You’re all in on HubSpot. You went all in on Inbound Marketing a few years ago. Then early last year you went all in on Inbound Sales. In September HubSpot said you should offer services for customer service too and they gave you the final piece of the puzzle, ServiceHub to go with SalesHub and MarketingHub.
To make this all easy for you, they also handed you the Flywheel to help you wrap all the hubs into a nice simple package for clients. But the services that go with both sales and customer service aren’t as easy to wrap up in a nice package, are they?
Specifically, agency services for the customer service area. Most of us can figure out sales services, but customer service—not as easy. What can a digital agency do to help customer service?
But there are a handful of very closely related agency services you could provide with a connection to both marketing and sales. More importantly, for me anyway, there is a very compelling story around customer service and revenue generation. If you're a Revenue Growth Agency, like Square 2, here's what you do.
The Story You Want To Tell
One of the first challenges, if you want to stretch your agency’s services into customer service is knowing how to talk to the client about this initiative. Its not going to be enough to simply start asking questions about service. Your clients are going to be cautious about your interest and honestly, they don’t look at you as an advisor in the customer service area.
But if you help them understand how their customers’ service experience impacts your ability to drive leads and help them close leads—then you’ll have the bridge you need to start looking at their service experience.
Then I'd recommend continuing to help them understand how advocacy, reviews, references and referrals help their business and how those assets help you do a better job executing both marketing and sales related improvements.
One of the best questions we’ve used to uncover issues in service is, “how many of your customers are referenceable?” If that number is anywhere south of 50%, you know you have a customer service issue that should be getting attention.
Once you help them understand the underlying challenge with a generally unreferenceable customer base, you can move into areas that help them improve their customers' service experience.
Here are some of the services your agency is probably equipped to delivery.
Customer Experience Process Redesign
More and more of our work is to create transformational digital experience for prospects with the deployment of marketing tools, content and other materials. But we’re also doing the same work with our clients in their sales process and the experience their prospects have with their sales team.
Its not a stretch to continue working with clients on the experience their customers have with their customer service reps. That process redesign effort is very similar to what you might already be doing on the sales and marketing side of their business.
By mapping out every customer service touchpoint, you can look at the touches, see what materials they’re using and make sure that experience is remarkable. At the very least, make sure its educational and highly responsive. Then provide them tools like emails, scripts or educational materials to deliver an upgraded service experience.
Customer Service Email Tools
How many times have you received a poorly written email from a company? Perhaps the email was well written, but it didn’t include any story, was missing additional information that you might have found helpful or failed to introduce you to additional services provided by the company?
I know the answer, it’s almost every day.
Your clients are sending emails out like this all the time and not even knowing how this impacts their customers' service experience.
Just like you upgrade marketing emails and sales emails, you can also upgrade services emails too. One of the key upgrades is helping them cross sell or up sell additional services. It’s shocking how many companies don’t marketing to their own customers. This is one of the easiest ways for you to help drive revenue in the Service area.
Customer Service Knowledge Base
Customer service reps are answering questions all day long. Why not give them an asset they can use to direct customers to find answers in a self-service way? Why not promote that asset on the web and in search so customers can find the answers they want, when they want them and on their own? Its how they want to find information anyway.
This work isn’t different than building a website page with FAQs or a pillar page for a client. Identify the questions, make sure you infuse keywords, create a great user experience, make is searchable (if its overly extensive) and put it on your client’s website. Now you have a new indexable and ranking website page and the customer service team might even see a decrease in calls.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Do your clients even know how their customers feel about their products or services? Probably not. You can easily help them here by creating some customer satisfaction surveys. You can write the questions, create the digital survey, send the email out and collect the results.
You can use the NPS methodology or the ServicesHub provides a very easy sad, neutral or happy face scoring model that might be perfect for a company who has never done this before. This is what we do at Square 2 today.
Regardless of how you want to score and what you do with the data, you can automate the sending of the email, make collecting the data easy and without much work you’ve give your client a quantitative measure of how satisfied their customers. Now you proactively start talking to them about how you go about making those customers happy and happier over time.
This positions your agency as a valued and strategic partner. Not only are you giving them a website and regular email marketing campaigns, but you are improving the customer satisfaction of their entire customer base. Very strategic!
Advocacy Marketing Programs
The next three ideas are a little more complicated but still right in the average agency’s wheelhouse. Influitive, an advocacy marketing platform, defines Advocacy Marketing as the process of harnessing the voices and experiences of your company’s customers to power your marketing and engagement strategies.
Advocacy marketing programs typically gamify the participation of customers in the reference and review process. Every time your client’s customers participate in advocacy, they earn points and points can be cashed in for promotional products, discounts or other rewards.
The work here for the agency is primarily to build the program and evaluate if technology like Influitive is necessary to execute the program. The program build includes a list of activities that would be rewarded, the value of the activities and the reward program.
The other aspect of this is knowing what customers are participating, what customer are not and why they’re not. The goal is to have as many customers in the advocacy program as possible.
If your client is not up for a full-blown advocacy program you can take a simpler approach and build a basic referral program.
Create an incentive offer. It could be a plant, a $25 Starbucks gift card, or a simple hand written thank you note. Email all your clients’ customers and introduce them to the referral program, talk about how important referrals are and give them a link to a landing page that allows them to share a referral.
Use the landing page to reinforce the referral program and collect the referral information. Once the referral comes in, send them their gift and forward the referral to sales.
Of course, keep tabs on the page, the click through rate and the number of referrals generated. You should give the gift for the referral, NOT for the sale. It’s your client’s job to close the deal, not their customers. You want to incent them for the referral behavior.
Customer Reference Reel
Another easy program to operationalize for all your clients and one that take the hottest mediums into consideration is to build a reference reel video for your clients. They give you access to a handful of happy clients and you script, shoot, edit, and produce a three to five-minute video that highlights their happy customer experiences.
The only other part of a reference reel program is teaching the sales reps when and how to use it. The goal is to eliminate references and the challenges associated with references from the sales process entirely.
This means reps should send out the link and the reference reel before prospects ask for references. The email that goes with the reference real should also be written by your team and they should be coached on how to talk to prospects about references and the reference reel.
If you do this well, you could be cutting a significant amount of time from the back end of your client’s sales process, making you and your agency, one valued, strategic and well paid partner.
You should be able to see how easy it is to move from marketing, to sales and into customer service. What you need is the right set of stories, conversations, and services. Now that you have those details, take the time to identify a handful of (three to five) clients and practice telling them the stories associated with the importance of delivering an amazing service experience to customers. Don't forget the way it directly affects the results from their investment in sales and marketing services.
The good clients, the right clients, should be excited to see what you can do in this area. The results for the agency will be additional revenue, longer retainers, and happier clients.
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Start Today Tip - Its vitally important for you (the agency owner) to know who you are and what kind of agency you aspire to have. If you’re passionate about ONLY marketing and only want to deliver marketing related services, don’t compromise. But if you’re interested in more strategic relationships with your clients, or you’re interested in being a Revenue Growth Agency, you’ll need to get good at sales and customer service strategy, tactics, analytics and technology for your clients. The tactical programs for customer service identified here gives you a starting point to build out these services for your agency. Extending your services is an excellent strategy to help you grow. Don’t dismiss it or ignore it.
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