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Call Center Outsourcing
Outsourcing the services is currently a very common phenomenon. Used by companies from various industries, is considered as one of the best models of business cooperation, without which many enterprises or even whole industry branches could not develop. Similar case involves the concept of call center service. This is, in fact, equally popular to outsourcing accounting, marketing or PR activities. Extracting from the company’s structure individual operations and transferring them to external, specialized companies is a completely natural process. Following this path, call center outsourcing is quite a large room for maneuver in business partnership and achieving contractors’ goals. Implementation of such solutions can cover different operational cells of the company and focus on many processes, both internal and external. Eventually, strategy prepared by call center can be custom-made and perfectly suited for the contractor.
The first operation model carried out by Call Center which comes to probably everyone’s mind is running sales by the usage of outgoing calls. This is undoubtedly the most well-known telemarketing service. Sales hotlines are so recognizable among people that they were generalised long time ago. The question whether it is positive or negative remains for individual assessment and experience. In part, it is a contractor who decides what services or products will be sold with the participation of a call center. This has a big impact on the manner in which outbound telemarketing will be conducted, the same as what will be offered during telephone conversation and how a phone consultant will try to persuade us to a particular offer. Currently, companies pay a lot of attention to the correct construction of databases of potential customers as well as the competences and training of sellers, which makes the marketing campaigns, including telesales, become even more effective. In addition, contemporary possibilities of data analysis and personalization allow for the preparation of campaigns suitable for target group. The range of sales strategies is very wide. Campaigns especially worth our attention include: upselling, brand loyalty, maintaining customer relations and recovering lost customers.
A reverse of the outbound sales model is the inbound, or incoming, hotline. This can be, for example, a private helpline of private medical care, banks or financial institutions. It sounds very different and is not associated with cold calling, but rather with virtual customer support. However, it is a very efficient form of sales or upsales. What is more, for some products the incoming call center is better than the outgoing hotline and achieves equally high sales targets. It is also less aggressive from the customer’s point of view, because it is basically they who choose to call, not the other way round. The use such a solution is recommended for companies, which, for instance, have large networks of stationary stores and their products are used and purchased everyday. What does it often mean? Basically, it is best fitted for food or clothing. Naturally, the inbound model is also applicable in many other industries, such as previously mentioned medicine, finances or banking. Technological development in recent years has enabled the implementation in call centers such functions as automatic identification of phone numbers, automatic call distribution or automatic voice support. Due to such improvements, call centers can significantly increase the efficiency of operations and the quality of customer service.
While speaking of the telemarketing development and client communication, it is worth to refresh terms that has been the basis for building strategies. The first is Multichannel, i.e.
the development of communication, which has allowed Average Joe to take off his shoes, comfortably sit down in a chair and set aside the need to go to the store to make a purchase. He has begun ordering products online, via phone or through mobile applications, because they has become available due to Multichannel. A step forward after Multichanneling is the Crosschannel. This can be described briefly as “together means more”, i.e. the mutual interfusing of information channels that have a coherent message. Here comes a simple example – Joe wants to buy shoes. He can call the hotline and ask about, for example, technical aspects of the footwear. Then in the online store he is able to view the photos carefully, read the description and decide on the color and model. Finally, he places an order via e-mail. At the same time, each of these channels has consistent message. The third concept is Omnichannel, which has became an even better communication model. It ensures continuity and full personalization of all communication channels. Its aim is to provide a total customer satisfaction from the contact with the brand, regardless of time, place and means of communication. Omni assumes total integration in online and offline service (on = off).
Some Call Center tools
Along with the evolution of business communication models, not only have marketing strategies changed sales, but also they has had an influence on used tools. Companies’ awareness about technological development, as well as the opportunities that they have in terms of sales, have a direct reflection in their activities on the market. So let us mention what technological solutions, in our opinion, have tremendously influenced the development of Call Center industry in Poland.
At first, Netmining tool, which after the implementation of the appropriate monitoring code on
website is able to track the activity of its users. Such a plug during testing users’ activity on the website grants them points based on the actions they perform. After reaching the right number of points, the bot offers the user to leave phone number, responding with a pop-up message for this need. Next, if given, the number goes to Call Center database and is forwarded to an appropriate consultant, who then establishes contact with the customer. What is more, information about user activities, which have been previously collected, also are put into the base, which helps personalize the offer.
Yet another great tool is the real-time chat. It is not the bot, but a customer is able to have a conversation with a dedicated consultant, flesh and blood. These types of applications resemble their appearance as an ordinary chat that can be hidden or recalled at any time. Once closed, it does not pop up again just to cover the page. Counterwise, it usually appears as a small bar at the bottom of the page which can be expanded and reactivate at any time. On the other side there is a Call Center employee located. He or she is able to help the same as someone over the helpline. For many customers, this form itself is more comfortable than a phone call. Experienced consultant is able to adequately support even three people at the once, maintaining a professional level of service. Effectively conducted activities through the chat are able to significantly increase the amount of online orders. The largest brands use such tools worldwide, and, at the same time, it is an ideal solution for small and medium-sized businesses as well.
In other news (yet still in a topic of much appreciated telemarketing industry), there are self-services. In other words, IVR – Interactive Voice Response. Each of us has met with the possibility of settling some issue by calling the helpline, but not necessarily connecting directly to a consultant. Alternatively, we can partially gain information before the conversation takes place. Generally, IVR systems’ task is to collect information and solve the problem without connecting to the agent. Depending on the the need to use automatic voice support, it can have a very simple scheme, e.g.: “press 1 if you are our customer or press 2 if you are interested in our offer “. Also, it may have more advanced functions of collecting and processing the data. However, the development of this type of tools has taken the direction where communication is ultimately held on the client – virtual consultant line. On the other hand, IVR is not anymore an innovative solution. Nevertheless, it is still timeless and valuable for contact center services.
Each marketing strategy strives to be a step ahead of the customer. Regardless of the marketing branch towards which we move, we want to have an offer ideally suited for our target group. Remember, however, that consumers are aware of technological expansion and become more and more picky about quality and service time. They have a great awareness of the value to money relationship, they often analyze competition as well as their requirements are constantly growing. The potential of online sales and omnichannel communication is continually developing and this trend is likely to remain unchanged. The same is true for outsourcing Call Center and Telemarketing services, which will always be there they keep the pace.