Quite often our clients tell us that they would like things to be better between their Contact Centre and Marketing Departments, so stronger business results could be achieved.
Every situation is different and does need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Here are 5 easy tips that you could implement immediately to ensure that your relationships do not deteriorate.
TIP 1: Make sure that any Marketing offer can be processed by your systems
One of the most common problems companies face is that campaign offers can not be properly supported by the Contact Centres processing systems.
A classic example was where a FMCG Company had put together a fantastic three-tier bonus offer. The offer was based on a conditional purchase with three subsequent tiers of products and prices; complete with reducing freight rates based on product volumes brought.
The offer was strong and the ROI modelling was extremely compelling. When the Campaign went live (without testing!), the problems started.
Any orders where customers wished to take up the tiered offer resulted in the Customer Service Rep’s (CSR’s) having to process two separate orders and then having to manually discount down the second order to credit back the discounted freight component, resulting in long and complex calls, and disjointed service.
Result, unhappy CSR’s having to process the orders, and longer call lengths than first modeled dramatically reducing ROI values!
TIP 2: Test campaigns before go live
Always test Campaigns before go live in a “Test Lab” environment within the Contact Centre.
A test lab is usually a group of 8 to 10 CSR’s who physically call some of the Campaign leads and test the offer, scripting and processing to see if it is stable before it is rolled out to the live environment.
This is a great learning opportunity and gives all involved parties a chance to identify issues and opportunities, and make relevant changes before campaign deployment.
One Finance Company that instigated this process (as a portion of a review that had been done) saw an immediate increase in Outbound Campaign results.
When asked why they thought this initiative had been so successful, they replied that “the new process enabled them to identify potential execution problems including, processing, pricing, scripting, and customer relevance, before they started calling all of the campaign leads.”
Testing also meant that they could tweak every facet of the campaign before go live.
Note: Don’t forget that testing should apply for all mediums of exchange not just outbound telephony.
TIP 3: Fully brief campaigns
A number of clients have said “the Customer Service Representatives in my Contact Centre (both in-house and vendor based) just don’t understand the offer” or “they don’t go that extra mile to help the customers”, “what can I do to increase their understanding and desire to help?”
But hold on a minute there’s an old sayings that ring pretty true here, “sales is 80% product knowledge and 20% sales skill” and “knowledge equals empowerment which equals help.” You need to ask yourself, are your CSR’s getting the right information?
The proper briefing of campaigns is yet another integral step in the success of campaign execution and successful relationships between Contact Centres and Marketing.
Not sure what to include in the brief? Then ask the people that will be executing the Campaign what information they require to do their jobs more succinctly.
What you think might be obvious may not be because you are working so close to the offer.
Companies which have followed this process have recorded favourable results, including reduced call handling times, higher first call resolution metrics and increased Customer Service Ratings.
Tip 4: Job share for a period
One organisation had done some excellent work in trying to get the two business units to work together including; holding combined social functions, instigating buddy and mentor programs, and actively championing a “working together culture” but things could still be improved.
As the next step they implemented a “Job Share” initiative to help enlighten and educate people in both the Contact Centre and Marketing units.
The concept was sold to the Managers of both units as an opportunity to broaden the knowledge and skills of their staff, potentially help with succession planning (Mktg Dept), aid disaster recovery planning strategies, and facilitate appreciation of each other environments.
Initially, volunteers were asked to participate and spend a week working in each other’s units.
“Working” was defined in the purest sense with goal targets being set, recorded and marked by the Managers of each unit, so it was perceived as a serious and reasonably formal initiative.
It took a matter of hours before things started to change!
Comments were relayed back by the newbie’s in Marketing such as “I had no idea it was so hard to get margin on these offers” and “there are so many attributes to take into account before you can start working out what offer should go to who.”
Conversely, comments came from the newbie’s in the Contact Centre; “its so incredibly busy down here” and “this is a really hard offer to try and explain.”
As the program continued, realization and appreciation of the challenges of each business unit became apparent for the staff involved, quickly dismissing the “us and them” situation and replacing it with a highly enlightened sense of appreciation and respect.
Three months after the project ended the problems had evaporated with the two units working so closely together to achieve both their own and common goals that she advised it were like working in a different Company!
Tip 5: Rewards offered by Marketing to achieve
Do you have a campaign where you think the offer may be quite hard to get over the line or a target that has been really stretched, but you need the Contact Centre to achieve it? How about a campaign with needs you are not 100% certain that the Contact Centre will back up?
Dig deep and offer the Contact Centre a “bonus reward” for extra effort!
An Insurance Company that needed to quickly increase its upsell rates on a particular product needed to somehow motivate the current Contact Centre staff to achieve.
The cross sell functionality had already been allocated its incentive budget but a creative Marketing Team modeled the possibility of taking a portion of its above the line advertising budget and reallocating it to this particular initiative.
The modelling looked good enough for the changes to be approved and the results spoke for themselves!
With the added incentive dollars against the offer the response rates for the up sell campaign over achieved by 4% adding an extra $300,000 to the bottom line.
Note: If you are looking to replicate this sort of initiative, make sure your Q&A processes are able to recognize and register “oversell situations” by your consultants.
What has worked for you?
Do you have a good tip or approach that has helped your to get Marketing and the Contact Centre working more closely together? Please share it in the comments below.