A Strategic Retail Call Center Partner Makes a Big Bottom-Line Difference

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If you read business publications or watch the news, you’re certainly aware that many retailers are struggling to remain viable. If you’re a retailer, you understand the inside issues.

Several retailers are consolidating their locations and closing less profitable stores. Name brands we’ve known for nearly one-hundred years are teetering on shutting their doors forever. Competition is keen for retailers and several are, at best, in survival mode.

If there was ever a time for retailers to innovate and implement process improvements, the time is now. At this point, your success starts with a strategic retail call center partner.

Several retailers are attempting to return to the branding and merchandising roots that made them successful in the first place. A well-known restaurant chain has dropped menu items that distracted them from their very successful core business and corporate personality. One big box retailer known for its low prices is no longer offering the upscale designer brands it thought would attract new customers. Actually offering these upscale brands had the opposite effect on their sales.

Several retailers are experimenting with social media and the huge potential of the social web. Others are offering enhanced loyalty programs to encourage repeat purchases. Still others are trying to re-brand themselves to become more appealing to a broader demographic of consumers.

However, there is another growing trend among retailers that’s proving to have an excellent payback, and often within a shorter timeframe: the outsourcing to call centers, and in some cases, their entire customer services operations. Retail call centers handle phone order processing, answer customer questions about products and services, manage email response, and are an extension of the retailer in a variety of cost saving ways.

Which retailers – and what’s a good start?

Any retailer that has a huge base of customers participating in a store sponsored loyalty program is a candidate for a call center outbound campaign. The potential ROI is excellent. Retail call centers are in an excellent position to deliver cost-effective outbound campaigns that target inactive loyalty program members with reactivation incentives.

The goal of the outbound campaign is simple – entice delinquent shoppers to return to the store and purchase more regularly.

A retail good call center can be at the center of an outbound customer reactivation program that generates store traffic, reestablishes customer relationships, and builds sales. Any retailer that has a loyalty program and sells a large variety and volume of items (grocery, big box), and even specialty retailers (sporting goods, electronics, DIY) are good candidates for a call center driven customer reactivation campaign.

Customer Conversion Rates Justify Loyalty Reactivations

According to Marketing Wizdom’s “20 Customer Retention Strategies,” retailers can expect conversion rates for reactivating customers to be in the 25%-60% range. Would this conversion rate appeal to your organization?

The incentive offer to motivate loyalty members to return could be a discount, a gift, or perhaps a bundled set of items. Providing an incentive to reactive members need not be costly to the retailer, but rather a high-value to the customer.

A call center can use a variety of methods to determine why the consumers stopped purchasing items from you, such as the likelihood of returning and making repeat purchases, and recommending your company to friends and family. The call center can survey the inactive customers, and contact them to learn the reasons why their shopping patterns changed.

Using surveys, your partner can gather data that, when analyzed, will provide insight into why consumers have not been purchasing from you. Data gathering can also include questions about the competition, which competitors the customer gravitates towards, and why.

Getting the Process Started

Choosing the right call center is the first step. A good call center partner is  capable of leveraging multiple customer support channels to deliver a variety of outbound programs for you that include phone, email, surveys and NPS – and if you have text and social media information on your loyalty club members, expertise with these technologies, as well.

Visit the call center you’re evaluating to determine your level of rapport with them, and their ability to deliver for your organization. Once you’ve identified a call center partner, it’s time to determine how you’ll structure your customer reactivation program.

You will need to determine:

  • Is your loyalty database solid and have there been recent updates.
  • Have you captured complete contact information, such as full name, address, phone, email, birth date, and social media addresses?
  • Based on your database’s inactive loyalty club member data, what’s the best incentive to motivate them to return, shop, and buy?
  • Loyalty programs capture purchasing behaviors. Can you mine purchasing history of the inactive loyalty members and provide insight to the incentive to offer? Tailoring the reactivation program to be as specific as possible will produce the best results.

Shoppers should view the incentive as valuable; however, it does not have to be wildly extravagant or expensive for the retailer. Making the offer appealing is the key; this can be a discount percentage, a gift, or a tailored promotion. Be creative!

Outbound Contact to Engage Loyalty Club Members

Bonding with the consumer is certainly the goal of brands everywhere. It’s no different with your retail loyalty program; helping your loyalty club member feel appreciated and well served is vital for the program.

Your call center partner can contact new members by welcoming them to the club and letting them know about upcoming sales, promotions, events, and poll them on additional needed services. They can win back inactive loyalty club members by engaging them in the same manner.

Your call center can phone, email, text, or social message members and encourage them to return and purchase. With these contacts, you can gather the information that’s lacking in your database, such as mobile numbers, the number of people in household, number of children, and email and physical addresses to send coupons and promotions.

With each contact, you can create a profile based on the questions asked, and develop your own market study around your customers. You may already appreciate the value of this information!

Use outbound contacts to learn: 

  • How happy customers are with your operation?
  • Are they looking for products you don’t supply?
  • Are there areas of service that need improvement?
  • Are your clients satisfied with your services?
  • What improvements would benefit the customer care experience?
  • Are they satisfied with pricing, merchandising and brands?

Call Centers can offer instant innovation!

A good call center can offer you multiple channels to communicate with clients.

  • Tailored inbound and inbound phone services
  • Email response and web forms management
  • Live Web Chat (easy to implement and has huge sales and customer delight potential!)
  • Text messaging hot deals of the day
  • Social media promotions and offers to subscribers
  • Social media customer support services

It’s Worth a Test

Selecting a competitive retail call center that will tailor and deploy your programs is probably much more affordable than you think. Your partner will offer you multiple channels to reach and bond with your customers, improve your bottom-line, and differentiate you from your competition. Whatever the program, your call center will tailor it to your specific requirements.

Your call center partner has the potential to help you:

  • Bond with your customers; provide new ways to surprise and delight
  • Help gather market data about your customers; help you to understand their buying inclinations and how you stack up against the competition
  • Increase sales through outbound calls; reactivate customers who are delinquent
  • Use channels that are trending upward; live web chat, text messaging, and social media services
  • Provide a huge leap in technologies and customer support strategies

Site: Market Wizdom