If you run a fledgling business, then you may not have a defined Customer Support team yet. But, every business has someone handling customer questions, comments and concerns, even if you’re the only person who handles them. Every customer who contacts you provides insight into their mindset, and that information is golden to everyone involved in supporting and selling your products or services. Team communication is key to gaining maximum value from everyone’s customer insights.
Synergy Between Marketing and Support Can Be a Powerful Tool
Whoever runs your marketing efforts knows a great deal about how to induce sales, but they don’t necessarily know the customer wants and needs as well as the people who provide support. Similarly, your Support team does not automatically know the official marketing messages that help enlighten customers about current or future needs. Customer communication needs to be a synergistic effort.
Here are five things that Marketing and Support can learn from each other to help ensure that your customers are happy.
#1. Customer wants and needs
Few products or services are perfect. Still, you need to know what your customers have to say so you can address the most important issues first. Your Support team is probably the first to hear about it when your widgets are not available in a popular color. Similarly, they will hear customer complaints when they feel that your payroll software seems too hard to use.
Of course, everyone who is responsible for these issues needs to learn about them, particularly when Support hears the same issues from multiple customers. But, don’t forget about Marketing. Your hard-to-use software, for example, might be more flexible than any product on the market today. Your Marketing staff might need to change customer expectations. How about a new slogan, like, Flexible Software That’s Worth Learning How to Use? OK … maybe not, but some perceived flaws might actually be product benefits that need a bit of a push.
#2. Compatible messaging
Marketing messaging can be a significant driver of sales successes, but Marketing and Support may need to work together to convey the right ideas to customers. Think again about the flexible software example. If Marketing already knows that it is complicated to learn, they should notify Support in advance, feeding them handling tips to prepare them for potential complaints. Rather than just guiding customers through a complex process, they might also promise that they will appreciate a few extra steps so that they can handle any imaginable future situation.
Of course, this strategy may not always work; however, Support will be the first to know when it’s time to communicate with Marketing. When both functions see the need for a design or other change, product managers will be more likely to respond.
#3. Advanced information on marketing campaigns
Good Support representatives often take a more conversational approach with callers, which reveals hidden customer interests. Let’s say that your company sells home-made jams and jellies. During a call pertaining to a slight leak in a jar, the customer wistfully laments the high calorie count in your product. An informed Support representative can turn the conversation to a solution.
Just last week, Marketing informed Support about a new product promotion: BOGO on a new, naturally-sweetened, low-calorie product line that tastes every bit as good as the sugary version. Support is in the perfect position to convert a product complaint into a sale.
This is another reason why Marketing should keep Support in the information loop when a promotion is in its early stages of development. Their direct contact with customers can be even more effective than traditional advertising. Just as important, they are in a good position to forewarn Marketing about any flaws in the program before it goes live.
#4. Blog topic ideas
Anyone whose business has a website blog page knows the challenges of regularly posting new material that encourages readers to keep visiting the site. During the first few months, coming up with new topic ideas is easy. But, at some point, the idea well runs dry.
While Marketing may be ultimately responsible for populating the page with new articles, Support can provide a fountain of new ideas. They often hear about unusual ways that customers are using the products, and they can signal the need for how-to posts that make customers comfortable using complex products or services.
To facilitate sales, make sure that your Support team keeps your blog page in mind — and they habitually impart interesting details to Marketing. Particularly with complex products/services, customers commonly need explanations of how something works. Whether the issues cry out for a blog topic or a white paper, you’ll have the updates that you need to keep readers coming back to learn more. .
#5. Case studies
Has your super-storage furniture dramatically solved problems for existing customers? Their stories can entice new space-challenged customers to turn to you to solve their problems, too. Support is often an excellent source of these stories, which Marketing can post on your website or share on social media.
A Software Assist May Add Value
One easy way to automate communication from Support to Marketing is through a Support call tracking software system. When Support logs calls, Marketing and any interested party in your company can stay abreast of all customer issues. Search for customer support call tracking software to find plenty of options.
Internal Communication is an Important Asset to Your Business
In today’s fast-paced world, communication is becoming a lost art; but it remains one of the best ways to keep control of your business and your customers. Marketing and Customer Support both do their best work when they have real-time knowledge about what’s happening with the people who buy your products and services.
If your team is soft on the soft skills they need to communicate effectively, it’s time to explain the importance of keeping each other informed. When you take the time to train them, you communicate an important message, too.