Steven Robertson at proactive customer engagement experts VoiceSage shares some proof points about what customer success in outbound contact centres looks like
The question your Finance Director asks every day is, what extra value are you bringing via your proactive customer engagement work?
I’d like to share the top three things that we think will help you answer them, based on the positive experiences we have seen at customers we’ve helped.
The first is that contact centres can be twice as effective with just half the resource.Typically, a contact centre manager would use a team of 30 agents to look after a 10,000-strong customer dataset. They manage with the dialler on all day – responses are minimal, with a few conversations had here and there.
Now imagine the same pool of customers andan automated IVM (interactive voice messaging) system in place that rapidly phases out all the engaged tones, misdials and voicemails. The same exercise can now be completed with 15 call centres operatives, rather then the original 30.
That means call centres can halve the resource.What’s more, using SMS in tandem with IVM,you can even get that staffing quota down to just two.
That really is possible and customers are doing it today. How? Due to its asynchronous nature, an SMS is something you can stop-start managing any peaks in demand much mor effectively, while with a phone call the agent is committed to the whole call for its duration. That equals to a lot more resource to achieve the same outcomes.
The text-delivered connection that works
A second wow factor is a kept-rate to die for – namely, the percentage of customer promises that are eventually kept. If the contact centre operative can get through to someone on the phone (and that is tough at certain times of the day and with many customers especially a younger cohort)it’s likely that this will result in a promise to pay.
However,customers often don’t honour these verbal promises as they just wantto get the call centre off the phone.What’s that line about verbal agreements not being worth the paper they’re printed on?By contrast, if a customer commits to pay £40 next Wednesday by text, our experience shows they are far more likely to honour the commitment. There’s some basic psychology at work here, something to do with seeing a commitment in black and white; in addition, consumers view texts as being more direct and somehow more credible than any phone interaction these days.
The proof of this is in the outcome. With phone the kept-rate is about 65%, but with SMS it’sin the region of 75%.Never forget that 99% of texts are opened, but only 20% of emails ever are – texts are the real communication medium of today.
A related impressive proactive customer contact fact your FD will love is that we regularly see a promise-to-pay ratio in a financial services context of about eight per hour in a voice-only contact centre, but this is more like 10 to 12 an hour in ones that use an SMS-based ‘conversations’ approach.
We need to really raise omnichannel efficiency
Finally, the last wow factor is deeper, more personalised interactions. This is another compelling fact, as the end game with customer outreach is getting to connect with the customer. Some customers will just not engage over the phone but will via SMS. Those customers we find call centre managers consistently report a conversion rate of up to 80%.
The takeaway is that if you can connect with customers who won’t deal with you on the phone, once you have built a bridge with text and engaged with them, they are nine times out of ten happy to work with you again.
All these proven results show the power of proactive customer engagement.And its what our customers are telling us. “We’re spending too much money on low value work in our contact centre; we need to really raise efficiency, as that’s the best way to stop that happening,” one said at a recent Round Table industry event we hosted for example.
Heading off people dialling up the call centre to ask for things that could be managed more easily and cheaply using technology is a clear winner, with text (SMS) emerging as a clear candidate solution. Against that background these numbers are enough to make your FD happy– as they translate to better profitability and great ROI.
Steven Robertson is Marketing and Sales Director at VoiceSage
Founded in 2003 and with offices in the UK and Ireland, VoiceSage delivers proactive customer service solutions that help companies streamline and add value to their high-volume, outbound contact activities. Blue chip customers for its solutions include Argos (Home Retail Group), Capital One, Thames Water, AXA Insurance and Shop Direct.
These and other customers rely on VoiceSage technology to help them transform credit collections, delivery and appointment confirmations, marketing campaigns and other high-volume business processes in immediate and cost-effective ways, lowering costs and improving their customer experiences.
VoiceSage’s cloud-delivered messaging platform sends 2 million-plus interactions a day and is used by businesses that touch more than 75% of the UK population: over 44 million individual phones in the UK have received a VoiceSage communication at some time.