Customer Loyalty Management via the Customer Service Silo

By Ted Rubin

All of your employees work in the marketing department, at least to some extent, and they need to understand the role they play. But to create a strong foundation for customer loyalty management, there are a few departments within your company that absolutely need to sync with marketing. Your customer service department is the most important.

Here are four ways you can leverage your customer service team to effectively manage customer loyalty, build relationships, and turn customers into fans. Think Return on Relationship… because there is no better time than when your customers reach out to you.

Method #1: For relevant content inspiration

You already know how important consistent, creative content is for your inbound marketing strategy. The trouble is consistently coming up with new ideas. Even your best content creators will struggle at times to come up with the type of content your audience craves.

It pays to have an open communication line between your content creation team and your customer service team. Content marketers are always looking for new ways to solve problems, and write about them.

Effective customer loyalty management starts with contextual content your audience values.  Who better than customer service representatives to provide firsthand feedback of the primary questions and issues your they hear about every day?

Consider regular meetings between your content and customer service teams to keep up with the problems and hot-button issues your customers currently care about. An immediate added bonus will be real-life case studies and success stories. Also consider using an internal wiki to allow team members from customer service, sales, etc. to share article ideas based on interactions with your customers and prospects in real-time.

Even if you only use a fraction of the suggestions, you never know which one will lead to a piece of content that change the image of your company, not to mention the impact all this listening can have on contextual social messaging creation.

Method #2: For delivering on customer expectations

If your customers don’t feel they’re getting what is promised from the outset, your customer loyalty management efforts, and relationship building, will almost certainly be an uphill battle. Marketing works best when your leads, prospects and most importantly, customers, have a clear, accurate expectation for how your solution will help them.

How can your customer service department help?

When deliverables don’t align with expectations, your customer service department will be the first to know. They can quickly alert marketing when customers feel misled or misunderstood. Marketers will then be able to alter campaigns, and deliverables, to set more accurate expectations for potential customers. Now you have another great opportunity to turn those customers into fans, fans into advocates, and create long-term trust and loyalty.

Method #3: For social media support done right

Most of you already provide customer service via social media. But are you putting the right person on the job? Are you connecting the social team and the customer service team so they understand how best to work together? Your social media account manager may seem like a natural choice, however when it comes to helping and resolving issues, your customer service team likely has the training and on-the-job experience to satisfy customer needs more efficiently.

Creating a customer loyalty management program that allows your customer service team to help with inquiries from social channels can deliver a much better experience for your customers and get issues resolved more efficiently.

Method #4: For consistent, contextual messaging

If your marketing team is doing it, your customer service team should know about it.

Why?

Who is a prospect or customer going to call if they have questions about an event, a promotion, or a product? That’s right, customer service – often because it’s the easiest contact number to find.

Think of your customer service rep as your target audience’s concierge. Why are they calling? What are they trying to accomplish? How can you give customers and prospects the exact help they need and then naturally direct them to the most logical point in your sales cycle?

A simple shared document with login information for events and links to helpful content can eliminate wasted resources and save valuable time. And when your prospects and customers get the help they need immediately, they’re well on their way to becoming fans, and advocates, of your brand.

Building a bridge between your marketing and customer service silos is a great way to stay on top of what matters most to your prospects and customers. After all, how can you be sure you’re offering contextual content to your audience unless you are listening to what they want?

Nobody listens and hears more, if they are doing their job correctly, than your customer service department. Make them a key cog in your approach to social marketing, customer loyalty management, and Return on Relationship.

Learn more about how to build a well-rounded customer loyalty management program in this webinar and whitepaper by TIBCO Loyalty Lab. And learn about Return on Relationship by reading Ted’s book released January 29th.

Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR.  As many may have heard, Ted recently left his position as Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias.

Many people in the social media world know Ted for his enthusiastic, energetic and undeniably personal connection to people. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to Social Media Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to Say Media, #13 on Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013, and number #2 on the Leadtail August 2013 list of Top 25 People Most Mentioned by digital marketers.

ROR is the basis of his philosophy…It’s All About Relationships! His book, Return on Relationship was released January 29th. Connect with Ted… http://TedRubin.com or @TedRubin

 

 

Customer Loyalty: Time to Earn a Return On Relationship™

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

These days, customer loyalty is far more than points and rewards. In fact, true customer loyalty is about earning trust in a way that allows that customer relationship to be managed toward greater value like any other business asset. Author and Forbes Top Social Media Influencer Ted Rubin champions this idea in his book Return on Relationship:
Customer Loyalty to Customer Relationship Management
“Return on Relationship™ (ROR), simply put, is the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship, whereas ROI is simple dollars and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing, and is used to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating authentic connection, interaction, and engagement.”

We take Ted’s expertise in customer relationship management and the return on relationship very seriously. Customer loyalty programs need to have tangible business outcomes that require a deep understanding of the customer. Those outcomes include:

•    Efficiency – Loyal customers cost far less to recapture and form a conduit to access the loyalty of their network through brand advocacy. The value of customer loyalty is not just in higher sales but also in the ripple effect they have on others.

•    Forgiveness – No one is perfect 100% of the time, and a loyal customer is far more likely to forgive minor missteps and support a brand through thick and thin.

•    Greater Lifetime Value – Customers loyal to a brand are worth 10 times the value of a customer who shops for convenience or price.

•    Social Insurance – In Ted’s words, this is “a band of ‘dynamic advocates’, always ready, willing and able to come to your defense in time of crisis or simply when you’re in need of support.” He is always quick to point out that this outcome has incredible ROI.

•    Energized Workforce – Stirring your customers to brand loyalty has a powerful effect on your own people, as that customer loyalty becomes powerful positive feedback that energizes your staff and makes their jobs more meaningful.

Gaining that deep understanding means having a 360-degree view of the customer’s history with the brand, their personal preferences for how and when to engage, and the contextual circumstances of when they interact with the brand. As consumers become more mobile and social, and demand control of the moments of their engagement, the challenge is synthesizing widening event-streams in real-time (learn more in this whitepaper on event-driven marketing). Is your brand up to the test?

Along with Loyalty Lab’s Matt Elders, Ted is presenting on Tuesday, June 18th at the CRMC Conference in Chicago, where they will discuss customer loyalty management. Learn more in this webinar and whitepaper.

Learn more about Ted Rubin’s book, Return on Relationship, and more about him on his blog and at CollectiveBias.com. You can follow him on Twitter @tedrubin and @R_onR.

Return on Relationship™: The New Measure of Success

By Ted Rubin 

Social media is quickly becoming a way of life… and a way of business as more and more companies are realizing they need to integrate social media into their marketing strategies. We can’t, however, expect to do “business as usual” and succeed in building an eager audience around our brands.

If you want to continue to reach your market in this social media age, the marketing focus needs to be on building relationships, and metrics need to expand beyond ROI (Return on Investment) to include ROR: Return on Relationship™.

–Return on Relationship™…simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.–

Most measurements and empowerment stats that are used with regard to relationships (i.e. number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities) are not financial assets, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. Instead, these are leading indicators that a brand is doing something that is creating value that will be with you for the long term and will drive ROI if developed and used effectively.

So how do you build and strengthen relationships with your audience (as a whole, and as individuals) to increase your ROR?

1. Listen

If you want to be heard above the growing social media “noise,” you need to first listen to your consumers so when you do speak, you get it right. What are they saying, what are they feeling, what are their pain points, what solutions do they need?

2. Make it be about THEM

First think about and first address what matters most to your audience. Give them a platform to show you what they need, want, are interested in, and expect. Whatever matters most to them should become what matters most to you! We marketers like to think that social media is primarily a set of tools for our marketing purposes, but in reality, social media is also a strong set of tools our consumers use to share and influence opinion about our brand. Our consumers now have “the channel of me.” Consumers’ opinions now create the “reality” of the brand — if enough consumers say negative things about your brand, your brand loses its credibility, and (thankfully) vice versa.

3. Ask “How can I serve you?”

Taking the “ME” mentality one step further, when we are advertising instead of building relationships, we are focused on what our consumers can give us instead of how we can best serve them.

Your consumers will recognize in a heartbeat if you are simply trying to get something from them – and they will not stick around. It’s not that you aren’t allowed to want anything from your consumers, it’s that there must be a give to go along with every take. If you truly want to make an impact, aim to always put more energy and attention in your “give” column than in your “take” column. It will pay off.

4. Aim for Ongoing Engagement

Building relationships is about starting meaningful dialogue and taking the time to thoughtfully and genuinely engage in ongoing conversation. Relationships focus on getting to know your consumer and giving them reasons to stay engaged — not just getting them to react. This needs to be all the time… not simply campaign or initiative based. That is the biggest mistake being made today by marketers and brands… with consumers, and especially with influencers.

5. Know the People in Your Audience

Short and simple: if you are only focused on the money, you risk completely overlooking the people. Don’t make that mistake! If you don’t know who your people are, you might as well toss your marketing money down the drain.

Relationships ARE the new currency – honor them, invest in them, and start measuring your ROR!

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