What Makes a Successful On-demand Business Model for Customer Care?
In any industry, running a successful business has become a fragmented, complex undertaking. Not only do you have to deliver your product or service better than any of your competitors, but to truly rise above the pack, you also have to enlist the expertise of a series of specialists—in finance, technology, human relations, communications, and of course, customer service.
Because of this need for specialized assistance in customer care, many companies are turning to outsourced contact center providers to help them deliver a great customer experience. Yet this trend has not gone unnoticed and has led to an abundance of customer service providers—some qualified, others not—entering the on-demand marketplace.
And that means choosing a partner in customer care has itself become a complicated task. For leaders and managers looking to separate the reliable, on-demand partners from all the rest, here are three questions that should be asked of any potential partner about the business model they use to deliver customer care.
3 Questions to Determine the Quality of an On-demand Customer Care Business Model
Question #1: To What Extent Does Technology Factor into Your Customer Service Delivery?
Any effective, on-demand business model for customer care should include a strong emphasis on technology. This, however, is something of a trick question, since technology, as important as it is, isn’t the absolute most important factor here. An emphasis on anticipating and meeting the needs and preferences of the customers, as well as the expertise and experience to actually pull that off, is the real driver of quality, and the true area of focus for a successful on-demand customer service provider.
All the same, it takes a strong technological basis to pull off this important task. Meeting customers where they congregate means not only possessing the expertise to know where that is, but also the technological capability to be able to offer a great experience to customers who find you there. And this includes the gamut of today’s customer communications channels, including:
- Website interactions, such as driving online sales via your website, and communicating via chatbot to visitors.
- Third-party transactions, including sales via Amazon, eBay and other online retailers.
- Social media communications via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever your particular customer base prefers to hang out.
- Email marketing to deliver specialized messages to sales prospects, as well as select segments of your existing customers to drive loyalty.
- Phone calls, which may seem like an old-school method of communication, yet today largely relies on technology like Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), in which phone services are delivered via the internet.
Delivering the best possible customer experience in each of these channels means not just maintaining the up-to-date best practices for each, but also the physical hardware needed to ensure smooth operations and continuous uptime. That includes continuous upgrades to software, security patches, the latest hardware and up-to-date training to ensure that personnel can skillfully use it all.
The bottom line? An on-demand business model shouldn’t take the view that technology is the most important factor of customer care, but it should still possess strong technological expertise and the means to provide consumers with access to information via the channel they prefer.
An on-demand business model means to provide consumers with the access to information via the channel they prefer.
Question #2. How Would You Describe Your Network of Customer Care Agents?
The answer you’re looking for here includes the words “versatile” and “distributed.” To deliver world-class customer service that’s truly flexible enough to meet the needs of any company in any industry, it’s essential for an on-demand business model to include access to a vast network of skilled customer care agents spread throughout the country.
The importance of a diversified level of expertise that includes agents well-versed in a variety of specialties may be obvious. But why is geographical distribution equally essential? If a natural disaster should strike in your part of the country—an increasingly common phenomenon across the U.S.—your customer care provider should be able to instantly provide agents from another region to ensure business continuity. And that requires a large enough network for agents to be readily available, at any given time.
Furthermore, it’s also important that your partner takes steps to ensure this network of agents is not only available but operating at the top of their game. That means an emphasis on a great culture for those agents, even if they work in a virtual environment (as many of today’s best agents do). It also means providing sophisticated and effective options for ongoing education to make sure they’re constantly performing at the top of their game.
Question #3. Can You Describe an Instance Where Your Business Model Helped a Client Achieve an Important Goal?
Any on-demand business model worth its salt should be able to demonstrate specific value with examples of when it’s accomplished a high-stakes goal for a client under pressure. And that doesn’t just mean meeting the challenges of day-to-day operations. It also involves the ability to leverage exceptional resources and expertise to deliver solutions in extraordinary situations.
Case in point: When faced with the challenge of rolling out an ambitious new Medicare-related enrollment program on a limited timeframe, a FORTUNE 100 healthcare services turned to Working Solutions to provide a team of multi-language healthcare specialists who could answer complex questions of a medical nature (while complying with the medical industry’s stringent HIPAA guidelines).
This challenge was as dramatic as it was unanticipated. With its existing call center facilities already operating at full capacity and the hiring of new agents not an option, the client faced a real crisis of should it fail to find a solution to its problem: The health as well as the loyalty and satisfaction of its members were at stake. Time was a factor, as were financial constraints.
As a longstanding partner for on-demand customer solutions, we at Working Solutions were able to step up by offering access to 150 bilingual nurses within three weeks of the client’s request. These were specialized professionals who knew enough about the type of care needed to get to work after only one day of core training.
This successful outcome not only met the client’s immediate needs—managing spikes in call volume across each of its programs while containing associated costs and maintaining the highest quality of care—it also provided a foundation for future growth by offering a sample of what an expanded customer experience would entail for that particular company, and how it could be accomplished.
Learn More about an On-demand Business Model that Really Works
No two on-demand business models are exactly the same. Particularly among the leaders in the contact center industry, there will be different approaches to each aspect of the customer experience. But you can still go a long way toward determining the value of any potential partner by how they answer these three basic questions about their business model for customer service.
If you’re interested in learning more about how our on-demand business model for customer care can help you meet your goals (and achieve new ones), we’re standing by to answer these three questions—and any others you may have.
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