Early in December Kyle wrote a post about the need to create stories that generate word-of-mouth marketing. At the end of the post Kyle writes that “the only people who can truly humanize your content are the people you have already served. They are also the only people that will cause potential clients to act.”
I would add that it doesn’t hurt to have narrators or conductors, company representatives that are constantly engaging with your current (and future) customers to help the story evolve.
Every employee is the face of your company
I’m not just talking about your social media manager, but every employee that interacts with your audience. You social media team is certainly on the front line, but so is your receptionist, your sales team, your traditional customer service team, and your executive team. Each and every employee should be approachable and empowered to solve customer problems.
Each time a customer or prospect is redirected, put on hold, asked to wait, or left otherwise unsatisfied, you’ve just demonstrated your company’s inability to be human. No company should pride itself on having “a process” when it comes to customer interactions. Every situation will be unique, but every customer will have the same goal in mind: get the problem resolved, fast. Don’t rely on processes, rely on trained employees who act in human ways to fix issues.
Empower all employees to resolve issues fast
The companies that enjoy a lot of word-of-mouth marketing are the ones who empower employees to resolve situations fast. Employees in these companies don’t have to call a manager for simple tasks and they don’t shuffle calls between departments. Each employee is trained to handle issues as they arise as quickly as possible. And let’s be honest, asking a customer to wait so that a manager can be called over to take care of a return or exchange is just not being efficient. It’s a waste of time for everyone involved. Companies that practice this kind of customer service are living in the past.
Today’s agile companies empower employees to get the job done. They know that “specially trained” employees or ones with “special degrees” you know the kind that read “MBA,” “Marketing” or “Public Relations” aren’t the only ones who interact with customers, so they make sure everyone feels comfortable. In fact, marketing and public relations managers are often thinking in terms of segmented masses while customer service reps are the ones on the front lines, delivering experiences to individuals.
Every employee from the executive team down the line can be a conductor or narrator for your brand. Each one has the ability to impact the lives of your customers, and each can help you achieve a new level of word-of-mouth marketing.
Help your customers tell your story by giving them something to talk about. Allow all of your employees to deliver customer experiences that are worth sharing with others.
Kristina Allen is the online marketing manager at ion interactive, where she thinks and writes about post-click marketing all day. She is also author of the new blog, Humanizing Your Brand. You can tweet with her @allenkristina.
Great article Kristina! You’ve made some great points here. Customers are going to talk about you either way, good or bad. By empowering your employees to resolve issues or to go above and beyond for your customers, you are making it easier for your customers to talk about their positive experiences with your company. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to go above and beyond for your customer and the rewards from going above and beyond are well worth it. Word of mouth recommendations carry a lot more weight and are more trusted than whatever advertising your running!
Hi Allison – exactly! The sad thing is, most customer service that *should* be considered normal is considered above-and-beyond because most companies don’t empower employees to resolve issues quickly and in a pleasant manner. Instead they pay lip service to their “dedicated to top-notch customer service” but keep the same out-dated and awful procedures in place.