Call/Contact Centers

Sales Follow Up: Persistent or Parasite?
November 16, 2012

Lately, I've been feeling a little like Dory in "Finding Nemo"—quickly darting among the coral and plankton shouting "Stop following me!" It seems that everywhere I turn there's some sales guy on my heels trying to hunt me down. I know cold prospecting is hard—so here are a few tips that might help folks from wasting their (and my) time

The Results Are In: Direct Marketing Remains Prominent in 2012 Elections
November 8, 2012

Our ballots have been cast, final results have been tallied … and most of us are glad the election cycle is over. Pundits are calling this the most expensive presidential campaign in history, and the price tag on several congressional and constitutional issues have raised a few eyebrows. … It’s interesting to note the prominent role direct marketing played in these elections. … Political campaigns use multiple touchpoints to connect with voters, including direct mail, online advertising, emails and various social media platforms. Those of us in “battleground” states have been reminded political campaigns are exempt from "Do Not Call."

Is Your Customer Service Killing Customer Loyalty?
November 2, 2012

As marketers, we spend a lot of time, money, energy and brain power designing and building programs that will drive inquiries, close sales or increase brand engagement. And once a sale is secured, we move into loyalty mode—lovingly nurturing that customer to buy more and buy more often in order to derive a long term revenue stream and ROI for the marketing investment. ... So what the hell is wrong with the customer service folks?

Time for a Communications Audit!
September 18, 2012

In my opinion, every company should perform a communications audit at least once a year to see what's going out to prospects, customers, stockholders, employees and suppliers. That said, I love it when readers send me column ideas! This one came from a colleague across the Pond with the following subject line: "Thought you'd like this order confirmation email - has some personality!"

InfoCision Charity Scam: Report Finds Telemarketing Company Takes Largest Cut of Donations
September 13, 2012

A telemarketing company that solicits donations for several big-name charities is keeping most of the money raised and systematically lying about it to the public, according to a new investigation by Bloomberg Markets Magazine. InfoCision instructs its employees to say, when asked, that at least 70 percent of the money that they raise for the American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association will go toward charity, Bloomberg Markets Magazine reports. But these charities, which approved the telemarketing scripts, had agreed to give InfoCision more than half of the money raised. In fact, InfoCision kept all of the donation money that

Sprint CEO Hesse: Good Customer Service Costs Less
August 8, 2012

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said Tuesday that, like a good Olympic athlete, his company is always going to be focused on setting a new personal best. ... “What you are not going to see around here are any ‘mission accomplished’ signs,” Hesse told a group of journalists who have been touring the company’s Kansas headquarters over the past two days. “We are on a long-term turnaround plan.” One of the big areas of improvement has been in customer service.

It’s Time to Accept Responsibility for Your IVR
March 15, 2012

There is a customer service revolution afoot. Consumers will no longer put up with poor customer service. As the number of product and service alternatives rises, the companies that provide the best customer experience will gain and retain, while the companies that don’t struggle to stay afloat. I swear I didn’t mean for both of those to rhyme. Corporations are paying closer attention to the value of their customers. Those of you who follow Net Promoter Score are aware that detractors of your company (unhappy customers who feel trapped in a bad relationship with the company) are …

FCC to Get Tougher on Robocalls
February 17, 2012

You should soon be getting fewer of those annoying "robocalls" at home. The Federal Communications Commission today is set to approve tougher rules giving consumers additional protection against unwanted autodialed or prerecorded calls to home phone lines. "We have gotten thousands of complaints," says FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Consumers were still getting robocalls they don't want and shouldn't get." He expects the commission to approve new rules that will require telemarketers to get written consent before making such calls. Even though Congress in 2008 passed legislation making Do Not Call permanent, some telemarketers have continued …

The Inextricable Link Between Great Service and Marketing
February 8, 2012

It almost feels as though it shouldn’t have to be said, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, if you take off your business owner’s or worker’s hat off, and put on your customer hat, you may realize just how lacking many of the businesses you frequent are in the service department. I want to be clear that I believe the number one driver of marketing success is a sound, reality-based strategy. Every other tactic, without purpose, does nothing to grow your business. Great service gives people a reason to talk about your business,

Nonprofits: How to Process Last-Minute, Year-End Donations Via Direct Mail, Phone, Web and Email
December 22, 2011

As the calendar year draws to an end, charities (and ideally, donors) are focused on year-end donations and tax deductions. Here are a few scenarios for U.S. charities to keep in mind. (Note: I am not a lawyer. When in doubt, contact an attorney who specializes in nonprofit law or contact the IRS for a ruling.)

Let's say the following donations will be processed by different nonprofits in the United States on Jan. 2, 2012:

   1. A check mailed (and postmarked) on December 29th that arrived in the office on January 2nd.