HELP DESK BEST PRACTICES

Help Desk Best Practices that Improve Marketing ROI

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A company with information silos—that is, departments working independently of one another with little regard for what’s happening in others—will struggle. According to Brent Gleeson and Megan Rozo in “The Silo Mentality: How To Break Down The Barriers,” this type of business structure “will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.”

Healthy businesses encourage communication. Two departments in particular that benefit from knowledge sharing are marketing and customer service, i.e. the company’s help desk. It takes a number of factors to ensure departments can work together, many of which Gleeson and Rozo outlined in their Forbes article.

Improving the Relationship Between the Help Desk and Marketing

Encourage Your Help Desk and Marketing to Work Together
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In the article, Gleeson and Rozo discuss five ways to encourage communication between all departments within a company. These methods can be applied to the relationship between the marketing and help desk departments, which ultimately helps improve your company’s marketing ROI.

  • Create a Unified Vision
    The leadership within the company must have a common goal, with similar objectives, that every department can work toward. Success will only come when these goals are supported by management.
  • Work Toward Achieving a Common Goal
    Once management has defined the company’s goals, the heads of marketing and the help desk need to meet with their teams and outline how they can work together.
  • Motivate and Incentivize
    The next step is for managers to maintain communication and make sure their teams are working together effectively. For marketing and the help desk, this may include consulting each other on marketing campaigns or sitting in on help desk conversations. Publicly congratulate, acknowledge, and thank members of the teams who successfully worked together to reach milestones. If it’s possible, budget for financial rewards when major goals are met. Make sure employees feel appreciated for what they do.
  • Execute and Measure
    Which help desk best practices most assist marketing? How did the most recent email campaign affect customer support calls? Consult your help desk metrics and analyze your marketing efforts to see what works and what needs to be improved.
  • Collaborate and Create
    For best results, Gleeson and Rozo recommend management “reduce unnecessary long and frequent meetings,” as well as implement a cross-departmental training or education system and encourage constructive feedback from outside departments.”

Once the help desk and marketing are working as a team, marketing will find its efforts far more impactful. The following five help desk best practices will help you improve marketing ROI. And, incidentally, your help desk metrics and marketing analytics will benefit from the interdepartmental cooperation.

Help Desk Best Practices Most Valuable to Marketing

Marketing is measured by multiple types of returns; this includes the traditional return on investment based on financial gain. Now, with online marketing serving as an industry of its own, returns include a number of online marketing metrics. Impressions, clicks, email opens, and landing page form completions are all part of a new generation of ROI. Here’s how these online touchpoints can be streamlined with help desk best practices.

Encourage Your Help Desk and Marketing to Work Together
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  1. Ensure your help desk documents everything

    ConnectWise suggests “all incidents and requests must be a ticket to properly capture all work performed, regardless of length, nature, or severity of the request.” No matter the nature of the customer’s contact, your help desk staff must carefully document in your CRM all instances of customer service. This helps your customer service reps better serve your customers and create customer loyalty.

    For marketers, the more they know about customers, the better they can communicate with them. An email campaign selling an upgraded package for premium channels would likely be poorly received by people who have recently downgraded their service, or have paid bills late more than once. This help desk best practice allows marketers to properly segment email lists and learn customer personas, both of which improve marketing metrics.

  2. Use your help desk analytics to improve your SEO and inbound marketing

    Regularly run reports from your CRM to learn the most common support questions. If applicable, take those inquiries and put the answer more prominently on your website, and include it on your FAQ page and in your knowledge base. When you can, have your content writers interview help desk staff for blog post entries that will serve multiple purposes, such as helping to educate potential and current customers, improving your SEO, and giving your help desk another resource for callers. Hopefully, with the additional information on your site, marketing will also be able to alleviate the help desk’s workload. This, in turn, would allow your customer service representatives to spend more time on calls and improve customer satisfaction.

  3. Treat help desk employees as front-line customer advocates

    Help desk workers must serve as the “voice of the customer,” a help desk best practice that extends beyond its department. They hear first when there’s a problem with a product, feature, or service, and other departments must listen and respond by addressing those concerns. Reoccurring issues are an indication that a product or service must be improved, and your help desk employees can help you learn what those issues are before they become a major problem.

    Once common customer complaints have been resolved, marketing can email customers to introduce them to new, improved features. They can also update marketing materials to entice potential customers to consider your company’s offerings.

  4. Hire Customer Advocates
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  5. Employ a good attitude for a great help desk experience

    It’s universally accepted that help desk workers need to have a positive, can-do attitude. Their priority needs to be “doing the right thing for the customer.” Tied into attitude is another help desk best practice: Having fun.

    Your customer service, no matter the industry or stress level, needs to be “supportive, respectful, hardworking, focused, and fun.” Healthy employee morale is imperative for a company to be successful, and help desk employees are among those at the highest risk for low morale.

    A help desk team with the right attitude that works well together can handle even the most difficult customers. When marketing needs to reach out to customers with bad news or to react to a negative event, the situation can be alleviated by asking help desk employees to speak with customers who call with questions. For example, in the event of a service outage for a software-as-a-service company, marketing can speak to the help desk to find out what information is most valuable to customers. They can then email customers affected by the outage and invite them to call customer support for further information.

    In the Forbes article, “How To Handle A PR Crisis,” the writers state, “Listen to the people who are complaining . . . Anger hinders communication, and the person you are addressing will not listen to your message until they have had their say.” Your help desk employees are an extension of your public relations efforts, and their professional management of calls from customers who need to voice their opinions will help your company weather any PR storm.

Be proactive and recognize trends

This help desk best practice sets excellent customer service departments apart from good ones. Dig into your help desk metrics to find trends and correlated issues, as well as opportunities for your company to jump ahead of the competition. Help desk employees will be the first to hear of what customers need most, and will know the product better than anyone else in the company. Use that knowledge to collaborate with product design to make your products, services, or both better than your competition’s.

As Jared Lewis of the Houston Chronicle reported, “Companies that make innovation their primary focus can position themselves to stand out in the crowd and profit enormously.” Add offerings that will make your customers lives easier. When customer service employees learn of upcoming events or industry trends for customers, they can alert other departments, and the company can react accordingly. Then, once the product or service is ready for the public, marketing can go on an advertising spree to invite prospective customers to switch to a better company: yours.

The Unlikely Dynamic Duo: Your Help Desk and Marketing Department

All industries are rife with companies suffering from information silos. Eliminating those silos and encouraging departments to work together helps ensure a company’s health and longevity. Specifically, your help desk should follow best practices, continually research its metrics, and work hand in hand with your marketing department. This will help your marketing efforts see greater returns and better outcomes. Your customer service will reap the benefits of collaborating with marketing. With marketing on point and an efficient and powerful help desk team, your company will more than likely profit.

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