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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The best way to see how Salesforce is revolutionizing customer service is with a guided tour of Service Cloud. With the guided tour, we can show you how Service Cloud shines in several common use cases and scenarios.
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