Customer support. Customer service. Customer experience. Customer satisfaction. Each is a bit different, but they all focus on delivering value to the customer. While only one of them includes the word “service,” providing exceptional service to the customer is at the heart of all of them.
For channel marketers, there are several dimensions of service to consider when identifying and working with partner agencies and solutions providers, including:
- Customer experience
- Strategic value and ROI
For the past 15 years or so, we’ve seen the evolution of Software as a Service. Today, some technology solutions are completely self-serve; from sign-up to provisioning, configuration, implementation and ongoing operations. In other words, they are pure SaaS.
For channel marketers who have unique requirements that necessitate more than an off-the-shelf solution, it’s critically important to work with a solutions provider that understands how to provide services that ensure the successful delivery of technology program elements. It starts up front by ensuring the technical delivery team understands a brand’s overall channel program goals and objectives.
By understanding the big picture first, the delivery team has a solid foundation for ensuring the unique business and technical requirements are not only clearly captured, but are translated into a time-based, agile development plan that is iterative and efficient. This will allow for incremental progress updates and reviews from the beginning of the development process to actual program implementation.
Service that Supports
Brands that rely on channel partners to sell and support their products know how important providing superior service for their channel marketing is to the success of their program and, ultimately, sales goals. That’s why working with a program partner that is committed to becoming an extension of a brand’s marketing team is so crucial.
Whether it’s answering a question about a co-op claim pre-approval, providing fraud detection services or answering questions or providing feedback regarding why a digital ad campaign created in an ad builder was disapproved, a program partner’s customer service team should be a seamless experience for a brand’s channel partners. That service also extends to having a support team that understands all facets of a brand’s channel program, from technology to program administration and brand guidelines, and how they come together to deliver outcomes for the brand and channel partners alike.
Spotlight on customer experience
Another dimension of service that is oftentimes overlooked by channel program providers is customer experience. While delivering the tactical elements of a channel program is critically important, it’s also vital to do so with an eye on providing a superior customer experience. Furthermore, brands should seek partners that understand there are multiple aspects of customer experience, and each should be serviced differently.
For example, the customer experience for providing day-to-day support service for a channel program is quite different compared to the experience a program partner has when utilizing a Web or mobile application that is part of a channel program. While different, a holistic view of the different customer experience touchpoints that are part of a channel program, while acknowledging the unique aspects of each and how they are addressed by a program partner, can make a huge difference between the effectiveness of one brand’s channel program compared to another.
Ensuring strategic value and ROI
Much like customer experience, it’s important for brands to work with channel program providers that include account strategy and management services in their offerings. Furthermore, channel marketers should expect their partners to have an established process for creating a strategically driven plan for supporting and delivering the desired outcomes of their channel program.
By leading with strategy, brands can help ensure their channel programs are providing incremental value to their company’s overall marketing plan while establishing clear and measurable criteria for measuring and optimizing the return on investment of the channel program specifically.
In the end, channel marketers should look for a program partner that goes beyond the table stakes of delivery and execution of their channel programs. By looking at their programs through the lens of services related to technology, support customer experience, strategic value and ROI, brands will be better positioned to deliver their channel program’s desired outcomes moving forward.
About Channel Fusion
For 20 years, Channel Fusion has been delivering strategy, customer experience and return on investment outcomes for brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. We continue to invest in the overall ecosystem of our channel marketing offering to ensure our clients provide their partners with an optimal customer experience. Our core technologies and configurable platforms are supported by a team of customer-centric “Fusers.” Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners.