In recent times, outbound call centers have been faced with a critical problem. Numerous regulations and laws, particularly in Europe, have been disrupting the way they work. Shifting customer behavior, such as new ways of consuming information and interacting with brands, have pushed customer service and telemarketing departments to change the way in which they reach out to customers. According to Gartner, by 2025, proactive outbound interactions will overtake reactive inbound interactions. The traditional outbound call is therefore history, and it’s time to take a look at how you call your current and prospective customers. Vocalcom is here to support you in this matter.
Today’s customers are taking back their power. As Karine Palacios, Chief Product Officer of Vocalcom, states,
“As of now, customers use a wide range of channels, their motivations are diverse, and their behavior capricious. A company’s customer view is all the more fragmented. For customer service, the challenge is to reconcile information to manage the journey.”
This means that untimely calls are now over—it is time to replace intrusion with agreement and acceptance. As of now, customer engagement must be proactive and compliant.
Due to customer journey digitalization and changes in consumer habits, the front lines of customer service have shifted. Customer expectations are greater than ever, and brands are placing a top priority on the customer experience to win new customers and gain their loyalty. As Karine Palacios further points out in Relation Client Magazine, “The volatility of digital customer journeys has earmarked the place of customer data and CRM solutions which structure them. The development of automation and AI assistance within contact centers is reshuffling the cards.” Faced with this reality, Vocalcom is evolving its offer to allow companies to create more creative customer journeys with more proactive and even predictive engagement. With the Vocalcom solution, companies may offer customers interactions on their preferred channels at the right time and for the right reasons—with a truly relevant message. Overall, the goal is to create or strengthen a strong connection between the company and its customers.
With the right tools and a new strategy, call centers can resolve the cold calling problem. No matter how important digital channels may be, the voice channel is still critical to customer service and actually the preferred channel for many customers. It is also ideal for handling the most complex and technical customer issues, as agents are able to show their empathy and establish a strong human connection when speaking to customers (as opposed to writing them on another channel). However, old-fashioned cold calling is no longer the right approach. It is important to have a consistent calling strategy that fits your customers’ needs and lifestyle.
Call centers can achieve this with the help of technologies such as AI. For example, AI may be used to analyze large quantities of customer data collected across all channels and help determine how customers should be contacted (their preferred channels and times). In addition, AI tools such as chatbots or voicebots can help your call center offer quick support to customers through self-service, giving agents more time to handle critical customer cases (especially on the phone). In addition, these AI tools can help limit legal restrictions as you may be able to use unregulated channels to obtain the customer’s permission for future contact on the phone. Additionally, IVR menus can further fuel self-service, allowing customers to find the answers they need at any time and thus driving their satisfaction. Your CRM is also instrumental in helping you understand your customers. CRM data can help you analyze customer behavior and ultimate goals—for example, how often they make purchases, what products and services they need, and which channel they prefer to use when contacting your brand. Armed with this information, your company can decide how best to reach out to them and therefore avoid blind cold calling without a clear purpose or strategy.
As Karine Palacios describes in Relation Client Magazine, CRM is better orchestrated thanks to AI and lies at the heart of the customer service challenge:
“It’s the bedrock of excellence. Companies need customer knowledge to make strategic decisions and to help contact center agents enhance their conversations with customers.”
Vocalcom has been managing the native integration with Salesforce perfectly for the past 15 years. This is a strategic advantage that Karine Palacios expects to increase further in her innovation roadmap by integrating the Hermès solution with other CRM leaders. Vocalcom will enrich the service modules, marketing, and sales of CRM, with the help of the Hermès omnichannel and predictive routing dialer. As she states, “It’s a perfect integration of data at the service of a more proactive customer strategy; there are customers who are more satisfied because we ‘anticipate their needs,’ but there are also agents who are calmer because they are better equipped to satisfy customers.”
Above all, call centers must focus on contacting customers at the right time and on the right channel. They must move toward more proactive engagement, with a shift toward a less intrusive and more profitable strategy. To achieve this, call centers must gain customers’ prior agreement for contact via digital channels in addition to making phone calls. Agents may contact customers to ask for permission to make a phone appointment at a later date. Indeed, with the new Hermes Digital Journey offer, Vocalcom is empowering companies to do just that. All digital channels are grouped together within the Hermes 360 solution, ensuring that customers can contact your brand easily—with an increased reachability rate of more than 90%. This ensures that your company can engage proactively with customers at the right moment and on the right channel with the most relevant offer, boosting sales and reducing customer service costs.
It is also important to understand the different reasons why you are contacting the customer in the first place. Deep customer knowledge—obtained from a CRM, for example—can help you come to these decisions. Agents may be specifically trained to better understand the CRM solution and other technology used, devise strategies for making contact at the best times, and also improve their socio-emotional skills by learning to listen closely and show empathy. For example, if an agent contacts a customer or a prospect during a telemarketing campaign, a good strategy would be to make a first contact in order to schedule an appointment for a later time. Instead of calling the person directly, it is better to try making contact on other channels such as e-mail or instant messaging. In this manner, the agent can engage the customer in a brief, friendly conversation before deciding together when it would be best to have a phone appointment. It is also possible to inform contacts in advance via SMS. Agents may send a brief message mentioning the name of your company, your desire to call, the reason for the call, and the phone number that will appear when the call is made. By sharing this information ahead of time, the customer will not be surprised with an unwanted call and—if they decide to answer—are more likely to engage with the agent in a fruitful conversation.
One way to satisfy customers is by solving issues before they even arise. In addition, anticipating customers’ needs in advance can also save them time and win their loyalty. For example, an agent may make a proactive outbound call before a customer’s telephone contract subscription comes to an end in order to avoid customer churn. It is critical to have a clear and consistent practice regarding subscription renewals. Rather than putting pressure on customers to remain with your brand after they have decided to leave, it is far more effective to be proactive. Instead, contact your customers a couple of months before the end of a subscription and offer a free upgrade.
Take the example of SFR, a Vocalcom customer. The company relies on two essential elements of the Vocalcom solution: the automated dialer used either in predictive or progressive mode depending on the campaign, and the integrated scripting tool which helps agents make the best offers to customers. With a customer churn rate between 10 and 15%, campaigns must aim to improve retention rates. Different criteria are used to identify at-risk customers, who are then classified by profile, offer, or geographic location. SFR relies on dynamic scripts to create the best retention offer for the customer while preserving the company’s margins as much as possible. To ensure each agent’s efficiency, tips and suggestions are posted by the solution in real time in order to make the most advantageous offers possible. At the end of each call, a survey is sent to customers using a feature that is natively available in the Vocalcom solution. This survey measures real-time customer satisfaction in retention campaigns. The support of the Vocalcom solution is essential to SFR’s continuous refinement of company strategy and offers.
To effectively manage the challenge of cold calling and engage in predictive customer strategies, Vocalcom is the ideal CCaaS choice. Driven by CRM and AI, Vocalcom solutions are essential to driving sales and customer satisfaction.
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