By: Paul R Roy
Companies spend thousands upon thousands of dollars trying to attract customers to their business. Radio, TV, Newspapers and of course the internet are the most common form of attracting customers. You build expectation of grandeur only to be greeted by a machine when the prospective customer calls your business. The most frequent greeting is "We appreciate your call. In order for us to serve you better please listen to the following options" Then we expect this potential customer to take another minute or two to listen to all the options. Well guess what. 80 % of these first time callers to your business hang up. I find it bazar that the most important part of that being a conversation with the customer is being discouraged. Automated phone attendants are disrespectful of peoples time. It adds a layer between you and your customer. This is where marketing and sales don't work as a team. I expect the decision to go with an automated attendant is left with accounting folks. Well guess what. The accounting department does not want the sales team in their department. The sales department should feel the same way about accountants being in their department. Humans talking with customers is a cost of sales and not an administration expense.
In short, successful companies understand the importance of human contact with their customers. These companies understand if you wanted to communicate with a machine the potential customer would email their business. That seems understandable. They also understand that when a customer phones their business they expect a human to answer the phone. Hello!
You don't have to be a big corporation to make this happen. It's rather simple actually. You out source your phones to a contact centre. Any contact centre worth their salt has the technology to answer the phone as if they are sitting inside your front door. It's a shared service that you only pay for when the call center works on you behalf. This of course after a modest base monthly fee that includes customer care services. It's all scalable. No calls get missed. Every opportunity is captured.
So how do you do the math to see if a contact center is a solution for you?
• Calculate how much it costs to obtain a new customer. This is easily calculated by the number of new clients you obtained last year divided into the total cost to capture new revenue. Advertising, Sales Staff. Sales Staff Expenses.
• Calculate how many prospects it takes to make a sale. This will bring you the cost per contact.
• Contact your phone company and ask for the total number of inbound phone calls in a particular month. Also ask them the most important question. How many abandoned calls with in 10 seconds of the auto attendant answering the call. Remember that 80 % hang up and move on when greeted by voice mail or an automated attendant.
• Take the closing ratio ( prospect converted to customer) and divide that into the number of abandoned calls. This should give you a feel for the lost opportunities.
I expect you find that the cost of the contact centre will be covered by new business generated. Add to the mix the increased customer experience of your existing customer base and watch the sales grow. Do the math. Include your contact centre as the front end of the sales team. Watch your customer satisfaction and sales numbers soar.