Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 49

Always Right
What is the benefit of outsourcing customer service?
Levesque: I would say that 90 percent of direct response marketers don’t have the skill set or infrastructure to provide 24/7 customer care. If you pick the right partner, it is the next best thing to having your own full customer service offering that is transparent and meets clients’ and customers’ goals. A motto shared at Argo Marketing Group is, “Your success is our greatest accomplishment.” Outsourcing customer service is also a wonderful checks and balances; it removes any chance of improper confirmation, improper shipping or improper labeling, guaranteeing a high-quality experience for the consumer. Goldstein: Good and responsive customer service is your best offense against a regulatory action. When consumers find satisfaction at the customer service level, disgruntled complaints will not escalate to a regulatory official. Customer service calls are often used by marketers as a marketing tool, particularly through aggressive “save a sale” tactics. While those “save a sale” efforts are important, they must be properly balanced against the risk of making it so difficult for a customer to cancel or obtain a refund that they simply take their complaint to their attorney general or local BBB. It is also so important in your marketing materials to make sure customers know how to reach you and can easily do so. The vast majority of complaints we see in regulatory inquiries are from customers who either did not get satisfaction from the customer service representative or simply couldn’t reach a customer service representative. Every properly handled complaint at the customer service level means one less consumer complaint to the attorney general or BBB.

Is it possible to provide good customer service that can “save the sale”? How is this important for increasing lifetime value?
Levesque: Customer service is not just about “Where’s my package?” or cancelling an order. Good customer service recognizes that a customer has a need, that’s why they ordered to begin with, and we must engage the customer with comprehensive tools that provide a solution to that need versus simply canceling or refunding the customer. Goldstein: Marketers do not need to sacrifice their “save a sale” efforts to ensure good and responsive customer service. There is nothing wrong with attempting to save a sale by offering the customer other options that might be more favorable. The key is to know when to stop and to always offer the consumer an easy option to cancel. This is particularly important when the offer at issue is a negative option offer such as a continuity program or automatic renewal program. Because such programs are often marketed with the promise that you can cancel at any time, regulators are particularly sensitive to the company’s cancellation procedures on the back end.

How much do you budget for your cost of retention?
Goldstein: The Federa l Trade Commission or the state attorney general often looks at the company’s investment in and commitment to customer service in evaluating what action to take and a strong customer service/quality assurance function can be a strong mitigating factor in any enforcement action. The regulators will look at things like the hours of operation, hold length of hold times, and whether or not the calls are recorded. Levesque: A sign that you have a good partner for customer service is that at

the end of the day your customer care operation generates ROI, so the more you invest in people, training, offers and methodologies, the greater the positive impact on your bottom line. This can be done in a 24/7 environment with full call recording and low average speed of answer without additional cost. Goldstein: How much you budget for customer service is really dependent on the size of your campaign and anticipated customer service volume. The one piece of advice I always give clients, however, is that this is not an area where you want to “bargain shop.” I try to convince clients to shift their mindset in terms of how they think about customer service. It should not just be thought of as a cost of doing business with the goal being to spend as little as possible. Rather, customer service should be thought of as a component of compliance and, more importantly, as a powerful prophylactic and proactive tool to reduce the risk of regulatory inquiries and enforcement actions. And, in the unfortunate event of a regulatory inquiry, being able to demonstrate that a company has a robust customer service system in place may help mitigate the outcome of the enforcement action. Interestingly, in many of the consent orders that we have recently negotiated, particularly at the state attorney general level, the states are mandating procedures and requirements for a customer service program. Some of those consent orders can serve as a model to companies looking to evaluate whether the procedures and systems they currently have in place are likely to be deemed adequate by the regulators.

How difficult is outsourcing customer service with operations?
Levesque: Not very at all, the question a marketer will be faced with is 49

September 2012 | electronicRETAILER



Electronic Retailer - September 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - September 2012

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Letter from the Chairman
From the Executive’s Desk
All Aboard the D2C Train
Delivering Happiness
What Retailers Really Want
The Customer is Always Right
nuvoH2O Brings Home a Healthier, Cleaner Water Solution via DR
Guest Viewpoint
DRTV
Payment Processing
Legal
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 3
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 4
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 5
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 6
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 9
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 11
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 12
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 13
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 14
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 15
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 16
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 17
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 18
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - eMarketer Research
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 21
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - IMS Retail Rankings
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 23
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 25
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Letter from the Chairman
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 27
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 28
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - From the Executive’s Desk
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - All Aboard the D2C Train
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 31
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 32
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 33
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 34
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 35
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Delivering Happiness
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 37
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 38
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 39
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 40
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 41
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - What Retailers Really Want
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 43
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 44
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 45
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 46
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 47
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - The Customer is Always Right
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 49
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 50
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 51
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 52
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - nuvoH2O Brings Home a Healthier, Cleaner Water Solution via DR
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 54
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 55
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 56
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 58
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 59
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 60
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - DRTV
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Payment Processing
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 63
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Legal
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 65
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Advertiser Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - 69
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - September 2012 - cover4
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