Being a consumer in South Africa and having to contact a call centre normally leaves one feeling anxious. 99% of the time you’re not going to get what you want. Here is one example that happened to me today with an inbound sales call centre environment.
- I go to the Travel Insurance Companies website, I bought travel insurance from them last time so I thought I would again
- The website is broken so I can’t buy online (As this point I would advise client to fix the website to handle sales and save on call centre agent costs)
- I contact the call centre
- While I’m on hold I google “travel insurance”
- I click on a few and find one that is suitable
- I buy it online and save some money
- I did all this before the sales agent in the call centre even picked up 9 minutes later
The moral of the story is if a consumer can avoid inbound call centres, then they will. If there is an option to save time and not get frustrated then it’s a no brainer, people will do it. The combination of the experience to a (potential/return) customer as well as the cost to the business of a call centre highlights a gap.
Brands need websites, mobile and social media platforms that bring in new customers, generate sales and provide support. Ones that provide utility.
Brands also need to lift the burden of inbound call centres by using Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to serve their customers. Scripted responses like “please contact our customer support number” are not helpful. In fact they just piss people off. These kinds of responses push the customer away to reconsider their purchase/brand/product, which is a waste of marketing budget making them aware of your product in the first place (which is a whole different topic).
Brands need to adopt strategy and operationally implement social media into PR and customer care. Customer support that is done on social media is transparent and open, plus it can help other people with the same problem – reducing the load on your customer care unit. How many times have you just Googled a question you have and seen a page with answers to your exact question.
If companies cannot give powerful customer service tools to digital ecosystem and social media managers, then an alternative would be to integrate social media management into customer care directly.
I don’t think operationally any of this is easy but the gist is Facebook, BBM and What’s App are making people more included to use digital devices and less inclined to waste their phone credit calling a call centre.