ADMA chief calls for ‘six figure salaries’ for staff in bid to improve levels of customer service

Jodie SangsterAustralian business should take a leaf out of America’s approach to customer service and start paying staff $100,000 or more for their skills, the chief executive of the Association for Data Driven Marketing and Advertising has said.

Jodie Sangster described good customer service as the “ultimate marketing” which says much about “who you are as a brand”.

But its importance has often been overlooked and been regarded as the “last point” in the customer experience puzzle, she said.

Referring to comments made by Leonard Brody, president of US-based clarity digital, at the ADMA Global Forum, Sangster said: “Leonard Brody said many companies in the US are starting to pay six figure salaries for customer service teams. That’s the level of importance we should be putting on customer service and the importance it plays in the customer experience”.

Sangster also urged entire organisations to get behind the creation of genuine customer experiences across all stages of the “customer journey”.

Leaving it up to the marketing team was not enough, she said, arguing projects risk stalling because they do not have the support of the wider business.

Delivering a complete customer experience goes “way beyond marketing”, she said.

“And this is one of the challenges we face as marketers. We are charged with marketing and communications but the customer experience is truly end to end and that impacts all parts of the business.

“That is where our role as marketers is changing,” the ADMA chief continued. “We have become part of the business rather than just in a marketing role and we need to get that buy in and that support, sponsorship and authority from the business as whole to be able to make wider changes to really deliver in a way that we need to.”

She said producing good marketing is the “baseline” that everyone needs to deliver. But consumers are so bombarded with advertising that firms need to take customer service and the customer experience to the next level.

“If you think of the number of marketing communications customers get we have to be relevant and personal. And that is the baseline that we need to reach,” she said. “The next step for all businesses is take that to the next level and use those tools to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

“That goes above and beyond great communications and delivers what the customer wants and needs from us and understanding where that customer is on that journey and being able to adapt and deliver to those customer’s needs.”

Sangster also called on firms to “disrupt themselves” as a way of innovating. Simply performing our “day job” is no longer sufficient, she said.

“We know we are in a world of disruption and it’s not good enough for us to sit around and do our day jobs. We need to be almost disruptive ourselves as we are going about our business and delivering on the day and day,” Sangster said.

“We almost need to have a side team that is looking at disruption, asking ‘how would we disrupt’?

“If we were looking at our business from a distance, how would we disrupt ourselves? Let’s do it to ourselves rather than have someone do it to us.”

Steve Jones


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