PULLING YOUR WEIGHT
Have you ever paddled a tandem kayak? If so, you'll have noticed that progress is severely hindered when both of the partners are not doing their fair share of the work. When one person is loafing, the other is struggling to move head and resenting the lack of effort from their partner. The same goes for business. When Marketing and Customer Service work in tandem, each of their independent departments can see easy improvements, but when teamwork falls apart, the company can be dropped in different directions. Marketing and Customer Service should be great allies and enter a partnership that helps promote both departments.
Customer Service, What Have You Done for Me LaTely?
Most marketers will agree that the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. It's free and it carries more weight than any paid advertising. In a recent study by Zendesk and Dimensional research, 87% of customers share good experiences with others and 24% continue to engage with vendors two or more years after a good experience. On the flip side, 95% of customers share their bad experiences and those bad experiences are shared with more than five people. So, it is imperative that we keep our customers happy, and the best employees to do that are those that engage with the customer on the front lines.
1. Keep existing customers happy.
When it comes to interacting with your customers, Customer Service personnel should be the best trained people on the payroll. It's the Customer Service department that has the most interaction. If the Customer Service department can utilize their training and experience to satisfy the customers and keep them happy, customers will continue to do business with you.
Every customer that remains with a company is one less customer marketing and sales staff have to chase and reengage. According to the Real Costs of Losing Customers by JoAnna Brandi, it cost one of their financial clients $ 500 to get a new customer to walk in the door, and 22% of those did not stick around for more than a year. For some of our readers, it costs dollars to get a new customer. For others, it's thousands of dollars. For all, the numbers are impacting your bottom line.
2. Gather testimonials
Testimonials are a great form of advertising. Personal recommendations are the workhorse in the word-of-mouth category and, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Reevoo, 85% of consumers are influenced by ratings and reviews. Reviewscale tells us that products and services with reviews and testimonials have 12.5% higher conversion rate than those without.
A testimonial is a formal statement testifying to a company's qualifications. Of course, for marketing purposes, we only want to focus on positive testimonials and statements. For Customer Service professionals, obtaining testimonials for the marketing department may be easier than you think.
Have you had any customers end their conversation with, “Fantastic. Thank you for your help”? When you have a positive interaction such as that example, you can ask a follow-up question similar to, “Thank you! It's nice to hear nice things about our service.” And ask what, specifically, they liked about the service and about your company. Ask how your company's products help them.
Once you have heard another, more specific positive statement, ask if you can quote them on your website and marketing materials. Many customers see your questions as another example of your company going above-and-beyond in customer care and are happy and flattered to be included on your website. If they agree to let you use their testimonial, remember to:
– Get a signed statement that agreements to let you use their words on your website
– Get permission to use their name, company name, position, etc. with the testimonial
– Keep it short
3. Keep your ear to the ground
Finally, report what you are hearing from the customers to the marketing department. As the “face” of the organization and the department with the most customer interaction, you are the first to hear about problems with a product or service. You are the first to hear which product features the customers want. Simply the way people speak about your products or services is valuable to the marketing department. If your interactions are starting to come from another department or are beginning to skew to technical jargon, it will be useful information and help the marketing department as they tweak and revise their marketing material.
Check back next month for Part Two of this article about what Marketing can do to help Customer Service.