Call Center Solutions to Increase Sales, Performance, and Revenue

Today’s call center is a channel of communication that strings caller and business together. Through an improved understanding of ways to optimize loyal customers and new clients, companies are taking existing service levels and proactively increasing sales and revenue. The call center is showing them the way.
Streamlined organizations understand how important each and every direct customer touch is to their success now and in the future. An optimized company would understand that it is far more costly to unmake a disgruntled customer than it is to develop a new one.

An optimized company would have systems in place to know what’s happening with customer and prospect alike, and place the same level of focus to shoring up this virtual hub of business. The call center is more than a simple telephone. It is an interactive marketing machine that consists of outbound telemarketing, inbound sales and customer care, and email and web based interactions. The goal is simple: drive a winning customer experience. Not just once. Not just twice. Not only for tomorrow. But ongoing and consistently.
So, what are the steps to optimizing your business, increasing sales and performance, and ensuring your loyal customer base turns into even more loyal business opportunities?

Think like your customer: There are a number of best practices that create intimacy with customers: direct mail, e-mail, print media, collateral, telephone and trade shows are among the many solutions. The most direct line of fire, the hub of any marketing effort, incorporates these marketing efforts with the call center. The call center brings all forms of intimacy directly to the customer. So, direct mail campaigns have a giant percentage leap in success when combined with outbound telemarketing calls. E-mail marketing demonstrates clear superiority when the recipient can respond by either inviting a telephone call for more information, or through dialing a telephone number to speak with a live customer care representative. Including an “act-now” offer, such as a free book or white paper, in a direct mail or email campaign followed by either a proactive outbound telephone call or an enticement for the prospect to call, improves hit rates as well. Direct mail and email is just one piece to the puzzle-the call center completes the cycle and provides the audience with more opportunities to speak to your organization.

A call center would clear obstruction and create a fluid channel of communications and thus sales. A call center would instantly provide:

•Better filtering and customer analysis. Once the customer accepts an outbound telemarketing call, or proactively initiatives a telephone call to your center, data can be collected. First, how did the customer learn about your offer? When did the customer and company make contact? What did the customer desire? What demographics can be compared for future marketing opportunities?

•Add peak and off hour contacts. Expecting everyone to work on your time zone is unreasonable and places the focus of service in the wrong direction. Remember, it’s all about the customer. And clearly, they want to speak with your organization only on their time. The call center can provide complete 24/7/365 solutions.

•Call centers offer solutions that drive the sale, cross sell, up sell, bundle product, save a sale and a wealth of other sales opportunities. With proper scripting, call centers unblock obstructions to the sale.

•Online sales cost less than telephone sales. A significant portion of a “call center” can also allow for e-mail “calls,” instant messaging or other forms of instant communications.

Your particular customer thinks a certain way. They want a certain touch. They want to hear certain messages in order to act. They want to be reached. Your job is to combine all the resources available to you and find which resources work with which customers. Think like them. Figure their actions. Create a marketing program around those traits.

Create programs to win old customers back: We know that the memory of a poor experience remains with a customer long after the event itself. We also know that disgruntled customers are most likely to share their pain, and spread word of their poor experience. Call centers are a great resolution to winning back the unhappy consumer.

In our previous scenarios, the blend of direct mail, e-mail and the call center forms a friendly customer experience. What many organizations do not do today is proactively use their customer database to improve revenue. For instance, a past customer at one time chose your company-and today there are a myriad of reasons why they are no longer a customer. Find out why! Package a reason for them to act. Show them that your opportunity, considered a win by them when they acted the first time, is still a win for them today. Many companies have databases of tens of thousands of past customers, melting away untouched, as if yesterday’s customer is today’s bad apple. That simply is not the case. Combine direct marketing efforts with web-based and telephone communications and attack your goldmine of an audience: your customer base.

Turn warm leads to sizzling sales: Today’s economic climate compels business to: “Do more with less.” So when warm leads go cold, a company has squandered a valuable resource at an exponential cost. Warm leads don’t just appear. They are the result of a concerted investment in time and money. Those 300,000 prospects in your data base who have either inquired about your services or have been ranked as a “propensity to say yes” do have a shelf life. Prospects that were gathered through last quarter’s advertising campaign will not remain qualified forever. Your business can leverage scalable operations while eliminating fixed costs. The optimized firm would know that following up on leads is a win-win situation. They win by making the sale, but they also win by demonstrating the quality customer service which is the bedrock of customer satisfaction and loyalty. The follow-up of warm leads, if nothing else, demonstrates interest for tomorrows need. How many customers complain that today’s organization show no “interest” in them? Never forget that customer service IS sales and sales IS customer service. A touch today means results tomorrow.

Organized, coordinated multi-channel contact with warm leads also provides feedback to generate new campaigns. It allows a business to address concerns before customers vote with their dollars. For instance, a business may contact 100,000 warm leads and convert fifteen percent. But, through data collection, this business may learn that 40% would have said “yes” to the offer if the price break were just a few dollars less. All of a sudden, performance, revenue and sales will increase soon enough because your organization now has the knowledge to better package future offerings.

Conclusion: Seamless interaction between a call center team and customers provide an opportunity to:
• Think and act like your customer.
• Win back lost customers
• Find revenue and data through existing prospects.
• Cross sell other goods and services.
• Upsell
• Bundle
• Gather demographic information
• Demonstrate superior customer care
• Brand your organization as a proactive company that has an interest in existing customers and new clients.

A profitable, successful firm, no doubt, must use their entire marketing efforts to collect data and touch customers. The optimized firm creatively seeks ways to apply this data to direct contact with customers and prospects. An optimized, successful firm, with a “customer experience” in mind, cross-references, scripts and measures, thereby leaving no opportunity or marketing effort incomplete.
Upgrade your business. Move to the next level. Don’t do more with less: do more with what you have. Use the outbound, inbound, e-mail and web based solutions that a call center delivers to provide the ultimate customer experience. Improve your existing marketing efforts and let your existing marketing efforts drive superior results.

By Matt Harless

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