Inbound call centers are today’s prized lead generator for marketing departments in the know. It’s not even a ‘secret,’ or ‘industry insider knowledge’ – but rather just another avenue for face-time (so to speak) with consumers who have less and less bandwidth for traditional sales methods.
In many cases, these potential customers may already have your product or service. True, they may currently be mad at it (hence their call, in some cases), but it still presents an opportunity.
- It’s an opportunity to help solve a problem.
- It’s an opportunity to improve the brand in a customer or prospect’s mind.
- It’s an opportunity to share product, service or industry knowledge with customers.
- It’s an opportunity to use techniques such as transitional selling to make a sale.
Most marketing-types tend to know this, and it’s becoming a wider-used practice due to the rise of the web (and the subsequent decline in the use of actual cash registers-and-clerks, bricks-and-mortar-style retail). Companies still need to reach consumers, after all. And while that hasn’t changed, the methods and channels used to reach consumers have changed.
Inbound Calls Means Pre-Qualified
They know who you are, and they are interested in speaking with you. Whether to resolve a problem, learn of new services, attend to billing issues or some other reason for the call…they’ve made contact. For marketing, that’s a pretty big portion of the task at hand. In fact, once the phone rings the marketing department has done their part, and now it falls to the call center agents to actually make the sale.
From Outbound Marketing to Inbound Calls: It’s a Trust Thing
I read a good article highlighting the differences between inbound and outbound sales calls. To sum it up: Inbound sales agents are often seen by customers as empathetic and consultative, while outbound sales agents are generally viewed as more pushy and aggressive.
Home telephones, for those who still have them, have become largely outbound devices. The last five to ten years have seen answering machines turned into ‘audio spam’ recorders – “You’ve won a free cruise!…”, “If you’re a homeowner, you could be at risk…”, “Congratulations, you’ve been selected!…”. With most personal communications switching to alternate channels (mobile, email, messaging) we’ve become more resistant to cold-calling.
Inbound Calls Still Really Matter.
73% of customer contact still occurs via telephone, making it the most important service channel in use today – and one of the largest sales channels available. According to the North American Technographics® Customer Experience Online Survey, adults reported the highest satisfaction with speaking to an actual live agent (69%).
Here’s a simple fact marketing departments understand: satisfied customers are more likely to buy, and they are more likely to return.
The use of additional channels of communication has touched almost every aspect of a consumer’s life. And while customers are not abandoning traditional service channels such as the telephone, they are adding service channels – such as web or social media – and using them simultaneously.
Another thing marketers know: inbound phone sales tend to be much easier than selling via e-mail, chat or social channels such as Twitter. Why? It offers opportunities to create a personal connection or bond, to delve deeply into (and help resolve) the customer’s issues and to add value to the customer. Most importantly – on the phone, an astute call agent can gauge the caller’s demeanor and emotional state, and address their needs accordingly.
Customer Service Training & Preparation Make the Difference.
Inbound calls contribute to a positive customer experience by providing a complete resolution of the reason they called. They also add value to the customer experience by allowing an agent to explain what the customer is missing – a new service, special package pricing, new products and more.
But a Company’s ability to deliver on that opportunity is preparation and training. Inbound sales call center activity is only successful when the Customer Serviceteam has a deep knowledge of their Company’s offerings, and is trained and ready to sell and present marketing offers to customers.
How important are inbound customer service sales calls to your business?