Picture This: Using Video in Your Contact Center

The idea of incorporating live video chat into the portfolio of customer service offerings has been knocking around the industry for a while, but it seems to have caught fire lately.

The reason for its sudden popularity may be due to several factors that have converged to create the perfect storm: 1) the unprecedented number of customers using mobile phones and tablets; 2) a current emphasis on customer service as a differentiator; and 3) an emphasis on strengthening customer relationships.

While video chat is the least supported channel in today’s contact center (just 8.3 percent of contact centers had it available as of 2015), it is poised to take off. Gartner predicts that, by 2018, more than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video-based chat for customer-facing interactions. With the technology firmly in place and customer service expectations at an all-time high, many businesses see video as the logical next step in their quest to provide a superior experience.

What advantages does video offer? 

As we all know, the most successful Communicators strive to build rapport with customers. Video emphasizes that personal connection, enhancing the customer experience beyond what’s possible with non-visual channels. A smiling face and facial expressions generate a positive tone. Plus, the intimacy afforded by face-to-face conversations affects the way service interactions play out. Video conversations are likely to be less antagonistic and more collaborative than those that take place via phone or texts. The relationship transcends utility (“I need to get this done”), and becomes more personal (“Can you help me figure this out?”).

Customer support is also becoming increasingly collaborative. Customers who get in-store assistance may, for example, point to a part on an item that’s not working, or demonstrate their usage of the item, or describe something about the item. In this way, they’re working jointly with a customer service professional to solve a problem together. Video makes this complex collaboration possible even when the two parties are geographically separated. Everything can be shown on screen. It’s yet another way to elevate the service experience.

Finally, some information is best presented visually. Event seating charts, maps, picture directions and screenshots are just a few examples of information that’s easier to show than to describe. The use of video chat makes all of this possible.

Considerations before implementing video

There isn’t much concrete advice to go on when it comes to actually deploying video chat in contact centers, as adoption numbers are small. Clearly, however, there are challenges associated with this channel that should be considered before deployment:

  • Space considerations. Communicators using video chat must be situated in such a way that their environment is uncluttered and the background is appealing. This could mean creating dedicated workspaces for video Communicators that are located away from the rest of the group. Is your office suited to accommodate the additional needed space?
  • Staffing considerations. Do you have Communicators who are willing to work the video channel? Some may feel uncomfortable being on screen. Consider your current staffing requirements and determine what, if any, gaps you’ll need to fill.
  • Additional training. Training will be necessary for employees assigned to video chat. Communicators who are comfortable without scripts will be best suited to this channel. If they put customers on hold, what does that look like for video? What are your standards for video etiquette? Document your best practices from day one.

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.

Where You Should Engage With Certain Demographics for Best Results

To create brand engagement, companies must learn the ins and outs of how consumers communicate across the multiple channels available today. Understand that each brand—and even each brand offering—has a unique base of potential and existing buyers. In other words, don’t spend time learning where millennials engage with brands if your products or services aren’t aimed at that demographic.

With that being said, let’s look into research from SproutSocial and Pew Research to see where certain groups are clustered on today’s major social media platforms—and ripe for the picking:

  • Facebook: By far, Facebook (FB) is the most popular social media site, used by 71 percent of online adults. Here, you’ll find that women (77 percent) are better represented then men (66 percent)—but, still, both sexes are more present on FB than on any other social platform. Age-wise, there are more millennials (87 percent) than any other generation on this site. Usage actually declines with age; nevertheless, a majority of the over 65 crowd (56 percent) uses FB. If your business is international, be aware of FB usage differences by country. For example, while the United States represents 14 percent of the FB audience, Mexico represents just 4 percent.
  • LinkedIn: Usage of this platform (28 percent of online adults) continues to grow. Known widely as a social platform for business, it’s no surprise that demographics for the site include a higher average income (44 percent of adults make over $75,000) and education level (50 percent graduated college). A vast difference exists between urban (32 percent) and rural (14 percent) users.
  • Pinterest: You’ll find a high percentage of female (42 percent) vs. male (13 percent) users on this social platform. Plus, this is the one major site used by more rural (30 percent) than urban (25 percent) adults. The network (as with every other major social platform) does skew younger—with millennials at 34 percent, compared to seniors at 17 percent. The site is more popular, as well, with higher income (over $75,000) earners, 34 percent, than lower income (less than $30,000) earners, 22 percent.
  • Instagram: Twenty-six percent of online adults engage in photo sharing on this social media site. Millennials dominate usage (53 percent) compared to other age groups—from 25 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds to just 6 percent of seniors. Here you’ll also see a significant difference between urban (28 percent) and rural (19 percent) users. Plus, more women (29 percent) than men (22 percent) are fans. It’s also the one major platform that does not have college graduates (24 percent) as the top education demographic; that honor goes to users with some college experience at 31 percent.
  • Twitter: Used by 23 percent of online adults, Twitter is a fast-paced and high-volume social media platform preferred by the 18- to 29-year-old crowd (37 percent). Usage skews down significantly with age, as just 10 percent of 65 and older adults partake of its offerings. Twitter is also used significantly more in urban (25 percent) than rural (17 percent) areas. The platform is differentiated by education level as well. Thirty percent of Twitter’s audience has graduated college vs. 16 percent who have high school degrees or less. The Twitter audience also skews higher with adults earning over $75,000 (27 percent) vs. less than $30,000 (20 percent).

Although it doesn’t have the large user base of the platforms listed above, you may also want to consider online search engine site Google+ for building your brand’s presence. YouTube is another great option if you have video content to promote. Snapchat, too, has gained prominence as a social media site—where content lives for 24 hours, tops.

Work to align your marketing efforts with the consumers you hope to target—but keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to have a presence on every social platform. Instead, choose the right channels for your brand, and use them to deliver meaningful content. In this way, you’re more than likely to develop customers loyal to your company’s products and services.

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.

Enhance Your Digital B2B Strategy to Attract More Buyers

Is your company one of the many investing more marketing dollars in digital channels these days? If so, your organization is following the trend to sagely engage customers where they “live,” i.e., the spaces they frequent when looking for information on products and services. In fact, 82 percent of marketers responding to a Regalix survey say they plan to spend more than 50 percent of their 2015 budgets on digital.

This is all well and good as long as digital channels are leveraged to deploy strategies and programs that will lead to positive differentiation for brands.

How can you be assured that you’re truly on the right path—to increased revenue—with your B2B digital marketing strategy?

Website, search, email and social continue to dominate—but are they best for your business? The answer will follow from a thorough understanding of the buying journey for your particular audience. Once you deploy technologies—in your contact center—and elsewhere in your company (think sales and marketing) to capture and analyze customer data, e.g., behaviors, preferences and the like, you will have the insights you need to deliver the right content across the right channels.

Be assured, first of all, that employing a multichannel strategy that speaks to individual preferences is a necessity in this day and age where consumers wield the power in B2B—and B2C—interactions. So, you’ve got that right. Second, support for the old standby offline channels, e.g., events, phone and direct mail, will keep you in good stead with a majority of customers as well. Third, if you’re integrating old and new channels to meet your marketing objectives, you’ve hit the trifecta for marketing wins.

See how your digital marketing strategy aligns with the market: The Regalix report confirmed that company websites are the top digital channel for B2B marketers, with 81 percent of the CXOs and senior marketers surveyed rating their sites effective in helping to accomplish marketing goals. Email ranks second, with 71 percent of respondents calling it effective. Search engine optimization came in third with 54 percent verifying its effectiveness. Social, in fourth place at 41 percent, was slated for increased spend in 2015 by 54 percent of respondents.

Of course, channel selection becomes a moot point if the messages being delivered are of little value or relevance to your key targets. With websites identified as the most effective marketing channel, website content naturally comes in first as the most effective content asset; 76 percent of marketers call it “indispensable.”

To strengthen this marketing asset to attract and convert more buyers, try some of these ideas:

  • Connect to consumers in a deeply human way. A unique, personalized story will help to diminish the Web barrier between you and your audience. Perhaps surprisingly, this calls for you to step back and think of your brand in terms of moments in your customers’ lives. Think about times when your brand may have made a special appearance in their homes or communities and use them as touch points.
  • Use customer testimonials to invoke your brand story. Identify the consumer need that inspired your client to reach out to your business, and how your products and services were used to address the need. Be sure to root your story in reality—and that the message is consistent with your brand voice across content assets and channels.
  • Interview subject matter experts to gather shareable material that will add precision, depth and expertise to your content. Craft the interview to address your customers’ needs. For example, consider whether your audience wants greater objectivity regarding your offerings or wants to put a face to your story, i.e., get to know you better.

Webcasts and online videos can also borrow from these tips to great effect, especially now that 65 percent of marketers say they plan to increase spend on these content assets.

Stay abreast of where your competitors are focusing their marketing efforts so you can quickly counter them with your own initiatives—to ensure that customers beat a path to your door. Your enhanced digital strategy will guarantee that they receive a warm welcome when they arrive, ready to do business with your brand.

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.

Protocols and Etiquette for Texting in the Contact Center

In a world of ever-changing technology, your contact center should be avidly looking to implement the “latest and greatest.” With a new generation of customers, the millennials, comes a new preferred channel of communication, text messages.

Texting, also known as Short Message Service (SMS), is perfectly positioned to explode in demand within contact centers. SMS text messages have a phenomenal open rate of anywhere from 82 percent to 98 percent (compare that to just 22 percent for email). These figures alone should compel businesses to optimize texting to drive business growth.

So, where did this push to communicate with brands via text messaging originate? Primarily, it grew out of common usage by non-business entities—regular everyday people—who use their omnipresent smartphones to communicate with their friends and family. Naturally, the trend started with millennials—the generation of people born between 1982 and 2000 who were raised on digital technology.

With texting as integral as it is to the lives of millennials—and many of the rest of us—it was bound to take its place in contact center communications eventually, especially since the technology to integrate the channel has been around for a while. However, texting mustn’t be introduced without first considering its impact on the entire operation—from the cost and implementation of new technology and infrastructure to staff selection and training.

Once you’ve decided to join the multitude of contact centers embracing the text channel, be sure your Communicators understand the do’s and don’ts, so they can interact successfully with customers.

Texting Protocols and Etiquette:

  • Respond quickly: Like other digital channels, such as live chat and social media, texts require a quick response time—five minutes is great, an hour the end limit—to result in successful interactions. Even if your Communicators can respond quickly to texts, it’s a good idea to provide an auto-text reply for first contacts to assure customers that their message was received and will get a prompt reply.
  • Be friendly: Use a polite, upbeat tone. Don’t be silly or sarcastic—like you are when texting with friends; be business-appropriate.
  • Spell out the process: Exchanges with customers should be efficient. Tell them exactly how to proceed and what kind of information to supply.
  • Write well: The format (160 words or less) requires that you be concise, but don’t forget to be clear. Use terminology consistently (e.g., don’t switch from “reply” to “respond”) and always provide value. The use of correct spelling and grammar is also a prerequisite—no matter how casual the medium may seem.
  • Limit number and length of texts: Take care not to inundate customers with texts (especially for marketing purposes). Also, split long texts into two or more parts—and make sure each one can stand on its own logically.
  • Allow customization: Let customers customize their texting experience. Give them options for the type and frequency of messages they’d like to receive.

When strategically integrated into your contact center, texting can enhance the overall customer experience. Remember, communicating with your audience in their desired channel is essential to your contact center’s 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, 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.

 

Multichannel Marketing Services Are a Brand Reputation Booster

We’re living in the age of the self-empowered consumer, a customer that has endless resources at his or her fingertips thanks to the ubiquity of digital channels and personal devices. Due to this technologically enhanced environment, consumers’ customer care expectations have reached new heights.

Now your potential buyers, as well as your existing customers, want more ways to connect with your brand, specifically through multichannel marketing services such as traditional telecommunications, email marketing, texting and Web chat. In fact, a recent study revealed that 64 percent of consumers are likely to have a better perception of a company if it offers text messaging as a service. What’s more, 41 percent of consumers feel that a company understands that their time is important if it offers multiple channels in its customer care services.

Whether your customer care strategy currently includes multiple channels or not, the message from these compelling statistics is clear: Consumers trust brands that make it a priority to connect with them. For instance, your customers will feel more appreciated if you offer them multiple different ways to connect with you in addition to the telephone. Your customers will feel that you understand their needs and their busy schedules when you offer them accommodating services that are convenient and simple to use. Plus, as an added perk for your efforts, you’ll be the recipient of good karma in the form of positive online reviews and customer retention.

Perhaps your largest target market consists of business people between the ages of 25 and 35. This means they’re not only millennials but most likely too busy with their work schedule to call a customer care hotline when they have questions or concerns. As such, this type of consumer would find it most convenient to text, email or even communicate via live Web chat. This population is also likely to share customer care experiences on social media, so make sure your brand gets positive reviews by always providing accommodating options.

Your contact center services needs diversity to keep pace with the digital consumer, so don’t fall behind; learn everything you need to know about multichannel marketing services 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 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.

New Report Stresses the Importance of Self-Service for Customer Care

The need for customer self-service at the enterprise level has never been greater, with three out of four customers now preferring to solve service issues on their own without asking agents for support.

Why is customer self-service in such high demand? Simply put, self-service expedites the customer service process while also easing the burden on call center staff.

Here is a breakdown of some of the leading technologies in use today, as evidenced by a new report from Software Advice:

  • FAQs: With an 85 percent adoption rate among customer service departments, the online facts and questions, or FAQ, section is the most widely implemented self-service solution in use today. This helpful resource allows customers to quickly locate answers to common questions with the click of a mouse without ever having to pick up the phone.
  • Knowledge bases: A step above the FAQ section in terms of scope, knowledge bases typically include resources like customer testimonials, white papers and product specification sheets to aid customers in their service journey.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) phone systems: The most important part of any phone-based self-service solution, IVR phone systems automatically greet customers and transfer them to the appropriate department within the enterprise (i.e., technical support, customer service or sales).

Other leading self-service channels being used in the enterprise today include online discussion forums, interactive diagnostics and Web-based virtual assistants, according to the report’s findings.

It’s important to realize, however, that while self-help is an invaluable next-generation technology that customers love, quick and easy access to live agents when needed continues to be critical to your service delivery. There is nothing worse for customer service, for instance, than a caller getting lost inside an IVR system with no access to an operator, or browsing a website without the ability to talk to a live representative. Consequently, if you’re going to offer self-service features, make sure that your customer service representatives are always accessible to ensure the highest possible customer satisfaction.

Is your business currently using self-service for customer support? Tell us about your experiences!

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.

Stop Wringing Your Hands Over Data Analytics

Everywhere you turn, you hear it. Big data is the future. Big data can do wonders for your business. Big data is transformative.

And all of these statements are true, which is why 87 percent of enterprises believe big data analytics will redefine the competitive landscape of their industries within the next three years, according to a recent survey from Accenture and General Electric.

But for some business leaders, trying to organize and make sense of the mountain of information they have at their fingertips has done nothing but cause them anxiety and cost them valuable time. Analytics may not be your organization’s specialty, so creating value from big data isn’t as easy as it’s sometimes portrayed to be.

That’s where a partner that offers multichannel marketing solutions—and business intelligence that helps you make the most of those solutions—can be a major help.InfoCision, for example, offers a number of analytics solutions that help you uncover the truly valuable nuggets of information hidden inside your company’s big data.

At its core, making big data valuable is a scientific exercise, and InfoCision treats it as such. For instance, we can create extremely accurate customer profiles based on attributes like age, gender, geographic location, lifestyle and values. Those profiles can be used to more effectively target consumers with the marketing tactics and channels most likely to be effective.

Those profiles can then be combined with predictive models that can anticipate consumer behavior, allowing organizations to tailor offerings based on customer needs and preferences. By using big data to gain greater insight into how customers think and feel, organizations can increase marketing ROI and drive actionable responses.

Whether we’re helping organizations provide best-in-class customer service through our Communicators or offering big data solutions, InfoCision understands that companies need help in areas outside their core competencies so they can focus on growing their business. If you’re interested in learning more about our business intelligence and data analytics solutions, click here for more information.

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.

Get to Know Your Customers Better in 2015

You know your loyal customers’ names and contact information, but do you know them on a truly personal, customized level? For example, when an individual contacts your company, do you know over what channel that interaction took place? Do you know what channel your customers prefer to use when communicating with your service representatives? Do you have information handy about their buying habits, preferences and behaviors so that you can better guide them during the purchasing process and create future offers based on that information?

As the new year quickly approaches, you should be thinking of ways both big and small to bolster customer engagement within the contact center. Strengthening customer engagement should be a recurring goal within your service facility, both within and beyond your trusty customer base .This all starts with investing in the right tools and technologies. For example, the following solutions can not only increase customer engagement, but can also lift your contact center services ROI:

Multichannel marketing solutions: Do you want to make 2015 the year you start addressing customers by name in email marketing messages as opposed to “Dear valued customer?” How about increasing upselling and cross-selling in a way that speaks personally to customers as opposed to just pushing a random product? Advanced multichannel marketing solutions let you reach customers via inbound and outbound telemarketing, email marketing, social media and direct mail, enabling you to connect with customers on a more individualized level.

Demographic scripting: In 2015 you should be focusing on facilitating calls between Communicators and customers so that they are tailored to meet specific needs, wants and interests. After all, a 65 year-old man living in the Midwest will require a different message and conversation flow than a 26 year-old woman living in New York City. Call scripting is vital for establishing these individualized connections.

Data analytics and predictive modeling: The more customer data you gather and analyze, the more insight you have into how consumers are behaving. Predictive modeling takes big data to another level entirely by actually predicting future behavior based on past occurrences. Using this technology, your business can determine which customers are most likely to be interested in a specific offering.

Customer profiles: Customer profiles are created using data that has been collected about a customer over multiple interactions with your brand (e.g., purchasing a product, responding to a phone call, etc.). A customer profile is a hand-crafted asset that provides deeper insight into each and every customer as well as enables you to more specifically market to your existing customer base.

Customer loyalty is the ultimate sign of a stellar company, but you need to be showing your devoted customer base why they should remain dedicated to you. Make a concerted effort to get to know your customers better next year and you’ll find a world of opportunity waiting for you.

Click here to learn more about how InfoCision can help you better know your customers through demo scripting, customer profiles, market segmentation, business intelligence and analytics and more!

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

Putting the Customer’s Needs Above Yours Is Just Good Business

Almost everyone has had the experience: You are sitting down to dinner and just as you pick up your fork, the phone rings. You get up from the table to answer—it could be an emergency after all—and there is a telemarketer on the other end of the line, pushing a product. In the blink of an eye, you’re off the phone and sitting back down ready to eat.

Although the timing wasn’t ideal, you may have welcomed the call if that same company also reached out to you at other times to alert you to promotions, ask how it can improve its customer service, or even wish you happy holidays. But you only hear from this organization when they are trying to sell you something—and that is frustrating.

Now flip the situation around: If your company is only reaching out to your customers to push products or services, they are going to catch on fairly quickly—and they aren’t going to like it any more than you do. Today’s consumers are savvy and expect organizations to consider their needs.

Multichannel marketing solutions help you keep in touch with customers continually, which lets them know they are on your mind even when you aren’t trying to make a direct sale. Whether you are sending a holiday card through direct mail, conducting a social media survey about your customer service, or calling to let a loyal customer know there is only one day left in a sale, multiple touch points show customers that their interests come first.

And of course, putting the customer’s needs first also happens to be good for your business, as research shows it is 6-7 times more expensive to onboard a new customer than it is to retain one. When you maintain an ongoing relationship with customers, the next time your telemarketing agent calls right before dinner they might just make a sale.

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.