It’s been said that you can influence what people say about your brand, but that you can’t own the conversation. We live in a world where customers can easily create and share negative reviews, making brand reputation difficult to manage. The quickness of the Internet and the pervasiveness of social media in our lives today mean that all companies need to closely examine how they interact with their customers at every stage of the game – from first marketing contact to continued customer service.
If you can’t own the conversation about your brand, the next best thing you can do is help direct the conversation where you want it to go. In order to do this, however, you are going to need to develop some cross-departmental synergy – which might not come easy for every company. The customer expects a consistent brand experience, from how ads are presented to their in-person customer service experience. If your Marketing, Sales and Customer Service departments aren’t sharing information and working together, you risk creating brand disaccord, alienating the customer and excluding yourself from the brand conversation.
Below are tips on how you can get your Marketing, Sales and Customer Service departments to help each other – and in turn better help your customers.
Marketing – Marketing departments can no longer rely on tactics that offer one-way dialog at their customers. So why not jump into the conversation with them instead? Customer Service departments have had open dialog with customers for years, and there’s no reason why someone from the Marketing department shouldn’t be hearing what customers are saying. Once the Marketing team is plugged in to the Customer Service feed, they can work on tailoring marketing strategies to fit what the customers actually want to know. Marketing teams should also keep up with what features and benefits the Sales department finds to be the most helpful in closing the deal. If those points are not being included in the out-going marketing, you are going to miss reaching potential customers.
Sales – Stuck in the middle, your Sales department needs to keep in-the-know both on what is being marketed about their company, as well as the feedback Customer Service is receiving from customers. There is no faster way to lose trust in a salesperson than knowing more about their products than they do. By staying current on the Marketing department’s strategies, your Sales team will be better prepared for what customers are asking. And by knowing the feedback Customer Service is receiving from actual customers, they can get a feel for how the products or services they’re selling actually help the customer, allowing them to start selling solutions instead of things.
Customer Service – More than any other department at your company, your Customer Service and front-line employees have the direct connection to how the customer really feels about your company and how they really use your products and services. Because they can be so critical a resource for your Sales and Marketing departments, you need to make sure you have the best Customer Service team you can get. You need people who care. People who want to listen. People who can keep a negative event from going viral before it ever happens. These kinds of people can save your brand – and your reputation – when a customer isn’t happy.
Need help melding your marketing strategy and customer service? Contact our full-service agency today to learn about Conduit, our marketing software tool featuring excellent customer service support.
—By Valerie Robertson, Director of Customer Support