Marketers today have it easy – or do they? Data streaming in from various sources, including social media, are providing a wealth of new information from customers about what they like – and don’t like – about a company’s products, advertisements, positioning, etc. With so much information pouring in from all angles, it can be overwhelming for CMOs. While a business certainly knows more about their customers today than they did even a few years ago, there is still boundless information yet to be discovered. How can a CMO effectively use the information they have – and glean from the information they don’t – to help move the needle across the company?

The answer is simple: Listen. CMOs have an incredible resource to listen to what their customers are saying every day – their contact center. A company’s contact center has thousands of interactions with customers every day that provide valuable customer and market insights. The agents answering these calls were at one time primarily a vehicle for customer support, answering the calls and helping customers resolve their individual issues. Companies soon began to realize that while a customer was already engaged on the phone, there was a prime opportunity to engage them further with the company and its products. Customers would call with a question about their account or a product they had purchased and the call center agent on the phone had the opportunity to upsell them on something new/better/different. The role of the agent thus became more and more sales-oriented.

Flash forward to today, and technology is changing the role of the agent even further. With capabilities like speech analytics available, it’s now easier than ever to detect patterns and trends in every conversation between the agent and customer. The amount and granularity of data collected also provides instant feedback to the organization and helps them create a unique user profile for every customer that uses the contact center.

As a result, agents are no longer just a sympathetic ear on the other end of the line, but instead are becoming strategic assets to the marketing organization, gathering key market research in real time while engaged with the customer on a call. By seeding verbal markers within the speech analytics tool, the call center agent is able to instantly expand the volume and quality of market intelligence for the company.

This is a bonanza for not only the CMO – who suddenly has a larger market research team that is one step closer to the customer — but also the leaders of other teams within the organization.  The sales lead gets greater insights into customer buying patterns or feedback on what competitors are up to. The product team hears immediate customer opinion – both good and bad – about the product and can incorporate that feedback into their product development cycles. The legal team can quickly identify potential compliance issues and address them in a more timely manner. The whole organization has a renewed and vested interest in taking time to listen to the customer and can do so easier than ever before.

So stop, look and listen to what customers are telling you through your contact center: It’s a simple solution to some of marketing’s biggest challenges.