Reinventing Outbound Retention & Resolutions: From First Contact to Brand Ambassador

How to build a contact strategy that makes your customers feel like an individual from start to finish

Building a contact strategy that turns an average customer into someone who loves and promotes your organisation  

We’ve come to the final instalment of our live event series, Reinventing Outbound. Over the past couple of months TMAC CEO & Co-Founder Jimmy Hosang and Senior Solutions Consultant Paul Banks have joined forces with guests, this time Al Hughes of Fab Outsourced Solutions, and Marianne Withers of The Verity Centre, to discuss the often-missed opportunities when it comes to outbound contact.

We’re summarising and expanding upon some of the key topics, this time focusing on customer retention and resolutions. With customers being more transient than ever before it is vital that organisations of all sizes do what they can to retain as many customers as possible and increase the ever-important customer lifetime value.

Get ahead of the curve

Businesses need to be smarter and faster than ever, knowing what the customer wants or needs before they know they want it (consider how successful businesses like Amazon are in leading customers to products that end in a purchase thanks to accurate predictions of customer wants and needs).

Traditionally, outbound contact is one of the first areas that is dismissed when we see a peak in inbound contact levels, or during cost-cutting activities. However, if businesses can focus more efforts on outbound contact, then you can make sure you are ahead of this in the first place – potentially reducing customers’ need to get in touch through inbound contact.

To start to get ahead of the curve you need to build an entire contact model that helps you understand your customer journey from start to finish. Equally important as building the model is testing it and continuously improving it – in fact, it is highly unlikely that the first plan you build will be sufficient.

Try A/B testing and using conversation analytics to see what drives positive or negative sentiments in your agent scripts. The key is understanding not just the reasons your customers stay, but why other customers leave, so you can focus on what you’re doing right and fix areas where it goes wrong.

From first-time contact to full-time brand ambassador

It’s not a secret that companies can, and do, retain customers without a perfectly planned outbound contact strategy. But it’s not just enhancing retention further that organisations can benefit from when creating a plan for better outbound customer service.

Consider this – Are you retaining customers because they truly love your brand and are big fans of your organisation and products/services? Or are you simply getting by because your offering is a bit better than most of your competitors? If we look at Net Promoter Score (NPS), the best customers for your brand need to sit at a 9 or 10 to be classed as a ‘Promoter’. Anything below that and you’re looking at ‘Passives’, or worse, ‘Detractors’.

Many businesses use very little outbound contact, sometimes none at all. It’s time to stop being reactive and focus contact centre efforts into being proactive – reaching out, engaging with customers, discovering first-hand what they like and dislike, and then emphasising the ‘likes’ and fixing the ‘dislikes’.

Your contact strategy from start to finish

Take a second to ask yourself, “What is our contact strategy, from the very first time a customer interacts with us, how are we extending customer lifetime value?”. We often find that organisations simply win a customer and then rely on their standard communications, such as a monthly newsletter or yearly survey, hoping it will be enough.

This might be just enough, but ‘just enough’ won’t take an individual from a passive customer to a brand ambassador. Every customer is unique, and your communication with them should reflect that. Consider how to use the customer data from your CRM systems to make people feel like individuals instead of another number:

  • Time-Specific Messaging: A welcome email, a casual phone call a month after they joined you, a special deal when they’ve been a customer for a year. A bonus of much of this time-specific messaging is that emails or texts can be automated, meaning after the initial set-up you aren’t burdening your contact centre agents with further responsibilities.
  • Birthday Deals: These days it’s not uncommon for businesses to offer special deals on a customer’s birthday (for example, Costa offers a free ‘sweet treat’ for customers that have a membership card). Whilst the majority of today’s savvy customers understand that this is automated, it still helps to build a better relationship whilst giving them a tangible reason to remain as a member/customer.
  • A Personal Call: A less commonly used reason for outbound contact, but even more effective when done correctly, is contacting customers based on changes in their behaviour or spending habits. Proactively contacting individuals, checking on their welfare, and seeing if there is anything you can do to help as a business is a huge step in building customer trust.

Plan, organize and have a forecast of what you’re going to be doing so you can schedule it ahead of time. And remember, your CRM system is a fountain of knowledge and you should be analysing it, structuring it, and using it to improve your customer relations.

In conclusion…

There is no such thing as bad contact; Recent findings showed us that customers who contacted a company with a query ended up going on to purchase three times more (when the query was resolved effectively) than customers who had never contacted the business – so don’t leave these people behind, reach out to them instead.

In a time when other companies are making steps to reduce the amount they speak to customers by using chatbots and self-service, differentiate your brand by being the one to get in touch with them. Build a clear contact strategy from day one, test and re-test, improve it, and test it even more.

If you have already read and implemented advice from our three previous write-ups from the Reinventing Outbound series (all linked below), then you are likely already making huge steps in creating the perfect outbound contact strategy.

Read ‘Reinventing Outbound Service: Proactively Engaging Your Customers’ >

Read ‘Reinventing Outbound Sales: Filling in the Gaps that Digital Marketing Can’t Fix’ >

Read ‘Reinventing Outbound Collections & Recovery: Bringing ‘Debt Collection’ into the 21st Century’ >

You can also watch the full recording of our live event ‘Reinventing Outbound: Retentions & Resolutions’ by clicking here.

About TMAC, FAB Solutions, and The Verity Centre

At TMAC we want to make every conversation valuable, and we believe human-to-human interactions augmented with AI will provide the best experience. Solve real problems with our three contact centre software solutions (Listen, Act & Learn), that put your customers front and centre by helping you listen to them, act on their preference, and coach your teams to success.

FAB Solutions have collectively over 50 years’ experience working in contact centres fixing broken processes, creating engaging people plans, and driving performance through effective use of people, process improvement and leadership development. FAB offer a range of solutions including outsourcing, consulting services, contact centre training & leaderships development. Click here to learn more about FAB.

The Verity Centre is a boutique contact centre, offering full OMNI Channel communication. Their services are personal and bespoke, offering a range of customised, tailormade services to support your particular market and specific needs. The Verity Centre is an extension of your brand; engaging and working with you in partnership to understand the nuances of your company and business objectives. Click here for The Verity Centre’s website.

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