Every salesperson and marketer knows it: it is less work to retain customers than to acquire new ones and the real money is in repeat business; brand loyalty is invaluable, and poor customer service is one of the main reasons why customers leave. Yet, providing outstanding customer service is still a bit of a nice-to-have for many companies when it should be at the core of their business plans. So why this discrepancy between sound marketing strategies and reality?
One of the reasons is a misunderstanding of the role of call centers. While businesses generally understand the importance of customer service, they don’t always have the in-house skills to leverage it to impact customer retention. As a result, contact centres are often perceived by decision makers as a post-purchase service rather than as an opportunity for upselling, cross-selling, building brand loyalty and retaining customers. For this reason, they are also often on the frontline when there is talk of reducing costs, and often the first department to be affected by staff reduction.
Ironically, while this misunderstood function will have deep repercussions on companies’ turnover, the solution is ridiculously simple. All that is needed for a dramatic change is some re-training to re-direct call agents towards a more pro-active, sales-based mentality, rather than being the last stop on the line. In-house training will familiarise them with the company’s other products and services which may complement what clients have already purchased, thus creating a virtuous circle for further selling.
Technology and the costs of updating it can also be a deterrent to placing customer service at the heart of business plans. Improving contact centres may require upgrades that businesses can’t afford, or the powers to be are reluctant to invest their profit in.
This issue puts small and medium companies at a disadvantage as they are often those who have the less disposable income. For them, outsourcing call centes to a third party like Corporate Connect can be the ideal solution, as they can benefit from the latest technology without having to purchase any equipment.
If you are ready to move forward and give customer service the place it deserves in your business, call us today to find out how we can help with training staff or managing contact centres on your behalf.