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The Complete Guide to Contact Center Solutions

Contact centers are frequently looking for solutions to fix their often times unmanageable processes. There are many solutions out there that can be the saving grace. Here are a select few ideas that will get you thinking about what you should be on the look out for. 

Data Health: Append Your Data, You'll Thank Me Later

Data appending is beneficial to your business because it can save you money. Before I outline the reasons why you should be appending your data, first, let me explain what it means. To append means to add to something. In this case, appending means to add to your data or clean it up and correct mistakes. Basically, to append data means to fill in the gaps in your database. 
Businessman hand using mobile phone with digital layer effect as business strategy concept-1 
Why should you append your data?  Appending your data saves you money.  It reduces the amount of time wasted on incorrect data. For example, if you were to mail out a promotional flyer to all of your prospects, you would use the addresses that are stored in your database. Would you not? Lets just say that 20 percent of those home addresses are incorrect. Either they are missing an accurate zip or postal code or they’re not updated addresses. You just spent however much money on mailing out those flyers to a group of people that won’t even receive them. You just threw away time and money.
 
Appending your data reduces the amount of time wasted on marketing to incorrect email addresses, phone numbers, and home addresses by updating and adding to the information already stored in your database. Leaving you with more time to focus on your business. 
 
Not only does data appending save you time and money but it can give you access to cleaner, more accurate information. Appending your data can correct typos, update location names such as new addresses or zip/postal codes. It can also verify information that you already have stored in your database. This ensures the data’s accuracy, saving you money in the long run. 
 
Lastly, data appending improves your segmentation process. It can help you locate more specific information such as annual income to further target your marketing efforts. For example you have a product that you are marketing to individuals between the ages of 25-35 that earn x amount of money per year. Data appending can help you find that information. 
Overall, data appending is cost effective and can benefit your business in many ways. It reduces the amount of time wasted on incorrect information, gives you access to cleaner, healthier data, and it can help fine tune your marketing efforts by improving your segmentation.

Campaign Management: What is it and Why is it Important?

Before we dive into the specifics of campaign management, I first need to touch on the basics of a campaign. What is a campaign? Well, a campaign is a series of actions or events that bring about a goal or outcome. In terms of marketing, a campaign is the systematic release of information through multiple channels.
 
Campaigns promote products and services through various media channels which include but are not limited to tv, radio, print, email, phone calls, and social media. Campaigns also don’t rely on advertising alone. Demonstrations, video conferences (webinars) can also be considered campaigns. 
 
Determining the goal or outcome of a campaign is essential as this decision is what drives your marketing efforts and budget. Is your goal to increase brand awareness or is it to acquire customers? Nerdy scholastic young woman wearing geeky glasses standing thinking with her finger raised and a grimace of concentration in a humorous stereotypical depiction, over a dark background with copyspaceKnowing this can determine which media outlets are best suited for the campaign. Which outlet will your target market or segment most likely live? These are key decisions that must be made prior to planning any campaign. 
 
Once you have identified the goal of the campaign as well as your target market, it is time to start planning. Through which channels do you plan to disseminate information? How long will your campaign cycle run? Who will your target audience be and when will they receive the information you wish to send? The purpose of these questions is to guide you while you build out your campaign. 
 
After your campaign cadence has been established, it is time to run and manage your campaign. How will you measure the effectiveness of your campaign? Is it based on leads generated or acquired customers? Remember at the beginning of your campaign when you had to establish a goal or outcome? This is when you revisit that goal or outcome and determine whether or not it was successful. 
 
Oftentimes campaigns are initiated via a campaign management tool. These tools allow you to monitor and edit your campaign as needed in order to ensure the overall success of the campaign. These tools are important because it allows you to automate your marketing efforts which decreases the amount of time and money spent on managing your campaigns.
 
Campaign budgets and marketing exclusions are just two more ways that you can maintain the integrity of your marketing campaigns. Campaign budgets ensure that you are not over dialing or contacting your prospects by setting an amount on each campaign. Once your campaign has reached that dollar amount spent then the campaign is automatically shut off. Marketing exclusions allow you to denote who can be contacted within a set period of time, making sure you are not over contacting someone.

 

Close up image of hands connecting puzzle elementsSo, in short, campaign management is like a puzzle. There are many different pieces. Each piece has their own place and importance in the overall puzzle. Figure out how they all fit together and you’ve built a masterpiece.

Automated vs. Manual Marketing: What's the Difference Anyway?

Automated marketing has become somewhat of the more popular thing to do in the marketing industry as of late. And it is easy to see why. Automation can take the most tedious of tasks, like sending emails to your leads or prospects, that would normally take hours and have it done in minutes. It also allows marketers to conduct marketing processes and conversations across multiple channels, so that they are working smarter and not harder. 
 
Who wants to waste time and money by sending out individual emails or making ad hoc phone calls all day? Manual marketing is the way of the past. Gone are the days where you had to kill campaigns in order to re-enter contact information from a list of leads prior to starting a new campaign. You are now able to have a more permanent campaign due to the flow of data.
 
With automation at the forefront of marketing, you now have instant access to reporting. business documents on office table with smart phone and digital tablet and graph financial with social network diagram and man working in the backgroundThis can showcase the effectiveness of both your marketing campaigns and the agents who are in charge of them. No more jumping through hoops in order to gather all of your data. Saving you time and effort spent on creating fancy spreadsheets and documents. Giving you more time to focus on assessment of the data and how you can achieve greater results the next time around. 
 
When handling phone campaigns, having your customer’s history at your fingertips is another key concept of automation. Instead of switching between various screens or programs in order to locate customer information, that information will instead populate on the call screen in real time. Call outcomes (dispositions) automatically send alerts to the proper recipients. This, coupled with displaying the customer information, makes the possibility of human error next to none, helping to create more efficient campaign runs.
 
Another great advantage of automation is that you are able to route leads directly to the CRM, saving you more time in the future when you decide to run a campaign. Manual marketing involves use of spreadsheets and other less efficient means of organizing customer information, which can take more time in the long run. 

What Does a Call Center Agent Do?

Contact center agents are at the core of any business. They are the link between the company and its customers. They handle incoming and outgoing calls and are tasked with tackling customer complaints, account inquiries, and support issues. Call center agents are also called service or telephone sales representatives, customer service representatives (CSR), operators, contact center agents, or account executives.

If you desire to see your business blooming, you must invest in a vibrant call center. Here are the principal duties of call agents:

  • Creating a delightful customer experience
  • Documenting and responding to tickets efficiently
  • Communicating thoughtful and personalized solutions to clients
  • Handling customer inquiries
  • Attending to customer complaints
  • Reporting recurrent customer issues to the management
  • Reaching out to prospects and other business associates

The roles of the customer service representatives are vital for the short and long-term success of the company. If your customer care attendants understand and execute their duties responsibly, your business stands a better chance of succeeding. For better results, these agents must work as a team and create a system that will deliver a unique experience to your customers.

 

 

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing

Technology is constantly evolving. Therefore our marketing practices and techniques must evolve with it. Enter omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel refers to the focus on customer relationships and cultivating those relationships through multiple channels. Conversely, multichannel marketing is simply using as many channels as possible to gain awareness. The latter requires an exceptional amount of effort compared to omnichannel marketing. Let’s explore both forms of marketing. 

 

Omnichannel Marketing: What is it?

In short, omnichannel marketing is the philosophy of having an all-knowing or omnipresent strategy in place that is not limited to the marketing department. Having all departments within a company embrace this philosophy ensures that the messaging is consistent and memorable across all channels. It provides a more seamless experience for customers, and isn’t that the main goal of marketing? These seamless experiences equate to higher customer retention in the long term. 

 

The consistency of the messaging is only one part of the reason why this marketing strategy works so well. The other part of why this strategy is so effective is that it is effortless. It aims to reach prospective customers by focusing solely on the channels that have been quantifiably proven to achieve results. These results have been analyzed through enhanced data collection and analysis methodologies which stem from using an omnichannel strategy. 

 

Multichannel Marketing: What is it?

With omnichannel marketing the goal is to reach customers through the channel(s) that are most effective, multichannel marketing seeks to reach customers through whichever channel best suits their needs. Even if that means sending messages through all different channels to only receive returns on just one. The whole process is focused on customer engagement. As many as possible. 

 

This might be an effective strategy if the purpose of one’s marketing campaign was brand awareness in the early stages of existence. However, the only really upside to using this strategy full-time is the fact that there are less data touch points which can be directly linked to new clientele. The reason being is that there is usually the same return on engagement across every channel. Therefore, there will only be one, maybe two, channels that will be able to provide enough data to analyze. This makes data analysis rather simple, but also incomplete due to the low return across the other channels. How will you ever know if Facebook really works if you invest the same amount of money and time as you would on running newspaper ads? 

Conclusion

Here we have two very different marketing strategies. Although they share a similar name, they couldn’t be any further from each other. Omnichannel marketing means to customize the customer experience so that they are receiving the most benefit from working with your brand and at the same time exerting the least amount of energy to do so. Whereas multichannel marketing seeks to gain awareness across as many channels as possible. The focus is not on the customer, but on themselves, making the customer work that much harder, which is never a good thing. 

The Importance of Data Management

Introduction

Data in general is important to every business in the world. Data needs to be safeguarded against viruses, hackers, and whatever else the cyberverse throws at it. Improper data management can result in loss of business which can result in the loss of revenue. And nobody wants that. 

So what is data management? Google’s definition comes out to be: the process of managing data (whatever that may be) as a valuable resource -- furthering its potential for a business or organization. Data management is important for many reasons. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

 

Productivity

The time previously spent searching for the right information will cost you time and money. If your data is well organized, it will save your employees time finding, digesting, and relaying the information. It can also save your business from having to pay for additional duplication of data. If the data is easily accessible you don't have to worry about employees conducting repeated searches for the same information. This type of repetition can also cut into your employee productivity. 

 

Security Risks

As mentioned in the introduction, customer data is vital to your business. The risks that are involved if data is compromised or even worse, lost, are insurmountable. Having a structured data management system or plan in place can prevent this from happening. If you don’t have this type of plan in place, consider doing so. 

 

Accurate Decision Making

Having a data management system in place makes it so that all of your employees are viewing and analyzing the same information. If data is current and accurate, your business or organization has a much better chance of making the most well-informed decisions. You are bound to waste time and money on poor decision making. Instead of taking that chance, put the proper processes in place to ensure that your data is accurate and “healthy”. 

 

Conclusion

Overall, data management is detrimental to the success of your organization. It can increase employee productivity, decrease the chances of data being stolen or lost, and it allows you the opportunity to make the best decisions possible. 



Call Center vs. Contact Center: Which One Works for You?

There are several things that you need to address before you decide which form of these centers will work best for you. It all comes down to your business and its scalability, goals and activity. Many use both names interchangeably. However, they are far from the same thing. Let’s take a look at what each is before diving into which one might be for you. 

 

What is a Call Center?

A call center is a place where agents take inbound calls and can place outbound calls. They have existed since the 1960s, maybe even sooner since the first automatic call distribution system (ACD) was invented. This system makes it so that inbound calls are distributed to agents based on availability. Suffice it to say, these types of call centers have been around for quite a while.

 

Many call centers aim to reduce cost by employing less agents. Thus, forcing agents to resolve calls faster and take more calls a day. This led to the introduction of the interactive voice response (IVR) system. Which made it more difficult for customers to talk to a live person. Resulting in both customer frustration and poor customer experience. 

 

What is a Contact Center?

Similar to a call center, a contact center takes inbound calls and places outbound calls, however it also serves customers over digital service channels such as cloud-based software. Many of these alternative channels include texting, webchat, email, etc. These channels are usually integrated together into one product or service. 

 

The change between these two didn’t happen overnight. It has something that has evolved over decades as people require less service over a phone and opt to receive the service, when it's needed, over a digital service. 

 

Which One is Right for You?

This is kind of a loaded question. A question that only you can answer. I’ll present the major differences between the two types of service -- giving you the full picture before you make any decisions. 



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