Are You Helping Your Call Center Help Your Business?
In the old days, if you were a valued customer of a company (and you were, because all customers were valued in the old days), you had a specific contact through whom all transactions were processed. If your contact was on vacation, you might be forced to go through the company’s call center, but that was always a last resort because you believed that whoever answered that phone was going to be about three fries short of a Happy Meal.
Call centers didn’t earn a lot of respect from their own companies either. They were viewed strictly as a cost drain. Companies felt required to have them, but they didn’t feel required to support them with much more than the skills and tools they needed to be processors of the most mundane tasks. After all, highly trained sales representatives were there to do the heavy lifting.
But those old days are gone. The Internet came along and changed the way we do business, the way we shop, the way we entertain ourselves, the way we live. Customers began to realize that they could save time and money by conducting business online, and those personal representatives who had been so important before slowly began to fade. The times they were a-changing.
But here’s what didn’t change. Customers still wanted service. They wanted to maintain that feeling of having a business relationship. And that was no easy feat, considering that a high percentage of their transactions were done with two mouse clicks and the enter key. But occasionally, they would still need to have a little human contact, like if the website was down, or the transaction was complicated, or they had carpal tunnel. So companies had a new challenge: Re-purposing their tired call centers into profitable, customer satisfaction centers.
Enter the new and improved call center!
Today, the call center has earned a new respect, because the call center has become a company’s initial shot at true customer service. Smart companies have begun to understand that their call centers are their face, their voice and their smile. The call centers are giving them a chance to stand out against their competition. They are the one opportunity the company has to sell itself. The call centers have made a colossal shift. They’ve gone from zero to hero!
Not only have call centers, in most cases, become the company’s front line, but they’re also doing something else that they’d never done before. They’re making money! They’re no longer just overhead or a necessary evil. Because of the service they provide, in essence, they’ve been able to eliminate long selling cycles.
It’s also critical to note that call centers are not only making money, they’re saving money. With well-trained call center professionals, companies are able to reduce their sales cycle—or even their sales force. These kinds of call centers can handily pick up the slack. And the company profits soar—but not at the risk of customer satisfaction. If anything, customers are more satisfied with their experience when transacting their business through a call center, citing ease and expedience of transactions as the reason to use call centers.
There’s no denying that in the last five years, as the U.S. economy has picked up, so have revenues generated from call centers. The shift is customer driven. Companies who are listening to their customers understand that their call centers need to play a more prominent role in their overall business strategies. According to eConsultancy, a whopping 61% of consumers prefer the phone as their channel for conducting business. That should be a strong impetus for companies to make sure that their call centers are functioning efficiently, able to serve and sell value, and have customer satisfaction as their number one goal.
What are you doing to help your call center helping your business?