Organizational silos tend to be one of the biggest issues that prevent large and small businesses from innovating.
That is quite understandable: it is hard to innovate your business or marketing operations when information exchange among different departments rarely happens.
It is especially sad when your customer support team is isolated as that team is likely to have crucial insights to share with the rest of the company.
After all, your customer team is always at the forefront of customer interactions. They see and talk to your target audience on a daily basis.
Information exchange is crucial to a successful digital marketing strategy, and yet, the overwhelming majority of businesses (about 80% of those surveyed) say they do not have an efficient process for cross-team information exchange.
If you really want to create a customer-centric digital marketing strategy, start by including your customer support team in that strategy.
1. Get your customer support team’s input on your buyers’ personas
Obviously, your customer support team talks to your customers on a daily basis. They are likely to know your target audience best!
With their help, you can make better informed decisions when creating your buyers’ personas.
UXPressia offers a free persona building tool that includes a collaborative feature, enabling various teams to work together. The collaboration is real-time, and several people may work on the same persona simultaneously.
Additionally, you may want to involve your customers in more activities to help create more detailed personas:
- Surveying your customers: Here is an easy and free way to create surveys and collect answers
- Getting access to basic analytics reports: Most customer support teams are completely unaware of how much traffic the site is getting and where it is coming from. Yet, having that information may help your team better understand your customers, and hence relate to their struggles and needs. Tools like Whatagraph allow you to put together easy-to-digest visual analytics report and email those to your various teams:
Whatagraph makes web analytics reports visual and easy to understand. It is a good idea to set up weekly reports being sent to your team for them to know the basic demographics of your site visitors and how they engage with your pages.
2. Make your customer support team part of your content creation process
Customer-centric content strategy should include diverse content types targeting your customers’ interests and answering their questions.
Customer-facing content types include:
These need to fit your buyer personas.
Your customer support team should contribute their insight on each stage of customer-centric content production:
- Brainstorming: Encourage your customer support team to keep a record of all questions they are receiving via email, phone, or on social media. These questions can be turned into great content ideas!
- Creation: Ask your customer support team to supplement existing content ideas you are planning to develop with additional questions, ideas for visualizations that may be helpful, etc.
- Revision: Get your customer support team’s feedback on already written pieces and ask if they feel those would answer your customers’ questions in full
Going forward, you may want to turn multiple individual content assets into a lead generation project, like a course or a wiki. Here’s a nice collection of themes, plugins, and tools to create a knowledge base, a wiki or a FAQ section.
3. Include your customer support team into your social media marketing
These days the majority of your customers are very likely to choose social media to publicly request help or ask for help understanding your site. In fact, providing customer support through social media has lots of benefits:
- Increased brand loyalty: Promptly answering a complaint increases customer advocacy by 25% (while failing to respond decreases customer advocacy by 50%)
- Saving some money: Solving an issue on social media has been found 83% cheaper than doing it through a call center interaction. (Source)
- Higher ROI: When a customer hears back from a brand on Twitter, they’re willing to spend 20% more on a product in the future. (Source)
When trying to use social media as a customer support channel, businesses are always faced with one problem: How to get the customer support team on social media without them having to spend hours trying to find actual customer support questions.
Agorapulse is a powerful platform that solves that problem by turning your social media listening process into a task management dashboard. With it your social media marketing team can do their job of promoting brand awareness while assigning social media mentions that sound like customer support questions to your customer support team:
It is also not a bad idea to include your customer support team into your competitor monitoring for them to know how they are handling public customer interactions.
Bonus: Keep an eye on your team’s progress.
Finally, you are pretty sure your customer support team is both busy and efficient but just how busy and efficient are they?
Email Analytics is an easy way to analyze your team’s activity. It connects to your Gmail or G Suite account to pull some data and turn it into graphs. The tool shows:
- Which days of the week are the busiest in terms of emails received and replied
- Which days tend to be the slowest (these are the days when you may want to include your team into your marketing efforts by asking for their input on content planning).
The tool will also help you identify less efficient team members and how fast your team tends to reply to your customers.
Use the Email Analytics tool to identify which team members may be good candidates to be included in your digital marketing strategy.
In fact, your customer support team is likely to be your company’s biggest asset: After all, they talk to your current buyers on a daily basis accumulating priceless knowledge of what worries and triggers them.
I like how Kristen LaFrance put it when discussing holiday marketing commerce strategy:
48% of 2018s BFCM sales came from existing customers, not new customers. Don’t risk a good chunk of these sales by focusing too heavily on “the industry” and turning a blind eye to your own customer base.
Trust your own customers, trust your customer knowledge…
In our times of deep data access and easy access to industry trends and competitive intelligence, it is too easy to forget that what matters most is your actual customer and your company’s unique knowledge of them.
And who may possibly have more customer knowledge than your customer support team?
It is a shame they are so often disconnected from the rest of the company.
Use the ideas and tools above to include them into your digital marketing strategy and you may find them even more efficient and motivated!