Customer Feedback Series:

Free Article: Customer Intimacy Yields Better Marketing Results

By Paul QuinnCustomer Feedback image

You probably know the name, revenue and profitability of every single one of your major customers, but do you use this information to make your marketing campaigns as effective as they can be?

Knowing the name, revenue and profitability of your customer base is a fantastic start. However, to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing spend you need to dig a little deeper and gain a clear understanding of what makes your customers tick and why they elect to do business with you over your competition. Developing an intimate understanding of your client base will help you in many ways, including:

Determining where to advertise to best reach your target market.
Identifying the key messages that hold the greatest relevance and appeal for your target market.
Developing products and services that more accurately meet your target market's needs.
Helping identify new opportunities for growth.

In most recruitment agencies there will be five main areas where customer information resides. In assessing and then applying this information your marketing campaigns should become more relevant and effective. These five areas are discussed below:

1. Financials

Each month you probably already receive financials that show you how your agency is tracking against budget in areas such as revenue, expenditure and profit. However, you could also use financial information to:

Develop and refine your product offering. Chances are your top 20 customers this year are different to your top 20 customers from last year. Identify these people using your financials then research why you have gained/lost customers and ensure that you use this feedback to develop or refine your product/service offering.

Consider the impact of changes to your pricing strategy. Can you project what a 1% margin increase would have on profitability? Can you test this with a specific group of customers?

Communicate to both sales and non-sales staff members the names of your priority accounts. Imagine how much you would reinforce your customer service ethic if everyone from reception through to accounts recognised the names of your top 20 customers and treated them as a priority in all their dealings.

Recognise and reward your top 20 customers. There are many ways to do this and they don't have to be expensive. For example, your Managing Director could personally attend key client meetings on occasion to reinforce the importance of that client and your commitment to them.

2. Database

Your client and candidate database(s) can also be utilised to improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. For example, you could use your database to:

Determine if you are advertising in the right media. Make it mandatory for consultants to track where candidates heard about your agency. If you have a database that stores this type of information run a report that shows you the number of candidates you receive per media source. Ask yourself: which media source is yielding you the most placements? Are you paying for advertising on a particular website or print publication that isn't yielding quality results? If so, consider whether you should continue your presence in this publication.

Track how clients heard about your agency to fine tune your client acquisition efforts - were they cold called, did a colleague tell them about you, did someone forward your client newsletter onto them or did they look you up in the Yellow Pages? Again, by knowing these figures you arm yourself with information that is vital in helping you make informed media purchasing decisions.

3. Sales people

There are many ways that you can apply the knowledge of your sales team to improve your marketing effort. Here are two examples:

Ask your sales team to use client feedback as the basis for ideas on new products and services that your agency could develop to win more business. Give them input into the development and launch of this new range of services and, if it is a new innovation, try to generate media coverage in targeted publications to increase awareness amongst your target market.

Ask your sales team to keep an 'ear to the ground' for snippets of competitor news and information on new services and initiatives. Often clients are quite forthcoming in divulging competitor information and if your agency has an established mechanism to feed this information back to Management you will then have a head start to devise appropriate counter strategies.

4. Surveys

If you don't already do this, consider asking both clients and candidates to complete a post-placement survey on your performance. The information you receive back can be used to:

Identify problems with the process which when rectified can lead to a better experience for the customer. Not only can you market the improved process to try and gain new business but it also reinforces to existing customers that you listen and care about their needs.

Identify the strengths your agency holds over competitors. Chances are that there may be more than one reason for a customer choosing your agency - and it may be something that you'd never think to consider. Identify these strengths and then incorporate them into your marketing messages.

Provide key metrics for inclusion in the assessment of staff performance appraisals and bonuses.

Bolster marketing claims. There is nothing quite as powerful as a customer testimonial to reinforce your marketing messages.

Generate referrals for new business. If a customer is satisfied with the service you offer they may be willing to suggest colleagues who could also use your services.

5. Internet

If you have a recruitment website then you should make sure that you receive performance statistics from your site host. These website statistics can be used to make your marketing more effective in the following ways:

Understand what information customers access online.

Understand how many people visit your site, and how often they return (if at all).

Understand how long they stay on your site - one measure of the depth and relevance of your content.

To conclude, you probably already have an excellent understanding of your customer's needs, so why not use the information that abounds in your agency to make your marketing effort even more relevant and effective? Chances are that the more you refine and improve your marketing message the more you'll create a point of difference between what you offer and what your competitors' lack.

Interested in trialling an Australian-built online customer feedback tool?

PeoplePulse is an Australian built online survey tool used extensively by Australian and New Zealand based organisations to conduct customer feedback, and to solicit and track referrals.

Please complete the form below to arrange your FREE demonstration and to receive a PeoplePulse pricing and information sheet.

Upon completing the form below, Quinntessential will contact you to better understand your needs and unique situation. From there we will arrange a suitable time to demonstrate the system with you.

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Please be assured that your correspondence with us is confidential. We will not divulge email addresses or any other details you provide to outside sources.

The above demonstration request form was powered by PeoplePulse.

© 2002. Written by Paul Quinn, Managing Director of Quinntessential Marketing Consulting Pty Ltd. Reprint with permission.

 

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