Over the holidays, my family visited an aunt who lives in the countryside. In the course of our conversation, she complained about an advert that was airing on TV. She had tried to call the number provided in the ad and could never get through. My mother joined in saying she should not even try as she had called and the product they were advertising was not even available in small towns. They concluded that those advertising were quacks that did not even have the product they so incessantly advertised about.

A lot of times, companies are eager to put out their company brand, products or services through advertising but they do not think through the backend processes that come post the ads. If the advert causes the customer to look up your website, what will they find? If they look for your product on the shelves, will they find it? If they call the number on your ad will they get through? Is your social media reflecting the brand you are putting out in your ads? I call this streamlining the ‘after-advert’ services.

It is important that advertising be thought through before being taken up. Here are a few things to think about as you streamline before you advertise:

Purpose– What is the purpose of your advert? Is it to inform, to create brand awareness, to increase sales, to elicit curiosity? Identify what you want to achieve with the advert before putting it out. What do you want the listener, or viewer or reader of your advert to do? This will be essential in guiding streamlining of the backend process post-advertising.

Audience– Who is the target audience? Who do you want the advert to reach? This is tied very closely to the purpose of the advert. As you think of the target audience, consider the best medium through which to put out the ad as well as the best channel this audience can reach you after seeing your advert.

Process– This is the most important aspect to customer service. Once the target audience sees, reads or listens to the advert, they’ll either want to enquire about the company, product or service. Some may also want to buy what you are selling. Ensure that the ‘after-advert’ process is streamlined to meet the customers’ needs. Make sure that any form communication they use to reach you is working well. Walk in the shoes of the customers to ensure that the sales process is efficient. Consider scenarios where more customers than expected want to buy the product or access the service you advertise. Have a plan A, B and C with possible scenarios of anything that might go wrong.

Does the backend process match the front that you are putting out in adverts? This is an important question to ask before going out to advertise the company brand, products or services. Any advert you put out is a chance to either build your brand or destroy it. Customer service excellence is measured by how smooth the backend services are for a customer who contacts the company as a result of the advert. Streamline, before you advertise.

Written by: Linet Njeri, Strategy Coordinator, LifeSkills Consulting