Why Hang Up on Inbound Opportunities?
Turn customer service calls into customer research connections
Today’s consumers complain about being overmarketed to and about the frustration of broad-brush, undifferentiated or manipulative marketing techniques. Simultaneously, your competitors seem to be waging an ever-escalating battle to gobble up your market share. So minimizing customer attrition and gaining more of your customers’ wallets and loyalty takes smarts, not to mention every tool at your disposal. The more you can learn about your customers’ views and preferences, the more targeted your shot at providing desirable products, offers and services.
You can gain some incremental value out of your current transactions by using the contact as an opportunity to learn more about customer opinions. I spoke with Michael Gottlieb, senior vice president of research firm Insight & Intention (www.insightandintention.com), to learn about effective ways to add research questions to customer-generated inbound calls.
He explains that assessing customers’ “top of mind” perceptions of satisfaction, expectations and future intention is “not just something good to do, it’s necessary to do as a part of maintaining your business. The fact that you can grab somebody at this point is a rare opportunity that has to be seized. Customer perception is a key metric, and ongoing measurement has to include these kinds of data points. You can’t succeed in business without a steady stream of the voice of the customer.”
He describes these post-transaction surveys as “part of the ongoing process measurement that a company uses to look at itself—like sales figures and response rates”—and as an excellent CRM assessment tool. The results should be reported just like standard flash counts, because they’re current, trendable and actionable. The findings immediately are relevant and easy to act on, in contrast to those huge binders of research that sit on the shelf gathering dust.
Too many marketers, though, waste these proximate research opportunities by trying to assess customer satisfaction with the transaction itself. These satisfaction ratings often are used by call center management not only as a way of demonstrating that call center operations are running smoothly, but that the call center is always looking for improvement opportunities. Instead, post-transaction research should be an opportunity for the call center to interact in a structured way with areas of the organization such as finance, strategic planning, public relations or corporate communications to give these functions a stake in the success of call center operations.