ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — With all the talk of a possible recession – and the serious financial anxiety that accompanies the chatter — now is the perfect time to focus on keeping affiliate network relationships going strong. If you do, when budgets increase (and they will), you’ll be first in line to share the windfall.
Today’s article is all about how to nurture customer relationships between affiliate networks.
The hard part’s over: you’ve laid the foundation by establishing contact, exchanging information — along with some campaigns.
Now to keep the relationship between affiliate networks strong, customer service comes into play. At Synervation.net our account managers learn and follow some simple but effective guidelines and they’ll work for you too:
- Stay in touch with your accounts with e-mail, IM or the phone (even better: all three)
- Ask “How are we performing for your advertisers?”
- Reinforce the fact that you want to know about everything — even one bad lead
- Let them know you are going to check in with them on a weekly basis about your performance
- Ask your accounts, “What more would you like to see from us?”
- Conduct a weekly review of how the campaigns are performing on your side to head off any possible problems
You may be saying “Everyone knows that … what’s so new?” Actually doing it would be new — instead of saying you’ll do it. Trust me, the results are fantastic. I have watched firsthand as accounts become more comfortable working with us. I’ve also gotten (and our staff has gotten) countless accolades for being so on top of everything.
The silent – but omnipresent — fear that one rep may have to call another rep and tell them a lead is bad is instantly lifted, a priceless gift for everyone involved.
Another thing to keep in mind about good service is e-mail and the dreaded spam/junk folder. If you have a regular e-mail correspondence with someone and they suddenly stop responding, have someone else from your team e-mail them to find out if it’s being received – or going straight to the junk folder. Usually this works very well and demonstrates that you value their relationship – not just their money.
Some things to avoid as a network:
- Dropping another network without warning. If you’re an affiliate network this has happened at least once to you, so you know how frustrating it can be. It’s also a sure way to slowly sink your company and chip away at industry trust.
- Waiting until three months later to remove fraudulent leads – this can be avoided by setting up a certain time each month to check lead quality and catch other networks before they pay their affiliates for leads that may have been fraudulent.
- Make sure to alert the network of possible problems that may arise. The quicker two networks work together and are prepared the better each feels about the relationship. Example: We had a campaign that the other network campaign manager noticed the IP’s were off – we looked into it and were able to stop the fraudulent leads that day and everyone was happy. In the old days – ahem, last year — this campaign would have built up bad leads and only discovered the problem weeks later – by which time both sides would have lost a lot of money. But now … since we have awesome customer service several things have happened:
1. the network rep no longer feared bringing up bad leads
2. we jumped right on it, found the problem and fixed it
3. Both networks are now happy (yeah!)
4. The advertiser is happy (double yeah!)
5. Now we are near the top (I like to think the very top) of the networks’ list to give first dibs at the next hot offer that they receive.
- Lastly, I know sometimes turnover can be high among affiliate network sales teams, but that’s not an excuse to let accounts slip through the cracks.
This article should serve as a reminder: yes some of it’s basic but let’s face it – most of the time we all let it fall by the wayside. And I know I’m not perfect! I still have some customer service skills I want to tighten up on too: I’m sure people would appreciate if I answered the phone more often. I’m easy to find on e-mail or IM, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work this whole “phone thing” too.
Hears to a happy month of improved contact among networks! Next month I’ll follow up with tips that will keep your affiliates and publishers happy.