Ideas for Customer Service Excellence – Part 7
May 9, 2013
In a world where everything we consume, including advertising to a certain extent, is becoming a commodity, why should a business decision maker choose to work with you? Customer service is one of the key differentiators. Are you doing everything you can to make it easier for your customers to do business with you? The goal is for your advertisers to understand and recognize the benefit of having you on their team.
This week we continue our Hot Topics series on Customer Service Excellence.
As a reminder, we’ve divided these ideas into seven general categories:
R = Reliable
A(c) = Accountable
I = Integrated
O = Outstanding
A(p) = Appreciation
E = Extra Mile
Two weeks ago we shared ideas for showing your clients that you appreciate their business. This week we’ll discuss our final category, going the “Extra Mile.” When a business decision-maker is choosing where to spend their advertising dollars, there are many things that are out of your control. One thing that is 100% in your control is the strength of your relationship with the advertiser. Here are specific ideas to help you strengthen your relationships.
- Create testimonial advertising based on success stories, put advertisers on the air in their own words.
- Give advertisers leads on new business opportunities. Keep advertisers abreast of any competitive news.
- Maintain a database of names/addresses/birthdays/anniversaries of advertisers and key agency personnel, and reach out to them to maintain and enhance the relationship.
- Inform the advertiser about any co-op plans available (contact RAB or other sources for information) or about co-op plans that are expiring in the near future.
- For new customers, teach basic information about marketing strategies, the importance of advertising frequency, and marketing warfare. Provide a “KXXX Guidebook to Marketing Rules” which is a synopsis (appropriately sourced) of several important books on the subject.
- Develop a Marketing Newsletter. Address one top business category in each issue.
- Include consumer profiles, consumer trends, information on how radio (and your station) reaches key consumers.
- When inventory begins to tighten, notify all core customers of the avail situation. Give them an opportunity to book a schedule before you run out of inventory. It’s bad news when someone wants to advertise and your station is sold out…you don’t want core advertisers going to the competitor.
- For your radio station’s top ten advertising categories, review the latest business trends once each month in a sales meeting.
- After each weekly sales meeting, compile a list of up to ten different business categories which need additional support materials (qualitative consumer profiles, articles, instant backgrounds). Call RAB weekly to request these category packets.
- Send appropriate articles and research materials to advertisers.
- Play commercials for the advertiser’s sales staff, provide a schedule of air dates, and make all of them aware of any key copy points, “mention WXXX and you’ll receive a free Chocolate Truffle.”
- Provide the advertiser with a sample of the commercial or a copy of the script in a clear plastic stand – “Now advertised on WXXX:”
- Set up a marketing resource library. Publish a list of all resources available, and invite media buyers to use your room and services.
- Whenever a new Qualitative Research report is published, prepare a station by station summary of the top socio-economic and business categories – a mini-qualitative report. Send the report to core advertisers.
- Provide added value to the advertiser through additional exposure in other media, including station newsletter, direct mail campaigns, signage at station events, your station’s website, etc.
- Encourage local direct advertisers to share their marketing strategy with you. Review their plan, make recommendations for changes if needed, and be honest with your suggestions.
- Host advertiser breakfasts or luncheons, bring in a guest speaker, review current ratings, advertising strategies, new research methodologies, or pertinent business topics.
- Subscribe to several key business category magazines or e-mail newsletters, such as Automotive World, Progressive Grocer, Horne Furnishing News. Have sales or research assistants compile a quarterly or monthly overview of business trends. Review trends in your sales meetings and send overviews to pertinent advertisers.
- Make core customers known to all station personnel. Post a list of core customers’ store/business locations in station lunch room or on a bulletin board. Support your advertiser’s business!
- Segment and classify your customer list by their service expectations. High = Requires high level of service, Moderate = Requires normal level of service, etc.
- Involve the advertiser in station promotions and cross marketing opportunities whenever possible or appropriate. Inform “core advertisers” of new promotional or sponsorship opportunities and special packages before making them known to all advertisers.
- Become a member of the RAB. Train your sales staff on how to use all of the services available. Post the RAB 1-800-232-3131 number in every AE’s office.
- Get several business cards from advertisers, pass these cards out to potential customers.
- Become the research resource. Offer advertisers/independent media buyers/agency personnel to contact you if they need ratings information to help them plan their campaigns.
- Identify consumer spending patterns by month for the advertiser’s business. Develop your marketing strategy to capitalize on peak spending seasons.
- Provide advertisers with a listing of the top promotional ideas used on your radio station. Sort the ideas by business category. The booklet can be used to inspire ideas for the customer’s business.
As you can see from this seven part series, there are a lot of ways to provide excellent customer service. The key is to get started and keep it up! The fundamental difference between being “good” and being “excellent” is consistency. Use these ideas to repeatedly surprise and impress your customers, and they’ll keep coming back. You’ll earn their confidence and trust and they’ll refer you to other potential customers. A happy customer is the best source of advertising for you and your station.
What other ideas can you think of? Has anything you’ve done wowed a customer? We look forward to hearing about it.
-Marc Greenspan, Partner