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Is your customer service completely inbound? If so, you’re missing a big opportunity to grow your business through outbound customer care. And chances are, your competitors are already ahead of you in the game. Here’s what you need to know.
Inbound customer service is the traditional form in which a caller dials your customer service phone number to ask questions, resolve issues, make a payment, register a product, or place an order. These calls are considered inbound because they flow in to the company.
With outbound care, you reach out to customers to thank them for their business, offer special deals based on previous purchases, find out if they have questions about your product or service, and more. Calls flow out from the company to the customer.
Here’s another way of looking at it: Inbound customer service is reactive and outbound customer service is proactive.
Outbound customer care isn’t new, but the practice has picked up momentum in recent years, fueled by technology. In particular, virtual phone systems that connect to social media, email, and SMS messaging allow companies to engage with customers in ways not possible before, bringing all the various channels together in one place for effective proactive communications.
For example, some virtual phone systems enable customer care agents to monitor voice, social media, email, and SMS communications in a single dashboard. This makes it easy to contact a customer who has praised (or criticized) the company on social media; proactively contact customers via text message about special promotions; and more.
It’s important to note that these and other technologies are quickly changing the nature of customer service. In recent years, marketing has become more like sales. Sales has become more like customer service. And customer service is more about branding, in which your company builds and protects its brand reputation.
The bottom line: If you still regard customer service as something only your call center agents do, and only on an inbound basis, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Outbound customer care has several potential benefits for your small business:
The MightyCall virtual phone system offers a variety of features to help small businesses offer outbound (as well as inbound) customer service.
For example, MightyCall’s Activities dashboard aggregates multiple activities such as missed calls, call back requests (from your website), email requests for information, Facebook and Twitter mentions, and SMS messages. You can create tasks based on the activities and assign them to various team members so they can proactively communicate with customers efficiently.
MightyCall also offers the ability to review call history logs; easily record phone conversations and share the recordings with team members; and more.