How to Use the Outbound Dialer for Proactive Service
February 05, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Anticipation of customer needs – any organization that can get this right is sure to dominate their respective industry. Every professional in the call center industry knows, however, that promising to anticipate customer needs and actually executing on the concept are two entirely different things. For some, anticipating needs means watching trends. For others, it means knowing when the customer needs to interact with the company. Can the outbound dialer help in the process?
A recent inContact report, Being Proactive and Generating Results, examines how to achieve proactive service. One key point – it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. The outbound dialer can assist in the process, but it takes more than just connecting at the right time. Instead, the dialer should be used as part of a broad strategy to anticipate needs and provide the right mix of information and tools to meet those needs.
Making the right connection at the right time isn’t the only focus, but it is the first part of the process. The service doesn’t stop there; call centers must be able to provide proactive service to the right customer at the right time. Analytics tools help to capture information on what customers are sharing about their support preferences, needs and behaviors so the call center can then cater communications outreach for the most appropriate channel.
When an outbound dialer is not used and companies deliver reactive service, this on-the-fly assistance lacks meaningful outcomes. To create long-term customer satisfaction that keeps the loyal to the brand and purchasing time and again, proactive service that anticipates and meets the needs of the customer before they are expressed is a must.
Critical touchpoints must also be identified. Did the customer experience a snag when trying to resolve a support issue? If so, such inhibitors to the quality interaction need to be quickly identified and addressed. The outbound dialer can be used to make a direct connection with the customer, using information gleaned from the previous transaction to provide resolution and satisfaction.
A proactive approach to service also helps an organization to overcome key barriers in culture or processes to provide the exceptional proactive customer service customers have come to expect. First, agents must be brought up to speed and the initiative must be integrated into current hiring processes. The outbound dialer can play a significant part, but only if agents understand its use and how to incorporate it into their current activities. If this requires a change in the standard way of doing business, an effective change management program is a must.
Finally, it's critical that the use of the outbound dialer does not in fact come off as intrusive to the customer. Any proactive service needs to be perceived as relevant and useful, not as if the call center is acting as Big Brother and intruding on the privacy or preferences of the individual. If this happens, any benefit the call center was seeking to create with a personalized experience is quickly wiped out and the customer may instead look to the competition.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli