The Problem – Cold Calling has a Negative Image.
The subject of cold calling is contentious. Most people have had an experience of cold calling and most of those experiences would be described as strongly negative. This is mainly due to bad practice by the calling organisations . For instance, calling the same person many times, despite being told not to, this will cause resentment and will create negative impressions of the organisation.
In contrast a person will struggle to negatively recollect a single call if properly conducted, thus the business has had the opportunity to sell whilst maintaining a positive image.
Conducted well, cold calling is an extremely effective mechanism to have at your disposal . Any follow-up should complement the benefits of cold calling whilst avoiding the negatives. This marriage between good cold calling practices and effective automation helps manage the process that lead to increased sales and productivity whilst retaining a positive organisational image.
Development of Intelligent Service
One of our clients at Springboard IT requested a service that would help to build upon the personal sales service it provides:
A call would be made to a customer – their details and responses are entered into the system, which logs the time and date to stop further call contact of that customer. Once the call has been logged it will be further processed by the service, the action that is taken will depend on the data that is available for each customer contacted.
If the customer has an email address then they will be sent an automated follow up email. The contents of which will depend upon the level of interest that was shown. For example, customers interested in the product would be sent further information about the product/service. Others a polite ‘Thanks for answering our call – we’re here to help’.
This service is scheduled to run every 30 minutes to check for new calls. When developing the service we inserted a delay between receiving the customer data and sending the response. This is to help negate the (all too common) instant response from systems which scream “automated” at the customer. In some situations this is perfectly acceptable but when you are trying to maintain that personal service from the call, a more tactful approach is required, especially when the contents of the email give the impression they have been written by the person who called you.
Customers with no email address will be added to a report with their postal details, this provides another method to contact the customer. This report is emailed to managers at the end of the day.
This service also has scope to further remove the appearance of being automated whilst maintaining the personal service presented by the caller. One such option is the logging of the email ‘Type’. Example: If a customer had been contacted previously and were sent an automated response, then the email type would be checked to ensure that they didn’t receive the same response again.
With this approach the client now has as service that will:
- Automatically send emails to customers,
- Will send a different response based upon their level of interest,
- Will delay the response to help avoid the appearance of being automated,
- Will send management reports at the end of day with all customers; their level of interest and details of responses,
- Will ensure that communication are not repeated.