Organisations are facing a major disconnect, more and more customers are withdrawing their permission to be contacted for marketing or sales activity. Organisations such as the Telephone Preference Service are managing a growing list of people that want to be excluded from cold-call communication lists, and commercial telephony providers are supplementing this with their own paid-for services. There has also been marked increased in the correct use of email permissions, with the consequent rise in people being able to unsubscribe from digital communications. The overall effect of this is that organisations are finding it harder to reach out to their existing and prospective customers.
So how do we talk to our customers? How do we build long-term loyal relationships? Social media is one method being used effectively by organisations, as customers actively opt-in to receiving communications. Social media does have its downsides though, every interaction is in the public domain, so it just isn’t suitable for certain types of interaction (financial advice, medical, payment). The breadth of social media platforms means that you cannot cover all the conversations, and there will be conversations where people want to talk about you and not to you! And finally, a platform such as Twitter with its limits on the number of characters in a message mean that true customer interactions are not possible.
That’s why 69% of UK and US companies now view their contact centres as critical revenue generators. When customers call in with enquiries or issues, a relationship can start to be built with them that lead to longer term loyalty to the brand.
With customers withdrawing from your sales and marketing activity, which department now has the most contact with your customers? Given the above, the contact centre is taking more of a strategic role within an organisation as it is responsible for an increasing amount of customer contact, and moving away from complaint management to customer management.
If we look at the influence that the contact centre has on our brand now, we can see that the interactions managed have significantly high influence on purchase decisions. The records of interactions between organisations and their customers across all channels are now stored permanently within social media platforms, and can be easily found.
Is it time to call the team within our contact centres brand ambassadors given their new influence on brand performance?