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MBPT Spotlight: Customer Engagement Centers—Your Unsexy Marketing Initiatives

Customer engagement centers—which provide services to customers as they move among communications channels—must be deeply involved in their clients’ marketing and advertising initiatives. This collaboration and open communication is necessary for a multitude of reasons and can be accomplished with a few important steps.

1. Effective collaborationhas a direct impact on profit margins. A customer engagement center that is strategically aligned with its clients’ advertising campaigns will generate substantially more revenue. This partnership is imperative for brand management and it ensures customer care agents communicate the same messaging your marketing and advertising teams have crafted. With a strategic partnership in place, branding will be effective and your profits will be maximized.

2. Dedicate a division of the customer engagement center to client services. A client services division is required for a collaborative partnership to be functional. Marketers need a point person, an account executive within the engagement center who is wholly familiar with each aspect of the campaigns they manage. This account executive must ensure on a daily basis that all metrics are being met and the interests of the engagement center and its clients are aligned. For example, if a client is pushing a new promotional offer and expecting an influx of hundreds of calls, the engagement center must be aware of this ahead of time and recalibrate its internal processes as needed to not only effectually manage the increase in call volume but also capitalize on it by generating additional revenue.

3. Constantly promote well-established processes to maximize performance. Revenue comes through a number of mediums. When handling an inbound phone call generated from an advertising campaign, inbound sales agents (who must be well-versed in the campaign and its offers) will engage prospective customers and close the sale. A quality engagement center has well-established processes in place to make the sale along with an ongoing training program to maximize performance. New customer acquisitions equate higher profits, so it’s imperative to acquire as many new customers as possible. Attaining truly excellent results in this regard requires a partnership rooted in open communication between an engagement center and its clients.

4. Answer quicker for greater revenue. It’s impossible to speak to revenue generation without also commenting on the metrics involved in it. I’ve long ascribed to the belief that data is power. One of the most important metrics to measure is the average speed of answer. An engagement center first and foremost must answer the phones quickly; having current and prospective customers alike unnecessarily wait on hold damages closing rates, which in turn undercuts marketing efforts. Monitoring the average speed of answer in real time and ensuring it remains low is an ongoing task that requires focus. Additionally, agents must be evaluated to gauge their effectiveness. This means providing comprehensive efficiency scoring on an individual basis, setting high standards and ensuring agents continually exceed those standards. 

5. Communicate! This is only the start. There should also be a daily and weekly summary of all key performance metrics shared between the engagement center and its clients, ensuring that the collaborative efforts are indeed generating a valuable ROI.

6. Ensure that messaging is aligned. Customer engagement centers are an extension of their clients’ marketing team and this has substantial branding ramifications as well. Clients’ marketing teams craft messaging that reflects their brand personality and company values. Customer care agents who are speaking directly to customers uphold this messaging. The messaging your engagement center provides and the messaging clients’ marketing teams provide must harmonize.

Running parallel to this concept of revenue generation is saving the sale within the confines of customer service. This too is accomplished through a number of means.

1. Train customer care agents to save the sale under almost all circumstances. When a customer calls in to return a product for a refund or cancel a continuity subscription, customer care agents must engage these customers on a personal level to find the most appropriate solution for them with the end-goal being to save the sale. For us, this is a calculated and strategic process that has been finessed for over 10 years and proven to be effective. The end result with a quality customer engagement center will often be that the customer keeps the product and remains on continuity, thus saving its clients revenue. On a large scale over thousands of calls, the amount of revenue saved quickly compounds and it’s quite significant.

2. Be adept to CRM technology. The engagement center can take revenue generation a step further too by understanding Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology and calling back prospective customers who didn’t complete their online order, usually within 15 minutes. These highly skilled sales agents can then make custom offers (previously established with the clients’ marketing team) and complete the sale, thus recovering lost sales and maximizing profits. These actions taken by an engagement center quite beautifully complement a wider marketing and advertising effort for the client.

3. Reactivate an inactive customer database. An engagement center’s outbound sales agents can call previous customers listed in an inactive customer database, again providing custom offers to these previous customers to make sales and create an additional revenue stream.

The bottom line is that an effective customer engagement center is a value-add. It costs a lot of money to launch marketing and advertising campaigns and it’s imperative that the engagement center supports these efforts to the highest extent possible. Every interaction with current and prospective customers is valuable and deserves focused, individualized attention. It’s a golden opportunity for revenue generation, effective branding and a valuable return on investment.

Levesque founded Argo Marketing Group, a marketing logistics company based in Lewiston, Maine, in 2003. Its customer engagement center reaches consumers through social media, blogs, instant chat and text on behalf of clients who want to target millennial consumers.