3. Keep calls credible, relevant and brief, Arnold says. In the dialogue, ask questions to ensure that "what you believe to be important is actually relevant to the customer." In addition to being brief, Arnold advises marketers to ensure that the call comes at a good time and "come up for air."
In the natural flow of conversation (rather than a survey format) record the following: budget, authority, need and timeframe, Arnold says. Accept objections and address them before securing a commitment, such as a follow-up call or an appointment.
4. Try phoning the call center. Arnold suggests testing each script by having a colleague or a sales representative review it. Then make a series of test calls, listen to preliminary calls and modify the script before fully deploying it.
5. Be proactive rather than reactive. Employ knowledge about the customer that's acquired in other channels, advises research from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company. According to the June 2011 report, "Looking to Get Social: Web 2.0 and Social Media in the Contact Center," companies with call centers are using email, live chat, social and other channels to provide a "consistent and effective" customer service experiences.
Social media helped Animoto, a Web-based video creation platform, transform its reactive manual email-based customer support system to a proactive, multichannel system, Aberdeen reports. With 1 million emails coming in, Animoto realized it needed to prioritize customer requests, create a collaborative community-based solution and empower a self-service model.
"If a customer does eventually require direct contact," reads the report, "the information gathered throughout the support process ensures that the right customer gets the right information by the right level of support agent. The company also utilizes triggers, automated macros and integration with the customer login system to streamline daily tasks and draw on account information and prior support history. This routing capability has allowed Animoto to better utilize its workforce, as agents are no longer responding to issues in an ad-hoc manner. As a result, despite an increase of 300 percent to 400 percent in customer traffic to its knowledgebase, the number of emails and service tickets has declined. This has allowed Animoto to dedicate a higher volume of support resources to the needs of its premium customers."