Published by Michael Shene, VP Business Development, After, Inc. on August 26th, 2016.
Historically, the concept of outbound telemarketing carries a negative perception. Too often, customers cringe at the thought of an unsolicited phone call at dinner time. Customers are savvy – screening calls with caller ID, and rarely answering a call from “unavailable” or “out of area” numbers.
From the manufacturers or retailers perspective, the ever-tightening federal and state regulations around outbound telemarketing often lead to a hands-off approach when it comes to including the phone channel in their ongoing customer communication strategy. In fact, the outbound phone channel can not only be profitable – but a valuable customer retention tool as well.
Customer frustration with outbound telemarketing comes from repeated efforts from unknown callers – usually over a short period of time. In contrast, a call from a known retailer or manufacturer – with valuable information about a specific, recent purchase – can improve their overall satisfaction (CSAT – Customer Satisfaction Score) and likelihood to recommend that manufacturer to a friend or family member (NPS – Net Promoter Score).
Whether the goal of the outbound effort is sales (extended service plans, accessories, or product up-sell) or customer retention (survey, thank you, post-sale follow-up) – the challenge is reaching the customer for a live interaction on the first outbound effort. Leveraging technology and analytics can help you maximize your resources and drive more first-call interactions with your customers:
- Caller ID – improves the likelihood of the customer to answer the call as they recognize the name.
- Dialer Technology / Analytics – what week of the month, day of the week and hour of day delivers the most live, right-party contacts? Understanding where and when to call drives efficiency and overall return. Frequency / number of attempts are important as well. Calling too often and / or too close together can cause negative customer feedback.
- Customer Segmentation – what is the profile of your “best customer”? That is, those that answer, engage, and most often purchase. Prioritizing those customers against your outbound resources will deliver improved results.
- Campaign Alignment – aligning your outbound calling with other like communications or marketing can improve results (direct mail, e-mail, product recall, up-sell advertisement).
- Reporting / Ongoing Quality Assurance – diligent monitoring and review of individual customer service representative performance will ensure a consistent and positive brand message / experience for the customer.
In summary – marketing to existing customers via the outbound phone channel can drive improved customer satisfaction and retention – as well as profitability. Customers want to hear about new ideas and opportunities from manufacturers to whom they trust their business. Whether or not they purchase something at the close of the call – the live interaction is an opportunity to strengthen your brand with that customer. After, Inc. is uniquely qualified to help you with your outbound telemarketing success. If you would like to speak with After, Inc. about your program, please give us a call at 800-374-4728.