The general strategy and technologies behind call center sales has not progressed as quickly as other areas or even as the products being sold by these centers. While cars can now charge on a wall and then proceed to drive themselves around the country, we still get a lead from a form fill and dial their number until either the customer answers or the rep gets exhausted and quits, the same way we did this 10 years ago.
This has to evolve.
The long-needed transformation of the industry is starting to take shape and here is what you will need to know.
There are two big areas where transformation will absolutely need to take place – the rep experience and the customer experience.
The Rep/Agent Experience
Agents come into work day-in and day-out to hop on the phone and start dialing. They knew they would be doing this when they applied for the job right? Right. They can take rejection and unresponsiveness the majority of each day without getting exhausted right? Wrong!
Although reps knew they would be calling each day and were measured on a quota, they did not expect to primarily handle leads that never respond and rarely have conversations they are longing for each day. You don’t have to read between any lines to realize this is exhausting and will lead a person to leave their job to look for something more rewarding and exciting.
In the end, this process, which has been around for decades with only incremental improvements, not only hurts the rep, but even more so the company. Between hiring, training and ramping, the company sees huge losses only to hire someone to go through the same process.
The transformation that has started to happen here revolves around automation. Reps should only take on responsive, quality leads that are ready to have a conversation. Obviously, you need a large quantity of quality leads to make this happen. This is where the unresponsive leads come into play – they should be going through automated outreach sequences in all channels. It’s 2021 – these automated communication channels should sound human, be able hold basic conversations and be able to set up appointments at scale.
This allows the reps to focus on quality leads, have in-depth conversations and close more revenue. Everyone wins.
The Customer Experience
Currently, the customer experience goes something like this: customers come to a website, fill in their information while they are interested and then proceed to forget about the product that had caught their attention for that brief moment of time. The sales rep (mentioned above) sees this as a “hot lead” and reaches out. This customer then gets calls each day from an unknown number which sometimes shows up as “Potential Spam” on their phone – an easy call to ignore. This is not a good experience.
The first piece of transformation coming about on the customer side is a heavier reliance on texting. With the world being glued to the screens of their phones more than the speakers of their phones, texting has become the way we prefer to communicate. It’s easily done in a meeting, in a class, on a crowded train and anywhere else. The recipient of the message is able to determine, based on the content, whether or not they want to answer yes or no to a meeting and it doesn’t have to be a long conversation.
The other piece of transformation that is taking place before our eyes on the customer experience side is a combination of automation and texting. As you automate the reach out and use text messaging to do so, you have the opportunity to sound even more human than your reps.
Ironic, right? Reps often sound like robots and technology is sounding more and more human. Representatives from your company that regularly talk to customers may sound repetitive and tired because they have said the same things over and over throughout the day. Using automation, especially AI, leaves no room for exhaustion. An automated message can sound as cheerful after the 3000th call or message as it did on the first.
The managers can have control over the messaging and the communication to give the customer a better conversational experience than an outbound rep might.
All of this should not sound scary. It is not meant to replace a rep or do a rep’s job for them. It is simply a transformation to use the technology we have available today to be effective at scale. Leveraging the automation and AI combination allows us to increase the quality of our reps’ work life and at the same time, improve the experience our customers have. As if those two improvements were not enough, additional revenue is inevitable with the transformations that lie ahead.