Integrating Call Centers with Digital Campaigns
Good sales practices are hard. They lead to market success and can keep a product alive. Yet, not only sales people have to sell. In today's fast changing world, many companies give sales tasks to more than just sales people. Products in niche markets or new comers to a crowded market, have it even harder. Tikal Networks sees this difficulty with many customers. We see both failures and the successes in sales. What we noticed more and more lately, is how some companies use call centers effectively to close sales. This sales technique is used together with digital campaigns using e-mail, web advertising, social media and blogging. Companies from financial services (trading, FOREX), language tools (translation services and dictionaries) to enterprise computing (hosting, custom development) are all selling effectively by gathering leads with digital campaigns and closing with outbound voice (VoIP) campaigns. Integrating voice with digital campaigns is not new, Indian call centers targeting American businesses, are at it for more then a decade. The new trend is showing smaller companies using more sophisticated digital campaigns to generate leads. Also, more focused products, from broad range of companies are being offered to a more narrow audience. For example, translation and dictionary products are being offered to writers and bloggers only.
It may seem obvious to close sales using sales agents over the phone as follow up to lead gathering campaigns. What's new, is small companies entering this field. You may have seen the pictures of large rooms with hundreds of agents using VoIP to sell products. In countries like India and Canada, whole industries support sales for US and European companies. The trend for smaller companies using the same techniques is a natural. Today's easily acquired sales tools from CRM sales management like SalesForce.com to hosted Call Centers are considered "off-the-shelf" items. The services are available to anyone and are packaged by volume size (call minutes) or features. The most challenging hurdle is starting out: setting up and managing the operation. Luckily there are freelancer (contract services) resources like ODesk (call center) and Elance which list hundreds of companies and individuals with telemarketing and contact center services. If you need someone on your premises, there are individuals who can help either in person or via teleconferencing. There are also more and better resources from books (do a search on Amazon for "call center" or "contact center") all the way to blogs and social media groups on Linked-In. All these can get you going quickly and get a good sense of how to run a call center without taking months to feel at ease.
Another key strategy we see in today's fast changing landscape is "everyone sells and everyone supports" customers. From hospitals which essentially support customers all the time (even a department secretary needs access to test result dates and appointment schedules) to hotel personal handling calls from tour operators (hotel bookings involve events, schedules and other details). This makes Call Center features a critical element in every worker's skill set and capability. We see this even in areas like manufacturing. In today's "Just In Time" delivery reality, not just the truck drivers and warehouse managers are responsible to shipping an order, production and scheduling managers need to keep up with updates and customer requests. This is where the total call center features for everyone comes into play. Tikal Networks today handles many disciplines with many different needs to support a company attitude needed to succeed and rise over and above customer expectations. We are no longer surprised when an IT manager requests full Call Center and PBX features on every phone with full flexible control over features (by department and employee). This kind of support and flexibility comes natural to Tikal Networks.
Tikal Networks' Experience
Tikal Networks brings nine years of call center equipment and operation experience to every new operator. Our experience gives call center managers the advantage gained over hundreds of deployments. In addition, Tikal Networks' systems gained feedback from thousands of call center agents making millions of calls. Tikal's Crystal Call Center system uses Asterisk open source as a base platform. Asterisk is the number one telephony platform today with the largest installed base in both PBX and Call Center use. In addition to a solid technical capability, Tikal Networks' support staff is experienced in supporting hundreds of mission critical sites. Tikal Networks customers are located globally and use a wide range of features. This gives new call center customers the assurance of getting started quickly with a proven supplier. Tikal Networks also offers systems in both hosted (cloud) and locally installed formats. Tikal can also transfer one installation from local placement to a hosted one without any changes to the system or it's data! All this translates into strong business application integration capability. When it comes to getting all your applications in front of sales, marketing or support agents, Tikal Networks will get you there quickly and reliably.