Coffee and Conversation With Your Customers

According to Merriam-Webster, a kaffeeklatsch (coffee klatch) is an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation – it’s a great way to gossip and catch up with friends and see what is happening in their lives.

Many of us are unfamiliar with this term, but around the globe we can all identify with the need to connect and have a beverage of some sort – this is akin to the conversation that companies have with their customers across all channels at any time, to drive customer engagement and profitability. But the burning question at all companies is who owns that conversation? Or, more fundamentally, who owns the customer?

The standard answer for most companies is, “We all do”. But the reality is that CEOs first tag the CMO!

We all know the buzz and expectations that the CMO and Marketing will have more influence over IT spending than the CIO does. And CIOs are trying to become more customer-centric – however the reality is they both need each other to make the customer happy, safe and profitable. Given all of the security breaches that have occurred at Target, Niemen Marcus and several others, I’m not sure Marketing wants to have that control. At the same time, I am certain that the CIO does not want to handle campaigns and customer engagement.

The real answer: there needs to be balance. At the center of this must be the customer. The CMO and CIO need to create an environment where data, channels and systems are accurate and secure – and where the business can react to market changes, customer expectations and corporate strategy. This is paramount to meet the brand promise that companies have made to their customers and prospects. Each party needs to establish their control and provide the platform to execute successfully while focusing on the customer.

We know organizations all require balance, placing customer wants and company expectations in equilibrium so as to increase the bottom line. We understand the balance between IT and Marketing, too. They’re both just like the work/life balance we all need in our lives – that’s what a perfect cup of coffee and a chat with a friend gives us!