Robert McIntosh wrote an incredible post on the Canadian Marketing Blog. What Robert gets – and what many marketing departments don’t get – is that Customer Service can be your most valuable asset when it comes to gathering intelligence regarding what is working and not working on a marketing campaign.
Robert’s suggestions are:
1. Consider the Customer Service Team (CST) a key stakeholder with
any project you take to market – they’ll anticipate issues you hadn’t
thought of and highlight lessons learned from the past.
2. Keep the team updated on changes to launch timing – they may be staffing up based on your program and need to adjust levels accordingly.
3. Always give the CST the ‘macro’ view of the project
and not just the components relating to them – it’s amazing how
motivated people become when they understand the bigger picture and
relate how their work contributes to the overall success of an
4.Act upon customer feedback as quickly as possible –
don’t delay when responding to an irate customer. And circulate the
resolution to all teams as history can repeat itself pretty quickly.
5. Give the CST a copy of every marketing piece – even
something as innocuous as a letter sent to a few hundred customers –
having it handy to review helps reps prepare and be responsive.
6. Use customer feedback to build “Frequently asked Questions” or “Rude Q&As”
7. If you’re running a contest, make sure the team is familiar with the rules and regulations – the less they have to put a customer on hold to clarify a point reduces your overall cost per call.
8.Spend at least one hour a month (more if you’re launching a new product) listening in on calls –
I guarantee you’ll be amazed what you hear. In one example we moved the
location of an 800 number in a direct mail piece for the next wave of
activity because customers had difficulty finding it on the layout.
which can also be used on your website – especially if a flaw has been
uncovered in the program and there is a need to blanket message.
Having listened to and analyzed countless numbers of our client’s Customer Service calls over the years, I can tell you that it’s quite common for the customer to reference a marketing piece, special offer, or initiative only to have the CSR respond with an ignorant and dumbfounded, "Huh?! I don’t know anything about that."
Robert, on behalf of CSRs everywhere – thank you for "getting it" and spreading the word. I hope your marketing colleagues will take note!