By Robert Tonchuk

Your customer service team is often the face of your company. They touch on every aspect of your business, whether they’re discussing pricing or editorial content. There are a number of best practices you can implement to support them through your subscription management system.

1. Keep Good Notes
This sounds pretty basic, but making sure your customer service team keeps clear and accurate records of all communication is imperative to maintaining a solid and respected relationship with your client. Referring back to prior communications in current conversations only reinforces confidence as the client then realizes their needs are not falling onto deaf ears – but rather, their concerns are indeed getting logged and actioned.

  • Multipub offers an internal CRM, which was designed specifically to assist customer service teams. It allows staff to enter and log all calls, emails and other account-related comments.
  • Additionally, our platform allows every comment to have a custom “comment type” code, which means users can sort, review and analyze them as a whole or separately. This helps management identify current trends across a product, product line or your entire business. A sample coding structure might include:
    • LD (Late Delivery): This can pertain to email content, digital, or print. (If you deliver all three, you can have an LD for each type of content distribution.)
    • EN (Editorial/Negative Feedback): The subscriber is unhappy with a certain article.
    • EP (Editorial/Positive Feedback): A reader was thrilled with certain content.
    • PW: A client had user ID or password login issues.
    • SD: The site was down.
    • MI: MI is entered when an issue is missed.
    • RN: This is used for questions about a renewal notice.
    • PR: PR refers to pricing questions.
    • FC: This indicates a follow-up from customer service.
    • FS: FS is used to show a follow-up by the sales department.
    • FO: This is a general indication of a follow-up (other).
  • The list is really endless, and if each comment is assigned a comment type code, then over time, management can really drill into the current trends and concerns that are impacting clients. This could indicate a flaw in your website design, an issue with the email distribution system or a badly priced renewal offer.
  • Lastly, all users can review the complete comment log for any client made by any user. This offers the opportunity for sales, marketing or even the publishers to be informed of every in-bound and out-bound communication with a client before they contact them themselves.
  • Once a comment is entered, it’s there forever. You will never need to worry about another user deleting comments again.

2. Training
Training is key to any customer service team’s success. In addition to ensuring your Customer Service team knows all about your product line, they need to understand what client data looks like in the system that hosts their client information and that understanding should not be limited to the comments area of the system.

  • As current Multipub clients are aware, our platform offers a one-stop Subscriber Inquiry view that provides virtually everything related to your client and their history with your business.
  • Since information can be a bit overwhelming, Multipub offers many ways to drill down, filter and sort the information that is being presented to the Customer Service, which expedites and simplifies the research process.
  • Products, rates, expiration dates, payments, refunds, content distribution dates, bill-to account information, ship-to account information and balances due, along with other details, are at their fingertips. Your staff should be empowered to find what they need quickly. Time is money for both you and your clients.

3. Data Collection
Keeping your client database current should be a priority with every inbound communication. Confirming email addresses, phone numbers and other key demographic information should be revisited and updated as needed.

  • Multipub offers users the ability to quickly update all demographic information on the subscriber table “on the fly,” while your customer service representative is either on the phone or communicating via email.
  • Additionally, Multipub can aid in data collection as well. If you decide to begin collecting new demographic data on your subscribers and wish to ensure the data is collected, our platform offers you the ability to mark selected fields as “required,” ensuring the new data collection begins. If a field is marked required, it will need a response before any information is saved.
  • Lastly, and as a reminder, our system offers the ability to create unlimited user defined fields on the subscriber table. This allows users to store and collect as much data as needed by the publisher or marketing department. The fields can be numeric or character, validated or not validated and required or not. There is no limit to the data that can be requested to help better identify your subscribers for better marketing communication and automation.

4. Communication
Customer Service should be involved in every step of a new product launch or a new selling strategy. Imagine going into a fine restaurant and asking the waiter or waitress what ingredients are used in a certain dish and sadly, having them look dumbfounded. The same applies to our industry. In addition to the basic production schedule and editorial calendar, customer service should be made aware of the new products and/or selling strategies being set up in your system.

  • Multipub has made viewing system set-up information easy and simple in an effort to keep customer service staff informed without being overburdened with “too much” information.
    • Product Inquiry allows your staff to see a host of information that includes the current issue date of the product (and if it is a Daily Web product, what the current date is) – if the product is allowed to serve auto-renewals, if the product allows back-starts and much more.
    • Rate Code Inquiry allows your team to view the terms relating to a specific code. For example, they can tell if it is an auto-renewal rate code; is offered to only new or renewal sales (perhaps both); which terms are offered; multiple term pricing; and even when it is scheduled to renew.
    • And for renewals, users can access the renewal schedule, so they can be informed of how marketing is communicating to clients and when. The same applies to the Invoice Schedule, so Customer Service can be up to date with how and when clients are invoiced.

When utilized appropriately, your customer service team should be an integral part of your subscriber retention program. They should be adept at maintaining and building relationships, while acting as trusted representatives of your company. Choose wisely. Train smartly.

Focus: Customer Service Webinar Now Available

Don’t forget to sign up for the first installment of our webinar series, Focus, for a deep-dive into Multipub’s customer service capabilities. RSVP here for the January 27 event at 1:00 PM CST.