A good marketing campaign includes a plan for handling communications with customers. Small businesses with small staffs may benefit from hiring a call center to handle incoming calls and make outgoing marketing calls. When choosing a call center it’s important to look at the types of services offered that are compatible with your company’s goals.
Most people have been called by telemarketers. Direct telesales can allow small businesses to find prospective customers and offer them the opportunity to try out their products and services. Call centers get involved with lead generation and lead conversion to help businesses increase sales. Some calls are outbound while other calls involve communications initiated by customers. But call center services involve more than just handling sales calls.
Setting up Appointments
Small companies that rely on customer contacts may not have the time or personnel to handle all the details. Call centers can handle everything from setting up appointments to rescheduling them if necessary. Small businesses can benefit from appointment-setting services that project a professional image and keep them from missing out on potential clients. These services can also make cold calls to land appointments with prospective clients. Many appointment-setting services charge per appointment they successfully schedule.
Call center services can handle all the information necessary to process orders. That includes answering customer inquiries, taking payment information, listening to complaints, and handling returns. Call centers that offer order processing should carefully document calls and capture pertinent information about customers, such as their e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and purchasing histories. This information can be used to follow up and hopefully result in repeat customers.
Strong customer service should be the goal of all businesses. The quality of customer service through a call center can make or break a company. Positive interactions should include agents’ quick responses to inquiries and detailed information about products and services. Some call centers will follow up phone interactions with e-mail.
When choosing a call center, small businesses should consider the percentage of customer interactions that will be with an automated system rather than a live person. About 72 percent of call center interactions begin with an automated system, according to the 2007 Aspect Contact Center Satisfaction Index (North America). And 22 percent of customers were likely to do less business with a company that required them to repeat information gathered by the automated system after being transferred to an agent.
Help Desk Support
If your business offers technical services, you may need to hire a call center that offers help desk services. Some reasons for needing a help desk include activating warranties on products, correctly installing software, or solving problems with hardware and operating systems. Any call center hired for help desk support services should have knowledgeable individuals who can troubleshoot customer problems via the phone.
Call center services should be compared carefully to make sure they project the right image for your small business. Finding new customers is important, but cultivating repeat customers is what will allow a small business to really grow.