The Role of Phone Calls in the Customer Engagement Lifecycle

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Often, when you start out in business, you’re able to offer a personal level of service to every customer. But as your business grows, you can become slightly distanced from your customers.

Increased demand may mean you simply don’t have the same amount of time to spend chatting to customers as you had when you were starting out.

You may adapt your operation to reflect these changes, but one thing that never changes is customer expectation.

Essentially, customers don’t generally ask for too much. They want to be able to get in touch easily, get answers to questions and get a good deal on your product or service. This means investing in potential and existing customer support over email, live chat and phone, even if this means outsourcing to a call answering service.

Customers are the lifeblood of every business, so looking after them is crucial to success. Now, that’s probably not news to you and there’s every chance that customer satisfaction is right near the top of your list of priorities anyway.

To understand the needs or your audience you need to understand the customer engagement lifecycle. If you’re not familiar with the customer engagement lifecycle, you could be missing a trick.

What is the Customer Engagement Lifecycle?

The customer engagement lifecycle is a marketing framework that allows you to monitor how successful your engagement with customers is from first contact and throughout their journey.

Once you start to map a users’ journey, one thing that often becomes apparent is just how many of them leave without making a purchase. And one of the main reasons for this is that there is a lack of information available or they are unable to find answers to questions.

Despite digitization, there are still many circumstances in which customers prefer to make a phone call:

  • 62% of customers said telephone is their preferred method of contact with companies
  • 77% of consumers still believe a phone call is the quickest way to get an answer to their question
  • 85% of potential customers whose call goes unanswered say they will not call back

So, it’s clear that consumers still want phone contact with brands and if it’s not readily available they will look elsewhere.

The full customer engagement lifecycle contains multiple touchpoints, but here we’ll touch on the four most common aspects of it.

1. Reach

This is the initial contact between the two parties. One will reach out to the other and both parties try to get to know a little about each other.

Customers want to know what the company can offer them, and the company will want to understand the potential customers’ needs, issues and pain points.

2. Acquisition

If the reach stage is successful, stage two is then acquisition. This is where the business starts to nurture the relationship with a view to converting the lead into a customer.

From a customer perspective, this is the stage at which they are evaluating the services or products on offer and comparing them against the alternatives.

Customer service is crucial at this stage as 66% of customers say they will find another provider if they are not happy with the level of service received.

3. Conversion

This is where leads are turned into paying customers. But the cycle doesn’t end here. Acquiring customers is labor intensive and costly. So, at this point, you must pull out all the stops to ensure your customer enjoys their experience and is, therefore, more likely to stick with you.

4. Retention

Keeping customers is the real challenge for all businesses. Studies show that focusing on customer retention rather than just the initial sale can increase profits by up to 125%.

Upselling and cross-selling services to already engaged customers is far easier and more profitable than constantly chasing new business.

How phone answering enhances your customer experience lifecycle

Investing in internal phone support or an outsourced phone answering service improves the credibility of your company from the first point of contact. 25% of customers say they give up if a call takes too long to answer. And as we’ve already seen, 85% of those won’t even attempt to call back.

That means that for every 10 people who call your number and don’t get an answer the first time, you will never get the chance to speak to at least 2 of them.

Others will find alternative providers, and those that do come back do so with a heavy heart, making the sales process more difficult.

Contrast that situation with somebody calling up, receiving a professional response and having their questions answered, and you quickly see the benefit of call answering services in customer engagement.

It’s important here to remember that we’re talking about customers calling you. These are people already interested in what you offer. Failing to take the call is losing a lead with a high conversion probability.

Faster Responses capture more leads

In an increasingly 24/7 economy, a crucial aspect of customer engagement is being available when your customers want to talk to you.

Employing staff 24/7 to answer business calls may not be realistic. However, securing the services of a 7-day-a-week phone answering company can support your sales and customer services teams when they’re unavailable.

These services can be used to answer your calls when your team can’t or to answer every call your business receives.

In either case, you get a virtual receptionist that will answer your calls, take relevant information and pass it on to the right department. Similarly, virtual personal assistants can transfer live calls to particular members of staff.

From a customer point of view, their call has been handled professionally which gives them a good first impression of your business. And that’s before a member of your team has even spoken to them.

The net result will be more quality leads landing with your sales team and, thus, more conversions.

Exploring promotional campaigns

With agents ready to handle incoming calls, you could explore more promotional campaigns. You can encourage potential, existing and former customers to get in contact and take advantage of your reduced products or services.

These are some of the hottest leads your business will receive and you cannot afford for them to be diverted to voicemail or go unanswered.

Important Takeaways

The customer engagement lifecycle relies on human interaction and quick response times. Sure, there is a time for email and live chat, but there are also times when your target market just wants to talk to call.

The bottom line is that those organizations that still offer reliable over-the-phone service (and do it well) stand out as the best in customer service and are more likely to acquire and retain large volumes of customers.

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