This is the second of a three-part blog series designed to help ag advisors create and send proactive communications to their targeted audiences.
You have decided to reach out, but now is the hard part: what do you say?
The benefits of proactively reaching out to your customers are considerable. From establishing trust, to increasing brand loyalty, to keeping top of your customer’s mind, regularly incorporating proactive communications into your customer service strategy will distinguish you from your competition.
But what should you talk about?
In our last blog, you were provided the 4 Steps to Start Proactively Communicating with Customers, and now we will focus on pre-determining communication topics. A typical barrier for many advisors is determining what type of information to communicate to customers. Initially, the number of topics seems almost endless, but when it comes time for the rubber to hit the road, the topics become harder to pin down.
Help is on the way.
Below are six ways to help you determine your communication topics. It’s important to remember that every person has their own brainstorming method(s) and there is not one preferred over another—just find the right one(s) that works for you. Above all else, remember that being relevant is the most important element. Irrelevant topics are discarded quickly and a series of too many will lead to a complete dismissal of communications all together.
ProTip #1: As you get started, batch your efforts when looking for topics. Taking one chunk of 30-60 minutes will save you future hours of frustration trying to come up with topics on the spot and help you organize and coordinate your topics.
Determining Proactive Communication Topics
Past Communications - Scroll back in your text history, find old Post-It Notes, or go to your email’s Sent folder to remind yourself of the customer questions you have been answering. Take the time to note if there are any trend or themes. If so, those are perfect topics for consideration.
Seasonal Tips - Every season brings with it a new set of challenges. From planting tips in the spring to equipment maintenance tips in the winter, there are always things to remind your customers about keeping them productive and you top-of-mind.
Industry Resources, News, & Events - Not every customer has the knowledge of or the opportunity to attend industry events so they may not have heard the latest and greatest. If you are attending a local, regional, or national trade show and see/hear about something new, be the first to break it to your customers.
Unusual findings or relevant issues – Ever find or hear of something from one customer that other customers would benefit from? Whether it is concern of a crop disease or a unique solution one of your customers has riddled, if one customer conversation stands out to you and if you think others would benefit, you should share.
Solutions, Not Sales - Proactive communication is meant to provide helpful information to your customers and not flood them with sales pitches or promotions. Informing customers about the services or products you offer is not a negative as long as it is presented in the form of a solution and not a sales pitch.
Crowdsourcing - Determining topics does not have to be done in a silo. Involve your team members to gain their insights and ideas about communication topics. Have them review old emails, texts, and customer communications to find topics that are relevant and timely for your customers.
ProTip #2: When trying to determine a topic of communication, never assume your customers are knowledgeable or remember certain information. Even the most grizzled of your customers need to be reminded of the basics at times.
ProTip #3: As you move through the exercises above, focus on targeted subsets of customers to send your communication. Finding a piece of information that applies to all customers is difficult and will slow you down. Instead, find the right piece of information to share and then craft it to the particular set of customers that will benefit the most from it.
With a full head of steam to start proactively communicating and resources to find topics, it’s now time to make it happen…but how? In the final blog of this series, we will give pointers on how to craft the proactive communication. We will go over the importance of keeping communication relevant, simple, and consistent. You’ll be a master communicator in no time.