The key to winning, retaining and growing customers
Neville Doughty, Partnership Director, Contact Centre Panel
The Contact Centre Panel team like to challenge ourselves and each other in our thinking, to ensure that we are doing the right thing for our clients and partners. We each have our favourite reference points, experiences, “North Stars”.
One reference point that John Greenwood often brings me back to, is the age-old wisdom of Robert Lieberman and “The Telephone Book”.
I’ve not read it, at some point I will, but John will take me back to the key question of “what are contact centres about?….they are about winning and retaining customers” and that is something that is indisputable. (I’m probably paraphrasing John and Robert there, but this is what has stuck with me).
Some may be more focused on winning, others retaining, but all play a key part in both. I’ve added grow because really if you aren’t growing and everyone else is, then effectively you are in retreat.
So, if that is the objective then what is your preferred method? Where are your prospects and customers hanging out, where is the best place to find them, how do you best contact and engage with them? The truth is that if you are only using a single channel of communication and type of message, then you are probably missing most of them entirely or you are simply leaving a lot to chance.
We have such an abundance of communication channels available to us, all of which are competing for the attention of your buyers. No single communication is going to bring that win. Instead, a multi-channel approach aligned to the habits of your target market is needed. Advertising only takes you so far, direct mailing of the postal or electronic variety maybe a little further. Make yourselves available for a webchat or WhatsApp messaging, but at some point a conversation is going to happen, for which the phone is still key. Real-time communication where you can hear the “unspoken” questions, the pauses, the hesitations and potential objections.
Because if we really want to win new customers (especially in a business-to-business environment), then we have to KNOW them. We have to understand what they need and when they are likely to need it. We have to build reputation based on understanding and trust. The message, whether delivered via adverts, chat, e-mail or social, will only get you so far.
After that, you have to be available for a conversation, to really listen to what that customer needs and to ensure you have the right solution for them.
Quality of service adds to reputation and credibility, so the non-sales people have a part to play too. If levels of service and customer satisfaction are high then include this in your marketing messaging, all of which can help you get a foot in the door. Speaking to prospects and customers allows you to properly understand their needs such as what and when they need/want to buy. How you communicate with them must include their preferred channels to maximise engagement and gain insight.
You’ll need to tailor that approach according to sector, profile and demographics, but speaking to people is where you start to bring all that hard work together.