanded from customers, and organisations will need to find ways to ‘leap frog’ legacy to meet demands or be left behind. CCA produced some future scenarios in 2012 which focused on the changing role of the agent and a new service e-tail environment – a view that had expert problem solvers working in a flexible way, and where online and the high street become more intimately woven together and we can already see some of these ideas being put into practice.


Operating in a digital environment requires the expertise of both the marketing and customer service teams. Businesses can no longer afford to operate in silos if they want to succeed – it’s time for positive change.

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