Cover Story Extra - More Best Practices
8. Consider workflow rules.
To consistently meet established service levels, use workflow rules to match the situation with the proper response.
For example, says Gianforte, if you promise to respond to inquiries within 24 hours, you can set up workflow rules to "alert managers when messages remain unanswered after 18 hours."
Or, you can automatically route e-mails on particular subjects to CSRs who have the most expertise in that category.
Workflow rules also can help identify textual cues in an e-mail message that signal emotional distress, and then route these customers to more experienced CSRs who are trained to handle delicate situations with finesse.
Best Practices: Outbound Telemarketing
Best practices in this discipline have become more important than ever, with the emergence of a national Do-Not-Call Registry, various state do-not-call lists still in effect, and stiffer requirements in the Telephone Sales Rule and Telemarketing Consumer Protection Act.
Companies using this channel should be focused on what works for the customer, says Liz Kislik, founder of consultancy Liz Kislik Associates, in Rockville Center, NY.
The crux of this customer focus is finding a perceived need or triggered need, and presenting it in a professional manner that helps the target understand the value of both the message and the contact method, Kislik explains.
She identified three big strategic issues for direct marketers planning on keeping telemarketing as part of their media mix:
1. Targeting is the key.
Targeting encompasses more than developing the right package of offer, message and timing, but truly must consider if the target audience displays a willingness to be contacted and make purchases via telemarketing. If target audience members are listed on the Do-Not-Call Registry or the Direct Marketing Association's Telephone Preference Service (TPS), then it's imperative for marketers to determine if they have an existing business relationship with these members that is recognized by the Federal Trade Commission before picking up the phone.