When a customer calls into an inbound call center, whether to seek help with a problem, inquire about a sale or promotion, schedule service, or some other reason, the call center agent they reach undoubtedly has a goal for the call in mind before they even answer the phone. The goal might be to resolve the problem and end the call as quickly as possible, or it may be to make a sale or renew a contract at any cost. While these are valuable in the short term, and may very well be what the customer and/or the company are hoping for, they are not always going to be the most valuable for the business as a whole. That thing, which should be the focus of every interaction with every customer, is long-term customer success.
What do we mean by long-term customer success?
We mean that the customer will continue to be a satisfied and paying member of the customer base beyond the life cycle of one product or one contract. Repeat customers are what keep companies in business, not to mention the fact that they are the only way to be sure that you are doing a good job creating and selling your products or services. In other words, if no one is ever satisfied enough to come back for more, you’ve got a big problem. But there’s another element to this. Not only do you want customers to become repeat customers, but you also want them to grow with your company, trying other products and scaling up their services. You want them to be so satisfied that they want more, and more, and more. And creating these customers needs to be the primary goal of every call center agent on every call.
Depending on the nature of the call, the way to achieve this goal is going to be different. In some cases, it may be true that the way to promote long-term customer success is to solve the caller’s problem as efficiently as possible. Or it may be that the only way to resolve their issue is to sell them a different product. If this is true, it is critical that agents clearly explain the circumstances to the caller, along with why other solutions are not ideal. For example, say that a software company customer is having a problem with the software. The agent knows that there is a short-term solution, but that solution will no longer work once the next update is released in a few months. Instead of offering the short-term solution, the agent should explain the update situation to the caller and provide them the opportunity to update now (even if it will take a little longer) and avoid winding up in the same situation a few months down the road.
When customers contact a call center, they often have an idea in their head of what the optimal resolution of the call would be for them. Sometimes, they are not correct and it is up to the agent to recognize when this is the case and strive to do what’s best for the customer in the long-term—even if it means a few extra minutes of discussion in the moment. At the end of each call, agents should ask themselves if their efforts increased the likelihood that the caller will become a repeat customer. If the answer is yes, they’ve done their job. If the answer is maybe or no, they may need to adjust their approach going forward.
One thing that will always help agents and businesses achieve their goal of long-term customer success is an easy-to-use call center platform, like CallShaper, that will support agents in their pursuit. To learn more about how, contact us today.
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