You have a secret marketing team at your disposal to effectively grow your alternative health, wellness, or CBD business and it’s probably closer than you realize. It’s your customer support team and your customers themselves in addition to your marketing team. They need to be closely working with marketing.
A colleague and I were talking about this recently. He’s been a copywriter for over 15 years. One of his clients suddenly had a huge drop in his business. In less than six months their revenues had dropped over 40%.
Desperate, he called my friend, Joshua, and asked him to come to help them sort it out and he would make the arrangements for Joshua’s travel.
Joshua flew to their headquarters for the staff meeting. He needed to talk to all the key people to see what had changed.
When he arrived to the meeting, the head of the marketing department wasn’t there. Joshua stopped and told them he couldn’t progress without everyone there. The owner made a call and an hour later the department head arrived.
Like I do, after listening carefully, Joshua started asking questions. He started digging. The products hadn’t changed. Pricing hadn’t changed appreciably. Orders, shipping, and delivery were all handled the same.
He asked to see the copy they had been sending out to customers over the past few months.
The owner liked the new messages. He found it hard to believe that the changes they had made could cause such a dramatic change in sales.
Could a marketing change really do that?
Instead of trying to convince him, Joshua asked who had written the copy. Turning to her, he said, “Please write the next piece that’s to go out. Do it just the way you have been…no changes. Okay?”
Slightly bewildered she agreed. Then he turned to the owner and said, “I’ll also write copy for the same content. I want you to A/B test them and we’ll see what your buyers say. Agreed?”
The owner agreed and they sent the test emails out. The copy my friend wrote outperformed their staff writer’s copy 20:1. Why? He wrote directly to their target market and their mindset. He didn’t try to change them from who they were.
Management had lost connection with their buyer’s wants, needs, and mindset.
We can’t afford client marketing disconnects in the midst of this crisis.
Have you noticed it’s harder to get answers to questions right now? I have. In my client work I’ve noticed they are slower to get back to me.
Businesses that I deal with are slower to get back to me. Some are even completely ignoring their customer’s requests for support or have reasonable ways to be reached.
It’s a recipe for decline, loss of sales, and a decrease in customer retention.
The answers are at your fingertips or the other end of your cell phone. Your best secret weapon is your customer support staff and existing clients.
Your customer support team is your “first-responders”. Just like medics and firefighters, there are the first ones your customers interact with. They hear the stories. They know what’s working and where the problems are.
In my client work, I have found there is often a big disconnect between management and customer service. Management may assume they have it all delegated.
Numerous studies and surveys verify this. About 75% of management thinks they have great customer service. Only about 25% of customers agree.
Management may assume that they are on target. It’s easy to not accurately connect marketing strategies, investments, and focus with what the customer service team is experiencing.
Here are three techniques to lessen this disconnect and empower your business to move forward.
Talk to your real marketing team…
Have a conference with your customer service team with your marketing team listening in. Start by listening to what they are experiencing. What’s going right? What are the concerns they hear the most often? Where, if any are the breakdowns?
Is there a product that has developed an issue?
Is there a need that could be better met with a little tweaking?
What about a concern or information that if provided on the website could reduce interaction friction? You want to minimize purchasing friction every step of the way. What would make the buying process easier?
Review how customer service interacts with clients or queries.
Phone? Email? Chat? What is the typical response time?
What is the scope of your sales? Local, regional, national or beyond?
What hours is customer support offered and are they reasonable for people beyond your time zone?
If you’re an east coast firm doing business with not just continental USA, but also Alaska and Hawaii – you have a six-hour time difference to consider. Even just in the continental US, it may be 5 PM on the east coast…but it’s only 2 PM on the west coast. This can cause a lot of customer service friction.
Right now…and for the foreseeable future, consider shifting most, if not all customer service to remote work. If you don’t have it, consider how to create a way for that team to be able to offer support.
Also, is there a way you could have longer hours through a remote worker? Either an opposite coast liaison or someone who would be willing to handle an early or late shift…depending on your location.
Create better customer relations by letting them know when they can expect to hear back from you. Supply chain users are learning they have to be more flexible and things are taking longer. Retail consumers are less content to wait.
One of my clients is a distributor and while their sales have been suffering greatly, now they are getting lots of requests for “I need it right now.”
Set expectations by having clear guidance on how you are working and fulfilling orders.
Even if you get it out the same day…we both know deliveries are not predictable. Not even express or other very expensive delivery services.
What are your customers saying?
You might want to read some of the customer emails or chat threads to get a better sense of how your customer is feeling about your company and your product.
Visit your social media pages and check out the conversations there. Do you need to ramp up support there?
Are you getting reviews on your website or social media? What do they say? What can be done to improve them?
Customer problems are opportunities for increasing sales…if you listen and act on them.
With over 30 years in business, I know we can’t make every person happy. However, often, there is an easy fix. Product or product packaging tweaking. Digital content tweaking or additions. Better customer experience opportunities.
Get feedback and share it with customer service and marketing
If you don’t have an automatic feedback system following a sale, consider incorporating one.
Every time I pick up groceries… I get a how did we do email. Businesses that use square automatically followup with a little smiley face or frown option on my phone…again, feedback on how they did.
Customer surveys are a goldmine. Offer a bonus for taking a few moments and giving you some feedback. Keep it short and simple. I hate my grocery store feedback because it asks way too much demographic information that is identical every time.
Be respectful of their time. Think of how You would feel being asked these questions.
It’s better to have just a few quick questions and then a space for comments. It empowers and respects them at the same time.
If you get a comment that brings an issue to your attention, have a script for staff to use as a response. Thank them and let them know this will be looked into.
When I work with clients, these are techniques I share. I recommend the findings and suggested modifications/changes be shared with all levels. Management needs the information, Customer Service wants the suggestions and Marketing needs to keep the customer in the loop of changing you are making.
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