Customer Service Outsourcing: Retail Industry Guide

Amidst the existential challenges currently facing the retail industry, many businesses are seeking new solutions to deliver more sales and greater customer satisfaction. One trend that retailers have begun to leverage in their search for greater audience engagement is deploying an omnichannel-based sales strategy.

Omnichannel is a cross-channel, content-based strategy that businesses are using to enhance communications and boost sales with their audiences. It involves businesses engaging with their audiences via numerous channels, such as in physical company locations and other environments including phone, chat, e-commerce, mobile applications (including text), social media, personalized video, and augmented and mixed reality. The driving force behind these activities is to provide exemplary customer service and brand awareness in all of the media and other spaces that audiences use when and where they use them. This means that if customers and others start their experience with a business on one channel and shift to another, they know the business knows who they are (because it is everywhere they are) and can answer their needs.

The tactic has already worked well for several industries in which businesses are communicating frequently with audiences simultaneously on most, or all, of these channels. These include telecommunications, healthcare, and financial services. Retailers are relative newcomers to the trend.

Challenges for Retailers

The challenge for retail business owners is to provide constant customer contact that omnichannel requires while trying to focus on their core business. The effort can be burdensome as they try to deliver on their core product and service offerings at the same time as they engage in omnichannel’s constant contact.

What’s the best solution?

To answer this need to allow businesses to focus on their core expertise while still frequently communicating with their audiences, many retailers are choosing to outsource their customer service and omnichannel contact functions. This involves partnering with a trusted call center service that takes care of all of your customer contacts so you can focus on your business. The right call center understands your needs in each area of customer contact, creates a customized program to meet them, and trains its staff in your business’s policies and procedures.

In the process, you save time and money because you don’t need to hire, train, and provide benefits for more staff. You can scale the services the call center provides for you up or down depending on the season and your needs, easily add new sales territories, and add diverse languages to serve more customers.

Basic call center services that help retail businesses optimize inbound call management include:

Outbound call management services that call centers provide include:

The right call center trains their qualified staff to satisfy your company’s specific requirements in each of these functions, caring for your customers with the same commitment as your staff.

This same expertise extends to providing your retail business with specific new omnichannel services that support:

  • Live chat
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Mobile apps
  • Social media

Many retailers find that call centers are particularly adept with omnichannel as they have experience across all digital channels and stay current with emerging technologies, such as voice-activated shopping and augmented reality. Ultimately the right call center for your retail business will be your biggest brand advocate, providing exceptional customer service, contact, and satisfaction that delivers a boost in brand awareness and an increase in sales.

Responsive Call Center is the Right Choice for Retail Customer Omnichannel Communications

For more than 40 years, Responsive Call Center has served retailers and many other industries by providing live operators available all day, every day to handle virtually any kind of communication that provides customer service and satisfaction. Our state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff allow us to make sure you never miss an opportunity to positively engage with customers and potential customers.

Contact us to find out more about how we can help your retail business.

Customer Service Post-COVID-19: How Call Centers Can Play a Role in Your New 2020 Strategy

Customer Service Post-COVID-19

As we move into the business reopening stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies in virtually every industry are facing new challenges in how they manage customer and prospective customer calls. Although many companies were able to function throughout the COVID-19 crisis, rules permeated by states and cities sending their populations into lockdown are experiencing different challenges.

Some may have an overflow of calls due to pent-up demand and the fact that it may not be possible to bring all of their operator staff back to work due to social distancing requirements. Many will need to reduce their costs for staff but need call overflow support more than ever to sustain their business.

One thing that all business leaders know for sure is that each call their companies receive is vital to their future. They are mindful that, in today’s environment, their staff’s ability to ensure a top-quality customer experience may suffer for many reasons, and that creating new processes to address this may take longer than expected to implement with an internal staff but are still desperately needed – and quickly.

When you work with a professional call center, you never miss an opportunity to please customers and grow your business.

A call center operates as a seamless extension of your customer service staff, providing all of what your call answering staff does – but adds significantly more value. Your costs are considerably less than hiring staff to take calls and call center operators can serve your customers and prospects 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The right call center understands your needs in each area and creates a customized program to meet them, train their staff in your business’s policies and procedures, and optimize inbound customer service call management.

There are a variety of customer service call functions a professional call center can expertly handle for you, including:

In addition, call centers can help you better understand how to serve your customers in a challenging environment in which your needs may have changed. Important outbound customer service-related solutions include:

Responsive Call Center is Your Trusted Solution to Manage Customer Contact

For more than 40 years, Responsive Call Center has created and managed customer call flow for many industries, and now in a world with a new normal post-COVID-19, we are here to offer our expertise and assistance. Our experienced live operators are available all day, every day to handle your business calls the same way you would, so you do not have to rely on answering machines or automated systems as you try to keep up with the increased call flow. Our state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff allow us to make sure you never again miss your customers’ calls. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you best manage the calls that are most important to you – especially as businesses start to reopen after COVID-19.

Expanding Operations? It May Be Time for a Call Center

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As you expand operations, you will want to carefully evaluate its customer service performance and set new goals. In that process, you may find that your resources to achieve these goals require a boost. Often, outsourcing customer service to a professional call center is the answer to a company’s ability to provide exceptional customer service as it grows.

Here are five ways to tell if outsourcing your customer service to a call center operation is right for your business:

  1. Booming Business/Not Enough Staff
    • As you grow, it’s important to be sure that your customers are still receiving the care and attention they expect. When you review your customer service performance in light of the growth you have experienced, chances are good you will see that you require more support. One way to make sure this crucial aspect of your company’s growth is being handled properly is to outsource your customer service to a call center. Otherwise, you may need to add staff that your business may not be ready for yet.
  2. Need to Scale Staff as Required
    • If your business has a seasonal aspect or if your customer service requirements fluctuate, it’s important for you to have the ability to scale related staff up or down. You may have found that managing this function internally is difficult due the excessive cost and staff needed to do the repetitive hiring and training involved. If so, the problem can be solved by working with a call center that you can contact whenever you need customer service help – rather than taking the time and expense to hire more staff.
  3. Need Professional Customer Service Staff
    • One way to boost customer loyalty and keep expanding operations is to make sure your company is making the most of its customer service function. If your staff is struggling to service customers and use each contact with them as an opportunity to provide more products and services, it’s time to work with a call center. Our call center staff is highly trained and experienced in customer service techniques. They follow any protocols and scripts your company has to make certain your customers are receiving service you are proud to offer.
  4. Need to Save Money
    • Building customer service staff and investing in the technology to make certain that your company’s customers are receiving the best care is expensive. If saving money is important to you, it’s time to consider working with a professional call center that has top-quality customer service professionals and state-of-the-art systems and technology ready to support your company.
  5. Need 24/7 Customer Service Coverage 365 Days a Year
    • Every time one of your customers contacts your company there is an opportunity to expand operations. However, hiring staff to be available on this constant basis is expensive. Consider working with a call center so you never miss a call and know that your customers are being helped by professionals – and at a much lower cost than using internal staff for the purpose.

Why Responsive Call Center is the Right Call Center for Your Expanding Business

For more than 40 years, Responsive Call Center has created and managed call flow for companies in many industries. We have live operators available all day, every day to handle your business calls the same way you would so you do not have to rely on answering machines or automated systems. Our state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained staff allow us to make sure you never again miss your customers’ calls. 

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you best manage the calls that are most important to your business. 

 

Outsourcing Live Chat

Benefits of Outsourcing Live Chat

Customers and potential customers who visit your website want answers to their questions as quickly as possible. If they have to wait for you and your staff to answer by email or phone, you may lose business in the process. Live chat is a web-based service that allows businesses to communicate, or chat, in real time with visitors to their website. It is commonly used to provide immediate customer support and information to clients and customers.

Having live chat on your website helps you retain business and grow your business in real time. These services are even more effective for your business when you outsource live chat.

Outsourcing live chat can work wonders for your business. Consider the following:

  • Live chat helps to increase sales
    • • Live chat is 100 times faster than any other digital support channel.
    • • An American Marketing Association study found that businesses using live chat increased sales by an average of 20%.
    • • An eMarketer study found that 35% more people made purchases immediately after using live chat, as opposed to other channels.
  • Live chat helps you retain business
    • • eDigital research showed that live chat has the highest rate of customer satisfaction, compared to email and voice.
    • • Industry research shows that live chat helps improve customer loyalty.
    • • Live chat provides transcripts of customer information which helps you stay in touch with them.
  • Reduces staff and operations costs
    • • A Technographics study shows that handling customer service functions via live chat is 50% less expensive than using live calls.
    • • No need to allocate or increase staff to handle your live chat function.
    • • No need to pay for extra staff salaries and benefits.
    • • No need to buy expensive technology to facilitate live chat.
    • • Industry research shows that skilled live chat operators can handle many interactions simultaneously.

Responsive Call Center can provide your company with top quality live chat support as well as other services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – or just when you need it.

Take a moment to contact Responsive Call Center today. Let’s discuss how we can help you grow your business.

How to Stay in Touch in an “Always On” World

answering services

The right telephone answering service will be an expert at helping you employ a variety of communication methods to help you stay top-of-mind with your customers. At certain points of customer contact, it is crucial to know and employ the best communication methods for the purposes of positive customer response and conversion rates.

Here are a few tips on how to create and use the best direct response tactics:

Create a Customer Journey Map as Part of the Communication Plan

This will detail every step of your customers’ contact with your business so that you can align your communication with them to sync with each step in their process.

Communicate As Your Customers Do

Pay attention to how they communicate with their audiences and your company, and model your communications with them in the same way.

Create a Communication Plan to Address Customer Pain Points

Pain points that customers experience when interacting with your business can actually be opportunities to grow your business with them if they are handled well by staff. Creating a communication plan to address each of these is an important step in making that goal a reality.

Create a Communications Plan for Leveraging Your Customers’ Best Experiences

With the advent of social media, customers’ recommendations have become even more important than ever before. Create a communication plan to incentivize your happiest customers to spread the word.

Create a Communications Plan to Entice Back Inactive Customers

Chances are good that these prospects can be brought back into your company’s fold with the right contact and incentives.

Support Customers’ Preferences for Call, Text and/or Email Responses

Give your customers as many options as possible when it comes to communicating with your company.

Validate Your Customers’ Purchases

Make sure to have a communication plan to thank customers for doing business with you and highlight the positives of their purchases.

Keep Communication Simple

Make sure that all of your options for customer communication have as few steps as possible.

Timing is Crucial

Are you communicating with your customers when it is most important that they hear from you? Make sure that your communications don’t lag behind customer activity or desired activity.

Build Helpful Content into Your Communications Plans

When you offer information that your customers likely will find helpful in running their business or their own marketing efforts, they see you as adding value to their interaction with you and you build brand loyalty.

Make Sure Your Customer Communications are Consistent

Customers want to know that they can depend on you no matter what the reason is for contact with your company. Make sure your communications with them are consistent in terms of voice, frequency, and quality.

 

For more than 40 years, Responsive Call Center has created and managed customer communications plans for numerous industries, including medical, legal, commercial services (plumbing, HVAC, etc.), real estate and property management, construction, government agencies, and charities. Our team of live operators are available all day, every day to handle your business calls the same way you would; you will see the difference when your business no longer relies on answering machines or automated phone systems. Our highly trained staff will make sure you never miss your customers’ calls. Contact Responsive Call Center to discuss the ways we can help you manage your calls.

Making Your Customer Service Memorable

The differences between call center agents with a great attitude for customer service and those whose attitudes need some improving are often very clear. Because the effects of both are going to impact your business, it’s important to not only look for certain traits in those you hire for the job but to also train people with certain behaviors in mind. The following tips highlight how to ensure your agents are successful at providing quality customer service.

The Ultimate winning traits when it comes to customer service.

  • Knowledgeable Agents
    Successful call center agents know the company and what it offers well. Make sure that your staff is sufficiently trained and updated regarding products and services regularly. An agent who is prepared to answer your customers’ questions will deliver memorable customer service.
  • Organized Agents
    Organized agents can navigate customer issues using the tools they are working with because they are set up and ready to be deployed.
  • Rapid Response
    Agents who provide a rapid response to customers are ready to take the next call as soon as they finish the one prior. This gives customers a smooth and pleasant experience when they contact your company.
  • Attentive Listening
    Successful call center agents are completely engaged in their conversations with customers, actively listening to the points they are making so they can provide solutions that match customers’ expectations as closely as possible. Making your customer feel like the agent’s number one priority is key in providing memorable customer service.
  • Patient Agents
    Call center agents must always be prepared to encounter frustrated customers. In these situations, being patient means allowing customers the opportunity to explain their situation in full, not reacting negatively to them, and calmly providing an explanation and solution.
  • Clear Communication
    Using industry jargon to explain solutions to customers can become confusing. Make sure to clearly communicate situations and solutions in clear, layman’s terms – keeping answers concise and as free of extraneous information as possible.
  • Empathetic Interaction
    Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s position to understand their viewpoint. An empathetic interaction with the frustrated customer involves reassuring them that their issue is understood, that it will be given attention, and the specific steps that will be taken to resolve it – as well as a timeline for doing so.
  • Positive Attitude
    Displaying a negative attitude toward customers will always have negative results. No matter how upset customers can be, agents must keep a positive attitude that centers on using positive language that reassures customers their issues will be resolved.
  • Adaptable Agents
    Because change is a constant factor in call center agents’ daily experience, they should have the ability to easily adapt. They need to be prepared to handle a variety of customer demands, switching between channels, and technical issues. Because each customer interaction is different, successful call center agents need to adapt quickly and go with the flow and provide the best solution possible for each customer.

Responsive Call Center’s team of professional and experienced call center agents knows what it takes to provide excellent customer service for your callers. Contact us today to discuss how our team can partner with your brand to provide memorable customer service experience for every one of your callers.

Ultimate winning traits for customer service

Support Your Brand’s Social Efforts in 2018

Support Your Brand's Social Efforts in 2018

Handling customer satisfaction through social media platforms was an idea that many people could not comprehend less than 10 years ago. A few years ago, it may have been questionable whether social media could be a way to take care of customers or market products. Today, social media is used more and more to address consumers’ questions and concerns, therefore, it is advisable to review the various platforms and how they can benefit your business.

Social Customer Efforts are evolving

While some customers still prefer face-to-face or over the phone interaction, many consumers turn to social media as their first choice when contacting a company they do business with. Most people will expect a reply to their social media comment or question within a day or even hours. Managing customer satisfaction on a social media platform is difficult as it is there for everyone to see, at any time. Transparency and professionalism are the most important features when responding to customers.

Social media platforms allow consumers to speak and be heard by many. They can easily post on your social channel whenever they have a question or concern, and expect to be heard. It has been found that businesses who treat these interactions with their customers with respect and address their concerns promptly, benefit greatly.

Responsive Call Center is the Answer

As more businesses turn to technology to handle their social interactions, it is clear that robotic responses will not survive. The modern consumer prefers organic interactions. Scripts and robotic responses are not acceptable to today’s consumers; they prefer to interact with someone who is “listening” to them and is capable of offering a reasonable solution.

The representative needs to have an understanding of the brand and their goals in order to be effective. Here are some other skills an effective agent can demonstrate:

  • • The ability to make good decisions on the spot
  • • The ability to cope with tough interactions professionally
  • • Excellent writing skills
  • • Appropriate sense of humor
  • • The ability to handle technology and stay up to date with the latest features of the social platforms
  • • Show empathy when appropriate

Once the foundation has been laid, ongoing training should be required of all agents to make sure everyone is comfortable with the ever-evolving social platforms.

Companies are using various social platforms to interact with consumers, therefore, every business needs to keep up with social media strategies and train agents to quickly respond to the demands of customer social interactions.

If your business needs assistance maintaining your social media efforts, contact Responsive Call Center today – it’s all in our name. We are here to help!