In a competitive business world, the focus is on acquiring new clients. Salespeople that do well in this area are awarded. Those that don’t get sent off to find other work. It’s a time-honored strategy, but it ignores one small but crucial aspect. What do you do with those clients after the initial sale? It’s here that the conventional model starts to fall apart.
Why? According to HubSpot, you’ve got a 5-20% shot at selling to a new prospect. However, the odds of selling to an existing customer are 60-70%.
Why the Difference?
New prospects require some wooing. You have to win them over and convince them that you’re trustworthy. You’ll then have to overcome any sales objections they may have.
With existing clients, you’re halfway there. They know that you’re trustworthy already. They understand the value of your product or service. That gives you a huge advantage.
They’ve already made one buying decision and are primed to make more. Better yet, treat your clients correctly, and they’ll become net promoters for your brand. They’ll tell everyone they know about your company, share your posts, and leave stellar reviews for you at every opportunity.
When you have a high percentage of net promoters in your client base, you’ll see it when you measure your SERP. Your page rank will rise naturally, and you’ll be able to spend less on keyword research.
Most importantly, your client does the hard work for you. They’ll refer business to you. If you’re not leveraging that advantage, it means that your sales force nets at best about a third of the deals out there.
Maybe it’s time to shift our way of thinking and focus more on developing relationships with our existing clients. In this post, we’ll look at how to improve your relationship with your clients so that you can net more sales from them over their lifetime.
The idea of improving sales in branches with this intent has already been done to death. We’ll approach things a little differently by focusing on your call center instead.
Delivering Outstanding Service at Your Call Center
A Microsoft survey found that 96% of consumers rate customer service as the deciding factor in brand loyalty and choosing brands. When asked what constituted a poor customer experience at a call center, respondents said that not dealing with a knowledgeable agent was the most annoying factor.
We extrapolated the responses from the survey to create the graph below.
What About Voice and Chatbots?
These results are interesting, considering that they indicate the increased need for human interaction. They’re particularly interesting because, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many firms are opting to increase the number of AI-based voice and chatbots they use.
According to the Financial Times, outsourced Asian call centers have been the hardest hit. Their model of having workers crammed together in warehouse-like facilities has proven unworkable during the pandemic.
Many companies have also realized, through the pandemic, that solely relying on human operatives may prove dangerous. Firms that traditionally outsource their call centers have also relied more on AI-based solutions to handle simple queries and repetitive tasks.
Therefore, the call center of the future appears to be a hybrid between human operatives, voice, and chatbots.
According to Call Center Helper, the industry standard is to answer eight out of ten calls in 20 seconds. The best in the industry shave another five seconds off that time. See the results from Call Center Helper’s survey in their graph below.
Source: Call Center Helper
What About Other Communication Methods?
- You have, at most, 24 hours to answer emails
- Live chats and instant messages should be answered in 20 to 40 seconds
- Social media posts shouldn’t go longer than a few minutes unanswered
Quality Assurance (QA) Scoring
Does someone in your company listen in on calls at random to see how effective the agent is? This essential function often falls by the wayside when a company becomes complacent about its services.
QA scoring should remain an ongoing process to ensure that the clients receive consistently good service. Consultants are less likely to fob off queries if they know there’s a chance that someone is listening in.
First Contact Resolution
How many queries does your call center complete on the first call? According to HDI research, there’s a significant correlation between customer satisfaction and first contact resolution. See the tabulation of their results below.
To improve FCR, firms must ensure that call center agents have the skills and tools to solve queries quickly and efficiently.
Average Handling Time
How long does the average call take to handle? Current industry standards say it takes around six minutes on average to handle a call. If your calls seem to take too long, monitor some of the conversations.
Is the consultant able to understand the query? Do they know the answer to the questions? Above-average call handling times may point to the need for more training.
Firms may also improve times by creating scripts of answers to commonly asked questions.
Evaluate the Agents
The ideal call center agent is:
- Empathetic and friendly
- Calm under pressure
- Capable of dealing with several customer types
- Great at communicating
- Passionate about delivering the ideal customer experience
How do your call center and agents measure up? Do they deliver an outstanding customer experience, or are they there just to answer the phone? Your call center may well be the primary point of contact that your client has with your firm going forward. It pays to work hard to perfect the customer experience.
Should You Outsource Your Call Center?
Should your firm lack the skills or resources, it may be time to consider outsourcing the function. Outsourcing a call center gives you access to the skills you need without all the costs associated with training or infrastructure.
Chatbots seem like an attractive alternative. However, according to the PWC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/2018, it might not be ideal. Around 74% of respondents said that they expected companies to provide more human interaction in the future.
The market is taking notice. According to the IT support company, Support Your App, they’ve had to employ more consultants despite the pandemic to meet the growing demand for social support.
While chatbots are cheaper, they have limited functionality. To date, they’re not sophisticated to act as customer success agents, and this could harm your prospects of upselling.
Take Your Call Center Up a Notch With Customer Success Agents
Customer success agents aren’t your typical call center employee. Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, they contact clients to help them get the best use of the product. Many companies today are training their call center agents to perform this necessary function as well.
Some consumers take your product for a test drive. They read through the manual carefully and use every single feature. Most clients simply zone in on the features that they’ll use the most.
The problem with the latter approach is that they never understand the full benefit of your product. They may even feel that it’s not worth the hype.
A trained company consultant will teach them to incorporate other features or upgrade to a more suitable product. The idea behind the training is to improve client satisfaction and make the product as indispensable as possible.
The company call center is usually seen as a low-skilled position. It’s not where a company puts its best and brightest. Maybe, however, it’s time to give this frontline position the respect it deserves. Ensuring a stellar call center experience means that companies improve customer satisfaction and allows companies to sell even more to their existing clients.
Could it be this simple to boost sales as much as three times? Why not try it and see for yourself?