Customer Service: The Key to Direct Marketing and Telemarketing Success

Recently, InfoCision’s Vice President of New Business Development, Yvonne Anderson was featured in an online exclusive article in Electronic Retailer Magazine all about customer service.  Yvonne brought up some great points in the article that I feel are definitely worth sharing:

Excellent Customer Service Starts with the People

Can you see them smiling through the phone? You should! Whether they are working directly for the company, or for a call center partner, agents need to be prepared to create a great customer experience for everyone who calls.

1. Put the right people on the front lines

Choose people who are passionate about what they do and will put in that extra effort.  In many cases, this is the first interaction your customers have with you or a client.

2. Train, train, and train some more

The better they understand the culture and philosophy you’re trying to convey, the better situations with unhappy customers will be handled. Softer skills like dispute resolution and dealing with difficult people are also valuable.

3. Monitor, provide instant feedback and share best practices.

If you don’t know what you’re doing wrong how can you improve, right? Providing feedback and tips on what has worked in the past will go a long way.

Evaluation is Key in Direct Marketing

When measuring customer satisfaction, there are some questions a company must ask:

  • Did the customer’s call get answered?
  • Did the customer feel his or her call was dealt with appropriately?
  • Were concerns or issues handled quickly and efficiently?

These questions may seem obvious, but asking them regularly and taking action is vital to continued success.

Developing Customer Care is a Process

As customer satisfaction increases more customers remain loyal and will continue to purchase items from the company, which will begin to positively impact the company’s bottom line. Your customers will tell their friends how awesome you are, and they will tell their friends and so on.

Everything is interconnected and the above concepts go hand-in-hand. Is it always easy? No, but customer service can make or break your company. Taking the time to hire the right people, evaluate along the way and think about the big picture is well worth it.

Dialing on your behalf: What to consider about outsourcing call center operations

In this day and age, every company should recognize that having a strong brand is essential to success. But recognition alone doesn’t necessarily translate into effective practice. Brand isn’t just a logo, letterhead or corporate identity. It’s not even the product. Brand is how an individual feels about a company.

No matter what the product or service, a company’s image and brand is shaped by what the customer hears on the other end of the line. On the one hand, your contact center can be a priceless resource that sustains and cultivates loyal customers. On the other hand, one bad experience can undo a year’s worth of great customer service. For this reason, when looking to outsource your call center operations, selecting the right outsourcing partner is no less important than
selecting the employees who work in your own offices. But how do you know when the time has come to outsource?

Many organizations could save money by outsourcing call center services; however, they should thoroughly analyze all costs involved, from both sides of the fence, says Dana Allender, vice president of new business development at InfoCision.

“When looking at whether to outsource or not, companies really need to take a look at the hidden costs of making their own calls, such as hiring, human resources and benefits,” he says.

The cost to hire a single new employee can be as much as $5,000, including the employee’s wages and benefits, recruiting costs and training.

“We’ve found that more times than not, when you look at these costs, outsourcing to a company like InfoCision is generally less costly than performing these services in-house,” Allender says.

Outsourcing also enables the organization to concentrate on what it does best, its core business, by relieving it of extraneous call center issues. It also makes call volume flexibility and scalability possible. For example, when a smaller in-house call center sees a large increase in its call volume, it could take a few days or even a few weeks to bring in additional employees, leading to lost calls, sales and customers. On the flip side, if the in-house call center is experiencing a downturn in calls, the company might have to let people go and deal with the layoffs’ effects on morale internally and image externally.

A larger call center like InfoCision, on the other hand, has the experience and resources to handle the rises and dips in call volume effortlessly so prospects consistently receive exceptional customer service.

An outsourcing partner can also bring experience and knowledge to the customer service table. InfoCision’s Communicators have industry-high call center tenure rates of more than four years on average. Seventy-five percent are full time, and all Communicators work an average of 35 hours per week. They also receive detailed program-specific training so they become experts on the client’s program they are working on.

This is an excerpt from InfoCision Marketing Solutions Magazine, Fall 2011.