Not getting conversions? How to tell if your intake sucks!

Is Your Intake Process Set Up to Maximize Marketing Conversions?

Business owners who invest heavily in marketing and advertising are obsessed with ROI, and rightfully so. If your marketing agency isn’t as diligent in reporting campaign results as you are in tracking how much you spend, you will never get an accurate picture of how much of your business comes from marketing and ads.

However, many business owners overlook the critical role their intake department plays in converting marketing leads. Whether you have a single receptionist or a team of customer service representatives, your internal processes need to be on point to maximize conversions.

Marketing and ad campaigns that reach customers and generate leads is only half the battle. If you want your business to thrive, you need to have the right people and procedures in place to persuade incoming leads to buy your products and/or avail themselves of your services.

what is client intake?

What Is Intake?

“Intake” refers to the process whereby incoming leads are ushered into your sales funnel. Although your marketing and advertising might drive customers to take a desired action (such as calling your office, filling out an online form, etc.), many businesses need to further cultivate their leads before they convert (i.e., make a purchase, schedule an appointment, etc.).

Conversions don’t happen by accident. Customers convert when they feel that a business they are considering will help them solve a problem or achieve a particular goal.

This decision is informed in large part by marketing and ads, but the human element is often needed to “seal the deal.” It falls on your employees who are responsible for intake to handle questions posed by potential customers, address their concerns, and position your service or product as the solution to the customer’s needs.

why client intake matters

Why Is Intake Important?

Simply put, businesses can’t afford not to invest in customer service and the intake process. Microsoft Dynamics 365 found that 90% of consumers use the customer service experience as a barometer for whether they will do business with a particular brand.

Imagine losing up to nine-tenths of your business because your customer service is not up to snuff. Although new and returning customers alike need to feel like they are a top priority, it is especially important for businesses to make a good impression when it comes to nurturing leads from marketing and advertising campaigns.

This is where intake comes into play. Your team needs to take the right tone, ask the right questions, and provide the right information to convert leads into customers.

is your intake team ready to convert leads?

Is Your Intake Primed to Convert?

Customer service professionals represent the frontline for your business. If your marketing and advertising generates leads but conversions are minimal, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is Your Staff Friendly?

People skills still matter, even online. The employees who answer your phones, respond to emails, handle digital chat, etc. should be personable, caring, and committed to providing good service.

2. Do You Answer the Phone on Time?

Telecommunications company Mitel found that customers generally hang up if a business doesn’t answer within three rings. Answering the phone within one or two rings sets you apart and shows that you value the customer’s inquiry.

3. Are You Prepared?

Customer-facing employees and your business as a whole needs to be ready for the influx of leads that often comes with successful marketing and advertising campaigns. Poor communication can cost you business if you don’t tell the intake department that you have launched a campaign or shifted focus to a particular product or service.

4. Is Your Intake on Brand?

A big part of brand positioning is developing a persona for your business that conveys a clear, consistent, and appealing customer experience. But, if your staff doesn’t embody this persona in their interactions with customers, you’re going to lose out on conversions.

5. Are You Addressing Customers’ Questions, Concerns, Etc.?

Optimal intake procedures can help to identify opportunities for your marketing and advertising to address what customers ask during the intake process. Ideally, this will create a positive feedback loop in your marketing; customers get the answers they need upfront, which leads to a smoother intake, which results in more conversions.

6. Are You Paying Attention to Reviews?

Online reviews aren’t just a way for customers to tell others about their experience with your business. If you monitor your reviews and ratings closely, your customers will tell you how your intake process is working and where you need to make improvements.

Reviews are also a crucial part of search engine optimization. If you want to stand out to customers who search for your products and services online, you need to be managing your online reputation.

7. Don’t Just Disregard ‘Unsuitable’ Leads.

Marketing agencies often have to field complaints from clients about the quality or relevance of leads coming in via the website, ad campaigns, etc. Although a potential customer might not be a good fit for your business, you should not give any prospect a hard “No” and hang up the phone.

Poor handling of unsuitable leads can come back and bite you in the form of negative reviews. What’s more, if you just cast leads that aren’t a good fit aside, you might be missing the opportunity to build a relationship with the prospect, refer them to a partner, etc.

creating an effective intake process

How to Set Up Your Intake Process for Success

Ultimately, communication from the top is essential for optimizing the customer service experience your business provides. You need to have a vision for how customers should be treated and what your staff does to push leads to convert.

Employee training and retraining is crucial. So is identifying your key differentiators and making sure the intake process embodies your values and the unique elements of your business.

You also need to stay on top of the leads coming in through your marketing and advertising to make sure you’re meeting your goals for leads and conversions. Large companies typically handle this in-house, while small and midsize businesses may need to work with a marketing agency.

Get your ROI where it should be. Contact Twelve Three Media today to talk to our Conversion Optimization Experts about how marketing and advertising strategies that drive leads and how you can generate more business!

A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.

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