Guest Post: Sean Matthews, Visix
Sales and marketing have been aligned in the corporate world for years, even integrated, in many respects. But what about customer service?
Forbes magazine says that, in today’s customer-driven era, customer service is no longer just a post-sale activity, but is part of the total buying cycle. Business.com compares the integration of customer service and marketing departments to PB&J, with customer service strengthening existing relationships and creating further business (and they quote a HelpScout paper that says existing customers represent a 60-70% chance of new business, versus a 5-20% of selling to new prospects).
Leveraging your digital signage to include sales, marketing and customer service departments just makes good bottom-line sense.
Sales personnel can be motivated by messages on your digital signage system by showcasing top performers and progress towards goals and quotas. Highlighting recent contracts (especially large and/or ones with well-known clients) can also give them a boost, as can simply keeping them in the loop with up-to-date sales figures. You want them inspired to continue to do their best.
Marketing folks will want to advertise information on services and products your company currently offers, or is launching soon, as well as new specs and pricing. Info about the latest promotions and current distribution partners will also keep people in the loop and up-to-date. You want everyone in your company to know exactly what’s being offered, and encourage them to come up with new ways to target your markets.
Customer service agents will definitely need to know current promotions, as well as new product and service tips. Keeping them informed about webinar schedules, new knowledgebase FAQs and other support resources lets them share real-time information with the clients they assist. Let them know how they’re doing with call center queuing data and CSAT levels on screens. You want your customer service staff energized and prepared.
Because these three departments support one another, you need to make sure that they are communicating and are all starting from the same place. Display messages that define exactly what a “lead” is and an overview of the sales cycle – from first touch to delivery, through implementation and training. You want them to start thinking of the entire sales cycle as a whole, and their parts in it.
A lot of companies keep these departments separate, but consider using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications to drive sales growth. CRM looks at real data on a customer’s history and relationship with a company, with an eye to retaining them and expanding the company’s offering to meet their specific needs. Information is gathered from many sources – website traffic, live chat, telephone calls, social media, responses to marketing materials.
The more a customer interacts with your company, the more you learn about them and the better you can serve them. You get a deeper buyer persona, which can help you in all areas, including developing new products and services. You also get overall trends that you can show on your digital signs to keep everyone on track.
The real key here is information-sharing among sales, marketing and customer support. You want as much data as possible, as up-to-date as possible, and you need to maintain a consistent message to your clients. Integrating data, using real-time communication apps between departments, and allowing document collaboration helps keep everyone on the same page and the data fresh in their minds.
Don’t underestimate the power of weekly meetings, with representatives from all three departments present and presenting. This helps make them all feel like they are actually part of one team. Keep these short, like 15 minutes, so no one feels like their time is wasted. Frequent, short meetings are better than more infrequent, longer ones.
Digital signage is a great way to remind everyone about the ins and outs of data and document sharing systems, as well as the upcoming meetings (and what they should prepare). Room signs, which are just small digital signs, help make scheduling meeting rooms easy and fast – saving even more valuable time.
Aligning these three teams also helps them set customer expectations. When the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, there is no miscommunication to frustrate and annoy customers. There are so many options available to modern consumers that three-fourths of respondents in a survey by Ovum say they stop doing business with a company after only one bad customer service experience.
Then there’s social media. Is it actually useful?
Some say yes, while others are skeptical. Forbes says that social media is crucial today, and cites a Northridge Group study that finds that when consumers contact a company via social media, they expect a response within one hour. If that is what people expect, then that is what companies should deliver.
People are also far more likely to share negative views and comments using social media than they will positive ones. This means that your teams will probably have to remind customers to share positive testimonials and reviews. Occasional reminders for your staff on your digital signs will prompt them to do this.
In today’s dynamic marketplace, the lines between sales, marketing and customer service have already blurred. It makes sense to treat them as one big department, making sure they are talking to one another, and sending a unified message to your customers.