The people who answer the phones and talk to customers and potential clients in person – your first points of contact – should be the best informed, most knowledgeable, and confident employees in your organization.
Unfortunately, more often than not, customer service or front desk staff get stuck with the most difficult job of trying to answer questions about things they aren’t aware of or don’t know how to handle.
Your job as a marketer is to pull people in and get them to call, come in person, or click, so how do you make sure that once you get the person to do that, you aren’t over promising and under delivering on user experience?
By working hand in hand with the most important people in your company – the customer service reps!
Whenever I am in a position that works with customer service reps or front desk staff (really, with anyone who works directly with clients or potential clients) I try to go out of my way to communicate often and openly with the reps. I want to not only inform them about the current programs, goals, and promotions of the organization, but I want to establish a close relationship with them so they can come to me with questions any time.
There is nothing worse than when you run a great campaign that increases the foot and call traffic, but is met with confusion and misinformation by your own staff. Invest the extra effort and time it takes to fully inform your team!
Here are my four tips to establishing the right communication flow and relationship with your customer service representatives:
Tip One: Unify Your Communications
Keep them well informed – send emails with detailed information and talk to them in person (because people tend to miss emails, misread them, or forget about them).
Repeat yourself. Often. I once heard that if your team starts to finish your sentences or says they’ve already heard it, then you’ve almost talked about it enough. Internal communication is one of the most difficult challenges organizations face. There’s no such thing as over communication when it comes to your marketing initiatives and your customer-facing team(s).
Don’t only tell them about the promotions, make sure they have the end-to-end brand messaging down. They should maintain the same voice you use in your marketing materials. Unify your communications.
Tip Two – Be Giving
Give them resources – the more ways that you give them the information, the better. Provide scripts, at-a-glance sheets, copies of your printed materials, websites to use as resources (especially references for your customers for the services and products you don’t provide), a flow chart of who to ask for help internally about various programs…give them so many resources that there is no excuse to provide anything less than excellent service.
Basically – make it easy for them to be great.
Tip Three: Answer Questions in Real Time
Be available – when all else fails, it’s better to be available to the reps when they are helping a customer than to have that customer have a terrible experience that can result in a bad review or negative press.
Get rid of the mentality that customer service isn’t your job. As a marketer, you want to make sure that your customer experience is what you promise it is. So be helpful! Do the right thing by your customer and make sure that the customer service rep shadows you while you help the customer or get the right information. Then follow up with the rep to make sure they know how to answer the question the next time. Do so with grace and appreciation for your rep – they have a lot on their plates.
Tip Four – Mindset
Set the right mindset – let them know that your goal is to increase traffic, which is a great thing for the whole organization. Yes, they will be handling the increase but you’re all part of the team and will work together to make things as smooth as possible.
It helps when you show that you are going to be available and are going to offer resources. Help them to see your marketing efforts as an opportunity for growth.
If you’re getting push back from either the reps or management, address it head-on. Work with management to help them understand how important the first point of contact truly is for customers. If your customer service reps aren’t getting the compensation they deserve, be an advocate! Help come up with an incentive program either for individuals or as a team. No matter what, don’t decrease your efforts in the face of lackluster enthusiasm. Positivity is contagious. Be the force of enthusiasm.
When you take the time and effort to communicate first and often with your customer-facing team, it pays off! Your customers will notice a difference, your marketing efforts will be rewarded with positive reviews, recommendations, and followers, and your business will benefit. When the bottom line is boosted, everyone in the company gets a boost!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy my post 10 Daily Dos for Marketers, which also touches on internal communication!
I hope you found this post helpful! Have you faced any challenges with customer service reps? Let me know in the comments! Or, you can start a conversation with me on Twitter! I’d love to tweet with you.
Thanks for reading!