Why Contact Center, Not Call Center?

Posted by Madeleine Coe on Jul 16, 2013 2:00:00 PM

In the past few years, you may have noticed a change in the telecom industry. Contact center has replaced call center in industry jargon when discussing the type of business you run. Why? Because the customer of today wants to experience customer service that makes them feel special, but they want to be able to do it on their own time.

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Topics: call center, 360 view, contact channels, contact center, social media, call blast, voice, chat, text

Ten Telecom Business Rules to Take to Heart, Part I

Posted by Madeleine Coe on Jun 11, 2013 2:00:00 PM

As a blogger who writes about technology for a living, I know firsthand that it’s tough to find inspiration in a cubicle. What helps is having a list or set of guidelines to remind me how to get back into that headspace where I’m producing creative work. Tacked up in my cubicle, along with my rubber tree plant and a colorful set of matryoshka, I have a list of rules I found online that originated in the Immaculate Heart College Art Department. While these are geared more towards visual artists, they have been immensely helpful in reminding me where I can find inspiration.

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Topics: contact center, B2B marketing, small business solution, best business practices, social media

6 Ways to Make Your Small Contact Center Business Stand Tall

Posted by Madeleine Coe on May 30, 2013 2:00:00 PM

One of the problems that many small businesses and start-ups face is customer outreach. Small businesses are trying to reach out and build an audience, but they first have to convince that audience that they are capable of providing the same level of service as any larger or more mature company in their industry.

As a child, I remember that sensation of standing on the tile floor of my kitchen, looking up at the countertops. I would stand on tiptoe and stretch my arms up, grasping at lower cabinet knobs and the smooth granite tabletop, my sneakers scraping and squeaking against the wooden drawers. I was trying to reach all the things on top of the counter: the fruit bowl, the cookie jar, the telephone; all the numerous fun things I imagined up there, but could barely see from my vantage point. The kitchen counter was full of limitless possibility. But, I wasn’t tall enough. So how could I reach?

If I asked my mother, she could give me what I wanted. Or, I could find a stepping stool or stack a pile of cookbooks. It would take me years to grow on my own, but if I had something to stand on, I could make myself tall enough to reach.

In order to get up to that “kitchen counter” of customer reach, small businesses and contact/call centers need to find stepping stools to make them stand tall. Here are six ways to reach up and out.
 
1.     Cover Your Bases

By establishing a contact center for your small business, you have made a great start. Excellent customer service is one of the most important aspects of business, as I have already discussed here and here. Providing customers with easy and varied means of contacting you shows off great customer service and leaves that customer with the best experience.

When a customer calls your business, they want to know that they will reach and connect with your company. They may be looking for user help, looking to place a complaint or leave a compliment, or merely seeking more information on your company. The person who answers the phone should be friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to assist. That is the customer’s only concern.

The customer has no way of knowing how many people you have on your end available for their call. So, even if you have only two or three seats (agents) in your call center, they only know that the person they are speaking to connected to them personally. You can have a small contact center with customer contact capabilities equal to that of a 200-seat call center, you just need the software solution with the scalability to do it.
 
2.       Hire the Best

Operations for your small business have to run smoothly with as few employees as possible. This might mean that some employees have to take on multiple roles, such as accounting and HR, or shipping logistics and customer service. You might be tempted to hire employees with less experience in order to cut back on costs.

Do not do this.

In order to be the best and grow as a company, it is better to hire select professionals with a real understanding of what they are doing. The best have a working knowledge and up-to-date experience in the industry. It might be difficult to persuade them from the cushy support of a full-size company, but the recent recession has left a number of qualified individuals looking for work. Snatch them up while they’re in between jobs by showing them your big picture creative vision (as well as a detailed plan of action) and ply them with promises of future growth. Be sure to deliver on your end, though, especially when the incentive you provide is belief in your vision and not necessarily monetary.
 
3.       Supplement with Free Labor

Since your hiring budget has gone to finding the best of the best, you should look to supplement that with free or cheap labor. Namely, interns.

There are thousands of college students and recent graduates looking for industry experience and willing to work for free or for a small stipend for it. It’s a win-win situation. You find the help you need without blowing through huge amounts of capital, and you are helping them by providing recommendations and industry experience that has real value when it comes time for them to find a full-time industry job. And, it gives you the opportunity to mould the perfect employee from the ground up, so that when you find you need to fill a position internally, you have a selection of proven and qualified candidates.
 
4.       Internet Presence

One of the best ways to get your small business’s name out to potential customers is to have an engaging internet presence. On the internet, you can have a huge presence without needing to be a huge company.

An internet marketing strategy is key. Pick two or three of the best social media sites to reach out and engage your customers. Make sure you update regularly and post content that is interesting, informative, and engaging. LinkedIn is great for B2B connections. Pinterest works wonders for creative industries like fashion, home, and retail. Facebook is the best way to engage customers on a personal level. Twitter provides instant updates and is a good way to promote your blog. Make sure that all your content is easily shareable between the social media sites, and that all content links back to your webpage.

Be present.

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Topics: contact center, contact center solution, small business solution, social media, small contact center software

CRM tools enhance the customer service experience. Email signatures.

Posted by David Rastatter on Jan 30, 2013 12:39:00 PM

A friend of mine posted an interesting question on his Facebook status,"How do you sign your business emails?" Based on the comments under his status, there seems to be a lot of debate on the best way to sign your email. There are many things to consider, and you do not want to set the wrong tone, or be perceived as being too stuffy or familiar. In the business world, first impressions are key. This is especially true when it comes to customer service. 3CLogic's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration program works with many different types of  CRM software solutions because cloud-based contact centers utilize both of these tools in their business. Most CRMs have built in features that automatically send emails to a client once a call is finished. While this automatic feature is a time saver, it can make things difficult when it comes to customizing your message to certain customers. 

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Topics: customer service, cloud based, contact center software, crm integration, contact center, B2B marketing, customer support, social media, software

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