5 Ways to Successfully Monetize Your Contact Center
by Joe McFadden, Vice President Marketing, SalesPortal -
June 24, 2013
5 ways to successfully monetize your contact center
By Joe McFadden, vice president of marketing, SalesPortal
A 2013 Aberdeen Group survey of service organization executives indicates a clear trend to utilize call centers as profit centers, not just cost centers. Seventy percent of survey respondents said their call centers would operate in some capacity as a profit center in 2013. Compare this to 59 percent with the same response in 2012, and 53 percent in 2011. This trend is likely driven by companies’ increased emphasis to leverage the contact center as a strategic customer engagement channel in sales and marketing, but also to pursue options that offset the cost of operating a service or sales call center.
For both service and sales call centers, companies are exploring and adopting new and innovative ways to generate revenue while improving the customer experience. One significant opportunity attracting interest is the use of partnership arrangements to complement the customer experience with relevant, related products.
Here are five steps companies can take to generate incremental revenue and add value to the customer transaction:
- Proactively engage your sales and marketing organizations. If you are a service-based operation, reach out to the sales and marketing functions. Explore how and where service can integrate the call center as a strategic sales channel without compromising your service and customer experience mandates. In fact, you might find the opportunities to be aligned. Yes, you’ll have to adapt the team, retrain, revisit operational metrics and look at incentives, but those are all things that you’re good at anyway.
- Collaborate across brands for incremental revenue. Traditionally, we think about cross selling and upselling our company’s own products and services. However, today, profitable cross and upselling initiatives are more likely to be done with relevant partners. It’s a model companies in the travel industry have been utilizing for years. For example, if I sell airline tickets and you sell hotel rooms, we can offer one another’s products to each of our customers. The odds are good that there will be demand. These relationships can be structured as a shared-revenue model, or as a fee-based, pay-as-you-go model, depending on what is most mutually beneficial.
- Engage with relevant partners to provide additional value-added products or services on a call-transfer fee basis. Essentially, company A sells a call transfer to company B. It’s called partnership marketing and is the collaboration between two or more companies with similar marketing needs, a common audience or complementary products. Companies engage in partnership marketing to increase customer awareness, sales and create added value for the customer – and to convert a contact center into a profit center.
- Utilize information. (Revenue in this case). Information is power. Customer insights are gold to marketing teams. Particularly with new developments in big data, an incredible amount is available. Contact centers can expose and direct customer interaction data where it can be best leveraged to generate incremental revenue for the company. Collaborate with your marketing department on the kind of information that exists and can be obtained on customer calls.
- Explore, incorporate the latest technologies and capabilities. Work at turning the latest available technologies into revenue opportunities for your company: customer channels, such as social media, provide new opportunities to interact with customers; engagement tools, such as click-to-talk, are being revisited with the adoption of smartphones; and access to broader and deeper customer data sets present new opportunities to personalize product offers.
Take advantage of these opportunities to re-evaluate and formulate a new agenda for your contact center.
Joe McFadden is vice president of marketing for SalesPortal, the first partnership marketing network for enterprises using contact centers as a strategic customer engagement channel. He has more than 25 years of experience, primarily marketing customer service software solutions to global enterprises. He has launched several first-in-category products participating in the rapid growth of leading solution providers. For more information, visit http://www.salesportal.com.