How to Respond When Your Best Customers No Longer Call

1st October 2015Change Management

Click or call. Customers have a choice. Increasing they are choosing online instead of over the phone.

Which explains why your business is not receiving as many calls as it used to.

And this poses a problem for the many businesses who have enjoyed great success in up and cross selling their customers over the phone.

Businesses from banks to boiler manufacturers have all transformed their service centres into valuable sales operations. These sales have even turned some call centres from cost centres to profit centres.

But recently, this rich source of revenue seems to be drying up for many companies. So, what is going on? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

The simple answer is that your customer’s phone is increasingly likely to be used to interact with you online rather than calling you in person.

The inexorable rise of the Smartphone has made this possible, as has the rapid development of digital content in all its forms.

Many companies face a difficult dilemma.

Ideally, you’d like your customers to call rather than to click, But you can’t afford to keep your call centres open 24 hours per day.

What’s more, online competitors are already taking some of your business away.

So what can you do about this conundrum?

Accept that customers may prefer not to call you

Accept that we live in a multi-channel world where customers have options. One of which is the choice to never call you – however much you would like them to.

Believe it or not, there are still companies out there that cling desperately to their proven telesales business model.

Inevitably, they are working ever harder to corral a diminishing number of phone calls into teams that are pressured to continually improve their performance.

Of course, marginal gains are great to have. But your focus needs to be on increasing the total size of the opportunity. And that means leveraging other channels as well.

Strategically build your digital footprint and capability

Customers are actively seeking a two-way online conversation and increasingly looking to share it with others.

You may already have an ultra-efficient call centre. But do you have an equally impressive digital presence that is generating awareness, interest, engagement, sales and stellar reviews?

If not, it is still not too late to act.

Integrate phone calls and online interactions

Now is the time to re-invent your business model so that your phone and online interactions are optimised to work together.

Customer preference or business contact strategy may favour one channel over another. It may even be necessary to ensure that phone and digital can operate independently.

However, the real power of multi-channel lies in integrating the customer journey. Especially for businesses that struggle to match their telephone conversions online.

This is often the case with optional add-on products or multi-faceted service offerings. These normally rely on skilled advisors to guide customers through features and benefits as well as close out sales.

Virtual Assistants and Live Chat can be helpful in deepening the online conversation. As can the use of call backs where the customer is engaged with the opportunity but initially chooses to start the conversation online.

Worry less about the number of calls received and focus more on the total opportunity taken

In summary, it is time to obsess less about the number of calls you receive.

Instead, it is better to focus on the total opportunity to present products to customers through the medium with which they are most comfortable. As well as at a time of their choosing, which may well be outside of normal office hours.

In this way, fewer calls can actually equate to more sales.

Finally, if you have not already done so, take the opportunity to complete the transformation of your call centre into a multi-channel contact centre.

One that supports phone and digital traffic equally. And most importantly of all, is capable of responding to your customers’ needs in a holistic way that increases engagement, sales and satisfaction.