A properly aligned buyer persona is essential to maximizing marketing spend. Go without and you risk sending the wrong message, to the wrong audience at the wrong time.
Many companies conduct sales and customer interviews to define typical buyer persona traits such as fears, wants and desires. But there’s another often overlooked resource – customer service. These frontline employees interact with your real customer everyday and are perhaps most intimately knowledgable about their needs and cares.
But what kind of information should customer support employees be looking for? Here’s some tips you can use to leverage customer service in your buyer persona creation process.
Identify Timely Marketing Opportunities
Sometimes your customers purchase your product or service, but they don’t use it right away. Maybe they bought it for a certain occasion, or “just in case.” Creating content for these timely events and just in case moments is a great way to make your materials relevant.
Your customer service team can record during each interaction the conditions during which the caller was using the product or service. This lets you not only follow up at the right times, but anticipate future purchases for which you can prepare marketing campaigns.
For example, is your persona a mom who needs to prepare for back to school every year? A contact lens wearer that stocks up on monthly, quarterly, or yearly supplies? A marketing director who gets new budget every January? Understanding the right time for your customer will help you nail the right time to marketing to similar personas.
Tweak Marketing Spend
First, make sure that your agents can tag each service call with an existing buyer persona. That way marketing can later pull a report just of calls associated with a certain profile.
This allows his team to assess which personas account for the most support calls. How often does each persona call? How long does each call last? Depending on what percent of sales that persona contributes, the company might decrease marketing investments for that profile if spend exceeds customer support costs.
Assess Technical Savvy
Meet with your customer service team and identify the most common questions they receive about your product or service. Then, for each question, discuss what technical bucket they would fall into– whether that’s “highly technical,” “general,” or “basic.” You could choose more macro tiers that are specific to your company, too.
This aggregate data will reveal technical savvy, which also dictates how marketing and sales communicate with that persona, as well as what kind of content they should create. Maybe a certain segment is highly technical, so blog content should go into deeper depth. On the other hand, a less savvy persona might prefer more high-level how to features.
Identifying Preferred Communication Channels
All of the relevant content in the world won’t close the deal if marketing doesn’t ever reach your target customer. This is easily solvable by defining the customers’ preferred communication channel.
Since your agents are already associated each ticket with a persona, have them mark how that customer contacted support. Did they email? Call? Interact with self service?
Answering these questions could influence how you with personas during all phases of the customer life cycle, from lead nurturing to post-sale service.
Keep Customer Service in the Loop
In order for this checklist to work, you need to make sure your customer service team understands the persona traits and the value of refining them. Keep a poster in the service department that provides a visual representation of your personas so they are always top of mind.
Ashley Furness is a CRM Market Analyst for Software Advice. She has spent the last has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising.