Startups trying to get their business off the ground and into the hearts and minds of their target market may have trouble undertaking the marketing and customer service aspects achieved by companies with greater resources.
As such, startup businesses are attempting to get more and more creative with the ways in which their dollars are spent as a way to spread their message and handle customer inquiries in the most cost-effective ways possible.
One rather interesting tactic to achieve this goal is by hiring college students to become campus ambassadors for a particular brand, reports an article published by the Wall Street Journal.
According to the article, "Students are slipping into lecture halls to write brand names and company URLs on professors' white boards, making cold pitches to strangers on college-town streets, creating Facebook pages, producing videos and lobbying school newspapers to plug the businesses of entrepreneurs in New York City and Silicon Valley," all for no pay and no course credit. In fact, the only benefit for them is another line on their resume.
While this is an interesting approach, one must question whether having a series of – albeit motivated – young people being the front line representatives of your business is a smart move. According to a recent article published by Inc.com, customer engagement today is about facilitating trust and positive relationships over time through open and honest interactions in a wide variety of channels.
Consequently, a still inexpensive and arguably better solution to undertake customer service is outsourcing these needs to a certified third-party answering service. Armed with a large, educated and experienced staff, an answering service can serve as valuable brand ambassadors, who bring a higher degree of professionalism and intelligence to customer interactions.
Thus, while an army of college students may have its place in a startup's service strategy, an answering service is a more comprehensive solution that maintains cost-effectiveness and can generate conversions by representing a company as polished experts rather than youngsters who just passed their first business midterm.