Business growth

Triple your customer list and drive more repeat business every month at no cost

A new window into the very soul of your Customers and Business

man with steel artificial arm sitting in front of white table

I’ve previously written about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used to improve the quality and accuracy of customer interactions within companies of all sizes. Read more here.

As AI and machine learning gain more widespread understanding, development advances, and use, through a range of business applications, I’m particularly intrigued and interested in the use of Speech and Text analytics applications to deliver previously unknown insights into the daily interactions between customers and sales and service representatives. This new technology will provide companies that care a real window into the souls of customers, their workers, and their business model.

We’ve enjoyed call audio recording for a long time but, listening to the calls has been limited by the cost to hire enough people to listen to enough calls to provide meaningful data. So, only a portion of calls were ever reviewed and scored by human Quality Analysts. In my experience, this feedback has always been very useful and valuable in correcting performance and gaining new insights into both our customers and agents. We just couldn’t get enough of it fast enough. For the most part, we were reviewing historical data. AI offers real time data and alerts to aid in managing performance while it is happening rather than trying to go back and fix things that happened already.

With AI based applications, used properly, businesses can analyze EVERY call and text-based interaction from channels like Chat, email and Social media. Call audio is transcribed and analyzed along with other text-based interactions and the results area a treasure trove of manageable data and information being delivered in actionable formats in real time and near real time.

This will transform the way we manage businesses because we will have first-hand knowledge of what customers and representatives are really saying, and, in what context they are saying these things.

Even after direct interactions with your company channels, AI can track customer actions which will give business leaders unprecedented intelligence. For example, if a customer ends a call with your representative and immediately takes to Twitter and  mentions your company, AI tools will allow leaders to be alerted on their smartphone, so they can act more quickly to counteract negative comments or promote positive comments.

Over the years, so many business leaders have expressed their desire to me to know more about their company’s overall performance. Reading daily tallies of call reason and result codes never really delivered a full view. But, AI and Machine Learning will now give business leaders “eyes and ears” in virtually every place your customer lives.

Workers who interact with customers will have more information about the customer at their fingertips, but will also be under increasing scrutiny because every contact will be recorded, transcribed and reported upon.

How much of these new data insights will  put to good use by businesses will remain to be seen. We have the tools to gather these data and smart business leaders should be researching and reviewing options with vigor.  Using this new technology successfully is another topic.

Want to know more about the options for Speech and Text Analytics? Contact me to schedule a call. You will be amazed at what you can learn.

Mike

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MikeaboutMoney.com Daily

More to Sell a House

We know it costs more to buy a house these days, but it also costs more to sell one. An analysis by Zillow.com and Thumbtack.com puts the average cost at just over 18 thousand dollars (depending on the selling price). Those costs including paying a selling agent, filing fees, and assorted repairs and improvements.

Better Mondays = Better Performance!

When I start working with Contact Center owners, I always tell them I’ll be at the site 

better call center performance

bright and early on Monday morning. I usually get responses like, “…well, Monday’s aren’t the best day to visit because everyone is just getting back from the weekend and things are a little slow. ”Why don’t you start on Tuesday?”

Yikes! no wonder they are calling me for help to boost their call center’s performance. Top Call Center Operators that I’ve worked with make it a point to hit the ground running on Monday mornings. There is not warm up or ramp up time in the Customer Experience industry where your company and brand (or your client’s company and brand if you are a BPO), are as good as your last call.

As a Call Center leader, do you allow your team to leisurely wander into the office, grab some coffee, talk about the games this past weekend, and, eventually get around to thinking about planning for their day? Monday or any other day of the week?

A word to front line leadership. If you want to be a successful Call Center Leader, grow in your career, break records and develop a loyal and high performing team while and separating yourself from the pack, one simple change can propel you way ahead. Be ready to go on Monday Morning. You should be rehearsing the plan you’ve created on Sunday night in your mind as you drive into the office. In fact, some top operators are holding conference calls with their team on the way in.

If you are a front line Supervisor, Manager or Director, if you get to work wondering what you are going to do on Monday morning, you’ve missed it completely. And, holding a staff meeting on Monday morning without an agenda and no goals does not count. Staff meetings on Mondays often are used to plan the week. By Noon the plan is getting rolled out to the floor. Too late to have a positive impact on Monday’s performance, and possibly, the week’s performance.

If you need a planning meeting, have it on Friday afternoon (another very valuable time period that is often wasted – more on that in a future post). Plan for next week so everyone comes in Monday morning with a game plan and ready to go. 

Some of you may be thinking, “Wait Mike, I don’t get paid for Sunday night work.” I say, “oh yes you do! You get paid to bring value to the company and to your team. And that means you plan your work in advance so you have a plan and a direction the minute you are in the building.”

If you want to be paid only for the time you spend clocked in, I’m sure your company has some agent seats they need to fill with good people like you. However, once you accepted a leadership position, you chose a different path. You have a direct stake in the success of the company. You are now a role model. You set the tone, the pace and the energy level for your responsible area. Whether it’s a team of 12 agents or a department of 100, you are in control of the performance and success levels which are directly impacted by the preparation you bring to the job each day.

Those around you, direct reports, Sr. Leaders and Colleagues will see the energy and seriousness you bring to the job. This is not a make it up as you go industry and when others see your approach they will know what you expect and will follow your lead. If not, you’ll have a place to start as a mentor and leader.

Let’s all plan to bring our A-game to Monday Mornings and watch the performance needle move.

100k and a powerful ad channel can change the world

Accordi1464221_6i5oC4RTzMskcVW2HmfX3nfZ5KLMNO.smallng to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Russian agents spent $100,000 to buy ads on Facebook which likely played a major part in changing the future of the United States and of the World.

While I do not agree in any way with allowing foreign powers to play a hand in manipulating our elections, as a business leader, I am very interested in the results that were achieved with this campaign. One hundred thousand dollars is a relatively small ad spend considering the goal of the campaign was to sway a large number of American voters in multiple states. But, the results give insight into the power of digital advertising and the exponential effect of using social media to effect change in consumer behavior.

Most businesses have only dipped a toe into social media as a marketing channel. While not easy to do well, those businesses who continue to improve their understanding and use of  digital marketing and advertising are seeing positive results and are growing their businesses.

Unlike traditional media, digital is still a regularly changing medium and what works today may not work next month. Digital media requires an investment of more than ad dollars. It takes a commitment to learning and testing to find success. But it is definitely worth the effort.

When your business is ready to change the world with digital marketing and advertising, call MICHAEL CCS.

 

 

 

 

Full Service Contact Center Services available from MICHAEL CCS

MICHAEL Customer Contact Service has 50 seats available staffed with well trained, customer service, sales followup and customer retention agents. We’ve located these FTE’s in an excellent Midwest location with fully redundant service in a state of the art facility offering complete Omni-channel services.

Should you need to implement a program on a short timetable and need fast turnaround with high quality agents, call me and let’s discuss your project.

We survived Hurricane Irma and are open for business.

 

 

The secret business profit center most businesses are still not leveraging

September 2017/ in Smart Business Trends / by Michael Schiano

woman-receiving-sms-text-marketingSMS Text marketing is a tool used to spread your marketing message and special offers to   your customers. To keep up with the fast-paced competition for customers, you need a tool that is rapid, convenient, and allows for interactive communications between you and your audience.

The most popular form of business SMS Text marketing relies on using a “short-code.” A short- code is a 5-digit number specific to your business, like a phone number. You market a special offer with the short code asking people to text, for example, FOOD to 57711 to get access to a special offer such as 50% off their next meal. The customer texts the word FOOD to the number and this results in an automated response to the person’s cell phone asking them to Opt-In to receive text messages from your business by responding YES. This is called double opt-in and it meets the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other federal regulations. The system receives the YES and delivers the offer to the customer. All done in a matter of seconds.

The key here is that you have now legally captured a cell phone number and received approval from the cell phone owner to send messages to them on an ongoing basis. This is very powerful and not all business owners fully grasp the concept. The average cost for sending an SMS Text to 1,000 customers should be about $20. If your average net ticket is $20, then you need only 1 customer to visit your store out of the 1,000 you’ve texted to cover cost. All other customers who visit mean a profit to you. This creates a Profit Center out of your customer cell phones.

Current data show text messages have a 99% open rate, and 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.   Email only has a 20% open rate.

Pew Research reports that Texting is the most widely-used and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day. For business owners who rely on customer traffic, SMS Text marketing is going to be more important than ever for growing customer lists and driving more repeat business each month.

What can SMS Text marketing can do for your business?

Save you money! When you build your Customer list, they’ve given you permission to text them offers. Imagine being able to send a message directly to 1000 of your customers and know that 900 of them will read the offer within 3 sends of your sending the send button. You simply don’t get that immediacy with expensive print advertising, email or other media channels. Direct mailing coupons and offers is a great way to market, but if you want to reduce or eliminate the costs and time resources that go into planning, designing, printing, mail handling, and postage, SMS Text Marketing is unmatched.

Increase conversion. SMS Text marketing is one of the most efficient ways to reach your target audiences and convert them into paying customers. Having a slow day, send out a text to your customers and drive some traffic. Want to move some extra inventory on short notice? Send a text immediately. No marketing channel has this type of speed and response.

Drive new customers –  SMS Texts are immediately shareable by customers to their friends and family members.  If you send out a great offer to 1,000 cell phones, that text will be shared with others. If only 10% share the offer, that is an extra 100 cell phones that are added to the campaign at no cost to you!

Increase positive consumer behavior. The immediacy of an SMS Text marketing campaign can encourage customers to buy something within minutes of receiving and reading the Text. SMS Text marketing can lead to an increase in sales.

SMS Text Marketing is not Advertising. It is direct communication with your customers. So, successful merchants don’t always have to text special offers. A few times each year they text “Thank you,” or “We appreciate your business.” This ability to directly thank a customer is a huge builder of good will and builds loyalty. You simply can’t do this with print, broadcast or even Social Media.

Raise brand awareness. Getting your brand name and image in front of your audience more often will drive repeat sales.  Seeing your business name and offer will build brand recognition even if they only see it for a second. Also, don’t forget that we live in a generation of sharing.

Educate your current customers. An SMS Text is a great way to keep your clients updated on what’s new in your business. You can share what you’ve been working on, any updates you may have developed, company news, etc. Keeping them up to date and well-informed of the products and services you have available for them may encourage them to buy from you again.

SMS Text marketing is a tool whose time has come. Cell phone saturation has reached 95% in the U.S. People in all age demographics are carrying cell phones able to receive a text messages. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, 75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS.

SMS Text marketing is one of the top tools used for business communication daily, and it works. Could SMS Text marketing be the missing piece in your business strategy?

If you want your customers back more often each month I need just 10 minutes to explain this unique and powerful business building tool. After we speak you will fully understand how to build your customer list quickly for more return sales.

Let’s talk business today!

 

Michael Schiano
Text and Digital Marketing Expert
407-437-4059
mschiano@sentextsolutions.com
http://www.sentextsolutions.com

The most effective way to reach your customers in the next 90 seconds

girl-texting-smsIf your business relies on Customer Traffic and you have been racking your brain about how to grow your new customer list and drive repeat business from existing customers, this article from business.com is a must read.

Jamie Tolentino, contributor at The Next Web, says “SMS is the most effective way to reach users, with a 90 percent read rate in minutes. When it comes to timeliness of delivery, SMS maintains the highest engagement rate in comparison to emails and over-the-top (OTT) apps.”

As I speak to business owners about this, up until now, “Hidden Profit Center,” I find they have greatly undervalued their current customers. Most are so focused on generating new customer visits that they neglect the valuable revenue generating power of repeat visits.

Would you spend $20 to communicate your offer directly to 1,000 of your customers today if you knew 90% of them would read the message within 3 seconds? And how many responses would you need make a profit? 1 or 2 customers? Compare this to traditional print or broadcast advertising. The ROI is amazing!

If you are targeting Millennials, SMS is your greatest customer list building tool right now. According to a study by Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS), 91 percent of Millennials are text messaging during a typical week. Fifty-one percent of Millennials are willing to share their mobile number, if given an incentive.

I am available to help you understand how to leverage your customer Smartphone profit center. Contact me today for full details on how to effectively, inexpensively and legally implement a revenue generating SMS Text campaign today!

BONUS: Go HERE for the special report on the Top 4 Industries benefiting from SMS Text Marketing.

App usage is dying – The best way to reach your customers on their Smart Phones now

Beach phoneBI Intelligence has just issued a report called, “The End of Apps,” which chronicles in great detail how, after explosive upward growth since 2009, according to BI, “App usage is consolidating and once they’ve tried an app, users mostly aren’t coming back for more.”

BI Intelligence explains, “This shift could usher in a “post-app” era, which could transform the way consumers access the internet and digital services. Mobile tech giants Apple, Facebook, and Google have each put in motion strategies that best ensure they emerge not only unscathed, but ahead of their competition. At stake is the dominance of an industry projected to reach $102 billion in value globally by 2020.”

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Users are downloading apps less often and spending their time in fewer of the apps that they choose to install.
  • That’s a big problem for Google, Apple, Facebook, and the companies that rely on their app ecosystems to reach audiences.
  • These players in tech are looking for ways to overcome a crisis in app engagement and position themselves to dominate the future app landscape.
  • The evolving app ecosystem will provide brands with ample opportunity to leverage multiple points of engagement.

For Merchants looking to engage with their customers more often, increase their customer list, and drive more repeat sales each month, SMS Text Marketing is the best, most affordable option right now.

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • In North America, cell phone saturation exceeds 95%, which means the majority of your customers have cell phones, and are able to receive a text message. Even at age 65+, cell phone ownership is above 42%
  • The open rate for a SMS Text is 97 percent while the open rate for emails averages just 20-30 percent
  • Nearly 90 percent of SMS Text recipients open their text messages in the first 3 seconds.

The potential return on investment with this powerful tool is amazing!

If you’d like to learn more about how to build Customer Lists with SMS Text Marketing as a Profit Center and do it inexpensively and legally, plus, receive a copy of my report 14 Key Benefits of SMS Text Message Marketing, contact me today.

SMS Is on the Rise for Business: Trends and Stats

smartphonesEmail capture and marketing is so “2000 and Late” as the Black Eyed Peas would say. If you are a retailer, restaurant, bar, or a business that relies on customer traffic for your business growth and sustainability, read this article on SMS Text Marketing 

Laura and the accompanying InfoGraphic give insight into the fast growing SMS Marketing channel and what you are missing if you are not utilizing this technology to grow your business.
“As long as people have carried mobile phones, marketers have seen the potential for a new way to contact an engaged and responsive audience.
  • Learn that the SMS Text Marketing channel is on an upward trajectory
  • A whopping 98% of SMS messages are read within 90 seconds,  and the response rate of text messaging is 45%, versus 6% for email.
How can your company take advantage of this channel? In addition to promotional messages, brands can consider password resets, event reminders, customer support, coupons, and more.”
Next step is to contact me today to learn how you can triple your customer list in 60 days or less and drive more customer traffic to your retail location.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the Future for Contact Centers

iStock_analytics122334673.jpg.800x600_q96AI is already here and is being implemented by companies across the world.

Call ATT about your Cell service and you will be talking to an Artificially Intelligent agent. This is a computer generated person talking to you. Not a real agent. And that robot is verifying your identity and answering questions in a conversational manner. The quality is stunning. No button pushing required. You can answer questions and the system understands you and either answers or directs you to where you need to go to get help. This is a big advance from the days of a robotic voice chopping its way through some basic commands and asking you to press 1 for yes and 2 for no.

Surveys show consumers like getting answers, information and service without having to deal with other humans. Great news for company bottom lines…not so good for Call Center agents across the world.

Dozens of companies like SmartAction, Afiniti, and IPsoftAmelia, to name a few, are developing AI applications to integrate with Contact Centers that are capable of totally disrupting operations in a good way. These companies are moving quickly and producing some very impressive products that will transform omni-channel Customer Service.

Google, Amazon, Apple and Tesla are pushing AI to new frontiers and the residual learning and technology wave is raising all ships and leading to amazing breakthroughs in quality.

The programs that are being developed are so sophisticated that they are learning on their own and improving their performance. This “machine learning” is the key leg to explosive growth. AI is providing insight on customers and building profiles using interactions, call audio and other contact data that are compiled from multiple sources and can be made available in real-time or for historical reporting. Sales and Service teams will have access to amazingly detailed and useful data about their agents and customers.

The what, when, where, and how of AI should be a key focus for all Contact Center leaders and those who utilize contact centers to service their customers. The “Why” is easy. Because AI leads to increased cost savings, more loyal customers, more buyers, longer retention of customers and employees (the human ones); reductions to infrastucture spending; better use of collected customer data, and, unfortunately for workers but good for company bottom lines, reductions in human workforce costs.

I spoke to a Venture Capital Group today and I can tell you that they are taking a very conservative approach to valuing the ROI on AI implementation. AI seems to have snuck up on everyone quietly, event the smart money, but it is here and it is growing fast.

The Contact Center industry is beginning the journey through major changes and improvements with AI and I’m very excited to be along for the ride.