Transitioning from Cold Calling to Relationship-Building through the Contact Center

How often does it happen that you are in the office, maybe exchanging a joke with colleagues or trying to get your head around a report, and you’re interrupted by a bank agent calling you up to pitch yet another credit card, or some other “exciting” service you aren’t remotely interested in?

And how many tactics have you used to dodge those calls? The list is endless: the need to go into a meeting, pretending they’ve reached an out-of-date number, faking your own death… OK, maybe the last one is just me.

Dislike for intrusive cold-calling is pretty universal. In the UK, BT is introducing its “Choose to Refuse” service, allowing users to block annoying and unwanted incoming calls from specific numbers. Good news for the consumer perhaps, but not such good news for organizations that have put a lot of effort into designing and tailoring an attractive offering–one that their customers may well be excited about hearing of – but only if they are approached in the right way.

Ultimately, getting the approach wrong is what is really causing annoyance. It’s understandable that organizations marketing new products and services want to leverage their existing database of current and potential customers–that’s why they invested in building those resources in the first place. Businesses today sit on a tremendous amount of customer data, collected from the different touch points they use to interact with them, whether that is email, voice, chat, Web or social.

What too many businesses are doing with this data today is contact en masse all the contacts they have assembled with offers that may or may not be relevant to them – which is why people end up avoiding their calls.

The end result can be a lot worse than a wasted call: this type of approach can do severe damage to a company’s reputation, with customers literally going out of their way to avoid contact with a brand.

Predictive analytics, according to Ahmed Helmy, a senior architect at Avaya, is the answer. With the tools available today for the contact center environment, the mass approach is totally avoidable – but only if an organization has integrated its contact center with other communication and marketing channels, and is prepared to deliver a true omnichannel customer experience.

In today’s customer environment, omnichannel should be a prerequisite.

By breaking down information silos, enterprises can really crunch data, allowing it to intelligently identify the buying habits of customers, and their likes and dislikes—how and when they like to be contacted, how they engaged previously, and what is likely going to trigger their interest.

By efficiently managing contact center resources and enabling agents to have the “right” conversation with the “right” customers, companies can boost their sales, enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, and, ultimately, grow their bottom line.

Avaya Chief Technologist Jean Turgeon says organizations that adopt this approach are moving from the contact center environment into the world of the “relationship center” – a term that covers a number of meanings: mutual understanding of what is important, appreciation and respect of likes and dislikes, delivering value to both parties, and, eventually, building long-term relationships that are extremely hard to break.

Avaya has built the tools that deliver predictive analytics – we can help enterprises seamlessly crunch and segment their massive data stores and enable software tools to predict customers’ needs and behaviors. These can be linked to the ongoing development of products and services, ultimately creating an ecosystem within the organization that is continuously in-motion, reaching out to every customer differently, as they want it and with what they want.

So, hopefully, the next time my bank calls me, it will be contacting me before my annual trip to the UK to offer me a card with a loyalty reward program that covers my favorite UK brands. And that will be an offer I really can’t refuse.

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