Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 38

BY YVONNE ANDERSON

How to Choose the Right Call Center
CHANNEL CROSSING: TELESERVICES
You’ve invested thousands of dollars in front-end marketing and have won half the battle … you’ve gotten people to call. But how confident are you that your greatest asset – your customer – will be treated with the same respect you would give them yourself? Or that your potential customer will be sold, up-sold or have resolution to a concern? If the people answering your calls aren’t a good fit, or the technology needed to make it all happen isn’t there, you might as well throw your marketing dollars out the window. It’s important to invest the time in choosing a teleservices company that will be a marketing partner and solutions provider, not just a commodity. Before you even start to look at telemarketing companies, you first need to look at yourself and have a clear understanding of your telemarketing needs. What kinds of offers will you have? Will you have an upsell, and what kind? What conversion rate do you need? How rapidly do you see your call center needs growing and in what direction? With your own needs in hand, come up with a list of questions to ask during your search and in your RFP. With thousands of teleservices firms to choose from, selecting the right outsourcing partner is no less important than selecting the employees who work in your own offices – after all, they are the voice of your company. As with an employee interview, there are a few questions that can help you make the best decision for your business. • Do you offer campaign customization? Before establishing a partnership, be confident the teleservices company will be able to build a program to your specific needs and not just use a “one size fits all approach.” In this rapidly changing business environment, you can no longer afford to partner with a call center that only handles calls; you need to be looking for a strategic partner that is focused on and has the means to help you increase net profit and build lasting relationships with your customers. • Is your pricing flexible? Your call center should work with you to find a model that fits your cost needs and provides the highest return on investment. Look for a partner that understands your bottom line and is willing to base at least a part of its compensation on the metrics that are important to your business. • Are your staffing levels scalable? The amount of calls your business makes and receives is constantly changing. Your call center should be able to add or subtract its staff quickly and effortlessly depending on your call needs. This is especially important for media-driven inbound calls that can fluctuate rapidly. • Will I have a dedicated account team? Your call center partner should provide you with a single point of contact who is knowledgeable, proactive and able to respond to your needs in a timely fashion. An effective account team will offer you creative suggestions, supported by historical data, on ways to increase results and enhance the overall customer experience. • Are your call center agents mature and professional? The agents making and taking your calls are representing your company in front of your most valuable asset – your customers. Look for a partner that has a highly selective hiring policy, as well as recognition programs to retain and reward top performers. With the trend toward multiple communication channels and a brand ambassador approach, an extensive training curriculum is essential. Agents need to be able to interact at various levels, blending email, chat, phone and social media professionally and knowledgably to reinforce and enhance your brand on every call. • Do you embrace technology? In choosing the telemarketer that is right for you, be sure it uses leading-edge technology platforms to maximize your campaign performance. Technology is advancing at warp speed and you need to partner with a company that is open to emergent technologies. It also would be wise to consider your future technological needs. A telemarketer that has only the technology to satisfy your current campaign may not be able to assist you in the future. • Am I able to visit the call center and/or monitor calls? Before making your final decision on a telemarketing firm, make a site visit. It is important to meet the people and tour the facilities to see if its culture, values and philosophy match yours. A highquality call center will be open and inviting and offer on-site meetings and provide remote-monitoring opportunities. Choosing a call center to represent your company requires some homework to make sure you make the right choice. In this economy, where competition for customers is extremely fierce, strategic use of call centers can provide a company with far-reaching benefits to achieve goals, enhance market position and maintain your company’s good reputation. Yvonne Anderson is vice president of new business development at InfoCision Management Corporation. Reach her at Yvonne.anderson@infocision.com.

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Electronic Retailer - October 2012

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

Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Ask the Expert
From the Executive’s Desk
It’s All About the Numbers
Media Attribution Goes Mobile
Marketing to Teens: Not All Fun and Games
Guest Viewpoint
Guest Viewpoint
DRTV
Teleservices
Fulfillment
Member Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 3
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 4
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 5
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 6
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 9
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 11
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 13
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - IMS Retail Rankings
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 15
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 17
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Ask the Expert
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - From the Executive’s Desk
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - It’s All About the Numbers
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 21
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 22
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 23
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Media Attribution Goes Mobile
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 25
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 26
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 27
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Marketing to Teens: Not All Fun and Games
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 29
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 30
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 32
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 34
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 35
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 36
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - DRTV
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Teleservices
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Fulfillment
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Member Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 41
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 42
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - 45
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - October 2012 - cover4
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