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Call Center Expertise Is Critical to Direct Marketing Success

According to the recent US CX DMG Survey 2018 from Contact Babel, the three most important factors customers want when they contact you are:

  1. Their question is resolved the first time.
  2. You’re available 24/7.
  3. You have friendly employees who know what they’re doing.

What else did consumers consider important?

  1. U.S.-based employees that understand them.
  2. Short wait times.
  3. Multiple ways to communicate, namely voice, email and online chat.

Despite the buzz about AI today, 44% of your B2B customers and 26% of B2C customers would still rather talk to a human being. On average across all age groups, 63% of your customers would rather speak with a real human being rather than automation, even if the result would be the same.

Customer experience is now widely seen by businesses as being a more competitive variable, and a potential key to increased profitability. The primary aim of the customer experience is retention. As we know, it is more profitable for organizations to retain and grow customers than to attract new customers. Those customers use a variety of means with which to interact: 68% of inbound interactions are via telephony followed by email at 13% and web chat at 5%. If you fall short in any of these metrics, you should seriously consider partnering with a customer contact expert.

As you’re aware, poor conversions in the call center can kill a DRTV campaign. Even if you have a killer creative and a boatload of calls, if your calls are not being addressed properly, your campaign will not be successful. With thousands of telemarketing firms throughout the United States, decision makers are left to wonder: whom can you trust?

The challenge to provide high-level solutions for both short and long form high-conversion call centers is increasingly important. As a marketer, you’ve spent thousands of dollars in R&D and production to make sure that your advertisement has the kind of electricity to generate responses from a mass audience. With retail distribution as the end to the means, many of you look to use DRTV as a break-even vehicle to brand your products.

If a company reaches break even through front-end sales and creates consumer need, then the marketing objectives are accomplished. Too often we see marketers leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table because the process used in selecting a call center is misguided. Many rely on their media relationship to outsource the calls, when in fact they have no real expertise in this space whatsoever. Their guess is just that, a guess.

Marketers who are looking for world-class support should be seeking the assistance of a call center expert, who operates in an unbiased, unfiltered environment to help them acquire a best-fit solution. These experts have no loyalty other than to you and your important programs, as the success of your program is their key to success. In many cases, these experts have lived in the call center industry for decades and understand from the bottom up what goes into making a successful customer interaction and what doesn’t. Your expert will already have existing relationships with call center senior level executives who have a vested interest at the corporate level to make your program a success. That’s right, no more business development salespeople telling you what you want to hear, closing your deal and walking away to let the operations team figure it out. Your expert is your advocate and has access to call centers located in just about every state in the U.S., as well as near- and off-shore locations to help blend your expenses and your needed skill sets.

What differentiates the top 10 DRTV call centers from each other? What are their historical performances for similar campaigns? What is their agent tenure and experience? What is their cost per call? Can they interact with your customers on the phone, web and chat or even through Automated Intelligence to increase response rates and ultimately conversions? These are just a few of the questions that should be asked when determining their qualifications. The core value of any organization isn’t the technology, it is its people. The people are what create the magic when it comes to the client interface. The ability to develop rapport, trust and confidence during the transaction is paramount. At the end of the day, despite all the technology options, your customers still prefer to deal with a living breathing human being. And, when that opportunity to connect with a buyer happens, it better be on point because you will likely have only one chance to make that sale.

These cost effective strategies come from hiring and managing an effective and intelligent workforce. By focusing on its employees as a core competency, Companies keep a competitive edge over their counterparts. You might have the best product or service in your space, but if you cannot support it through world class call center solutions then you might as well throw your investment into a lake.

Effective telemarketers’ common mantra is “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” If people are to be used to gain a competitive advantage, they should be given information on what is required to achieve success. When sales agents are given hourly and daily reports on their key metrics, they are empowered and take ownership stakes. The telemarketing companies who operate within this virtual “dashboard” environment can identify problems sooner, make changes quicker, and ultimately deliver more quantifiable results. The implementation of accurate and timely reports will form the basis that will support an effective compensation system.

Key areas your expert will focus on are the following:
  1. How does the call center recruit, hire, train and evaluate their agents?
  2. What is their compensation model and how is it used to reward individual performance without setting up internal competition?
  3. How does the call center company train their agents? Is it on going? Are tests administered regularly for product competency?
  4. Who are the stakeholders and how do they manage their teams?

Providing samples of your products to the centers are important. Sales agents who actively use the products they sell make far more compelling sales presentations. These living, walking, breathing testimonials get consumers excited about the thought of making a purchase. Successful DRTV campaigns are usually profitable when upselling, cross-selling and auto-shipping conversion rates are maximized. Ongoing training after employment that includes product knowledge, role-playing, uncovering need, feature and benefit selling and overcoming objections is crucial for ongoing success.

Your expert in many cases has audited the call center, met with its senior level executives and the many agents who will be interfacing with your customers. The expert has put in many miles visiting and auditing centers from around the world. They have likely responded to hundreds of RFP’s and have seen what centers have been successful with which projects. In essence, the call center expert has done the heavy lifting for you already.

Employees that are paid well and enjoy what they do exude a certain passion and enthusiasm. Your call center expert has already taken the time to gather the trusted information that will increase your odds for success. You could always invest in the process of creating an RFP, vetting the finalists, spend the money traveling to the far away centers, do the tours and walk throughs, subject yourself to the sales pitch for a day and still never know if they will perform. Take comfort in knowing your call center expert has already been through the circus and can recommend the top centers with experience in your area of need.

What equals success? The right product, at the right time, marketed in the right way with the right support will most always give you the ROI you would expect. Entrust an unbiased, unfiltered call center expert to help you vet the right call center(s) for your needs.

Daniel Akre

Managing Director
UNI Partners, Inc.