July 2010

Article Archives:

December 9 2010 - 9 Must Have Marketing Metrics

November 24 2010 - Is Your Marketing on Autopilot?

November 17 2010 - Are You Advertising in the Yellow Pages?

November 10 2010 - Facebook Versus Google Pay Per Click

November 2 2010 - What is the Reticular Activating System?

October 27 2010 - Meaningful Marketing Messages

October 20 2010 - The Impact of Culture on Marketing

July 2010 - Hiring a Good CSR

June 24 2010 - What do Redclick Superstars do for fun?

June 2010 - Branding Updates

May 2010 - Advertising Fads

April 2010 - Demand & Non-Demand Marketing

March 2010 - Google Trends

February 2010 - Rebranding

January 2010 - Cutting the Strings

December 2009 - Lead Source

The customer service representatives in your company are often the first impression a customer or vendor has with your company. This makes it a key touch point in the marketing and the sales process. 

All customer services reps should sound friendly, not bored or robotic, should be able to soothe irritated customers without getting defensive or frazzled, and should know what their responsibilities are with the call. 

The first two attributes are fairly simple to hire for. The challenge can be finding candidates who understand their responsibilities for the call.  Since we hire such caring individuals, they often care so much about the customer they tend to undermine the objectives of the company.  That’s why it is so important to explain why the company needs the call to be handled in certain ways. 

When CSRs schedule appointments for their company, the company wants them booked as soon as possible and to get in as many as possible in the same day. However, when talking to the customer, the CSR listens to what the customer wants and books the appointment when the customer wants -- without suggesting the ideal configuration of appointments. This creates a conflict. With a little bit of training and understanding the CSR can use scripts to steer the caller into one of the sooner appointments. 

One way is to only offer the sooner appointments. After the CSR collects the customer’s name and contact information, he or she says “and I have tomorrow at 2 and at 3 available. Which would work for you?” The key is to not skip a beat. When the CSR is asking the contact information questions, the customer is in a rhythm of answering questions which keeps the CSR in control of the conversation. This also works if your CSR is expecting the customer to want a same day appointment, but doesn’t have any left for today. He or she can offer a choice of appointments at later dates.

Another way for a CSR to help the company’s objectives is to realize what type of customer is calling. 

Customers who never called before fall into one of these categories:

  • Price Shopper prospects
  • Need it Now prospects
  • Educate Me prospects

Customers who have called before fall into one of these categories:

  • Need More Proof customers
  • Member customers
  • Maintenance customers
  • Former customers

To determine the types of customers, the CSR has to listen to specific cues:

Each customer type will need a slightly different script that a good CSR can jump to when necessary. For example, if the customer asks about pricing over the phone, the CSR would know that the caller is a price shopper and doesn’t know what other questions to ask. Maybe they never had the type of service that they are calling about, and want to be “smart” about it. Or, they may have been burned by a contractor that over charged and under-valued them. The CSR would steer the caller away from price by explaining the steps of the appointment.

A Need-it-Now prospect gives cues by expressing a sense of urgency and may ask for an appointment today or tomorrow.  Accommodating this prospect will give a greater chance of retaining this customer.

Educate Me prospects ask questions. This is an opportunity to shine by explaining some of the value-added services that you have. 
Need More Proof customers have used your service once and aren’t loyal yet. If the interaction is consistent with their previous interaction, and they feel valued, they will be more likely to use you again.

Member and Maintenance customers signed up for a program with you and may or may not remember that they did so. This is a great thing to remind them of when they call the next time.  The CSR could say “I see that you are a member and that means that you receive a 15% discount off of your service today.” It is important to remind them of the benefits of calling back again. If the caller is a Former customer from years ago, the CSR could thank them for calling again. The customer will be impressed that they knew the information.

If the CSRs know and understand how the company wants them to perform, they typically will. It does take practice so some periodic role-playing is important. They know the customers and may be able to offer other types of cues and ways to respond.