Published: September 22, 2011 | Comments (2)
"Quit begging for resources!" says TARP's John Goodman. "The CMO and CFO are nuts if they don’t give the call center everything it wants!"
Most call centers are under-resourced, constantly in a firefighting mode and begging their organization for resources. However, if the call center focuses on quantifying all of the positive impacts its great service contributes to the bottom line, it can take advantage of the positive effects of greed among colleagues who run the other departments in the company.
Greed is Good!
By promoting a great customer experience, the contact center can actually lower costs so that stellar service is cheaper to deliver than good service. The call center's contribution can also be quantified to more than a half dozen departments that will benefit from enhanced service. Below are some examples of where these enhancements can take place.
Marketing and Sales: Here, enhancements in word of mouth and word of mouse (on the Web) are more important in most marketing departments than even retention, though retention is also important and can also be quantified.
Quality: Proactively educating customers on products and services will account for a reduction in customer-caused quality issues, which usually account for 15-30 percent of all quality issues.
Warranty: Invest time up front to prevent issues later. A known appliance company was able to reduce product returns by 20 percent and truck rolls by even more by investing another minute in CSR talk time to identify exactly what the problem was. This also guaranteed that the technician had the right part on the truck.
Risk and Legal: Reduction of escalations can be tied directly to changes in service strategy and can reduce claims and lawsuits by 15 percent.
Regulatory Relations: Most regulatory disasters start when poorly handled problems and complaints that get appealed to regulators and the media. An aggressive complaint solicitation process has been seen to dramatically reduce the volume going to regulators.
Market Research and Product Development: The call center can be an in-house sources of samples, panels and low cost mystery shoppers, so expensive surveys are no longer needed. (The head of the GE Answer Center has said that each CSR in the call center is equivalent to interviews with 10,000 customers, because that is the number of customers they speak to within a year.). Also, the call center is a great source of innovative and "wacky" ideas that can help product development think out of the box.
Appealing to Your Organization
A great way to persuade the chief marketing officer to siphon part of his/her advertising budget to call center programs is to ask four simple questions:
1. Is word of mouth important to our market success?
2. What percentage of our new customers come from word of mouth?
3. Are you measuring word of mouth?
4. What customer experiences are most effective at fostering and managing word of mouth?
In almost all cases, the call center will receive a nervous, "We don’t know" as a reply. This is a good opportunity to provide basic parameters and offer to help measure and manage word of mouth.
By promoting the excellent service your customers are receiving, and positive impact on the rest of the organization, you can quantify your call center’s needs, and ultimately lower costs.