How Call Centers Can Help Maximize Sales with Hands-Free Shopping

Unless you’ve been residing under a rock for over a year now, you know how drastically COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work. Non-essential businesses shut down entirely, and even essential businesses had to adapt by adding delivery and personal shopping services, curbside pickup for everything from groceries to sporting goods, workout sessions via video conferencing, the list goes on. As a result, companies that never considered selling products online had no choice but to shift gears to e-commerce. That may not sound so bad to consumers – but in actuality, online shopping can result in lower sales and higher expenses for some retailers.

The main problem is that retailers now have to do most of the work themselves. Yes, the customer picks out the item. But employees then have to locate the item, box it, and ship it – or if they’re lucky, bag it for curbside service. If a consumer has a ton of items in their cart, you can imagine how time-consuming and costly this becomes. And if you’ve ever heard of impulse buying – well, no one is in the stores to see or hear about anything additional to snag before heading to the register. So, what happens to personalized, customer-centric support while everyone is busy fulfilling orders? That is where call centers come in. And they can do way more than just answer your phone.

Call Center Handles More Than Calls

Field more than just phone calls.

Live Chat

According to a 2015 Zendesk study, as many as 92% of consumers feel satisfied when using live chat. And how about the statistic that 50% of consumers say having questions answered via live chat during an online purchase is an essential feature for any brand? While your staff is busy processing, filling and shipping online orders, a call center can manage your live chat channel. Skilled agents are able to juggle several chats at once. That means happy customers getting the answers they’re looking for, and more sales conversions to boost your bottom line. In fact, research has shown that live chat leads to a 48% uptick in revenue per chat hour and a 40% higher conversion rate!

SMS Response

Did you know that 98% of smartphone users in the United States text on a regular basis, but only 14% of companies text with consumers? If you haven’t adopted texting as part of your customer service arsenal, then here’s the 411. In a survey of 346 companies that use business texting, 85% of their customers would rather receive a text over a phone call or email. For a call center, responding to inbound texts is just as easy as responding to a live chat. And with 77% of consumers using texting over any other messaging tool, now is as good a time as any to incorporate texting into your business model. It’s quick and convenient, no Internet required.

Give Callers Impulse to Buy

Give callers the impulse to buy.

Order Taking

Though many consumers prefer the low-contact method of web surfing to make purchases, there are still people who want to talk to an actual person, on their actual phone. In fact, a global customer service study by Microsoft found that 39% of people prefer speaking on the phone to any other means of customer service. And when broken down by country, 44% of Americans are dialing in for assistance. Call centers specialize in order taking, and agents will peruse your website during training to familiarize themselves with your products and the checkout process. From entering orders to returns to tracking shipments, customers will get the full-service care they want, and you can work your magic without being tied up on the phone.

Cross-Selling & Upselling

When an agent is working with a caller to enter an order, you can instruct the agent to look for those pop-ups and side bars that suggest items the caller may want to purchase based on what’s in their cart. It’s an easy cross-sell to an impulse buyer. You can even program an agent’s script so that if a customer intends to make a purchase in a particular category of items, the agent is prompted to cross-sell by asking follow-up questions. For example, let’s say that a customer is interested in cast-iron pans. A cast-iron seasoning and cleaning kit can be scripted as an add-on. Along the same line, if they request the basic seasoning kit, the agent can upsell, offering an upgraded kit with two extra pan scrapers and an oven mitt for just $3 more. Agents are trained to both follow instructions and read their script. If you program it, they’ll say it!

Technology Closes Sales

Let technology do the walking.

Virtual Queueing & Callback Systems

Whether or not you’ve heard of the term virtual queueing, you’ve most certainly experienced the technology. You call your ISP. The automated greeting informs you that there is a 25-minute wait to speak with a representative. Do you want to hold, or would you like to receive a call back when it’s your turn in the queue? Well, some call centers can do the same thing. And they can also track callers who disconnect before reaching an agent and call them back to try to help you recapture those leads. With retail sales plunging as a result of the coronavirus, grabbing hold of every prospective customer is essential to your mid- and post-pandemic success.

CRM Integrations

If you’re currently using customer resource management or lead tracking software such as Salesforce, Pipedrive, or HubSpot, why not integrate them with your call center? Agents can take down customers’ information, and via API integration, that data can be pushed to your software. This way, even if the customer doesn’t follow through with a purchase, you’ll have their contact details to reach out regarding any questions or concerns they need to discuss before completing the sale, or for future marketing efforts such as promotions and surveys. This eliminates having to do double the work – receiving a message and taking time out of your day for data entry. Let technology work on your behalf and make your job so much easier.

The best part of using a call center to help with hands-free shopping is that your valued customers are communicating with live human beings! No bots, no auto-replies. Only real people answering questions in real time. Your call center becomes your trusted intake department. And that frees up your intake department to lend a hand getting orders out the door asap. It will not only increase the likelihood of making a sale, but it will increase productivity across the board for your staff. Having a team of agents waiting to personalize customer interactions while you’re tied up behind the scenes is invaluable. As anyone in business can tell you, when you show your customers how much they matter, you’re building lifelong relationships. And that’s money in the bank for years to come.

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