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Customer Care: How To Build Relationships That Last A Lifetime

By InfoCision Management Corp.
• A special editorial series sponsored by InfoCision•


Customer service has a stronger impact on consumer loyalty than price, brand or even product quality. Consumers remember their conversations with customer service representatives and base future purchasing decisions on those experiences. That's why it's so important to choose a contact center that cares as much about your customers as you do.

What makes a contact center successful? It must employ tried and true customer care fundamentals ' caring, knowledgeable representatives; a world-class quality assurance process; low wait times and abandon rates; and state-of-the-art call handling technology.

A Caring Attitude
Your customers deserve the highest quality service at all times. It is essential that the people who are making and taking your calls be not only experts in the arts of upselling, cross-selling and closing a call, but true representatives of your company culture.

Unlike other teleservices companies, InfoCision (news - alerts) doesn't refer to its call center employees as TSRs or agents. It calls them Communicators, because they communicate with a client's customers ' building lasting, valuable relationships. With an average tenure of more than four years, they are mature professionals who have chosen teleservices as a career. In fact, InfoCision contact centers maintain an average annual retention rate of better than 90 percent after training and certification.

InfoCision Communicators receive extensive training on every aspect of a company before ever representing it over the phone. From the first time they speak with a customer, they are highly familiar with the company's history, organizational structure, products and services. This gives them the knowledge and authority to provide customer care that seamlessly integrates into a client's existing marketing strategy.

World-Class Quality Assurance
Behind every great contact center is a sophisticated quality assurance process. This system of checks and balances should ensure that each call is handled with the highest level of professionalism.

InfoCision's commitment to quality is more than just a slogan; it's a day-to-day practice. The company developed, implemented and patented the quality assurance system Q3'. Designed to foster continuous improvement and strict adherence to client-mandated procedures, the Q3' system is like no other. Under this system, even the most seasoned Communicator is monitored every 20 minutes. During these monitoring sessions, every aspect of the call is documented and evaluated on more than 130 criteria, from tone of voice to timing of pauses to keystroke volume.

Low Wait Times And Abandon Rates
Today's consumer is busier than ever. He or she does not have the time nor the patience to wait on hold or call a company several times before an issue is resolved. InfoCision provides fast service and first-call resolution without sacrificing the quality services on which its reputation is built.

Using a proprietary call-blending technology, InfoCision maintains average service levels and abandon rates that routinely outperform the industry standard. Unique to the industry, InfoCision's call-blending solution evenly distributes Communicators' workflow when they are not busy answering inbound customer care calls, which maximizes productivity and efficiency. Call blending is so effective that InfoCision's 2004 service levels were as follows:

' Average wait time of only nine seconds;
' 93 percent of calls answered in 20 seconds or fewer; and
' Only 4.5 percent of all calls were abandoned.

State-Of-The-Art Technology
The backbone of a contact center is its call handling technology. InfoCision's IVR, routing and CRM capabilities help create a higher return on investment and a happier customer for its clients. These are just a few of the technological solutions the company employs:

Interactive Voice Response increases efficiency by allowing callers to interact directly with a database. Effective for frequently asked questions, billing inquiries and account information requests. Frees Communicators up to handle more complex issues. Allows callers to place orders after hours.

Custom CRM Applications seamlessly interact with your current processes. Integrate with your existing customer database. Allow Communicators to access customer history in real time.

Skills-based Routing guarantees customers will speak only to Communicators specially trained on your program. Ensures that your most important calls are handled by the Communicators with the strongest aptitude.

Direct Access to Multimedia Quality Assurance Files allows clients to access InfoCision's audio files to hear calls being made on their programs. Screen shots available to show call management at the Communicator's workstation. Audio files online for 60 days and available for two years.

Case Study: Experts In The Customer Care Industry

The Challenge
When a leading national cable provider needed to reduce subscription cancellations, InfoCision seized the opportunity to go head-to-head in a split test and demonstrate what makes it the highest quality call center company in the world.

The Solution
InfoCision Management Corporation has spent the last 24 years developing and cultivating relationships between clients and their customers. Unmatched in the industry, the company has won Customer Interaction Solutions' MVP Quality Award every year since its inception. It is also a three-time winner of the Direct Marketing Association's International ECHO Award.

When an InfoCision Communicator speaks to a customer who wants to cancel a subscription, that Communicator's goal is to not only save that subscription, but also earn that customer's loyalty for life. InfoCision immediately devised a strategy to not only retain, but in many cases upsell, current subscriptions.

At the end of the split test, InfoCision came out on top. By tailoring a subscription package to fit the customers' individual budget, InfoCision was able to save or upsell 77 percent of the calls it handled.

The Results
A lost call is a lost opportunity. Because InfoCision's average service levels and abandon rates routinely outperform the industry standard, it was able to handle 1,300 more calls than the competition, which positioned it to save that many more subscriptions.

With more experience and training than the competition, InfoCision's Communicators were also poised to work harder for each save. This allowed them to classify 4,414 more calls as "savable." Coupled with its industry-low abandon rate, InfoCision achieved an 8.7 percent jump on the competition before even speaking to a customer.

By handling calls more efficiently, InfoCision maximized the value of each retained customer. Because InfoCision had a lower average call time and cost per save, more than 8,700 additional customers were saved at nearly half the cost of the competition.

The Return
The numbers speak for themselves. InfoCision outperformed the competition and won the cable provider's business.

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