Brand reputation is a fragile thing. Opinions and bad experiences proliferate publicly on social media. In fact, a single person with a negative review has the power to create an online storm of unwelcome attention directed at your business.
Research into the issue often concludes that price, availability, and choice of products are some of the biggest drivers of brand popularity.
But when it comes to your reputation, one factor consistently has the biggest impact: customer service.
There are many ways customers interact with your brand. There’s web chat, social media direct messages, emails, physical stores, forums and, increasingly, your call centre.
In fact, research by virtual receptionist firm Moneypenny shows that in the past five years, businesses across industry have seen a 34% increase in the number of calls they receive.
It means the phone is an ever-popular (and growing!) means through which your customers want to contact you. It also means it’s a potential breeding ground for those negative experiences.
So what does this mean for marketing? Ensuring that the best possible customer service is being provided at the call centre is an operations issue, right?
Why marketers should care about call centre operations
If what’s happening in your call centre affects your brand reputation, it becomes a marketing issue, too.
These days, anyone with a negative experience has the world at their fingertips. It just takes one inflammatory post on social media and their views are out there for everyone to see.
And most of the time, it will be the marketing team’s job to manage the backlash (that’s if it doesn’t become a full blown crisis comms issue).
So what’s a busy marketing team to do? How can you help call centre ops to maintain a positive brand reputation?
3 quick and easy things marketing teams can do
While it isn’t a marketing team’s job to manage call centre operations, there are some very easy ways marketing can help ops provide the best possible customer experience.
1. Share your valuable customer insight
Marketing teams should be the font of knowledge when it comes to customer insight. Any team worth it’s budget should be gathering as much information about customer pain points and preferences to inform marketing activities. Insight should inform every decision we make – both strategic and tactical.
So why not share this insight with ops to help them better understand their customers? When you gather useful information to help inform marketing campaign planning, you can bet the insight will be useful to ops too.
For example, you can help call handlers better understand the pain points and challenges faced by customers and pre-empt the reasons why they may be calling in the first place. Speech analytics is a great tool for this, helping you hear first-hand what concerns and queries customers have.
2. Manage complaints before they get to the call centre
As we’ve mentioned, social media has become the go-to venting ground for many of today’s disgruntled customers. If you aren’t staying on top of negative comments on social media, the next port of call for customers will likely be a phone call.
By nipping issues in the bud as soon as they arise on social media, you’ll be helping to maintain a positive image and reputation for your brand.
Salesforce recommends eight ways to manage negative comments on social media – including using social listening to spot issues arising, responding in a timely manner and having defined social media management workflows.
3. Give operations a heads-up for busy days ahead
As the marketing team, you’ll know when ad campaigns are planned, and therefore, when busy periods of new enquiries and sales are likely to hit. With your insights, you can help operations understand when demand could be high, in turn helping them manage staffing levels for the best customer experience.
Marketing insight can also be used to make sure that high-value or high-ticket customers from your ad campaigns are routed through to the right call handler – on a ‘VIP’ line, for example. Or if a customer’s journey includes a certain campaign or touchpoint, operations can use the insight to prioritise those callers.
For larger businesses, the PR and marketing teams are seen as the bastions of brand reputation. But in today’s multichannel, online world, brand reputation is the responsibility of the entire business. Anywhere a customer touchpoint exists, there’s the potential for a poor brand experience. And when those experiences go public, it’s not an easy place to come back from.
Where your call centre is concerned, marketing can be a big help in giving operatives the additional tools they need to deliver a stellar brand experience with every single call.