Calling For Your Success?: Contact Centers That Work
One of the most efficient means to find new business and serve your
existing clients more cost-effectively remains the telephone.
Qualifying and disqualifying prospects without travel or onsite sales
presentations greatly reduces your costs and risk in separating serious
buyers from the "browsers." Handling inbound calls for
promotions or customer service with sleek efficiency influences the
difference between profit and loss. Proper call management techniques save
money and precious time while enhancing your allocation of resources.
Additional risk and cost are eliminated with clear objectives, concise
communication and constant measurement. Yet, many companies continue to
operate inefficiently, some almost aimlessly, because they lack these
qualities. For telemarketing campaigns, whether it's a cold call
initiative, or a follow-up to direct mail or a trade show, you will
experience more success by addressing these three key points. The same is
true for routing a customer call to the most knowledgeable agent.
Whether you have your own contact center or outsource the role, it
remains your responsibility to gage your return on investment. If
internal, your managers must understand and implement proper planning,
policies and procedures. If you outsource, then you must seek service
providers that meet these same needs and can justify their invoices and,
more importantly, results.
CONTACT CENTER CHECKLIST
The technology for contact centers has improved while tasks and
information systems have converged for greater access and functionality.
You want to provide your contact center with the flexibility to choose
options best suited to specific needs.
Both outbound telemarketing campaigns and inbound client services
should benefit. A complete solution helps your organization to meet these
- Maximize agent talk time;
- Minimize agent burnout and frustration;
- Leverage the benefits of automation without compromising service;
- Eliminate dialing errors;
- Increase agent productivity;
- Reduce call abandonment;
- Easily manage multiple campaigns;
- Leverage your third party and legacy databases; and
- Customize a solution tailored to your business.
Let's take a look at a real-world application that exemplifies meeting
a client's challenges. Now, I don't usually get product-specific but I
came across one that, conveniently for me, meets these objectives.
The Centre for the Financial Services
OmbudsNetwork (CFSON) helps consumers navigate the complaint or
inquiry process in the financial services industry by providing
information and directing callers to the proper channels. The first step
in this process is the CFSON call center.
A key requirement was that agents be able to quickly access a wide
breadth of industry information. Its unique multi-industry membership
meant that thousands of names, titles, contact phone numbers and e-mail
and office addresses had to be available to agents on demand.
SOOTHED BY ICE³
CFSON decided to implement a solution called "ice³" by
Computer Talk Technology, or CTT.
This Web-based, custom interface connects to CFSON's database to ensure
access and navigation of all industry information quickly and easily. ice³
helps manage phone, e-mail, Web chat and voice messaging interactions
quickly and efficiently.
Before calls even reach agents, incoming calls are directed to the
proper channels to ensure that the agent best suited to handle a call
receives it, but also that callers receive service in the language they've
requested. This greatly improves agents' chances of competently handling
calls the first time around and reducing the need to transfer callers, put
them on hold or even call them back.
While speaking with callers, agents query the CFSON database for the
issue. ice³ instantly searches the database and pops the appropriate
actions, contacts and referral locations on agents' screens, allowing
agents to maintain a natural dialogue with callers while retrieving data.
"We can record our calls, and use the reporting mechanism to get
the statistics we need," said Manny Da Silva, CFSON's National
Director of Consumer Assistance. "We also have workflow, which lets
us modify and design our queues and call flows on demand."
Customizable reports are generated to assist CFSON in evaluating any
aspect of their service, such as call volumes or statistics on how many
calls are transferred where. iceCapture, a built-in conversation recording
feature, records call information and provides vital statistical data.
CAMPAIGN ON ICE³
The same application doesn't ignore the objectives above for the outbound
side and telemarketing campaign management. It has an embedded function,
iceCampaign, that equips inbound, outbound or blended contact centers to
run lead generation, promotions, and customer service campaigns. It
increased agent productivity without sacrificing customer service and
iceCampaign seems to be a dynamic tool, deployed for unique
requirements and objectives. It is often custom-developed to address
customers' needs. While equipping organizations for optimal dialing
campaigns is a key function, iceCampaign can be used alone, or with a CRM
tool, to develop scripting applications, to track all inbound and outbound
calls, with monitoring and reporting on calls, campaign, and agent
BE CLEAR, CONCISE AND CONSTANT
No matter what the purpose, any large-volume contact center initiative is
both simplified and enhanced with a simple approach and discipline. It's
not about the technology but its implementation and the leverage gained.
I'll repeat, using a telemarketing slant, you must have:
- Clear Objectives: Define the results you want quantitatively,
e.g. 20 new prospects per week with revenues between $10 and $25
- Concise Communication: Well-scripted messages that are clear
and concise while peaking the interest of the prospects, e.g.
"Hello, I'm calling to make sure you received the Industry Status
Survey. It cost $25,000 to create but it's free for you from..."
- Constant Measurement: Regular review of your "batting
average" to know whether you're actually getting somewhere, e.g.
only one in 10 call recipients are responding positively. Is that good
and can it be improved?
We work in an industry that sells communication solutions. It's
interesting, and simultaneously a shame, to see a lack of call management
combining technique and technology. Seek to apply and leverage our
industry's own innovations for your marketing and business success.
a FREE review of your web site! Just email webreview@CustomerCatcher.com
with your web address today. Martin Wales is an advisor to growth-hungry
tech firms & entrepreneurs at The Customer Catcher Institute™,
helping you “Reach Success Sooner.” From group training to one-on-one
coaching, he gives you step-by-step methods to get results now with
affordable strategies & tactics. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.