As consumer shopping patterns continue the storefront-to-online shift, companies are adapting to the new retail landscape. On the plus side, they have access to a broader customer base and the ability to showcase an almost unlimited number of products. On the minus side, they may face increased competition and risk losing current customers. In response, savvy retailers are making strategic investments to ensure they continue to provide a reason for customers to remain loyal to their brand.
Strong customer service can go a long way toward that goal. A Harris Interactive/Chamber of Commerce survey found that on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the dollar amount of their first purchase. At the same time, the cost of poor customer service is steep. A study by NewVoiceMedia found that businesses in 2016 lost an average of $62 billion per year through poor customer service, up $20 billion since 2013.
Since customer retention is far less expensive than customer acquisition, companies are renewing their focus on consistently delivering the best possible customer experience.1. Importance of the customer experience
Employers are increasingly investing in sourcing, hiring and training call center representatives in order to achieve that world-class customer service, according to Scott Burroughs, senior account executive for Aerotek. Realizing the competitive value of providing an exceptional customer experience has led companies to provide their contact center staff the additional tools and training they need to solve any customer issues, he says.
“Contact centers have evolved in recent years, leading to additional expectations in hiring,” he says. “The best call center reps aren’t just good on the phone, they’re also skilled at accessing multiple systems at once to enter data and find information that can help the caller.” Because of this, he notes, employer are providing longer-term training periods, even up to eight weeks.2. Value of customer data
Forward-thinking retail companies also recognize the enormous value behind the information that contact center representatives capture. Although identifying the issue and determining a solution for each customer is the primary goal behind customer service, the aggregation of the information gained during the process can serve a larger purpose in improving current products and developing future products.
“Contact center reps are perfectly positioned to identify trends,” notes Burroughs. “If they’re receiving a high volume of complaints about a particular product feature, they can alert the engineers or manufacturing staff and get the flaw fixed. They can identify areas for improvement as well as areas of potential growth that the company can pursue.”
Depending on where a call center is located, there are a number of factors that influence the talent implications. Rural or exurban regions can offer the most affordable real estate options. However, that may make it more difficult to find enough workers to adequately staff the facility, says Burroughs. Conversely, companies that choose to locate in metropolitan areas may find that they have access to plenty of talent, but they may have to adjust their salaries to accommodate the local market rate and compete for the best workers. Most companies face similar challenges, but because call centers often hire large volumes of workers, issues with sourcing can be exacerbated.Navigating talent challenges
Working with a trusted recruiting partner can help hiring managers navigate the challenges in talent acquisition. To have access to the deepest talent pipeline, look for a firm that has expertise in your industry as well as the geographical area(s) you operate in. If you have or will have more than one location, choose a recruiter with a national footprint to maximize your staffing options.
Contact center representatives can be an underutilized source of brand value and product intelligence. Hiring the best talent for these positions ensures that companies can take advantage of the opportunity to harness the full potential of the people who are the most visible representations of a company in the marketplace.
Want to learn more? Contact Aerotek now.