Study Shows Outbound Marketing Generates Most Leads

When you’ve got a best-in-class contact center as your business partner, you have more than just great B2B customer care support, you have help with meeting your company’s goals and improving your bottom line.

In fact, a recent study revealed that 39 percent of B2B sales leads are generated from outbound marketing in the form of inside sales or telecommunications—compared to just 27 percent from trade shows and 17 percent from online searches and testimonials. From these statistics, one can ascertain that human interaction still wins out when it comes to maintaining customer loyalty and acquiring new patrons.

To maximize your contact center services ROI, therefore, use your contact center to help generate leads, segment your marketing database, and build stronger relationships with new and existing clients.

Business intelligence tools, like market segmentation software paired with a robust consumer database, can help brands improve their marketing campaigns by reaching more-qualified and sensible leads. For instance, marketing segmentation technology works to extract business contacts from your consumer database, aggregate their characteristics including demographics and buying behavior, and help guide your marketing initiatives toward a strategically targeted consumer base.

In addition to these technology benefits, the level of expertise and poise displayed by your agents while handling phone calls can boost your sales as well. For example, a team of expertly trained agents who act as your brand ambassadors can help portray your brand in a positive light. Mature and knowledgeable brand representatives with social intuitiveness will boost your brand’s ability to make the long-lasting connections you need to retain and attract more consumers.

So think again before putting outbound marketing on the back burner—it’s just what you need to rejuvenate your B2B sales success!

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.

Business and Social Intelligence: Why You Need Both in Your Contact Center

Where do technology and empathy meet in the middle? In the contact center space—that is, a bit of both human compassion and hard hitting data is required to provide the best possible customer care and, in turn, contact center services ROI. If you’re ever stumped as to why you aren’t seeing a profitable return on your contact center services, then perhaps it might be time to investigate how well your organization is marrying business and social intelligence.

You see, the role of the Communicator and the role of data analytics must support each other. In fact, without a strong contact center support system comprised of business intelligence tools—like predictive analysis, market segmentation, and socially intuitive Communicators, then your customer churn rates are likely much higher than they ought to be.

For example, it’s one thing to employ a staff of exuberant contact center agents; however, if they can’t make use of important data derived from predictive analysis, they will most likely miss the mark with customer care—leading to continuous customer churn.

A Business Intelligence tool like predictive analysis aggregates customer history so as to remove unnecessary guesswork from a Communicators’ interaction, informing them of the likelihood of the customer’s inquiry before the agent even answers the phone. In doing so, Communicators are sufficiently prepared to solve the problem at hand so they can focus on demonstrating compassion while on the phone.

Conversely, making use of data can only take your agents so far if they aren’t innately equipped with the right set of interpersonal skills. For instance, say your contact center uses market segmentation to strategically group sets of customers based on personal characteristics and buying behaviors. Subsequently, you would assign a contact center agent who engenders the same characteristics and can therefore care for these customers in most knowledgeable and understanding way. But, imagine an agent who buckles under the pressure of addressing issues and struggles to remain calm when speaking with customers. It’s important to not only expertly train your agents but ensure they are confident and compassionate from day one.

In the contact center space, being analytical and emotional are equally important and directly related to your overall contact center services ROI. So ask yourself: “Is my contact center adequately balanced?” If you’re unsure of the answer, feel free to contact us to learn more about striking this balance.

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.

Three Ways to Produce Sky High ROI

A recent article from The Guardian struck me interesting. The news discussed an airline company, Ryanair, which claimed that its “softened” customer care practices –defined as the addition of new policies like “allowing more carry-on baggage, allocating seating and cutting punitive charges,”—contributed to a 28 percent jump in passenger numbers compared to last year.

From this statement alone contact center managers should gather one key takeaway: Customer care and ROI go hand in hand.

Simply put, the key ingredient to experiencing the most ROI is to build an entirely customer-centric strategy. As such, supervisors in the contact center space should strategically use this piece of news as motivation to augment their own best practices to boost contact center services ROI.

The question is then begged: What steps can contact center management take to create a well-rounded customer care strategy? For starters:

  • Leverage more business intelligence: There’s a strong relationship between data and customer care in today’s buying landscape. Streamline your customer care strategy by taking advantage of pertinent data your contact center aggregates from daily inbound and outbound calls. For example, track your target consumer’s buying behavior over a period of time in order to produce customer profiles. Moreover, leverage these profiles to create predictive models for each of your buyer personas. In doing so, you’ll be able to provide faster, more knowledgeable support with each new customer care interaction.
  •  Boost your agent training procedures: The support of data analytics can only take your customer care practices so far. That is, your contact center agents represent a vehicle that drives either a positive or a negative customer care interaction. To safely ensure your contact center provides the best in customer care communications, in-depth agent training is required. By arming your agents with client specific training, for instance, they can become subject matter experts in targeted areas rather than be only somewhat knowledgeable in a number of areas.

If you want your contact center services to fly high this year, remember these important tips to augment your customer care strategy.

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.

 

Leverage Big Data to Make a Customer-Agent Match Made in Heaven

In the not-too-distant past, customers were randomly matched with contact center agents based on the order in which their call was received—essentially like rolling the dice.

Suffice it to say, this system was less than ideal as it often resulted in mismatches between callers and agents. Research shows callers have many different preferences that need to be addressed to create positive interactions. For instance, according to the help desk comparisons firm Software Advice, an overwhelming 67 percent of customers over the age of 65 prefer communicating at a slower pace over the phone, while just 57 percent of 18 to 24 year olds do. Furthermore, urban residents are the most likely to want to speak with an agent who is close to their own age.

The study also shows that customers have varying preferences in terms of tone, with some preferring formal and others preferring more casual deliveries, as well as in regard to the geographical location of agents. For instance, just 48 percent of 18 to 24 year old Americans prefer U.S.-based agents, while 78 percent of those aged 55 to 64 do.

So, how can you play matchmaker and ensure higher quality of customer service in your contact center? It’s entirely possible by combining an advanced skills-based routing platform with the power of big data. Using these next-generation business intelligence solutions, your contact center phone system will be able to identify key demographic information at the time of a call and automatically pair customers with appropriate agents. For instance, callers over the age of 65 can be paired with older agents or those trained to speak at a slower pace.

Click here to learn more about how your business can augment its match making skills by using best-in-class business intelligence solutions.

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.

Why Slow and Steady Wins the Multichannel Service Race

Not all businesses are poised for success simply because they’ve implemented a multichannel marketing strategy. For instance, without any insight into customer demographics or preferences, an organization might add a service channel that may become severely underutilized, costing the company financially and perhaps even confusing customers if they are unfamiliar with the tool. For example, consider a customer base that is 65+ being introduced to a new video chat service.

As such, companies’ multichannel service strategies should first and foremost be customer-centric—that is, intuitively designed to meet their customers’ service needs and preferences. As such, it would be wise to take an incremental approach to expanding your number of service channels as opposed to taking an omni-channel approach, in which an organization makes every different type of service channel available to consumers right off the bat.

In other words, it is usually more practical to begin with just one channel for mastering rather than several. In doing so, you can track metrics and monitor key performance indicators on this one service channel to garner actionable insights about customer responsiveness and overall performance. When you are ready, continue on with another channel.

Here are two preliminary steps to follow when getting your customer-centric, multi-channel marketing plan up and running:

  • Use business intelligence technology: There’s no better way to lose profit than by implementing too many service channels that won’t be utilized by the consumer.  Business intelligence technology, like customer profiles, can make choosing which channel to start with much simpler for businesses by recording and analyzing customer’s behaviors and buying habits. This way, businesses can strategically choose the best channel options—whether it’s digital or direct mail depending on the demographic.
  • Keep quality of customer care top of mind: Don’t abandon your business’s quality of customer care by spreading your workforce too thin. For instance, if you’re planning on using the same staff to monitor online support as contact center support, you must ensure they are equipped to do so. Customers are more likely to retreat from your business if your mobile application produces unfavorable results such as lag time and unanswered customer inquiries.

There are plenty of consumer giants that provide customer care options across multiple disparate service –channels; however, if your business wants to reap ROI and top-notch reviews its better start small and work your way up the ladder. At the end of the day, it’s wiser to master one channel at a time rather than jump head first into multiple different channels and, for any given reason, be forced to abandon them.

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.

Maximize Contact Center ROI by Stepping Outside of the Box

Perspective is quite impactful in our everyday lives; even down to how we experience the temperature outdoors. You see, 50 degrees in October sends a chill down our spines as the onset of winter is fast approaching; however, that same nip to the air in March, with the expectation of spring around the corner, feels much different. If we are capable of experiencing such variation in attitudes towards the weather all due to changing perspective, perhaps businesses are capable of doing the same in redefining their strategy towards reaping contact center services ROI.

In the contact center space, it’s important that managers consistently step-back and reevaluate their customer care best-practices, as well as investigate resources that could improve their customers’ experiences and their organization’s bottom line. For instance, if you’ve been using just one method of communication to provide customer support—perhaps it’s time to integrate another channel of customer support, like online services, in order engage customers in a new way.

It’s also important to integrate data-driven marketing strategy into customer services, today. According to the Direct Marketing Association’s latest study titled, “2014 DMA Statistical Fact Book,” 66 percent of marketers believe that data-driven marketing adds positive value to their company. This means your company needs to act fast in gaining new insights in order to keep up with the changing customer care landscape.

Ready to take a look at contact center services ROI through a new lens? Here are some strategies and tools that can be leveraged to provide you with that new angle:

Business Intelligence: Tools such as market segmentation and customer profiles  are sophisticated big data resources that business can utilize to better strategize the handling of incoming customer services questions, as well  as to better target potential customers when making outbound calls.

Multi-Channel Marketing: Stepping outside the box might mean taking on a whole new element to your company’s customer care and marketing technique. Try adding a live chat or texting option for customer s inquiry in addition to your contact center telecommunication services.

Remember, there is always a new way to look at a situation— in fact, we do this every time the seasons change. So, why not use the freshening up of perspectives and apply it improving your contact center service 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 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.

Getting More Out of Your Contact Center Than Just Great Service

Customer service is now among the most important factors in all of business—that is a simple fact. A recent report from Walker, in fact, revealed that customer service will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.

As crucial as customer service is, though, today’s contact centers must help organizations do more than satisfy customers to achieve full value. To maximize contact center services ROI, organizations must be able to gather and analyze data from customer interactions that helps them improve processes across the board.

Take the following scenario as an example. Your call center agents—or Communicators, as InfoCision calls our own customer service professionals—are receiving an unusually high volume of customer inquiries about billing errors. Of course it’s important to resolve each individual’s issue, but if a trend is developing it is equally important to have the tools necessary to get to the root cause of the problem and fix it.

Quality assurance programs and business intelligence allow supervisors to recognize patterns faster and easier than they would be able to just by walking around the call center floor. In the aforementioned scenario, for example, when your contact center management team is alerted to the abnormal number of billing questions coming in, he or she can take the issue to the billing department. The billing team can then check to see if there is a glitch with software or some other snag that could be causing confusion and quickly correct the problem before the next cycle of bills are sent out.

A contemporary call center should be multi-faceted and deliver information that helps improve operations across your entire organization. But if running a call center is not one of your core competencies, maximizing contact center services ROI may be easier said than done. In that case, it may be time to look into partnering with a contact center services provider like InfoCision.

Click here to learn more about InfoCision’s storied history in the call center business.

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.

Harvest a New Crop of Customers This Fall

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

 

The cold weather is slowly but surely starting to roll in, which means farmers and gardeners everywhere will soon be gathering their fall crops. But you don’t have to grow wheat or vegetables to reap a big return this year. By employing the most up-to-date multichannel marketing solutions, you can bring in a new crop of customers this year—and that’s pretty exciting for any business leader.

 

If you’ve been executing you marketing campaigns strictly over the phone, it’s time to update your tactics because you are likely missing out on a wealth of business opportunities. As evidence, consider that a recent Zendesk survey found that 67 percent of online shoppers made purchases that involved multiple channels in the past six months. Today’s consumers expect to be contacted on their preferred channel; if you aren’t living on those channels, many prospects are unlikely to engage with or buy from you. In fact, they may not even know you exist.

 

For some organizations, however, the thought of simultaneously managing direct mail, email, Web chat, phone, social media and other communications may be thoroughly overwhelming. For those businesses, teaming with a multichannel marketing partner like InfoCision is a great idea.

 

At InfoCision, we provide businesses with everything from print mail campaigns to social media management and offer all the most current, effective tools to help you generate more leads and make more sales. For example, our business intelligence offerings can help your company gain greater insight into customer and prospect behaviors and preferences so you know what channels they are likely to prefer.

 

For farmers, having the right tools is essential for a successful harvest. Multichannel marketing is no different; if you’re hoping to bring in a large customer crop from the business fields this fall, a partner like InfoCision can go a long way toward helping you reach that goal.

Are You Learning From Your Customer Service Mistakes?

It’s a tale of two companies. Both firms realize they made a blunder with their customer service but they’re handling it entirely differently. Company A is proactive, addressing why the customer is upset and working to make sure the problem is permanently resolved; Company B is offering a half-hearted apology, hoping the issue never crops up again.

Nearly all companies, no matter the vertical or size, experience customer service slip-ups from time to time. However, what separates the great companies from the average ones is the ability to use information learned from those mistakes to do better in a similar situation in the future.  It could be either minor tweaks or wholesale changes; regardless, adjustments must be made to stay ahead and improve the quality of customer service—and the right call center solutions can give you a road map that helps you reach your goals.

So, how is your company going to learn from its customer service mistakes? Here are some solutions to check out:

  • Business Intelligence: By acquiring data, you can begin to learn which customer service strategies work and which shouldn’t make the cut. You can better pinpoint customer needs and improve their overall experiences. For example, InfoCision has a Business Intelligence Group that aggregates customer data obtained via phone, mail and online to help companies improve their target marketing campaigns. With this technology, companies can zero in on those customers who are more likely to buy a product. Business Intelligence also helps generate predictive models to target customers across the country based on their past purchasing behaviors.
  • Progress Reports: Quality of customer service can be enhanced greatly by developing progress reports that measure various call center activities and their effectiveness. Using state-of-the-art call center technology, call center managers can monitor agent progress by the numbers, examining customer service rep’s response rates, sales analysis and other statistics, pulling back the curtain on agent problems that must be addressed.
  • Multi-Channel Service: Just because your business model worked in the 1980s doesn’t mean that it will be successful in an ever-changing 21st century. You must be open to change and invest in modern solutions. For instance, today’s customers want information quickly and across a variety of communications channels and may grow frustrated if their preferred method of contact is unavailable. Therefore, today’s call centers are having to increasingly invest in multi-channel contact center solutions to ensure they can communicate with customers via text, live chat and email in addition to phone.

We are told our entire lives that crying over spilled milk is pointless and, although it’s a cliché, it happens to be accurate—particularly in business. Mistakes happen, but the real damage often comes when customers recognize the same slip-ups occurring repeatedly. If your company is courteous and professional in resolving a problem the first time, customers often forgive and forget. But the second time, they may choose to leave you forever.

Want to start fixing your customer service mistakes? Click here today to begin course correcting.

Five Steps to Becoming a First-Class Customer Service Organization

As a business executive you are probably well aware by now that customer service is a top competitive differentiator. In fact, according to a recent report from research firm Walker, quality of customer service will overtake price and product as the single most important differentiator by 2020.

While that is certainly useful information, it’s doesn’t do a lot of good for businesses that don’t know how to improve their customer service practices. For those organizations, it’s a little like being told by a personal trainer to “get in shape” and getting no further instruction about how to do it. Of course on this blog, we are here to help provide perspective into creating great customer experiences. So here are some of the most effective strategies your company can employ to become a customer service superstar:

Embrace the Omni channel environment

The time when customers accepted a phone call as the only means of reaching out to a company is long gone. We live in a multi-channel world; if your customers feel limited in their options for a service request, they may not stick around.

Focus on Communicator development

Your contact center Communicators are often the first point of direct contact for customers and the determining factor in the impression they form about your company. With that in mind, you need to feel confident that every inquiry that comes in is handled by an experienced Communicator that has received robust training and understands the image you want to project.

Invest in a multichannel marketing partner

If training Communicators and refining contact center best practices are not part of your core competencies, it might seem like an overwhelming challenge. If that is the case, you can get the help you need by partnering with a multichannel marketing organization that focuses on nothing except providing excellent customer service. A full service partner provides your company with Communicators company-specific training before they interact with customers, meaning they are fully prepared to tackle any situation.

Adopt business intelligence

You might be tired of hearing about data analytics by now, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Every customer interaction, and every piece of information you extract from that interaction, helps your company improve customer service for the future—but only ifyou have the tools to make sense of it all. Great customer service is about personalizing the experience for the customer. You can’t do that effectively without data analytics.

Be transparent and honest

Nothing puts customers at ease like transparency—and nothing frustrates them more than dishonesty.  Think about your experiences with delayed flights. Wouldn’t you rather be given an honest estimate of your wait time rather than an unrealistic promise that gets broken every 20 minutes when departure is pushed back again? Everyone appreciates timely communication to help manage expectations.

Putting all of these plans in place at once may be overwhelming, so consider taking baby steps and implementing one at a time instead. Even if you don’t turn your customer service around 100 percent immediately, your customers will notice you are making strides—and they’ll appreciate the effort.