How many customers have you lost this year? Most of our business data revolves around how many customers we have gained. We know what they are collectively worth, and we may even have drilled down to find out what they are individually worth. This helps us find our key customers. They are the ones we want to look after to make sure they are happy to come back to us again and again.
We may be able to find out patterns in customer purchases. This might help us determine if a customer is no longer using us. Their purchase patterns might fade and disappear altogether. What do you do when that happens? Let’s be honest, most of us as small business managers don’t have the time to analyse our sales data that deeply. In fact, few of us probably collect adequate sales data to be able to drill into it at all. Limited resources and limited time might be costing us dearly, but we just can’t find out.
Data management is key to understanding your own business. Data and statistics tell us about our marketplace, our competitors and opportunities that may be on the horizon. The trouble is this costs money and takes time. They are the two things small business don’t have. Sometimes the answer is to outsource some of what we do. That way, we can hire a company with greater resources to provide the answers we need.
Marketing strategies and business plans need data to be effective. We spend a lot of money on marketing, but some it may feel like blind cash throwing when we can’t be certain of our return on investment. Collecting data helps us provide answers and take calculated risks. If you can’t gather data about your customers in-house, it may be worth exploring what an outsourced company can do for you.
If you don’t know how many customers you have lost, it may be time to look at how available you are to them. If your customer call center is unable to tell you how many dropped calls they have suffered, it may be worth utilising a call answering service by Message Direct, or other call center specialist. These companies can answer your calls on your behalf. At the same time, they are collecting data about the calls. They will endeavor to answer every call that comes in on your number. If they are answering and converting more calls than your contact center, then it is likely you were suffering dropped calls. This means your call center was too busy to answer each call before the customer gave up. Those customers who give up could be going somewhere else, so they are lost customers to you.
Telephone answering service providers are especially useful during busy trading periods. When your call center is busy, overflow calls can be direct to these companies instead. They can answer the phone and take messages on your behalf. Alternatively, you may choose to use them to handle enquiries and even manage sales for you. Data is key. These giant call centers collect data, and you will be able to see clearly how your customers are using your phone service. If you are trying to increase inbound calls, utilising a large call center provider with the facility to provide clear data could be useful to check your ROI.
Your in-house customer call center may not be as effective as you would like. By using an outsourced call center, you should soon be able to tell how your team compares. There are times when staff fall short and times when they excel. You may be able to collect enough data to find out when and why. Supporting your in-house team with an overflow service may be highly beneficial in reducing staff stress and sickness. If you can claw back days taken off ill by using an overflow service, you may be able to reduce costs. Before you recruit extra people, it is always worth trying an outsourced call overflow service to see what kinds of calls are needing to be handled.
When you are choosing your telephone answering company, it is always beneficial to pay them a visit and tour their call centers. You can gain an insight into how calls are managed on a grand scale, and gain some tips on customer care on the phone. Meeting with your account handler is always a good idea so you can build a rapport. You may want the calls to be handled in a particular way. Produce some scripts you would like the call handlers to follow. If your business is in a regulated sector like financial services, this could be essential for compliance reasons.
Some businesses like to outsource all of their call handling. This can be beneficial for several reasons. If you are employing the staff directly, you can save on recruitment costs, wages, benefits and pensions. It also saves you an enormous amount of time in terms of managing teams of staff. Reducing the HR requirements on your business can save your company a lot of money. It may be that your business is not ideally suited to recruit high calibre customer service agents. Outsourcing to a company that attracts the best people and can recruit from areas that has good education and training for customer service may be good for your business.
Sometimes things go wrong in our business, and we find that our staff are falling short in our customer’s expectations of service. The staff may be letting us down, or our technical operations may be falling short of what our customers need to do business with us. It can be too expensive to address shortcomings in our infrastructure when we are a small business. Utilising an outsourced company either temporarily or permanently could keep us going on a budget. Providing a high level of professionalism is crucial to our survival in the business world. Finding the right business partner to help our company deliver that is key.