Why Small And Medium Businesses Should Be Phone Savvy

Of all the inventions of the 20th century, the telephone is arguably, one of the greats. This seemingly simple device has allowed people to keep in touch with family and friends without even leaving home. And with the help of science and technology, they can even talk to others from across the globe. But alas, not all has gone well for Sir Alexander Graham Bell’s invention. While you’ve got close family ties and “newly established phone friends” on one side, the flip side reveals obscene phone callers or equally horrific, people who are legit but don’t know proper telephone etiquette. Some people, for instance, tend to bring their “everyday conversation manners” to their business calls. A call center agent should avoid using expressions like “uh” when speaking to a caller.  You must likewise avoid finishing a sentence with a question; it shows you’re unsure of yourself or worse, your product/service. Another thing to remember is that you’re engaged in a conversation. This involves listening to the other person, and thus, you must respond accordingly. It’s okay to get your message across. But you should also let the other person convey theirs as well. Finally, keep it short and get straight to the point. Don’t beat around the bush, as this gives the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing. Simply put, make the most of that tool on hand—the telephone – to handle your order taking services, help desk call center or inbound customer support. It can do wonders, like bring in clients. So make sir Alexander Graham Bell proud.

Customer Service Strategy: Driving Sales with Customer Retention

Keeping customers these days is becoming more important than ever. Despite all efforts to ensure they stay, you still hear stories about the most loyal customers going elsewhere. A bad service can turn away customers who generally look for a product or service that is backed by great customer support. The root of the problem often comes from the company’s inability to connect with them regularly.

There’s never been a better time than now to put together a meaningful customer retention program that starts with the end in mind.

Delighting decreases losing
Entrepreneurs and marketing executives know it is more expensive to win than to keep customers. Lost clients can be future buyers – people with a network of friends who might benefit from the products and services you offer.

If your brilliant marketing has acquired a significant number of customers, your creativity should crank into gear to keep them intact.

Be consistent. The sale does not stop once you acquire it. You need to be in touch with both new and existing customers through communications such as e-mail marketing, customer satisfaction surveys and printed newsletters. Share with them the latest happenings and upcoming offers. Social media has opened up a new avenue for staying connected 24/7. Make sure your brand is always-on, always top of mind.

Offer great deals. Many businesses promote themselves by considering seasons and celebrations. Thanksgiving might be a great time to raffle off a nice gadget for their continued patronage. In the summer, give them a free ice-cold beverage with every purchase of your product.

Build a database. Keep active and inactive records of your customers. If people left because your offers do not meet their needs, you may want to bring some of them back by promoting a new set of products.

Have a solid customer support team. Call centers are now playing a big role in keeping customers satisfied at all times. Clients are grateful that there are people on hand every time they call. Your inbound call center should be well-trained, ready to answer questions and more importantly, can up-sell.

Remember that client appreciation programs excite customers. It also makes them feel good about their decision in choosing you. Satisfied customers will talk about your product, winning you more customers through referrals or word of mouth. The key to keeping them is to connect with them always – understanding their needs, and what they can expect from you in the future. Today’s customers are smart enough to know if your business is doing everything it can to make them your no. 1 priority.

The agent’s notes from the call center trenches – Part 1

by Diane Cuaresma

Working in a call center is not all fun and games as people from other industries perceived it to be.

Here, we work extremely hard. One of the obstacles we deal with is fighting off the urge of falling into sleep during the wee hours of the morning.

I have been with the call center or BPO Industry for almost three years now. I am proud to say that I enjoy working here and I see my hard work paying off. I started as sales agent at a company based in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. It was my first foray in the contact centers after a stint in teaching. Obviously, the two industries are totally different from each other. Work in a call center is a far cry from what I was once accustomed – teaching and shaping minds. Now I still make instructions but on top of it, vigorously promote services to people around the world.

As they always say – “Nothing is inevitable but change” and the only thing we can do is to adapt and to surpass challenges.

My second title within the industry was call center representative. There are 2 types of roles assigned to a call center representative – the first one is sales or doing outbound calls, and the other one is customer service, the inbound call center support.

If I were asked to choose which function I strongly prefer, I go for inbound customer support. I love dealing with callers and answering their questions. I work as an order taker and have been promoted by title in just a short span of time.

Like other professions, call center work entails a high degree of discipline, focus and determination. It takes more than just saying, “Oh, I know that person” or namedropping famous people to fast track promotion. To prove yourself worthy of bigger challenges and responsibilities, you need to stand out from the rest with the right skill sets to boot.

In my next article, I will share some of the techniques I use to succeed at work in the call center.