How Can My Business Survive in the Wake of the Do Not Call Legislation?
Despite the immediate effects of DNC regulations on outbound teleservices, the future still looks bright for customer-centric companies willing to develop innovative CRM strategies that drive increased inbound contact volume.
Posted Oct 20, 2003
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Lately it seems to be impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on a television without hearing about who's doing what about do-not-call (DNC) legislation. But despite the court challenges, most of us in this business understand that DNC will eventually become law, and we're going to have to adapt to this new reality. At first glance the legislation seems to signal the downfall of companies that depend on outbound telemarketing for sales. However, through the use of creative marketing strategies and seamless integration, many companies are treating the new regulations as an opportunity to turn outbound calls into inbound communications, and turn casual callers into long-term-value (LTV) customers--or customers for life. With outbound telemarketing limited to opt-in only, companies are finding innovative ways to acquire new customers through targeted email and direct mail campaigns, as well as through direct response print and broadcast advertising. These companies will survive, because they communicate effectively with their customers, they understand customer needs and purchase chronologies, they respect customer communication preferences, and they continuously offer products and services their customers are most likely to buy. DNC legislation does not impact a company's house file of customers. Outbound telemarketing may become a less feasible tactic for new customer acquisition, but it remains an effective tool for upsell, cross-sell, and win-back campaigns. Equipped with preferences and purchase histories, companies can extend targeted offers as they develop new products and services that best suit their customers' needs. Additionally, successful companies are seizing revenue opportunities presented during inbound customer service and help desk interactions. The ability to do this begins with retraining and rescripting representatives to recognize sales opportunities. In one recent campaign Olympus America found that when technical support callers were asked to purchase additional components in a soft sell, 45 percent agreed to purchase new products and accessories. By being sensitive to the customer's agenda, companies will be able to develop sustainable relationships that result in harvesting more revenue per customer household at a lower cost per sale. Last, CRM technologies enable far more evolved revenue per household opportunities than companies currently pursue. As acquisition becomes more challenging and costly, companies should focus on fostering customer experiences that lengthen relationships and grow revenue. New products can benefit from the continuity model that binds customers for a set duration. BMG, Columbia House, and the Doubleday Book Club successfully use such a model. Coffee-seller Gevalia gives away free coffeemakers to attract new customers, who can cancel at any time. Its customers continue to receive two pounds of gourmet coffee every six weeks until they opt-out. This negative-option automatic-replenishment model is weaving its way into more and more products and services. Companies like Harry and David and the Torrefazione Italia division of Starbucks Coffee rely on exclusive premium products and superior customer service to sustain long-term relationships and high revenue per household. Despite the immediate effects of DNC regulations on outbound teleservices, the future still looks bright for customer-centric companies willing to develop innovative CRM strategies that drive increased inbound contact volume. By establishing and nurturing stronger, better, and more intuitive relationships with our customers, providing them with services they need and products they want, we will truly be generating LTV customers--for life.
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