Another program year is in the books. Program performance was tracked. Changes were made to improve participation and cost effectiveness. Promotional materials were updated. The marketing plan was organized and the first pieces for the new program year were approved. Job well done!
However, was the front-line notified?
Ever play telephone?
Assuming customer service and sales will know about program changes or promotions is like playing telephone. The intended program promotion or rules become garbled, confused, and often end with the wrong result.
Customer service and sales account managers are the primary contact points for customers, and more often than not, the last to know about program offers and changes. They take the brunt of frustrated customer calls due to misinterpreted phrasing and typos. They enforce program rules, yet remain responsible for keeping the customer engaged and happy. The best strategy to avoid a program delivery snafu is to keep them in the loop.
Here are a few simple ways to keep the information flowing, even when a training session is impossible to schedule. Send a monthly email for expected promotions to the team and include an advanced copy if possible. Include customer support on the distribution list for marketing pieces; this way they can see what has been promoted and when it was released. This also allows the team to speak competently about programs. Make a cheat sheet of program changes, design it for quick phone reference, and distribute it to the team members. They have to be knowledgeable on all programs and utility operations; providing key program information can make their lives easier.
Invite a representative from customer service to help review materials to have more impact and eliminate confusion on promotions, claim forms, or program changes. They are the best resource to point out where customers get confused, their preferences, common questions, and new trends in customer purchasing or behaviors. They may even help with internal confusion on program delivery.
Informing front-line team members leads to better delivery of programs because:
- Customer service and account managers are equipped to support the program.
- Customer frustration is replaced with a good experience.
- Program managers don’t get escalated customer calls… and neither do the regulators.
- Exceptions do not have to be made because the wrong thing was promised to a customer.
- Customer service’s review of materials can head-off customer confusion.