The Phone is Still Vital for Your Business

In a society full of tweets, texts and typing, it may come as a surprise that phone calls remain the preferred channel of communication when it comes to your brand’s customer service. Tried and true, customers prefer actual voice communication for a plethora of reasons, but above all else, simply because it is the easiest option when looking to connect with a brand’s customer service department.

Consider this: When you are trying to get a hold of an organization’s customer service department, more times than not it’s because you have an urgent problem needing to be resolved. From a customer perspective, you don’t want to be typing in circles to a chatbot trying to explain your issues. Further, sending emails back and forth is even more time consuming than the chatbot. Yet, if you simply call into the customer service department, an agent is able to quickly look up your profile and guide you to a resolution.

More so, depending on your brand’s target market, they may not all be internet-savvy, or even have access to the internet. According to this study, only 66% of U.S. adults ages 65+ are using internet, making it worthwhile to stay accessible with offline communication.

Reasonably so, your brand’s voice communication can be the distinguishing factor amongst your competitors.  Show your customers that you value them by giving them exceptional live-person interaction rather than a chatbot or IVR system. In doing so, you will create a positive customer experience, and in turn find increased satisfaction and loyalty.

The take-away: Understand that voice communication, done well, is vital to your brand’s success and can set your brand apart. Finding the right contact center partner to handle your voice communication is critical in fostering your brand’s growth.

To learn more on how InfoCision provides the highest quality contact center solutions, visit www.infocision.com

Three R’s of Contact Center Success: Relationships, Retention, ROI

The goal of any contact center is to provide effective assistance to customers, which in turn maximizes businesses’ contact center services ROI. So, what’s ROI made of? In truth they can be boiled down into three R’s: relationships, retention, and ROI. It is vital that contact center managers take these three elements into account when building out their training and coaching best practices.

Relationships

It is incredibly important for agents to build relationships with their clients in order to provide effective assistance and stimulate heightened customer retention. After all, the more agents understand about their customer, the more likely they will be to be able to understand the problem and help them more efficiently. There are many ways agents can build effective relationships with customers such as garnering insights from their social media conversations, engaging in friendly conversation to personalize their experience and demonstrate empathy and compassion for the consumer.

Retention

Consistently establishing positive relationships with consumers will lead to greater customer retention, a key facet in maximizing contact center services ROI. Any successful business must retain its customers; the value of having a loyal group of customers providing repeat business cannot be overstated. After all, retaining prior customers is far more inexpensive than signing new ones, according to Forbes. Successful customer retention is part of how companies can maximize contact center services ROI. Providing prompt, personalized, and efficient customer service will keep customers satisfied and coming back to your business. This, of course, is all in hopes of creating a strong word of mouth campaign amongst consumers, attracting even more business.

ROI

Just as fostering relationships with clients leads to greater customer retention, greater customer retention yields greater ROI from contact center services. When customers are satisfied, they return to the same company, and as they do, profits increase. Contact centers can increase their revenue by improving their internal practices. Merely training agents to build positive relationships with clients, for example can lead to increased customer retention and ROI.

So keep yours goals within reach by keeping the three Rs of contact center success at the forefront of your mind.

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 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Big Data: What’s All the Fuss?

Big data seems to be among the most popular jargon emerging from the tech industry as of late. Sure, you know what it means. But are you aware of how it can be applied across markets and platforms to improve contact center services ROI for both B2B and B2C companies?

As a business leader, excessive amounts of data can be overwhelming if you’re uncertain of how to sort the information to your advantage. However, as Jonathan Shaw wrote in Harvard Magazine, “humans are far better than computers at seeing patterns.”  If you can break those intimidating piles of data into smaller samples from which you can spot patterns, you will be able to pinpoint the key elements you need for a successful marketing campaign. Customer service now has the ability to become customized service with the helping hand of big data analytics solutions.

At InfoCision, big data, or Business Intelligence as we call it, is used to advance contact center services ROI. Here are two solutions we use to identify customer and market patterns in order to capitalize on ROI:

Customer Profiles: Each time a consumer purchases a particular product, the specifics of the transaction are stored away. Based on that information, organizations can more effectively target consumers in the future. For instance, perhaps our customer’s target demographic is women aged 18-34; however, our Business Intelligence data tells us that they should be marketing for women 25-54 instead. Customer profiles can help the company effectively redirect its marketing campaign, which will in turn maximize ROI.

Demographic Scripting: Collected data helps our Communicators deliver scripts tailored for specific demographic groups based on what has been proven to work in the past. Communicators are able to personalize marketing messages and increase the likelihood of connecting with a customer or prospect. In other words, demographic scripting lets you speak to consumers in a language they will understand.

Big Data: it’s a phrase that is here to stay. So, take full advantage of its presence like we did here at InfoCision. Click here to read even more about contact center services ROI.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

 

Transitioning Customers from ‘Like’ to ‘Love’

What’s better than a bouquet of roses or a heart-shaped box of chocolates on February, 14th? In my opinion, it’s unmatched quality of customer service.

A recent Forrester blog suggested that in 2015 companies will aggregate more information from CRM platforms in order to improve the customer experience. In other words, this year the contact center is going to be defined by going that extra mile to improve customer relationships to transition first-time prospects into loyal brand proponents.

Executives should be focusing on what they can do to ensure consumer retention. It’s no secret that the quality of customer service directly affects your ROI. Providing exceptional service is vital to a company’s future development.

So, what more can your company do to encourage customers cross the line from ‘like’ to ‘love?’ Here are a few suggestions:

  • Utilize Business Analytics: Collecting and leveraging relevant data and analytics can help immediately improve your understanding of consumer behavior and habits. For instance, do your customers prefer live chat over phone calls to solve queries? When you understand the trends of your client base, you’ll be able to offer more tailored customer service.
  • Appreciate Your Employees: Satisfied and fulfilled employees produce higher quality service for your organization, a topic we cover frequently on this So prioritize internal corporate culture as much as you do stellar customer service. It’s the small things like celebrating a top-notch customer interaction or a new sale deal that will make the difference.
  • Provide Expert Training to Your Operators: Rather than having a contact center use a blanket script for all consumers, customize your scripts for the various demographics you touch. Businesses that outsource contact center operations must care about cultivating the right voice for their brand in order to maintain a positive reputation. At InfoCision, we go beyond the typical phone operator standard by staffing our facilities with expertly trained Communicators who provide personalized customer service based on specific client demographics.

The question remains: how are you going to spread the love this year? Comment in the box below and tell us how you’re going to improve your quality of customer service this month and beyond!

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Choosing a Contact Center Partner: Why Experience Counts

Understanding organizational limitations is a crucial requirement for a successful executive. If you’ve determined that your organization needs some outside assistance from a multichannel marketing partner to boost your contact center services ROI, you probably did so with the understanding that operating a call center is not among your core competencies.

You won’t have any shortage of options out there as you look for potential partner organizations: So how do you make a decision? As in any business relationship, vetting the vendor to determine how successful it’s been previously is always a good idea.

In the contact center space in particular, taking a close look at an organization’s history is crucial; the industry has and will continue to evolve quickly, so it’s important to know that a potential partner has been able to successfully adjust to new trends and technologies through the years.

In addition to adjusting to the industry as a whole, contact center services vendors with a history have had time to refine their hiring, training and quality assurance best practices. For instance, InfoCision provides exceptional Communicators—rather than merely call center representatives. These professionals are more than agents; they become true brand ambassadors for your business after receiving several months of training on your specific messaging. In other words, Communicators feel more like your own employees rather than outsourced workers.

Now you may be asking: “Does experience alone ensure a partner will meet my needs?” The answer is no, but an experienced partner with a proven track record of excellence and success guarantees a partner will do right by your organization. So be sure to do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.

If you’re interested in learning more about InfoCision’s history, 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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Improving Contact Center ROI Starts at the Top

With the NFL season wrapping up, many teams are reflecting on why their seasons ended early. This evaluation process starts at the top with ownership and management, as these higher-ups look at acquiring the right coaches and players—leading to the team’s future success.

Along the same lines in a contact center, it’s essential that agents and managers are supported with the leadership and tools they need to thrive. Rather than the C-suite simply telling agents to “step up their games,” the C-suite has to provide contact center agents and managers with top-notch solutions. In other words, a commitment to improving contact center services ROI has to be made at every level of an organization, especially including the C-suite.

After the C-suite agrees to place a stronger emphasis on enhancing its contact center, the next logical step involves identifying where they should turn to for help. Thankfully, there are some all-inclusive solutions available to help companies maximize the ROI of their contact center services. For instance, there are one-stop-shop contact center vendors that help streamline operations from initial strategizing to ongoing maintenance and management.

InfoCision, for example, provides solutions that free businesses from the hassle of relying on numerous providers for the capabilities they need. All of our facilities are equipped with the latest software and hardware to enable our Communicators to make the highest quality calls and, thus, maximize results. Here are only a few of the sophisticated call center technologies and solutions that we provide—significantly helping an enterprise’s bottom line:

  • Call blending: This system maximizes call center productivity, allowing agents to effectively make outbound calls when inbound activity dips.
  • Skills-based routing: Our skills-based routing system matches our Communicators with inbound and outbound calls based on the program-specific training they receive and the proficiency they boast for particular types of calls.
  • Email and fax on-demand: Our multimedia blending capabilities allow us to integrate channels such as email, chat and fax into our call center activities. As a result, agents can respond to customers’ needs far more quickly and efficiently.

Will your C-suite start to focus on improving contact center services ROI? Like the NFL team revamping its roster for a new season, your company’s future may depend on whether the C-suite gives agents and managers the cutting-edge solutions they need.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

You Can’t Expect the Return Without the Investment

If you’ve sustained a successful career in business—or even if you haven’t—chances are you’ve heard that “you have to spend money to make money” more than a few times. Although it may be a cliché, the saying also happens to be true, especially as it relates to contact center services ROI.

Put another way, you are only going to get out of your call center what you put into it. If your agents are inexperienced or unprofessional, customer retention is going to be difficult at best. If you don’t have the cutting-edge technology to optimize efficiency, you are going to lose out on potential revenue. At the same time, if running a contact center is not one of your core competencies, simply pumping money into the problem isn’t going to solve it. The key to getting the ‘R’ in ROI is being strategic about the ‘I.’

One great way to maximize your investment is by teaming with a call center solutions provider like InfoCision. When you outsource your needs to us, all the pressure of running a contact center is lifted from your shoulders and placed in our capable, experienced hands. At InfoCision, we don’t have call center ‘agents.’ Our call center employees are called Communicators because they exude professionalism that leaves customers with a lasting impression. This special breed of employees:

  • Average more than 40 years of age
  • Have an average tenure of more than 4.5 years
  • Receive up to four months of client-specific training and are experts on your brand by the time they begin interacting with customers

Teaming with InfoCision is more than a smart business decision; it is an investment in your company’s future. And once you make that investment, it won’t be long before you start to see a big return.

Click here to learn more about InfoCision’s culture and history.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

What to Do if Your Multichannel Marketing Efforts Are Failing Short

As a child, you may have been told that expending 100 percent effort into a task was the key to success—and in many cases that is true. But sometimes, if a task is far outside your area of expertise, working 24/7/365 to accomplish it still won’t be enough.

As we’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, multichannel marketing solutions are absolutely critical today because customers expect to be able to contact your company on their preferred channel. But what do you do if your company has made every effort to get on board with a multichannel approach to marketing and customer service but is still falling short of your goals?

If you find yourself in this predicament, call on another lesson you learned as a child: if you are in trouble, just ask for help.

As a provider of leading marketing solutions for over 30 years, InfoCision can provide the assistance you need. Throughout those decades, we’ve adapted seamlessly with the evolution of marketing to ensure we give our partners the most current tools and strategies. To that end, we provide a true omnichannel approach by offering you:

  • Best-in-class inbound and outbound contact center services and technology
  • Direct mail campaign assistance
  • Social media advisement
  • Website development
  • Email and text message marketing
  • Web chat

In short, InfoCision can manage all these channels so you don’t have to go it alone. Instead, you can focus on improving your products or services and growing your business. If multichannel marketing is chewing up big chunks of your time without producing the ROI you expect, there is no shame in bringing in a little help from a friend.

Are you interested in getting a boost from a multichannel marketing partner? Click here for more information about InfoCision.

Are You Protecting Your Contact Center Investment?

As an executive, you are quite familiar with resource management. When you earmark your company’s hard-earned money for a project or purchase, you expect to see a return on that investment. When you hire a new employee, you expect that individual to produce results.

When it comes to the contact center, however, many decision-makers simply aren’t as demanding as they are with other aspects of their business. But those companies not taking advantage of potential contact center services ROI are missing major opportunities because today’s customer service Communicators can boost revenue—if they have the right tools.

In the past, customers generally called the contact center to ask a question or lodge a complaint, but many contemporary consumers reach out for product information or may even be interested in making a purchase. The key to taking advantage of these opportunities is making sure representatives either have the answers to questions at their fingertips or the means to quickly get the call to somebody who can help. Today’s best-in-class contact center vendors have the technology to give Communicators what they need, including:

  • Skills-based routing, which ensures the most complex calls are handled by the best agents and inquiries about billing or product development go to the appropriate personnel.
  • Customer relationship management that includes customer profiles, screen pops and custom scripts for various scenarios, providing the Communicator with the information he or she needs to get maximum value out of every call.
  • Call blending that boosts productivity by allowing Communicators to make outbound calls when inbound activity dips.

If you make the commitment to maintaining a contact center—on your own or partnering with a multi-channel marketing partner—it just makes good business sense to protect and maximize that investment. No executive likes to pass up the opportunity to increase revenue, and with the right technology in your contact center, there’s no reason you have to.

Going Back to School on Contact Center Best Practices

With autumn around the corner, students across the country have grabbed their backpacks and headed back to school for a new year of learning.

For the first few weeks of the school year teachers will review old material to ensure students remember what they learned last year before they move ahead to new topics. In that spirit, we decided that a refresher course on best practices for generating greater contact center services ROI would be a good idea. So let’s start the review!

Have the Right People Answering Calls

Hiring inexperienced or undertrained contact center employees may save you a little money upfront, but in the long run it’s almost certainly going to negatively impact your bottom line. Cultivating relationships with customers and putting them at ease on calls requires an acquired skill set that takes a combination of robust training and work experience. That is why InfoCision works harder to ensure our Communicators are as well prepared as possible to speak to customers. Our contact center workers:

  • Have an average age of over 40 years; an average tenure of more than 4.5 years; and 78 percent are full-time employees
  • Receive up to four months of client-specific training and are brand experts by the time training is complete
  • Are provided the opportunity to earn performance-based compensation and, as such, are committed to the highest level of professionalism

Take a Multichannel Approach 

The ability to gather and analyze large quantities of information is quickly becoming a prerequisite for contact center success. Trying to provide customers with great service—and take advantage of possible opportunities for cross-selling and upselling—without big data analytics today is akin to stumbling around in the dark. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, a multichannel marketing partner like InfoCision is equipped with the technology and know-how to sort through the noise and pull out actionable data from the mountain of information contact center interactions create.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief trip back to the contact center classroom! To find out more about what InfoCision can offer your business, please contact us.  Your company may make a fantastic product or offer a great service that customers love, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that running a contact center is one of your core competencies. Trying to learn how to operate a contact center on the fly or simply “winging it” is not a good idea, just as another company trying to replicate your business model without the necessary expertise would likely end in failure. InfoCision has decades of expertise in customer service and multichannel marketing and can help you establish a first-class contact center.

Embrace Big Data Analytics

Today’s customers expect to be able to reach your company through email, phone calls, social media, direct mail and every other channel known to man. That is an expectation your organization must meet, unless you’re willing to risk losing these consumers to competitors that offer multichannel service. Customer service and marketing are evolving, and the only two options a business has are to adapt or struggle mightily.