You lost me there part 3 (losing customers in the call center)

In part 3 of this series (Jim’s note: originally written for All About ROI Magazine, formerly Catalog Success), I’ll continue to recap a presentation I gave a few weeks ago to the Florida Direct Marketing Association titled “The Second Half: 50 Tips, Tricks and Tactics to Make You a Direct Marketing Superstar.”

In particular, this week I examine the value of the call center.

I’ve engaged in debates before with multichannel marketers who don’t believe they need a call center. I spoke briefly about this in part one of this series, but I believe it warrants mention again.

If you believe — and many of the purest of pure-play Internet marketers do — that you don’t need a call center, think again. I’ve seen this debate lost over and over again. People still want, and sometimes need, a human voice to help with their orders, especially if you offer products that are complicated and/or higher in cost.

It’s not that difficult to add a call center these days. And as I’ve said before, there are even call-center companies that allow you to buy blocks of time. Other call-center companies charge a flat fee per call or per sale.

Want to see your average order values, conversion rates and lifetime values go up? Bring a call center into the mix. Think about it this way: If your Web site converts 4 percent of visitors, even the worst of call centers will convert at least 10 percent of callers. That’s a 2.5:1 ratio, on the low end.

If you want to create your own internal call center because you think you can do it better, you may be right, but you might want to enlist the help of a good call-center/operations consultant to get set up correctly. The good news: These days there are many software as a service products that can get you set up quickly and efficiently.

So back to what I said in week one of this series — make it easy for people to contact you. Promote your phone number and you’ll see excellent results.

Next week I’ll discuss more ways multichannel companies can capture customers with some tips and techniques designed for your call center.

Have a comment? Want to add something? Disagree with me and want to start a duel? Post it below. Speak to you next week.

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