By Phil Larson, president of Shepherd Consulting OK and author of “Manage Well: Eclectic Tips on Excellence."
"The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." Pearl S. Buck
Customer Service: The first stop on marketing for any new product is reinforcing good customer service with your team. Every member on your team needs a good set of customer service skills. Your customer service team members should be excellent.
A great sales come from great service. Attend to your customers and LEARN.
- Listen. Really seek to understand their need before any response is given.
- Expectation. Work to set an achievable expectation with the customer going forward. What will happen next.
- Apologize. If it is a complaint or concern, the team member should immediately respond with “I am sorry I did not take care of this to your satisfaction. I will work to resolve it.” No finger pointing. No blaming the guy on third shift in the bindery. Just, “I own it.”
- Responsible. Every person on the team should buy in to a simple principle. “I own this situation. I am responsible for this situation. Good or bad I am the face of the department.”
- New Change. Whatever the issue, find a way to learn from it and implement a change that will help avoid it in the future.
Quick Project. Avoid first projects that have a long lead. Do something simple and quick.
Get bold. Include a few executives you feel have an interest. Don’t oversell your capability. Perform with excellence and let them experience what you can do. Embedded in my mind is the comment of a key executive after attending a client luncheon. We surveyed using a purl to determine what type sandwich and drink each prospect wanted. Really simple! Then we made sure the boxes and drinks were lined up and ready with their names. He told me later he had never been treated so professionally inside of his own company. He became a big supporter just because we treated him personably.
Organize to Match Your Customers: Now here is a thought. Your organization should work seamlessly with your most frequent and profitable customers. Who brings you the most business? Who loves your service the most? Who wants to do more with you? While working on multi-channel one of the biggest online sourcing customers moved 100% of their business into our shop. A few years before this, they used 100% other sources.
Working on identity and service affects every component of the business. The customer worked to add more and more business until they lost relationships with all other sources.
Crawl Before You Walk: Just use two or three elements in your first attempts. Don’t even get into how powerful an IMB mailing with delivery reporting can be tied to a follow up email or sales call. Hold that for later. Email. Mail. Landing page with questions. Call back. Simple.
Educate and Visit: After you have done your research, ask a vendor to bring in an expert for an education session. Don’t place yourself in the position of being alone in your journey. Don’t try to be the expert. A wise person is one that knows where to get answers quickly not the know-it-all. You are now dealing with marketers with years of experience and personal pride in their craftsmanship. Come alongside with supportive education that makes them feel valued. Work on short campaigns that help them see how you conduct the business.
Visit with those key customers and let them teach you. Listen to them about their desires and needs. Yes, this is a huge part of marketing. Remember you are the marketing plan not your logo and catch phrase. A multi-channel offering communicates your department and team is open to learn and listen and support. That is good marketing in a performing enterprise whether you serve education, non-profit, healthcare, finance, manufacturing or any other industry.
Summary Action Items: Time for a quick marketing brief. Write down
- Objectives for marketing your new service
- Expected outcomes in terms of new revenue/chargeback
- Expected outcomes in terms of number of campaign and departments involved
- How you will communicate to your team, other departments, decision makers
- Where will you do research on statistics and approaches?
This article focuses on Sales/Marketing/Operations and Communications levels of the operational pyramid.