HubSpot continues to transform how people think about revenue by including customer service in the conversation. On the surface this might seem strange to owners of inbound marketing agencies, especially those steeped in traditional marketing related tactics like web design or public relations, but when you dig a little deeper you should be able to see how this is the right advice for almost every company.
The traditional digital agency is dying a slow death, but most of the inbound agencies associated with HubSpot and those more innovative agencies have already seen their path to the future involves helping companies learn how to generate revenue in new and more buyer-centric ways. This move into services is one of the best ways to become much more strategic, garner higher retainers and make a bigger impact on your clients’ companies.
But what services could you possibly offer to help the customer service teams? The answer might surprise you when you see how similar these are to some of the stuff you’re already (or should already be) doing for them.
Advocacy, Reviews and References
One of the elements we look for when it comes to offering services in departments other than marketing are threads that connect. One of the best and most significant is today’s movement around advocacy. Right now, your clients are telling stories about your agency to prospective clients. Do you know what they’re saying? They might also be writing reviews and evaluating your agency online. This is happening to your clients too.
All of our businesses are much more transparent than ever before, and this must be a key initiative for all your clients and it’s one of those initiatives you can help your clients plan, build, execute and optimize. Asking customers for reviews, incenting customers for advocacy support, building advocacy into your client’s sales process and their customer service deliver, all fall into this advocacy execution.
At the same time, almost every industry has seen an increased number of sites, services and companies providing independent third-party reviews and comparison services to help people make a more informed purchase decision. This change in buyer behavior can’t’ be ignored and your clients need to actively participate in those efforts.
The clients who have even small customer service teams are constantly communicating with their customers around a variety of issues. What does that communication look like? What does it sound like? How does it make their clients feel? These types of communications are usually never looked at strategically and only the most advanced customer service teams arm their reps with high-quality, professionally written responses.
This is an opportunity to review what’s being sent, strategically align the entire company around the voice of the company, the experience they want their customer service reps to create for their customers and the tools necessary to respond whether its via email, text, ticket submission, chat or Facebook Messenger. Yes, today your client’s customers are wanting to talk to providers in a variety of formats and they all need to be planned, organized and responded to with the highest degree of professionalism.
In general, people don’t care as much about the challenges they have, most of us expect that, but they all want to be treated like VIPs, they want and expect to be responded to quickly and they want their issue resolved. If they don’t get these three pillars of service, they’re prepared to share that with everyone on every platform. Today this is 100% preventable in every situation.
Current Customer Upsell and Cross Sell Campaign Tactics
We started asking our prospects what percentage of their customer base purchase 100% of their products or services offered and the answer is always less than 100 percent. In most cases its dramatically less, below 50 percent. This means all your clients can improve communication with customers so that they buy more, buy at higher levels and continue buying.
In fact, some of the easiest revenue to generate is that pent up in your client’s existing customer base. These people already love your client and their products/services, they simply need to be reminded and communicated with more thoughtfully. In some cases, our first move is NOT to try to drive new revenue from new customers but to engage campaigns that introduce new services to existing customers or present existing services to current customers are the perfect time in their relationship with our client.
For example, the John Deere dealer who never communicated with customers after their initial tractor purchase who now emails customers to remind them about service, to offer add on products based on the season and to introduce them to new John Deere products based on their expanded customer profile. The result is dramatic revenue growth and their recognition as one of the top distributors in the John Deere family.
Knowledge Base Builds
Customer service reps answer the same questions all day long and these questions can be answered in a Knowledge Base. A collection of content articles or resources that are 100% indexable website pages. This should sound familiar because it’s the same exercise you’re already executing if your building pillar pages for a client’s website.
Instead of a page designed to attract and support prospects, instead you’re building a page designed to educate customers. The effort is very similar. What questions are customers asking? Let’s answer those with pages on the website, even if those pages are private and not available via public navigation, they are 100% indexable, rankable and available for people who need that information.
The only difference is customer service reps would be directing customers to those page, customer might find those pages on their own and those pages can continue to be kept updated with the latest and greatest information making the customer experience that much richer and more satisfying.
Speaking of satisfaction, do your clients know how their customer feel about them, their products or their services? They better start knowing. Even if they’re not interested in traditional Net Promoter or other customer satisfaction surveys they should be interested in how their customers are feeling.
You can help them craft, send and analyze survey data and help them learn how to respond to the answers their customers are providing. Sometimes survey programs require incentives, ongoing tracking, benchmarking and regular updates to keep the survey questions fresh and relevant. These are all services that your agency can provide and should be providing to keep your clients fully driving to their revenue goals.
Its critical as agencies to not lead with software. These services are what’s important and the software is what makes using these upgrades more effective and efficient. Just like the marketing tactics and sales enablement tactics lead the way and marketing automation, CRM and other technical tools get dragged along, these services are going to drag along any enhancements required to deliver an upgraded service experience.
But what really makes this entire effort interesting (to me anyway) is the continued attempt to make agencies more strategic in the overall quest of sustainable, repeatable and predictable revenue generation. To some CEO and business leaders this is the holy grail. Companies continue to miss their revenue goals and they need strategic partners to help them create the revenue machine.
By positioning your agency as one who can help them with sales, marketing and customer service you’re leaving all your digital marketing agency competition behind (there are over 65,000 website design shops in the US alone) and playing in a much smaller, more strategic field. This should be something very exciting to agency owners who are looking for faster growth, more lucrative retainers and higher profits.
If you like this type of guidance and advice, we have a fresh Agency Cohort launching in June. If you want to be part of the cohort, click the button below.
Start Today Tip – Whether you’re a HubSpot shop or not, you should be thinking about how you can deliver these types of services and you should be working on operationalizing the delivery of services like the ones discussed in this article. You should be doing account planning across your entire client base looking for strategic relationships that include access to C-level, customer service teams and clients with large numbers of customers. The more value you bring to your clients, the more value you bring to your agency.
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