Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Outbound Marketing Forms One Wall of a Proactive Customer Relationship

July 01, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

There’s a reason people associate contact centers with problems: traditionally, when a customer had a difficulty such as a billing error, a wrong shipment or an unexpected fee, he or she would pick up the phone and dial the contact center. As such, customer support has often been dedicated to helping customers sort out issues. But today, the contact center needs to be much more than a problem-solving entity.

The customer experience is high on all companies’ lists today. They may not be providing great customer experiences, but there is evidence that most companies are trying to put strategies in place to grow and nurture customer relationships. Done properly, this customer experience management means doing more than solving problems…it means reaching out proactively either via telephone in the form of outbound telemarketing, or via digital channels, according to a recent article by Paul Reyes-Fournier writing for Leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal.

“This model proposes that the central goal of marketing is to create lasting relationships between the consumer and the business,” wrote Reyes-Fournier. “Theory holds that a positive relationship with a customer will lead to loyalty and a loyal customer will purchase your service or product. This relationship will last in perpetuity, as long as the customer is still happy, and will yield consistent revenue over the years. Relational transactions are characterized as having reduced risk, enhanced cooperation, higher trust and greater flexibility.”

By collecting data on the customer and analyzing it properly, companies can better understand what will enhance the customer relationship: a maintenance reminder, a warranty, a check-in to ensure that quality or product operation is good, or even a gentle upsell or cross-sell. In the old model, companies spoke to customers only when the customer was dissatisfied, and that needs to change.

“This is a shift from the old system of customer service with a consumer starting unhappy and the representative trying to appease within the strict parameters of the company,” wrote Reyes-Fournier. “The new customer care model changes focus from problem solving to relationship building so that, even if the consumers are not fully satisfied, they are still positively engaged in the relationship.”

Proactive customer care becomes a dialog between the company and the customer, and telemarketing plays an important role in this new brand of omnichannel marketing. A good telemarketing solution can help companies understand the right time to call by integrating with the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) or other solutions designed to help understand customers’ needs. Outbound calling can be part of a mix that includes social media, email and text messaging to build a strong framework around the customer relationship.

What’s most important is that proactive outreach technology includes sufficient reporting, analytics and feedback so you can keep an eye on the quality of the customer experience.

“With all of these marketing messages moving in every direction, it is important to close the feedback loop with effective tracking,” wrote Reyes-Fournier. “A simple coupon campaign can have several thousand entries and hundreds of thousands of interactions. A viral omnichannel consumer dialogue can have millions of interactions that your business may want to track.”

It’s no longer enough to wait for customers to come to you. To reach customer under the best of circumstances – and not the worst, as in the old model – companies need to understand what the customer needs, when and why.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi