By Chris Recio, Inflow Communications Director of Contact Center & Advanced Applications
In the context of contact centers, marketing and lead generation stand alone. A contact center is not always a contact center. Sure, its a main point of contact for customer and potential customers, but if you look closely enough, youll find something different altogether.
Marketing and Lead Generation are operational beasts unto themselves. These environments live and breathe by data, conversions and reporting, reporting, reporting. When I walk into a marketing or lead generation opportunity, I am laser focused on their needs for reporting; and of course, the operation at the contact center agent-to-customer level.
Getting to Contact Center Agent-to-Customer Root Level
In a recent meeting, which appeared to be a healthcare operation, after all, their name alluded to it. I began dialogue with the operational team and within 5 minutes the other shoe dropped. This operation, a behavioral sciences healthcare facility, began to explain their operation. The sales rep who requested my assistance also advised it was healthcare. But, as the operational team began to expose their need for better contact center software, the pieces fell into place rather quickly.
At one point, strategically of course, when I found a moment of pause I looked the director in the eye and said, “Ok, so you want the referral?”.
In that moment, at least 2 seconds of silence, I saw his eyes stop and look at me – I still am not sure if the look I received was one of ohhh or one of amazement you absolutely get it, he said yes and continued on with his dialogue for another minute. Then I proceeded to probe about his data infrastructure, his BI applications, and of course, how this information is reported back for conversion success monitoring.
Digging Beyond Operations: Reporting and Data
Of course his agents were interested in screen pops, how to open account information, and the ease-of-reports for floor managers. But from that moment going forward, regardless of what we offered agents and the overall contact center operation, this was a discussion about marketing and lead gen – reporting and data. These elements were absolutely connected. Using his internal reporting to influence routing and drive conversions was the key here.
More often than not, reporting and routing (I will say that loosely) are seen as separate entities. For marketing and lead generation, they are one and the same. The time to conversion is critical. Oftentimes you only get one shot and it better be a good one to win the business.
In these environments, it is not enough to have a great ACD. It is not enough to have the ability to apply skills. It is absolutely necessary to have the flexibility to use their internal data to make on-the-fly decisions about where the call, web chat or interaction must be placed. Time is money and any delay can be the difference between the YES or the NO.
In these environments the ACD is passive to the data. Yet, the ACD must be diligent in responding to that data. The ACD must also be flexible. Add to that, the closer is king, yet few operations understand how to leverage data to create a dynamic and competitive environment that energizes the agent, and dare I say, creates a feeding frenzy on the floor. Lastly, reporting is the quintessential goal, aside from winning the business, of course.
Dont Let Bad Software and Misalignment of Purpose Happen to Your ACD
Marketing and Lead Generation operations are notorious for analytics. Finding ways to allow them to have ultimate control allows the driver of the business to control his destiny. Often, the obstacle is software and misalignment of purpose. Being held at the mercy of ACD software is heartbreaking.
We regularly work with our customers to remove obstacles and put more control into the hands of our marketing and lead gen customers. One of our largest customers had a routine of changing contact center software regularly, because it just doesnt do what we want it to do. Today, that same customer has greater control over their environment, using data to do the heavy lifting. Data drives every interaction, every interaction is as a one-off, very strategically. Aligning their purpose with ACD software and their internal data mart has allowed us to leverage more intelligent ACDs in a way they had not envisioned. Not only do they have greater control over their contact center operation, they now have a streamlined process for reporting, capturing critical data, marrying it to their CRM and BI applications, closing the loop on their marketing and lead gen efforts. In this way, the ACD, CRM and BI applications are no longer seen as separate, but, one larger performance beast.
At Inflow Communications, we understand how important closing the loop on marketing and lead generation operations is to the core business. We too understand that reporting is critical in these environments. We are always looking for creative ways to put these worlds together. To us, its a fun way to bring new life to the contact center.
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Founded in 1997, Inflow is one of the nation’s top Unified Communications and Contact Center consultants in today’s market. Pioneers in cloud unified communications and cloud contact center success, Inflow is the first company to provide contact center consulting and training focused solely on helping you elevate your customer experience.
With over 200,000 endpoints supported under Inflow’s innovative success programs around the world, Inflow built its brand and reputation around providing unrivaled customer support. Inflow is in Mitel/ShoreTel’s top 2% in global customer satisfaction, and quickly acquiring a top spot with RingCentral, Genesys PureCloud and NICE inContact.
By partnering with Inflow, you can expect the highest level of strategic consultation, execution, and optimization available in the industry.