01/08/2012 - 10:43

Staff on the front line for marketing

01/08/2012 - 10:43

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'I know that half of my advertising budget is wasted, but i'm not sure which half,' is a quote often referenced in business.

‘I KNOW that half of my advertising budget is wasted, but I’m not sure which half,’ is a quote often referenced in business over many years.

In a competitive environment where inputs and outcomes are measured relentlessly, however, the value of such an approach is questionable. 

The world is a completely different place to what it was just 50 years ago, when marketing and advertising alone won the sale and influenced consumers’ buying decisions. 

Today, the huge growth of the internet and social media has given people the ability to share views and opinions and influence buying decisions across the world. As a result of this, over the past decade, business owners have jumped on the social media bandwagon with the new marketing must haves including Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to name a few.

While social media is a great marketing tool for business, it is not the only solution. Traditional marketing such as telemarketing, print media and radio still have a major role to play and now, more than ever, businesses need to ask themselves what they seek to accomplish from their campaigns.

With this in mind, my suggestion for any business would be to make sure that the fundamentals are in place before they surf the ‘social wave’.  

One of these key fundamentals is to ensure that anyone within the business that deals with the outside world, whether it is customers, potential customers or contractors, should understand the business goals and is able to communicate effectively and portray the business in a professional manner. 

According to the Right Now (2011) Customer experience impact report, consumers were 73 per cent more likely to stick with a brand if they had friendly employees or customer service representatives. 

The report also showed that 86 per cent of customers would pay more for a better customer experience.  

Therefore, based on their survey responses, hiring, training and empowering the right staff is the most critical element to successfully courting consumers.

I have found the businesses that treat their staff and customer representatives as their front line for marketing and advertising succeed regularly in retaining customers as well as gaining new ones.

Here are my top four tips for businesses to evaluate their staff’s performance when communicating to customers and potential customers:

First impression, lasting impression

Do not underestimate the power of a smile. When your staff greet with a smile, their voice tone will help determine clients’ attitude and level of interest. Even over the phone, the caller can hear your smile in the tone of your voice. This smile extends from the customer representative to the entire company.

Communicate at the customer’s level

A number of businesses make the mistake of allowing their internal business jargon to escape to the outside world. For a customer that has never visited or that has very little knowledge of the products and services you provide, it is vital that they are not confused as this can scare them away and ultimately lose your business to a competitor.

Communicate proactively

On a marketing campaign, would you highlight what services you can’t provide or what you can’t help with? Of course not; and this is the same with what your staff are saying to customers and potential customers. To get the best from your customers and potential customers use proactive, positive language such as ‘what I can do for you is ... ’

Business knowledge

If your employees do not have the knowledge of the business and its core aims, it is near impossible for them to portray the right image to customers or potential customers. This is most probably the hardest to teach as it takes time for knowledge to set in, however this rate can be improved by regular communication between management and staff.

It’s time for businesses to take a step back from gaining ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ and focus on the fundamentals of business, including the all important frontline customer representatives. If they are not reflecting your brand it could be diminishing your marketing efforts.

 

Ava Lucanus is the owner of customer service training business Edge Communication.

Contact Ava on ava@edgecommunication.com.au |www.edgecommunication.com.au 

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