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Don't Let Your Employees Turn Customers Away
By: Sean T. Haley

Have you been completely ‘sold’ by an advertisement and when you contacted the company, no one knew what you were talking about? Have you asked a company representative about a new service their company is offering and they referred you to a phone number that prompts you to leave a message? We have all experienced these frustrating situations first hand, and went away disappointed, unfulfilled, or cheated. “Marketing communications help build the brand. But nothing is more powerful than customers’ actual experience...” - Dr. Leonard Berry, Author of Discovering the Soul of Service.

The most common cause of these ‘let downs’ is the marketers’ lack of internal communication with their front-line staff. Nowadays most marketers are running multiple advertisements, promotions, and incentive programs simultaneously. Sometimes so many offers or incentives are being deployed, that the company’s front-line staff are confused as to which is what. Often times the company’s officers (sales or marketing team) are so eager to launch a new program that they forget one important question: ‘who else will be communicating with our customers?’ It’s important to realize that anyone in your organization may be contacted.

Who else will be in contact with your customers?
Often your program assigns specific phone numbers, email or URL’s, or stores to ensure purchase inquiries are routed to the appropriate people. However, customers often hear about offers through other channels (co-workers, friends, media, etc.). Besides the call center or sales staff, it’s critical to ensure that everyone who may come in contact with customers are knowledgeable of active programs. This may include technical support, installers, drivers, receptionist, etc.

When we work with our clients on launching new marketing programs, we’re aware that a lot of time, money, and expectations are riding on its success. Although the program’s goals and objectives are clearly defined by senior management, we recommend that everyone in the organization from the top to bottom is also aware of the goals. Market to your internal team — use internal communication tools to build company morale and create enthusiasm for the program.

Here are a few ways to communicate with your internal team:

  • Utilize HR as a distributing hub for program information.
  • Place reminders as screen savers, internal emails, or company Intranet.
  • Create an internal contest that builds momentum to the program’s external launch.
  • Promote the program within by using posters, ‘tchotchkes’, staff meetings, or interactive CD-ROMS.

With larger campaigns, hold training sessions to give everyone a chance to experience the program and learn how to answer questions when they are asked. Most importantly, don’t leave anyone out that may be in contact with the customers!

A well-developed marketing program includes both internal marketing and external marketing. Don’t let your own staff turn your customers away because of ignorance and lack of knowledge.