How to nurture long-term relationships in customer support call center

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

If a trusty-looking guy approaches you now and says he knows how to boost your customer support call center sales without increasing your expenses, would you be engrossed? The odds would likely lean to you saying yes, you would, and you will end up spending a day with this guy just to know how.

The scenario above talks of two things: first, how most businessmen think and from what angle most businesspersons choose to look at to target success.

How most businessmen think

Most businesspersons measure success with sales, the size of their (return on investment) ROI, and the money that come in into their pockets. Of course, that's why people start up a trade—to earn money. But only few measure success through their customers. Surely, many practical CEOs would say that fat sales and satisfied customers should go hand-in-hand to attain success, but rarely would you hear a trader putting significant attention on the welfare of his customers. Yes, the term is welfare—or their overall happiness and satisfaction.

From what angle do businessmen look at to target success?

Most business owners are always eager to expand their trades by winning new customers.

Naturally, this is the case for newly-founded trades. But the sad thing is that the "need-to-grow" mentality carries over to a time when their businesses have already steady numbers of patrons. Businesses end up being stuck with attracting new customers to such an extent that they forget to give the attention their current and loyal customers deserve. Here, the business is completely driven by "success by expansion" and not by "success via customer retention," a scenario that totally obliterates the idea of nurturing relationships in lieu of just building new relationships.

The idea of nurturing customers in the call center realm is quite obscure, as everything is done only through the phone. But sensibly, nurturing often happens in inbound calls, when it is the customer who dialed the hotline number on his own volition. But take note: nurturing does not always take place on the phone.

Nurturing is beyond usual customer service. There is something beyond attentive listening, eschewing waiting and hold times, and giving the right solutions—it leans more on the internal and emotional side of the relationship between the call center representative and the customer. Customer care agents must build relationships with the caller or know how to treat customers as a customer.

Most customers want to feel superior over a call center representative the moment they hear the "What can I do for you, Mr./Ms. X?" line from them, while most call center representatives do not want to be treated inferior by the customer even though their job description has it that they are "servers" of the consumers. On the call center representative's end, what they must do is as simple as befriending whoever is calling on the other line—be it new or repeat customer.

But again, this is not always the case. An outbound marketing call center is not simply about selling services or attracting potential clientele as it could also be used to nurture leads. How does it feel like getting a call from your favorite brand without hearing a product offer, but just pure "how are you or your experience with the service/product you've recently purchased?" This type of calls could be used for simply asking the customers what they need, if there are any complaints over the product, or simply asking "how was your experience with our brand so far?" But of course, this, too, must be done properly. Doing it daily or "more than regularly" could be undoubtedly cloying, annoying.

Customers must be treated like a real friend. They must feel important, guided, needed, informed, and remembered all at the same time. This will keep them coming back, for they see this simple gesture as a reward for their loyalty. And at the end of the day, these valued customers are the ones who will lift your brand name up, defend you on all social media platforms, and continue to trust you whatever the circumstances are. And that is real success.

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