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salesforce commerce cloud

Harnessing Video for Customer Advocacy

By Sean Gordon
Oct 22, 2018 11:12 AM PT
video engagement offers many ways to support and engage with customers and build deep loyalty

Video has risen in recent years to the forefront of any marketing campaign, recognized as the optimum medium to elevate brand awareness and share a company's latest product buzz with an increasingly diverse and sophisticated audience. It's so easy to work with; platforms are readily available, simple to learn, and hyper affordable.

High-quality results can be achieved on a budget; wonderfully powerful camera devices reside perpetually in customers' pockets via their cellphones, and editing software often comes either built-in with install packages or as an included feature in video content management systems. To sum up a lot in a little, video is a marvelous marketing democratizer.

Naturally, video and marketing make for the perfect fit. However, your company can find a multitude of other uses with video elements that will expand the scope of your video infrastructure to simplify and augment a plethora of facets for your business.

Your video strategy shouldn't just be reserved for delivering marketing materials via social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the hopes of catching a scrolling eye. Your customers want video content. They interact with it all day long in their personal and professional lives -- but that doesn't mean they're dying to see more advertisements!

If your ultimate goal as a business is to construct a base of customers who can flow freely through your funnel and become customers for life, with opportunities to facilitate stronger bonds, video is the key.

Harnessing its power gives you the opportunity to pursue it at every stop along the way as a means to create constant customer growth, maximize customers' personal experience and cater your products and services using a method that will target their goals as a business and help them to succeed. It's a true B2B pathway toward mutual success through an emphasis on the customer service portion of the relationship.

There are many ways to redirect video content as a tool to advocate for your customers needs. The following approaches could be most vital in creating sustained growth for them and for you.

Creating and Maintaining a Self-Administering knowledge base System

As much as we love our customers and appreciate hearing from them on a regular basis, managing a lot of accounts can be incredibly time consuming. Besides the time we devote, we can't always be sitting at our phones available for them on a whim. There's only so much of us to go around, but we want our customers' needs to be met.

From a tech support and customer relations perspective, having a one-stop shop to handle the bulk of customer requests and inquiries that can be self-administered is an absolute godsend for sales representatives. That is why taking the time to set up a committed self-administering knowledge base system can be so crucial to assisting your sales team and providing post-product purchase support for your customers.

The knowledge base is essentially a video memory bank of documentation as it relates to the most frequently asked questions about the products or services you provide. It might provide additional insight into company details as well, including corporate structure and staff introductions. More than anything, it's a source of knowledge meant to help your customers access answers to their most urgent questions on their own when you can't be there for them.

In-depth troubleshooting instructions for completing certain common tasks and product deep-dives are great uses of the knowledge base. It should be centrally located and a focal point of your post-purchase support, developed and advertised as a self-service station for your customers to scan through and consult.

Video instructionals are the focal point of the self-service knowledge base. The goal should be to recreate, as much as possible, a true, authentic real-life customer experience in the video setting, avoiding impersonal narratives to deliver face-to-face communication via a digital method.

Include in the videos that comprise the knowledge base visual personalization, including introductions with your face in the video. Consider including a second screen throughout the video showing you talking, replicating a Skype call, during the process.

Add humor, and reference past company meetings or conferences attended to create a true connection that customers can latch onto. If a user on the opposite end can think to themselves, "Oh! I totally remember the speaker at that trade show last year. That was awesome!" then you've leveraged your interpersonal character to pull into the past and demonstrate the depth and length of your customer relationship.

Using a program such as a video content management system (VCMS) will streamline the entire process, allowing you to host your knowledge base and customize the layout that your customers interact with on a daily basis. From the aesthetics to the content organization, you can choose your own adventure with knowledge base structures to maximize your support.

Organize by product or service, or by question type, and keyword searches will scan both video titles and video content to deliver tapplicable videos that will best address your customers' questions.

Just as well, the video production itself doesn't have to be a masterpiece. Using just the webcam affixed to your computer and a built-in mic or podcasting USB microphone, you can deliver awesome results that will get the job done.

With all of this said, the knowledge base should be a supplemental program and not the sole source of your customer support and relations. It's a bonus to buying your product, a perk for your customers with positive time management aspects on your end.

Some people simply may not find the audio component useful during self-serving; it may be distracting for certain types of learners. In other cases, video just isn't as user-friendly as other outlets. Sometimes a basic scanning of a text step-by-step PDF will fair better, so consider including video transcripts and additional support materials linked to your videos.

Overall, the entire process of the knowledge base is the ideal way to deliver a customer service supplement that you can tout when trying to sell customers on follow-up support for your product. By offering the knowledge base as just one more service they'll receive as a customer, you can get a leg up on the competition. With simple video production methods and affordable programming software options, you can get the job done on a budget.

Tech Support Video Messaging Services

People absolutely love having a face to go with the name. It's a lot easier to deepen a client relationship when those personal, visual elements are involved. If you evaluate body language and determine cues to direct a conversation a certain way, your relationship will blossom.

When possible, always offer a video messaging option to customers over the strict phone option. This is particularly important when you know in advance that the call is going to be tech related. Being able to discuss and pull in computer screen grabs of software issues or service problems will boost the experience, expediting call times by allowing for customers to more easily visualize the problem fix and see how your company's professionals exercise best practices with your product.

Above all else, consider using a platform like a VCMS or video capturing software to record and log the call. (Of course, always inform and gain consent before recording.) You can set up a system that automatically sends the recorded video to your client at the conclusion of the call for future reference. You also can go back and revisit the call, edit if needed, and upload to your knowledge base for future inquiries and troubleshooting.

Invite Customers to Share Their Own Product Stories

What better way to connect with prospective customers and create an environment of transparency than to solicit the advice and stories of your current clientele? Testimonials are a surefire way to attract clients into your funnel for future business growth, and there's no doubting their efficiency.

What about taking things up a notch and partnering with your B2B peers to let them share their success stories for other customers, creating a professional network of positive outcomes and building everyone's brand in the process? Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well it's not. Here's how you can do it.

You can create your own system to let customers in and get a feel for what other options are out there within your product and service line. It's the ideal way to upsell in an indirect, growth-influenced manner and it will help your customers see the full picture of appreciating your products.

Take the time from your schedule to invite customers into your offices and have them sit before a camera and discuss their journey in collaboration with your company. You can even film the visit from the moment they step in, capturing their surprise and excitement to meet the makers behind the products they've been purchasing. Treat it as a true "documentary" experience, giving insight into what your relations look like from the client perspective.

Open the doors and invite them in! After all, you want your company to seem like one big, happy family, right? Once you've led your clients on a tour, ask them to have a seat and talk for a while about the relationship with your company thus far. Have them share words on the process of purchasing your products and what post-service has been like, as well as technical support.

Furthermore, and most importantly, give your customers an avenue to share how purchasing your products led to their own growth and business success. This will allow future customers the opportunity to consider how your product line will grant them the ability to seek the results they've long desired, proving to be an advertising tool that really can't be beat.

Use these videos to captivate future prospects and share with current customers alike, making the most of the visit and allowing customers the opportunity to feel they may be invited next. It's all about getting people excited about the idea of working with your company!

Meeting the Minds Behind the Team They Work With on a Daily Basis

In the same vein as recording a customer success video, allowing your customers to meet the whole team at your company is a great way to establish a deeper connection and meaning with your business. People love to get a feel for who is behind the scenes at a company. They love to namedrop, to address people on a first name basis, to feel like they're a part of something and have insider knowledge. People love people, so give your people a chance to love you!

For many companies, the account management team may be the only level of personnel that the customer is familiar with after an initial sale. They may only email to follow up on additional sales and quarterly add-ons or supplemental materials, leaving out the opportunity to keep building a relationship for your sales team.

It may even be at the level where one sole account manager is in charge of all the relationships with a given customer, creating a litany of issues when that account manager leaves your company for a competitor.

Open up the doors and have a quarterly meet-and-greet with a few select customers. Get some catered food, send out a notice to your team members that you think it'd be beneficial for them to meet your customers, and invite everyone in for a nice afternoon.

Seems old school, right? Nothing wrong with that. Still, in an increasingly globalized market, not all (or even most) of your customers will be local enough to come to such an event. Having an option available for your out-of-town customers to meet your team can foster growth, even with thousands of miles between you.

That's where video meet-and-greets provide the perfect solution to both distance and time obstacles. Brand a set of introduction videos as the entirety of your company representing the "customer success team." This is essentially a superteam of sorts, the individuals you would like your customers to feel acquainted with so that they can know who exactly is in charge of helping them achieve their goals.

The style of this video is meant to be easily digestible in either an email campaign, newsletter, or a rotating option on the front page of your site. You can even cycle meet-and-greet videos on your various social media sites; they are a perfect fit for platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

You can use these meet-and-greet videos to add a touch of character to your relationships with your customers and let them feel a stronger degree of comfort with the people they are working with. The relationship will start to feel more personal and less robotic, much more trusting, and ultimately much better for everyone involved.

Take your time, meet with your team, develop a plan, and record! Put your own spin on it, let loose, and have some fun with it.

Customer Webinars With Tech Support and Personnel for Savvier Clientele

Once your customers and clients feel fully familiarized with your products and services, they very well might be at a different level of knowledge and mastery of your products than the casual user. Prospects inevitably will resort to FAQs, knowledge bases, and troubleshooting guides for the info they need to figure out products and services.

That same generalized knowledge just won't be adequate for higher-level product users, so keeping them in the loop is crucial. After all, if they're that good with your products, they obviously are frequent buyers and valued customers. They deserve your attention.

An awesome way to reach out to those users is to invite smaller groups to dive deeper with a niche topic in a customer-based webinar. Meet with your team and identify the customers you've spoken with who best demonstrate an advanced knowledge of how your product works. Once you've determined this group, send out a simple survey asking your customers what advanced topics they're most interested in learning more about as it relates to your company.

From there, meet with developers and team members to decide on a topic for which there is the greatest room for growth and exploration as it pertains to their expertise. Keep it interesting; the entire process is optional and voluntary, so make it worth their while.

Once you have the group and topic set, send out an invite to your select customers for the webinar. Keep it around 30 minutes; any longer and it's too much of a commitment for most. Host it either online, with a video call system or through a VCMS.

Let the topic be a discussion of best practices, or demonstrate troubleshooting in greater depth and detail. Consider having a tech developer or engineer come in for the call; this will open the floor for greater insights into how a product was made, and what the developer intended as an outcome. It will let your customers gain a fresh perspective on how to operate your products and services.

Give them a "behind the scenes" look into development, and make sure to leave plenty of time for questions and answers. You will be absolutely amazed to find the ways that your customers are using your products; it may provide an excellent opportunity for your engineers to be inspired by their usage ideas, and create a whole new product tailored just toward those needs.

After the webinar, solicit ideas and feedback from those who attended for a next webinar. Consider offering a full-fledged series of webinars on a monthly basis. Let your customers be involved as much as possible.

Also, consider asking permission to record the webinar. Afterward, you can revisit it for interesting perspectives. You also can save it and upload it to your knowledge base, or take clips and edit them to distribute in your next webinar invitation. Don't let any video opportunity go to waste; there is always the chance to explore and find more content to work with as a company.

Closing Thoughts on Customer Advocacy

By now you can see that by harnessing the power of video, there is a never-ending treasure trove of options to explore further when it comes to strengthening customer relations. Video is the perfect method to shorten distances between customers and your company in a globalized economy, allowing for deep roots in customer relations to be established whether your clients are in Manhattan or Moscow.

Focusing on delivering quality content will allow customers to feel like they are part of something exclusive -- a club meant only for buyers. It suddenly becomes a perk, an added value that they receive with their purchase. It's not just point-and-click, see you later. It's now a professional team backing them and supporting their success, being there for them through thick and thin to give the quality support they need to thrive in their endeavors.

Whether used for constructing and hosting your own knowledge base, creating webinars for your most advanced clientele, or creating a video tech service that will knock customers' socks off, video is an affordable means to make the most of your company-to-customer relationship. So what are you waiting for? Get that camera out and start filming today!


Sean Gordon is the founder and CEO of vidReach, which provides automation that personalizes customer engagement processes. He is also CEO of HireNami and executive vice president of ITC Holdings. Gordon has an extensive track record recruiting, hiring, training, and unlocking the talent of people. His career includes stints at AT&T, EMC, Aetna and West Corporation, among others. Sean has created new lines of business, reinvigorated stagnant company cultures, and mentored hundreds of employees who have gone on to do great things.


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salesforce commerce cloud
salesforce commerce cloud