A customer is a customer, right? Well, not exactly…
Maintaining a core clientele of customers who are repeat, loyal, buyers is a formula for continued success. New business is essential, that goes without saying. However, it is also more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain, up-sell, and cross-sell your existing customer base. How much time, energy, and resources are you spending on these initiatives? As we will explain later, ‘old customers’ should be receiving just as much (if not more) attention as new customer acquisitions.
Consistency is the Key
Independent businesses are notorious for turbulent streams of income. The best way to prevent that from happening is by establishing a loyal and consistent customer base. Repeat customers are not only reliable, but are the key to a steady, and predictable revenue stream. Remember the 80-20 rule; 80% of your future revenues will be driven by just 20% of your existing customers. At Unitel, we understand this and have dedicated our resources to maximize revenue for our clients’ in this fashion.
Improving Call Center Marketing
What makes some outbound marketing companies, like Unitel, successful while others just can’t seem to make connections with the consumer? What defines success and failure? Sometimes the answers are clear and straightforward while in other instances, the problem might be much more insidious and difficult to pinpoint. These are some of the reasons that some call center marketing is unsuccessful:
- Excessive Hold Times – Nothing will seem more distancing and off-putting than a message telling the person to hold or a lengthy pause before someone finally speaks. In a survey of “more than 2,500 consumers, nearly 60% of respondents believe that one minute is too long to be on hold,” PRWeb reports. “In addition, 32.3% of consumers believe that customer service departments should be answering immediately—with no hold time.” The conversation is about building a relationship, which is often fragile in the early stages. Don’t break customer trust with unnecessary holding.
- Lack of Preparation – Often, call centers don’t prepare their agents with the information necessary to make them ‘experts’ in their outbound/inbound interactions. Not only is it frustrating to talk to someone who doesn’t understand the product, but it also indicates that the company doesn’t care enough to be properly prepared with knowledgeable agents.
- A Lack of Passion – Direct marketing can seem rather mundane at times, that’s just a fact of the profession. However, nothing can be more repellent than talking with someone who is not enthused, upbeat, and helpful. The wrong tone sends the message that the customers is just another cog in the machine or a name and number on file. This type of interaction could make the customer feel like they don’t matter. Ensure that all of your agents are trained and well-versed in your company’s products and services, there are no long hold times, they uncover customer wants/needs, and demonstrates a passion for your products/services.
What Causes a Customer to Become Inactive?
- Rudeness – Many customers rank rude service very high on their reasons for not returning to a company. Whether it’s an in-person meeting, a phone call, or an email, these bad interpersonal contacts can sully the entire relationship between the company and the customer.
- Unhelpful or Poorly-Educated Staff – There’s nothing more frustrating than coming into a business or calling a company and finding that the person who is supposed to know the company can’t answer even the most basic of questions. it demonstrates a lack of professionalism on the part of the company for not training them well. It also makes the customer feel that if this is the type of person working there, then what does that say about the actual product or service that he or she is purchasing?
- A Company That Doesn’t Care – Customers want to know that a company cares about their business. They want to be treated with dignity and respect, which shouldn’t be an unreasonable expectation. Most companies don’t actively disrespect their customers, but they may be doing it thoughtlessly. Companies should make an active effort to show that they care what the customer wants and what the customer thinks.
- Not Understanding the Customer’s Point of View – Many customers sometimes feel that the company doesn’t really understand what they want. Maybe the product doesn’t reflect the actual needs of the customer. Perhaps the customer hasn’t been made aware of new services that better suit their desires. In any case, there’s a disconnect between the customer’s perspective and that of the company.
Benefits of Working With an Outsourced Call Center
Customer service, and call center marketing in particular, can be a brutal business. It’s difficult to spend all day talking to people when you don’t know whether you’ll receive a warm reception, the cold shoulder, or an angry diatribe about what a horrible person you are. That said, research is finding that people who work within call centers are often learning much more about business than those who work in other fields:
- The Interconnectedness of an Industry – Those who work in consumer outreach have to be familiar with many different parts of a business. Even if they aren’t experts in a given field, they have to know who to put the customer in contact with if they have specific questions. Customer service people are able to understand the big picture.
- What Customers Really Care About – You know how you get to really know your customers? By talking to them! What a concept, right? However, there are many people who work in a company who aren’t able (or occasionally aren’t willing) to speak to the people who actually use the business. Call center marketers know what the customers like, what they don’t like, and what they really care about.
- The Ability to Listen – As any married couple will tell you, there’s a big difference between hearing something and really listening to it. No one understands this better than those who work in consumer outreach. Someone who’s agitated on the phone may have legitimate concerns. A person who seems like a lost cause may prove to be a wonderful client if you’re just willing to listen to them carefully. Call center agents should not be just warm bodies who talk on the phone. Rather, call center agents should be highly-trained professionals who understand your company, your products, and your customers.
Everyone is a Salesperson
Customer service representatives and outbound marketers get a bad rep, people tend to view them unfavorably. There is this idea that there’s something unseemly about trying to sell something over the phone. However, everyone is a salesperson in some way – whether you’re trying to sell someone on an idea, your point of view, your personality…there’s always a pitch. By understanding this, the relationship between the caller and customer becomes much less scary.
Being a Better Salesperson
Some people resist the idea that they are salespeople when they work in the customer service industry. Our concierge consultants are comfortable with their positions because they understand that it’s more than just selling a product. It’s about selling themselves, a concept, an identity. Think about a time when you first met a new person, trying to put your best self forward. You didn’t immediately launch into a list of your flaws. You wanted to sell yourself, but you didn’t think about it that way. It was just a conversation between two people. The connection itself was just a natural byproduct. Our consultants operate the same way. It’s about building trust, a bond between two people. The sales connection is the outcome.
Focusing on the Customer
People who are good conversationalists know that asking questions of the other person is the best way to keep people talking. Blathering on about yourself is the best way to get someone to tune out. Good outbound marketing works the same way. Get the customer talking. What does he or she care about? Why didn’t he or she come back to the business? How could he or she be helped? By approaching the sale in a conversational manner, real results will be achieved.