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What they are and why marketers should care



Intercom introduces new customer service and insights products

Great customer service helps you retain customers, attract new business, and increase customer lifetime value. In other words, it’s essential to success. Customers who feel supported — and seen — are more likely to stick around. On the flip side, if your customers feel neglected or have a poor service experience, they’ll leave — and probably won’t come back. 

In B2B marketing, caring for customers is often referred to as “customer success.” We’ll look more closely at the terms “service,” “support” and “success” below.

In a 2021 Qualtrics/ServiceNow study, 43% of respondents said they’d likely switch brands after only one negative customer service experience. Another study by Statista revealed that between 2016 and 2020, 40% of U.S. customers said they stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service.

Technology, as is often the case, is helping companies meet customer expectations around customer service and success, bridging communications across multiple channels and devices, and setting customers up for better buying experiences.  

Several important trends are driving the adoption and reinvention of the enterprise customer service stack.  They include the need to future-proof the customer service tech stack, a drive toward more asynchronous text-based communication, and a push toward unifying channels and communications to enhance customer experience.

It’s clear that customer service and success — and the tools that enable and facilitate them — are essential for any business, no matter the size or product. 

In this post we’ll cover:

What are customer service and success?

Customer service and success are two sides of the same customer experience coin, but there are slight differences. 

Customer service and support (CSS) is focused on handling customer inquiries and complaints in real time. It’s reactive, satisfying customer problems and addressing issues quickly in a way that benefits both the customer and the company. 

Customer success is about anticipating your customers’ needs and creating an ideal experience throughout the entire buying journey. Its proactive, employing tools and systems that help meet changing customer expectations (and behaviors) in an agile, scalable way. 

While customer service is important for all businesses, customer success has been traditionally associated with companies that rely on recurring revenue, such as subscription-based businesses and B2B organizations with long sales, onboarding, and implementation cycles. 

But these days, all companies — including B2C and retail businesses — need to prioritize customer success. It’s an essential marketing and future proofing strategy. 

Why marketers should care about customer service and support

Customer service can make a brand or it can break it. Companies that excel at it get customers for life, ones who become the kind of word-of-mouth brand ambassadors that marketers’ dreams are made of. 

Mess it up, though, and you can make brand-enemies for life. To really succeed, customer service has to be an enterprise-wide value and not just part of a business unit. 

Who uses or works with customer service and success tools?

Customer service and success teams keep customers happy which helps ensure continued business from existing and new customers. Both teams serve customers and help make their experience with the company a good one. To achieve this, they each have a slightly different focus.

The customer service representative (CSR) team is responsible for handling customer inquiries, complaints, and problems. They help resolve issues in real time. 

Some examples of CSR roles include:

  • Agent/representative:  A customer’s main point of contact with your company – fields customer inquiries, handles complaints, and resolves problems.
  • Supervisor: A management role that oversees support team operations, assigns tasks to agents, and makes sure goals are met.
  • Quality assurance (QA): QA monitors and evaluates CSR team activity (e.g., calls, emails, chats) and makes sure the CSR team provides high-quality customer service. 

The customer success management (CSM) team advocates for customers, prioritizing their needs and providing a big-picture overview of the customer experience for other teams (including marketing, sales, and CSR teams). 

CMS teams tend to have a longer view of customer success which includes identifying and addressing issues that might cause customer churn. Their primary goal is to help customers get the most from a product or service. 

Some examples of CSM roles include:

  • Customer success manager/advocate:  Another key point of contact between the customer and organization, the CSM addresses issues (e.g., long wait times, inconsistent communication) that might cause customer dissatisfaction and/or churn.
  • Implementation specialist: A specialized role focused on helping customers set up and use the company’s products or services.
  • Product specialist: An expert who provides detailed guidance and answers to product/service-specific questions. 
  • Tech support engineer: A technical expert who helps customers resolve more complex technical issues or problems.

The market for helping companies better serve their customers is vast. The U.S. contact center software market alone was valued at nearly $24 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow 23% by 2030. 

Several trends are fueling this growth, including the rapid adoption of cloud and virtual contact centers, chatbots, and prescriptive AI that automates previously manual tasks like case routing and problem resolution. There’s also a very real need to streamline customer interactions across multiple channels (otherwise known as customer experience).

Gartner identified four components needed for CSS tools. They are:

  • Call management – log and manage incoming calls and transactions.
  • eService suites – self-service tools that empower customers to communicate with an organization using email, chat, and social media.
  • Field service and dispatch (FS/D) – assign and track work orders for field service technicians.
  • Contact center – a centralized location where CSRs handle customer contact across all channels and communication types (voice, web, fax, mobile, etc.).

There are four main types of software associated with CSS including:

  1. Call center: enables CSRs to manage phone calls, track call activity, and measure performance. Examples include Five9, Ringover, and Twilio. Features typically include inbound call center capabilities like call automated call routing, call recording, and call queueing, interactive voice response (IVR), and call analytics.
  1. Live chat: Can be a standalone tool or integrated with all-in-one customer service platforms. Llive chat software helps customer service reps communicate with customers in real-time via chat. Examples include Tidio, Qualified, and MobileMonkey. Key features include AI-enabled and 24/7 chatbot availability, co-browsing, conversation archiving, and a shared team inbox.
  1. Help desk: provides a centralized place for customer support reps to track, manage, and resolve customer inquiries and issues. Examples include Zendesk Support Suite, Zoho Desk, and Intercom. Common features include tracking/ticketing systems, knowledge base management, and self-service portals.
  1. Knowledge management (KM): provides a central repository for storing and organizing customer service and support-related information (FAQs, training materials, product documentation, etc.) Examples include Guru, Notion, and Zendesk. Focus is on facilitating knowledge dissemination with features like versioning, history, collaboration/feedback, permissions, knowledge sharing, templates, etc.

Gartner defines customer success as an approach versus a category of software:

“Customer success is a method for ensuring customers reach their desired outcomes when using an organization’s product or service. A relationship-focused customer success strategy includes involvement in the purchase decision, implementation and use of products or services and customer support.”

Customer success teams get a slightly different flavor of software tools compared with their CSR counterparts. These include:

  1. Customer success platforms: These help CSM teams track customer health, advocate for the customer internally, and prevent churn. Examples include HubSpot Service Hub, ChurnZero, and Gainsight. Key features include customer health scoring (by analyzing historical customer behavior data), customer profile creation, journey mapping, and playbooks. These platforms focus on improving the lifetime value of a customer by identifying when and where support is needed the most.
  1. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools:  CRMs store customer profile information (contact information, interaction history, customer notes) and manage sales and marketing processes. CRM tools help build and support customer relationships, improving the entire process of customer data gathering and organizing. HubSpot and Salesforce are two of the most well-known CRMs, but there are many others including Zoho CRM, Pipedrive, and 
  1. Product analytics (PA): PA helps CSM teams see which features customers are using (or not using) and how they’re using them. PA tools get marketing and product teams on the same page, with data that informs customer health scoring and can be used to prevent churn. Pendo is one example of a product usage data tracking tool as is Amplitude Analytics (for digital products).
  1. Customer journey orchestration: This is used to visualize the customer’s journey across touchpoints and own the end-to-end customer experience. Mapping customer journeys can help teams identify gaps and optimize the experience. Examples of tools that facilitate this include Treasure Data, a customer data platform (CDP) and Qualtrics, a customer experience platform (CXP).

How prioritizing customer service and success helps marketers succeed

Getting customer service and success right translates to more sales, more customers, and a better bottom line. Good experience is often the biggest priority a customer has when doing business with a company—trumping price, product, and brand. 

Nearly 60% of 1000 consumers in a recent Forbes survey said they would pay more for good service. The same survey found that convenience is valued over price, with 70% of respondents saying they’d pay more for convenience.

A strong customer service and success strategy can be a powerful marketing tool by:

  • Providing valuable customer insights that inform marketing campaigns. 
  • Reducing customer churn.
  • Facilitating communication between customers and businesses.
  • Motivating positive customer reviews and testimonials.
  • Increasing customer loyalty and customer lifetime value.
  • Being more competitive. 

A study by Deloitte revealed that companies who prioritize customer experience (e.g., “customer-centric” companies) were 60% more profitable than those who don’t. These companies spend time getting to know their customers and focus on using tools and processes that solve customer problems and deliver better customer experiences.

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A strong (and deliberate) customer service and success process supports marketers by improving   customer experience. It creates happy customers which leads to more sales, improved customer lifetime value, and much more successful marketing campaigns. It’s also the best way to futureproof your organization by keeping up with changing trends in customer expectations and behaviors while staying one (or ten) steps ahead of the competition.

Read next: What is CRM and how does it support marketing?

About The Author

Jacqueline Dooley is a freelance B2B content writer and journalist covering martech industry news and trends. Since 2018, she’s worked with B2B-focused agencies, publications, and direct clients to create articles, blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks. Prior to that, Dooley founded Twelve Thousand, LLC where she worked with clients to create, manage, and optimize paid search and social campaigns.

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How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips



How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips

Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.

→ Free Download: 5 Customer Survey Templates [Access Now]

I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.

My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.

Why Measure Survey Completion

Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.

They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.

Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.

But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.

With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:

  • Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
  • Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
  • Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
  • Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.

The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)

Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.

CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!

Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.

So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.

So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.

We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”

And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.

While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.

Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).

Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.

Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.

3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.

Response Rate vs. Completion Rate

Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.

  • Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
  • Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out

Here are examples using the same numbers from above:

Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%

So, they are different figures that describe different things:

  • Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.

The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?

There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!

What’s a good survey completion rate?

That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.

There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.

But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.

So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.

I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:

“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]

Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”

The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.

“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”

Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:

survey completion rate vs number of questions new data, qualtrics data

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The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.

A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”

This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.

If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.

According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.

Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?

Tips to Increase Survey Completion

If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.

1. Keep your survey brief.

We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.

Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.

Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.

“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.

2. Give your customers an incentive.

For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.

Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.

This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.

3. Keep it smooth and easy.

Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.

4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.

Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.

Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.

“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.

Tip 5. Gamify your survey.

Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.

Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!

Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates

Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Take back your ROI by owning your data



Treasure Data 800x450

Treasure Data 800x450

Other brands can copy your style, tone and strategy — but they can’t copy your data.

Your data is your competitive advantage in an environment where enterprises are working to grab market share by designing can’t-miss, always-on customer experiences. Your marketing tech stack enables those experiences. 

Join ActionIQ and Snowplow to learn the value of composing your stack – decoupling the data collection and activation layers to drive more intelligent targeting.

Register and attend “Maximizing Marketing ROI With a Composable Stack: Separating Reality from Fallacy,” presented by Snowplow and ActionIQ.

Click here to view more MarTech webinars.

About the author

Cynthia RamsaranCynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai



Revolutionizing Auto Retail: The Game-Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

In a groundbreaking alliance, Amazon and Hyundai have joined forces to reshape the automotive landscape, promising a revolutionary shift in how we buy, drive, and experience cars.

Imagine browsing for your dream car on Amazon, with the option to seamlessly purchase, pick up, or have it delivered—all within the familiar confines of the world’s largest online marketplace. Buckle up as we explore the potential impact of this monumental partnership and the transformation it heralds for the future of auto retail.

Driving Change Through Amazon’s Auto Revolution

Consider “Josh”, a tech-savvy professional with an affinity for efficiency. Faced with the tedious process of purchasing a new car, he stumbled upon Amazon’s automotive section. Intrigued by the prospect of a one-stop shopping experience, Josh decided to explore the Amazon-Hyundai collaboration.

The result?

A hassle-free online car purchase, personalized to his preferences, and delivered to his doorstep. Josh’s story is just a glimpse into the real-world impact of this game-changing partnership.

Bridging the Gap Between Convenience and Complexity

Traditional car buying is often marred by complexities, from navigating dealership lots to negotiating prices. The disconnect between the convenience consumers seek and the cumbersome process they endure has long been a pain point in the automotive industry. The need for a streamlined, customer-centric solution has never been more pressing.

1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai1701235578 44 Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

Ecommerce Partnership Reshaping Auto Retail Dynamics

Enter Amazon and Hyundai’s new strategic partnership coming in 2024—an innovative solution poised to redefine the car-buying experience. The trio of key developments—Amazon becoming a virtual showroom, Hyundai embracing AWS for a digital makeover, and the integration of Alexa into next-gen vehicles—addresses the pain points with a holistic approach.

In 2024, auto dealers for the first time will be able to sell vehicles in Amazon’s U.S. store, and Hyundai will be the first brand available for customers to purchase.

Amazon and Hyundai launch a broad, strategic partnership—including vehicle sales on in 2024 – Amazon Staff

This collaboration promises not just a transaction but a transformation in the way customers interact with, purchase, and engage with their vehicles.

Pedal to the Metal

Seamless Online Purchase:

  • Complete the entire transaction within the trusted Amazon platform.
  • Utilize familiar payment and financing options.
  • Opt for convenient pick-up or doorstep delivery.
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Hyundai’s Cloud-First Transformation:

  • Experience a data-driven organization powered by AWS.
  • Benefit from enhanced production optimization, cost reduction, and improved security.

Alexa Integration in Next-Gen Vehicles:

  • Enjoy a hands-free, voice-controlled experience in Hyundai vehicles.
  • Access music, podcasts, reminders, and smart home controls effortlessly.
  • Stay connected with up-to-date traffic and weather information.

Driving into the Future

The Amazon-Hyundai collaboration is not just a partnership; it’s a revolution in motion. As we witness the fusion of e-commerce giant Amazon with automotive prowess of Hyundai, the potential impact on customer behavior is staggering.

The age-old challenges of car buying are met with a forward-thinking, customer-centric solution, paving the way for a new era in auto retail. From the comfort of your home to the driver’s seat, this partnership is set to redefine every step of the journey, promising a future where buying a car is as easy as ordering a package online.

Embrace the change, and witness the evolution of auto retail unfold before your eyes.

Revolutionizing Auto Retail The Game Changing Partnership Between Amazon and Hyundai

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