This article was originally written by Bill Hoppin, EVP of Sales, Marketing and Alliances at TalkIQ for Opentalk Magazine.
Today we have so many ways to communicate with each other: email, text, social, web, chat, instant messaging, etc. Businesses are rapidly adopting these new channels to interact with their customers, but they all have one major characteristic: a delay between when a question or a statement is posted and the response. This asynchronous communication can be helpful when a brand needs time to review information and reply. It makes sense — we have all let a call go to voicemail when we want to learn a bit more before being on the spot.
For businesses, the delay associated with these communication channels carries the risk of simply contacting your customers without really connecting with them.
Connect to your customers in real time with a personal touch
Real-time communication is the way humans have interacted to build relationships since the origins of language. Whether it is an in-person business meeting, a web meeting or a phone call, engaging customers in this way is the path to loyal and meaningful customer relationships. When you connect with your customer instead of just contacting them, you show the human part of your company, one that detects and reacts to subtle interactions that occur.
Ideally, these client relationships are developed during face-to-face meetings with your customer, like the door-to-door salesperson of the past, who evolved into the outside salesperson of today. This is still the best way to create and develop meaningful customer relationships. The onsite service person of the past filled a similar role for customer support and service. Nothing helps develop a relationship better than solving a problem quickly and efficiently for a customer in need. If this can be done in-person, it’s even better — think about the Apple genius bar. The challenge for many businesses trying to efficiently deliver in-person sales and support is cost and scale. In a majority of cases, it is prohibitive to have a sales or support team large enough to meet on-site with customers.
The meteoric rise of the contact center (the answer to real-time, cost-effective customer engagement at scale)
A better and much more scalable compromise for developing customer relationships is real-time voice communication over the phone. While not as powerful as in-person engagement to develop relationships, voice communication is a much more scalable and cost-effective platform. Teams of sales and support reps can engage customers over the phone to add a personal touch and develop stronger relationships.
This strategy has given rise to explosive contact center growth around the globe. With the advantages that the cloud offers, call centers can be set up quickly and scale up or down according to the business’s needs. The cloud-based contact center makes it seamless for a business to maintain internal or outsourced sales and support teams. It’s just as easy to maintain a hybrid team of dedicated in-house talent augmented with external teams.
These cloud-based contact center platforms are optimized for speed of installation and setup to get sales and support teams up and running quickly. Businesses gain the benefit of real-time voice and meaningful relationships with customers. These platforms have been built to provide an end-to-end voice solution that begins with the initial sales contact and continues all the way through the purchase decision and into customer support interactions.
Cloud-based contact center platforms have also been built with extensibility in mind. Leading companies are making a rich set of APIs available; enabling an ecosystem of value-added capability derived from contact center data. This API platform ultimately enables solutions to be available in an easy-to-access marketplace where customers can discover, try and buy the latest innovations.
Read the full article in Opentalk Magazine by clicking the image below.