The Contact Center industry is a huge piece of the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) pie. Within this arena it is critical to maintain a competitive edge for healthy economic forecasts. In addition to wooing new clients for added growth we must do all in our power to retain our existing valued clients. Common wisdom tells us that the cost of acquisition is on average five times higher than the cost of retention. In addition to keeping a sharp eye on performance metrics and quality assessments, we must also engage in an open dialogue with our customers so we know where we stand in their eyes. All else being equal , clients make hiring or retention decisions based upon not only the above factors but also on what is sometimes referred to as the ‘Halo Effect’.
As applied to business, the Halo Effect, described by Phil Rosenzweig, refers to either the positive or negative interpretation attributed to identical performance numbers depending on the reputation or brand of that business which precedes the performance results. In short, if a business has a good performance month and is perceived as being ably managed, those results will be interpreted as the product of strong management. In contrast, if a business suffers from a less positive image those results could be seen as mere luck or as an anomaly. His position is that performance can only be seen in the context of the larger market and one’s competition. “Following a given formula can’t ensure high performance, and for a simple reason: in a competitive market economy, performance is fundamentally relative, not absolute. Success and failure depend not only on a company’s actions but also on those of its rivals. A company can improve its operations in many ways…but if rivals improve at a faster rate, its performance may suffer.”
Businesses who understand this key ingredient will strive to create a corporate culture aimed at client retention which is Client-Centric, ensuring that the customer is at the center of a businesses’ philosophy, operations, or ideas. These businesses believe that their clients are the only reason that they exist and use every possible avenue to keep clients happy. In order to keep our clients happy, we must first know what makes them happy and we must monitor that happiness to ensure it does not diminish or dip.
The quick and easy answer to know whether our customer perceives us well is to simply ask them. While this can be done frequently in a face-to-face dialogue, we should also formalize the quest for feedback. Ken Blanchard refers to feedback as ‘the Breakfast of Champions’, another way to keep the competitive edge . Asking clients if the processes your firm is using work for them gives you the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships. By asking and listening, you promote your brand as a client-centric firm, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and increase efficiency.
In addition to collecting feedback you must also be prepared to incorporate it into your current processes to impact the bottom line. While most client surveys contain answers with scoring-type questions to quantify the degree of satisfaction and to document trending, we should also provide the ability for clients to leave comments forming the basis for a true Voice of the Customer result.
Client Survey Processes should:
1. Be Formalized
2. Take advantage of personal interactions
3. Occur at important benchmarks and regularly thereafter
4. Discern how one stacks up against competition
5. Be quantifiable and documented
6. Be actionable and incorporated where possible
Let your client know that you are eager for feedback and follow up with how you have taken their feedback and updated your processes to better serve their needs. Before long you will be able to leverage the new polished glow of your halo through retaining happy customers who are eager to share their high regard for your company, enhancing your brand and assisting in the acquisition of new highly satisfied clients.
This blog was written by nancy Wright, Project Manager for Etech Global Services. If you would like to learn more about Etech and how to develop a socially enabled call center, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.