What Happens After You Outsource Content?

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

Outsourcing a major part of your business like your contact center is a big undertaking. You will experience a big shift in the way your company operates, and possibly in your day to day schedule. So it’s important to have a roadmap planned to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes according to plan. Outsourcing projects, after all, can pick up steam very quickly.

At this point, let’s assume that your contact center outsourcing project is well underway. Your customer service team has long been notified about the change and re-allocated, and operations have been handed over to your new contact center solutions provider.

Here’s what you should do next:

Re-assess your service level agreement (SLA): If there is one thing we can’t stress enough, it’s making sure that your team has a solid understanding of the services it will receive from the contact center provider. As such, it’s important to take another look at your agreement even after it is finalized. You may notice some small mistakes in the contract that slipped through during negotiations, or important details regarding uptime and maintenance. Now is the time for team members to submit questions and resolve issues before the project continues. Some contracts, it should be noted, come with a temporary exit window.

Wipe your infrastructure: Your former contact center may have a lot of hardware sitting around, and some of it may contain sensitive customer data. Before you reassign or sell these machines to a third party reseller, make sure your IT department wipes all of the data from them. Otherwise, customer data could fall into the wrong hands — and you may not know it. Oftentimes, companies who rush to throw out their hardware suffer from data breaches months or years after getting rid of their equipment. Taking this simple step could save a great deal of trouble down the road.

Set up a meeting to discuss strategy: Contact your new customer service team, and introduce yourself. During this meeting, you’ll want to focus on forming a long-term donor outreach plan, customer service goals and basic program expectations. Let the team know that you want to be kept in the loop with reports and possibly even regular calls. Communication is one of the most important parts of outsourcing, and a strong contact center solutions provider will make it easy to keep you updated and informed.

Begin your new journey: Now it’s time to think about yourself for a moment. By outsourcing content, you will clear more room in your schedule to devote to higher-level customer related tasks. Are there any new projects that you have been looking to take on?

Do you have any questions about outsourcing? Click here.

Social Media Platforms Pave the Way for Improved Digital Customer Care

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

Have you heard the story about the passenger on JetBlue whose seat-back TV screen wasn’t working? Clearly disappointed (though not angry), he tweeted the view of a static screen and said it was his first complaint about his favorite airline.

In minutes, JetBlue had tweeted back: “Oh no! That’s not what we like to hear!” And in less than a half-hour, the once-unhappy passenger had received a credit for the non-working TV, and tweeted his delight at the excellent customer service.

Social media customer service, or social care, has become a reality that no business can afford to ignore. With more people spending more time on social media, it’s quickly becoming a preferred method of communication. The number of tweets targeted at brands is also increasing, which clearly means it’s time for businesses to direct their attention to this new method of customer service.

Twitter, in particular, wants to become a more formal customer service channel for your business. Earlier this year, it announced two new tools to help businesses provide better service on its platform, including easier transitions from public tweets to private messages, and a new feature called Customer Feedback, which lets people privately share their opinions with a business after a service interaction.

The ease of use, combined with the proven success rate—companies that use Twitter as a social care channel are seeing a 19 percent increase in customer satisfaction!—should be all the encouragement you need to give it a try. And it won’t be hard to beat the competition: Twitter customer service data shows that, as of February 2015, 38 percent of customers’ tweets receive no response at all from the company.

Although the majority of customer service interactions are on Twitter, Facebook isn’t far behind. Facebook, too, recently added new features for managing customer communications, including the ability for people and businesses to exchange private messages, and a way for marketers to organize customer comments on a page.

Social care encompasses more than just solving problems—it creates stronger connections with your customers. That’s what superior customer service is all about.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Identifying the Key Metrics of Social Customer Care

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

It’s likely you’ve implemented some type of social customer care as the integrated marketing solutions arm of your overarching strategy. After all, social media has become an important tool in which both customers and companies use to communicate with brands.

According to a report from Aberdeen Group, companies with social care programs outperform companies that don’t have a similar program. What’s more, companies with social care programs boast a 5.6 percent increase in first-contact resolutions, a 6.5 percent increase in agent productivity and a 17.5 percent increase in SLA attainment.

Simply implementing a social strategy, however, isn’t enough to see real improvements in your quality of customer care. Companies must monitor and measure their program’s success by identifying key social customer care metrics. Below are various metrics that businesses should be keeping an eye on to ensure that their social customer care strategy is a success:

  • Cost of transaction: What’s the actual cost of servicing a customer via social media compared to the telephone? Many companies make the mistake of not measuring the transaction cost. However, it’s important that you measure this metric to ensure that your strategy remains cost effective for your business.
  • Communicator efficiency: Chances are you already measure Communicator’s time to respond on standard calls, but are you doing the same for social? Many studies have found that customers expect brands to respond to their inquiry within at least 30 minutes. It’s important that you’re measuring your employees’ time to respond to ensure that they are meeting customer expectations.
  • Inbound volume: Another key social customer care metric to measure is inbound volume, or the number of incoming messages on all social media channels. Collecting this data will help you understand the bigger picture and better allocate resources. For example, if you’re getting more social media inquiries than traditional call inquires, you might want to give your social media channels some more man power.

Managing an effective social customer care strategy isn’t easy, but when done right you can facilitate more meaningful connections with your consumers.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Facebook Messenger Emerges As Customer Care Platform

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, have revolutionized the customer care industry as they not only help businesses better serve their customers, but they also enable companies build long-lasting relationships with their consumers.

If you visit our blog frequently you know that we regularly discuss the surge of social care initiatives that companies are putting forth in order to keep up with customers expectations. Recently, there’s been an uptick in companies leveraging Facebook Messenger as a form of customer care.

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application integrated with Facebook’s web-based chat feature that provides users with text and voice communication. Similar to live chat, an increasing number of companies are starting to use this platform to communicate with their customers.

For example, hospitality industry giant, Hyatt, has teamed up with customer care solution, Conversocial, to roll out their Facebook Messenger initiative, which will enable Communicators to respond to guests’ inquiries and improve their overall travel experiences via Facebook.

Companies would be wise to follow in Hyatt’s footsteps and add Facebook Messenger to their list of customer care channels. Not only because it allows you and your customers to have two-way communication regarding issues or inquiries, but Facebook Messenger is widely popular amongst consumers.

In fact, research from Verto Analytics revealed that 800 million people use the Facebook Messenger app. What’s more, approximately 222 million U.S. Facebook users spend 14 hours per month in the company’s app. Indeed, this will be a valuable integrated marketing solution for any business as it combines social media with live chat and your consumers are already leveraging it in their everyday lives.

So, you might be eager to implement Facebook Messenger after reading these convincing statistics, but it’s important that you first educate your Communicators about the platform and ensure that they have the skills to deliver superior customer care via social media.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Twitter Soars to New Customer Care Heights

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

From social media to mobile apps, today’s consumers use a multitude of platforms and devices to communicate with brands and shop for products. In fact, most customers across a myriad of industries use multiple channels to communicate with brands.

According to research from PwC, 86 percent of global respondents and 65 percent of US-based respondents polled currently shop across at least two channels, while 25 percent of global respondents and 21 percent of US respondents are using four or five channels to shop.

With customers using anywhere from two to four channels to make purchases and communicate with brands, it’s becoming increasingly critical for businesses to employ a multichannel customer care strategy. This is especially true for social media, as its being leveraged more to manage customer care needs.

According to a separate study from Nielsen, nearly half of U.S. consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain. To meet the growing expectations for social media customer care efforts, many social media platforms are rolling out new products and features to help businesses deliver better customer care.

Twitter, for example, is working on a variety of tools that will help businesses better use its platform for customer care. For instance, the platform is working on a few features that will better prioritize requests for assistance that come through the platform.

While it’s great news that social media platforms like Twitter are developing features that will better address customer care, companies shouldn’t solely rely on social media to communicate with their customers. After all, today’s customers are using multiple channels.

As such, businesses should create a sophisticated multichannel customer care strategy that includes a variety of channels—such as live agent support, social media, live web chat—to increase overall engagement and satisfaction.

P.S. Speaking of Twitter…check us out, click here!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Can Expressing Corporate Social and Environmental Views Gain Customer Engagement?

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

In the past when a consumer was looking for a product or service, he or she tended to focus solely on price and quality. Today’s consumers, however, now have added something else to their decision -making list; corporate social responsibility (CSR).

CSR is a business practice in which a company participates in initiatives that benefit society. There are many ways for businesses to build CSR into their existing business plan. For example, businesses can implement practices that reduce their carbon footprint or practice social responsibility by donating to national and local charities.

While price and quality are still important, consumers are really looking for a business that displays social responsibility. In fact, a recent Nielsen study revealed that 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

If your business is already participating in CSR, then you might consider leveraging integrated marketing solutions to better communicate your efforts to your audience. Not only will this help establish trust, but it will also add extra value to your marketing campaigns that will put you a step ahead of your competitors.

Below are a few examples of how you can communicate your CSR efforts to your audience:

  • Email marketing: There’s no better way to communicate with your customers than through the digital channels that they use most often. With email marketing, you can keep your customers updated on your charitable duties. For example, include a section in your enewsletter that’s dedicated to educating your audience about your CSR happenings.
  • Website/Landing Pages: Why not create a landing page that discusses your CSR efforts in which you can direct your customers? This way when a potential customer visits your website’s homepage they can be directed to a landing page that thoroughly discusses your CSR efforts.

Indeed, consumers care more about knowing your business’s values so it’s up to you to communicate exactly those are effectively. Read more about this notion in my recent blog post titled “Consumers Value Relationship Over Product Innovation.”

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

 

The Big (Global) Picture in the Contact Center Space

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

Consider this; there are 3.75 billion active Internet users, 2.206 billion active social media users, 3.734 billion unique mobile users, and 1.925 billion active mobile social users currently living in the world.

The ubiquity of digital channels is precisely why contact center leaders are now racing to implement an omni-channel customer care strategy. This all encompassing strategy ideally suits today’s consumers who are always connected to their personal devices. Whether they are scrolling through social media new feeds or checking their emails, consumers have become increasingly reliant on these devices.

In fact, 85 percent of survey respondents said mobile devices are a central part of everyday life, according to Salesforce’s “2014 Mobile Behavior Report.” Furthermore, 89 percent said that mobile devices allow them to stay up to date with loved ones and social events, which explains why mobile devices are used so frequently.

To effectively communicate with consumers who are “always connected” it’s important that businesses create omni-channel customer care strategies that employ multiple channels—such as live chat, SMS, email—to communicate with consumers. As such, contact centers ought to implement integrated marketing solutions to help them facilitate better communication standards amongst their target audiences.

Today’s consumers expect, and deserve, the utmost quality of customer care from the companies they chose to do business with. For this very reason, customer care leaders must provide a myriad of communication channels, 24/7 support, and most importantly personalization. After all, consumers need to be able to communicate with a qualified customer care agent at any time and from the devices they feel most comfortable using, whether it’s their mobile phones, laptops, or desktops.

Implementing integrated marketing solutions such as website and landing page development, email marketing services, and live web chat enable contact centers to connect with a wider range of consumers—and the way in which they prefer to be reached. Convenience is at the crux of a successful customer care strategy as today’s consumers have no qualms about switching to another provider if they aren’t receiving the type of care they’re expecting.

So, provide your consumers with an omni-channel experience that enables them to leverage the communications channels they prefer the most. Employing integrated marketing strategies will certainly help contact centers reach their full “global” potential.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Social Care: An Emerging Contact Center Imperative

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

The main objective of a customer care strategy is to effectively support and communicate with your target audience to solve problems and build long-lasting relationships. Therefore, it is critical that contact centers leverage emerging trends in the customer care space to provide the highest quality and most accessible customer support.

Today, social media has emerged as a communication channel in which nearly everyone uses in one capacity or another—just consider the compelling statistics. According to research from Pew Internet, 74% of online adults use social networking sites, as of January 2014.

While the majority of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter users are active on social networking sites to keep up with friends and family, many of them are leveraging these social networks for customer care. According to a study from Parature 35 percent of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they’ve asked a customer care questions via social media.

What’s more, in the past social media was a nice-to-have communication channel, however, it’s now turned into a must-have customer care channel. According to a different supporting study from HubSpot, when asked what social media presence they expect for a brand, the majority of consumers said they expect brands to be active on at least three to four social channels.

As the statistics show above, social media will continue to be a channel in which consumers use to communicate with brands. That being said, it’s crucial for your business to provide effective social care to establish your business as a customer care leader in your respective industry.

To avoid falling behind make social media care a priority for your business that is if you haven’t already. In doing so, you’ll be able to reach more consumers and ensure your brand remains on the cutting edge of customer care.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

In Customer Care, You Must Pave Your Own Way

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

No two marketing strategies will share the same results when implemented in different industries. Therefore, when it comes to customer care organizations can’t simply follow the pack by adopting software and strategies used by other companies. Rather, they must investigate what’s working within their specific industry.

For instance, a report from VentureBeat revealed that when an insurance company, Allianz, used a mobile app to streamline customer care interactions, it boosted its customer engagement on mobile by 60 percent. This is because a mobile app made sense for that particular industry.

So what are some strategies that work to improve customer care interactions for different industries? Let’s explore…

  • Retail: Click-to-call is a great customer care strategy for the retail industry because it allows consumers to request to talk immediately with a Communicator. Buyers no longer have to wait on hold or stumble through the menu options to reach the right department to get an answer to a simple question.
  • Technology: A multi-channel customer care strategy works well within in technology sector. Not only does this strategy—which might include channels such as live chat, mobile, live agent support etc.—provides customers with numerous options for communication, but it provides customer care around the clock. This is especially beneficial because the technology sector rarely sleeps.
  • Healthcare: Phone-based customer service is beneficial to the healthcare industry because patients often have complex questions that can’t be answered through certain communication channels, such as live chat and social media.  With phone-based customer service, patients talk to a live, trained Communicator who can help provide them with the answers they need.

Find the customer care strategy that works best for your industry, whether it’s click-to-call, multi-channel, or phone support. More importantly, whatever strategy you choose make sure that you’re providing the best support for your customers.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Does Digital Improve Real-Time Customer Support?

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

From booking flights to ordering dinner, today’s consumers handle many routine tasks online. As consumers continue to rely on digital, businesses must adjust their customer support by offering real-time customer support.

Enter live chat. Live chat has become a valuable communication platform for businesses, allowing them to offer 24-hour customer support and cut down on phone and employee expenses. Not only is live chat advantageous for businesses, but it also benefits consumers.

Having real-time customer support is convenient for buyers, as they get immediate access to help. According to a study by Software Advice, titled “Impact Demographics on Live Chat Customer Service,” 56 percent of respondents surveyed said they have used live chat at least once to ask a question.

While there are many advantages to live chat, it’s important that businesses tread carefully when considering implementing such a service. If you’re company decides, for example, to integrate digital support into your customer care strategy, then it must be user-friendly. After all, customer care is all about creating a positive experience for your consumers. Your goal isn’t to make things harder for your consumers, rather your aim is to make things easier.

Therefore, if you decide to implement a live web chat service then you must train your staff of Communicators in managing incoming inquiries in real-time 24/7. Otherwise, the service will prove futile and your customers will likely be disappointed by your lackluster services.

Additionally, when integrating multiple customer care channels it’s important to ensure that users can transition amongst them easily without repeating basic information. If a customer isn’t satisfied with the support delivered via the Web chat platform, for example, he or she can easily access a “click to call” link so that he or she can be immediately directed to a live person without having to search through your website for the number.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.