Your Contact Center…Your Brand!!!

According to a recent study, contact centers with a sizeable number of agents can have a greater effect than mass advertising. If we take a modest example of a contact center with 200 agents, each one handling only 50 calls per day, a company has an opportunity to interact with 10,000 customers every day or over 3.5 million every year! Ask your marketing team what it would mean to have an opportunity for direct customer communication over a period of one year!

Having this great potential for direct consumer interaction, I believe every company should take the effort to make the most of each call that they receive.
Contact centers can play a vital role in extending your brand experience to the phone calls by leveraging this direct interaction with the customer. This gives them a great potential to build on company’s brand loyalty by making Customer Experience as the core focus of their contact center.

Why do Contact Centers need to wear your brand?
In looking at the impact of each contact center’s interaction with customers, it is apparent that companies have to ensure that their contact centers wear the brand ethos in a profound and attractive way. Some of the following reasons will help you reiterate and understand it better:
• They are the first human contact point between the company and the customer
• The customer perceives the values of the company by how they interact with him.
• Their ability to carry your brand will lead to customer’s personal connection.

What can you do to ensure uniform experience across multiple channels of communication?
Contact centers are an important channel of communication between the company and the customers which has a human2human connection. While other digital channels of communication including the social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are very relevant, they still do not replicate a customer’s need for a live human interaction. Digital channels offer an opportunity to create audiovisual branding to attract customer attention, yet a human interaction which lacks that AV branding can offset that with the conversation reflecting the brand pillars. You need to make sure that there is a uniformity of experience across all these channels in order to establish your brand in a big way. Following are some of the points you can keep in mind to ensure this uniformity.

  • Advertise Internally:You need to spell out your brand message to your employees the way you want them to portray it to your customers
  • Be consistent:Have a consistent message across all stakeholders, including your Contact Center associates. Carry the consistency across all the channels of communication
  • Synchronize the change:Make sure that changes to the messaging are conveyed to all stakeholders across various channels at same time
  • Don’t Miss the Implicit:An area that companies usually miss is the Hold times at your contact center. Make sure that the interactions during on-call hold periods also carry your personalized messages.

 

According to recent statistics, 86% of customer contact centers use multiple channels of communication, and 74% of the customers use more than 3 channels for customer service related issues. Hence, cross-channel consistency of customer experience is important to Customer Brand perception.
Non-branding can drive away customers
We do know, how branding can create customer experience and brand equity, however, what happens when there is no branding. It is also important to note that non-branding can have adverse effects on your company. Branding not only builds trust and recognition but it also helps employees to connect to the company and build loyalty. Non-branding or poor/blurred branding can actually drive customers away because if they don’t connect to the brand, they won’t be attracted to it. Hence it is important to have the right message and platform to get your brand the recognition that it deserves.

Strengthen your brand by building a strong association at your Contact Center!!!

 

Humanize the Customer (Call) experience

Jim calls his cable provider to upgrade his cable plan, only to be greeted by……….Thanks for calling XXXX, your call is important to us. Please be on the line and an agent will be with you shortly”.

How do you like the mechanical voice when you need assistance with a product or service? You obviously deny the conversation. 61% of consumers prefer human interaction when it comes to customer services like resolving issues, offering some feedback or assistance with a product or service. It is difficult to connect with a mechanical voice in the time when you need help, whereas a human voice makes you involved in the conversation. In the machine-obsessed world, call centers are becoming more machine driven.  The automated answers and stereotypical responses of agents are driving the customers crazy.

However, several companies still fail to provide a true customer service that is the most vital part to make a successful business. Human experience is what a consumer seeks when they engage your customer support. How can you make the customer service an interaction that services your customer:

  1. Respond Quickly, Even if You Don’t Have an Immediate Solution

When customers come up with a query with your company’s product or service, make an effort to supply them with a personalized response as soon as possible. At times even if you don’t have an immediate solution, you must be prompt enough with your responses. By spending some quick seconds acknowledging your customer’s inquiry and promising to find a solution, you can augment customer’s assurance and give yourself time to find a way to resolve the crisis.

  1. Communicate Like a Human

In the ennui of company jargon, the customer service representatives often get lost and provide less personal experience to the customers. To avoid such monotone, be friendly in your gesture while talking to the clients. It is always good to refer to them by their first names and be genuinely interested in the conversation when you strike one. Such gestures gain you the customer’s confidence and trust.

  1. Personalize On-Hold time

While putting customer’s On-hold is inevitable, the time can be managed well if you are prepared for the same. There are several technologies that allow you to manage this space.. right from plain music to silence to technology which can engage the customer through audio, video, chats,  offers etc. for the On-call customer. A well-managed On-hold experience helps reduce anxiety while improving customer satisfaction.

  1. Don’t Overpromise

It is very important for you to understand that there is a fine line of difference between promising to solve an issue and over-promising.  It is essential, to be honest with your customer about the things you can do for them along with being friendly. Be more humanistic in approach, apologize for your inconvenience for which the customers were troubled, confess your faults. Transparency grants customers more personalized experience and constructs trust in your brand.

  1. Put yourselves in their shoes

You must think like a customer in order to make customer service more human. This will help you in anticipating the common questions that may arise after your company provides a new service or product. Make a list of all the initial inquiries and answer them. Always try to provide additional information about the service or product for the benefit of the customer and answer all the additional questions that might arise.

Humanizing the Call centers feels cost intensive when viewed from a pure cost perspective, however, when done right the Brand Loyalty it creates, it adds ROI for the company. Tell your marketing team that you have 2.5 minutes of your customer’s undivided attention and they will gladly turn these 2.5 minutes into a branded customer experience!!!!

Smartphone Users: Getting the Horse to the water… and making it drink!

A recent survey shows that 80% of internet users own a smartphone and 51% of the time spent by people on social media is through mobile devices. Users are creating a large digital footprint today and businesses have taken cognizance of the same. While the marketing strategy does seem to have gone mobile, few understand the needs and behavior of the mobile users and hence, find it challenging to make a right pitch. If one wants to maximize their reach through mobile based marketing, one needsto understand the behavior of mobile users.

Analyze mobile users’ behavior

  • Mobile users are short on time and multi-tasking. They want to have a seamless experience regardless of what they are using their mobile for.
  • Most users lose patience, especially when it comes to holding the lineor communicating with the call center agents. So, you need to convey a relevant message quickly and drive your customers to act Now!
  • Mobile users are active 24 x 7 and are looking for instant gratification. Making the most of this time can result in better conversion rate.

The marketing strategists have channelized the changing behavior of smartphone users through innovative technologies like chatbot and in-call advertising. Customers do not want to spend time understanding irrelevant stuff or listening to music. They would be happier if you offered a service/product they were looking for…. Or even better, they haven’t thought of!

Customers are getting impatient

Customers get annoyed when they have to hold the line for an extended period of time before they talk to the call center agents. Today, they are not going to wait and listen to the music or empty call time. They will hang up; and look for another vendor or write negative words about your business.

They do not like stereotypes…

During the initial days of television, the advertisements, and the programs were excellent sources to get in touch with customers and viewers. Today, themajority of the smartphoneusers find advertisements on television boring and stereotyped.

Getting the horse to the water..

The New-age technology solutions like Chabot and In-Call advertising make sure efficient and crisp message is delivered to your customer. These advertising techniques can beleveraged to enhance the customer reach and satisfaction without denting your overall profitability.

…and making it drink!

The technology evolution has helped to bring the customer to your doorstep. Now, what will drive the next step resulting in the actual actionable result (purchase)? Patented tech like Smart Advertising Attention Spend uses Big Data and your CRM suite to analyze customer behavior and provide specific offers to him/her. 16-20% more customers make a purchase based on an in-call hold offer… Wouldn’t that mean a real drink to you??

Meaningful Communication with Customers – Are you Listening?

Pete has his marriage anniversary around the corner and is contemplating going on a vacation for some time. But mundane tasks keep him away; like getting his Credit Card billing cycle changed. He connects to his Bank’s Call Center and is put on hold with music. While the Bank’s teams have been working hard on a new cashback offer launch and new restaurant partners. Pete is desperate to finish the call and get on with his other tasks. He does so and moves on.

Getting Pete’s attention about the new offers and restaurant where Pete can use his card is the primary reason for the existence of the Bank’s marketing and advertising team. What if they were able to connect with him at a deeper level; was it a missed opportunity to earn his trust and long-term loyalty? You would say that communication is a two-way street. So, when you send your message through the traditional channels of advertising (New card launch, new restaurant), you are only conveying your message… but are you listening?

You cannot call the above a conversation, right? You need to have a real conversation with Pete and apparently, the phone is the best medium to engage your existing and potential customers. That’s where solutions based on Smart Advertising Attention Spend™ (SAAS) will help you communicate meaningfully with your customers while you have their attention.

Why direct customer engagement is important

Customers spend more if they feel businesses connecting with them on a personal level. However, many have burnt fingers in the recent downturns and are cautious before spending. Campaigns, Mega sales events, TV Ads used to work initially, but today. “Direct customer engagement is the greatest predictor of business growth,” says emerging science of behavioral economics. Studies show that majority of the customers buy from their heart and not with their head.

How do you listen?

Everyday customers spend lots of time waiting on the phone and this time space can be used effectively.  CallSpace’s SAAS platform creates customer engagement and experience while they are still on hold on the call. The solution creates brand equity by focusing on satisfaction and expressive communication with customers. Analysing customer’s selection pattern and providing valuable insight into customer’s behavior helps you deliver the relevant message to customers like Pete. 

Now let’s go through Pete’s call in a CallSpace Experience (CsX): Pete connects to his Bank’s Call Center and the call is put on hold. Pete is prompted with a voice message which reminds him of his anniversary and offers a dinner coupon on credit spend above X dollars in next 3 days!! Voila! Pete is engaged and Listening.

Hope you are listening!

Your CALL is IMPORTANT to us!

Almost all of us know, realize and use the phrase, “Time is money”. Applying it further to your customers… how much money would it mean to get focused time of your customer? Even though there is no certain way of making your potential customers directly getting involved in purchase, but statistics suggest that 16 – 20% customers made a purchase based on an on-hold offer at the company’s call center. Now.. That’s literally converting time to money!!

The other side of the same coin is that the holding time can pack your customer away. One study found that of the 8 – 15% of a company’s customer base is lost each year, 68% is due to indifferent or negative phone treatment. Customers might at times overlook your deficient service, but if you put their call on hold almost each time they reach out to your call center; and put on the annoying electronic music on; they are surely going to look for another service provider.

The double impact… Some customers have issues that need to be resolved quickly and so they could wait, but most of the customers lose interest as soon as the music starts playing. It doesn’t matter how many times you play the recorded message that customer’s satisfaction is your company’s goal; if you make them hold and play a boring music on….. there comes your double impact – you lose the customer and … you have to look for another customer! Statistics show that finding new customer costs six to seven times more money than retaining an existing one. In addition to all this, you face a bigger problem and that is, negative publicity by the lost customer. Customers have multiple options nowadays to vent their frustrations online… social media being the key contributor, this is going to have negative impact on the image of your company.

So, what should you do? You need to cut the average hold time or make use of it in such a way that both, you and your customer gets benefited. If you consider the former one, you need to employ more staff, which means additional costs. Hiring employees cost you consistent outflow of money and this reduces the profit percentage to a great extent.

The second option is to make fruitful use of the hold time. This you can do by helping your customer find solution to one of his problems by offering him somewhile he is on the hold through oncall advertising. Some would definitely appreciate this and while they take advantage of one of these, you are getting your sales enhanced. One of the options that you have is to talk to your customers honestly. Some like this and feel happy as well as have trust in your goods and services increased. Putting customers on hold is often unavoidable. Let’s start putting real meaning into: “Your Call is important to us!”.

Leverage SMAC to deliver bang for your marketing buck..

Marketing, as we know traditionally, is being revamped to the core in the Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) age today. The CMO’s of today are increasingly finding the CTO’s to be their best buddies. Both together have evolved the way we look at enterprise marketing by accessing Social Media platforms, Mobile Apps and customer data analytics. The SMAC field is evolving at a rapid rate to give newer weapons to your marketing organizations. Unfortunately, the application of such technology to marketing hasn’t kept pace due to time pressures and implementation complexities at both levels.
Companies like CallSpace Inc. are trying to address this problem by providing a differentiated SAAS (Smart Advertising Attention Spend™) solution to engage customers while they wait for your call center agents. The solution leverages mobility and Analytics to deliver quick ROI in the Pre-hold time for customers. It’s a win-win situation for the call center and Marketing folks to be able to deliver a focused pitch in dead wait period.
The technology based marketing solutions like these need to reach the right audience to be able to deliver ROI to implementing organizations. For example, a US based retail giant uses the call wait period smartly to pitch for his new products. Can the newer analytics tools like Big Data make it more interesting? Can the solution know more about the customer and pitch the right product rather than a new product? That’s where technology like Smart Advertising Attention Spend™ will play a key role in days to come.