Some people think all call-center agents are in the India or the Philippines. That’s not the case. Even if it were true, training and technology advances have erased much of the cross-border difficulties one might have experienced several years ago. I regularly speak with outstanding call-center agents who are off-shore.
Misconception 4: Call-Center Agents Don’t Care About My Store
This is a strange misconception because agent’s salaries are paid by you, and you only pay the call center when your phone calls are handled well. The truth is call-center agents often care more about your stores and your customers than you do.
It’s not unusual for us to track down a manager or owner to help an after-hours caller because he ran into a problem. Often, the manager or owner doesn't want to be bothered, but we track him down anyway because a customer is upset or in need. Give us a little credit on this one. We know who butters our bread.
Misconception 5: Call Centers Are Only Good for New Rentals
Wrong. Yes, call centers are great for capturing rentals, but they’re also great for giving your current customers a good experience and helping you manage tenant interactions. Don’t just look at the rental activity when evaluating the return on your call-center investment.
Misconception 6: Call Center Agents Can’t Sell as Well as My In-Store Staff
Maybe, maybe not. How much time do you spend training, coaching, monitoring, evaluating, re-training, motivating and correcting your staff on sales prowess? Call centers spend a lot of time on these activities because they're core to the success of the operation and to the retention of staff and clients.
Misconception 7: Call Centers Can’t Use My Software
Most call centers are capable of a certain level of integration depending on the software version you’re using. Most also have easy work-arounds in case you use a software that’s not in an integration package, so no worries here.
If you’re considering how a call center fits into your program or if you’re trying to develop a closer relationship with the one you’re currently using, these seven misconceptions need not cloud your thinking. As our world becomes smaller and more interconnected, you’ll eventually need someone for your prospects and customers to talk to at all hours of the day, any time they call.
In spite of the rise of the Internet and the wave of mobile-device use, people still like to talk to real people about their issues and questions. How you deal with this reality is up to you. Don’t let these myths stop you from considering the call-center alternative.
Tron Jordheim is the chief marketing officer of StorageMart and director of PhoneSmart. He has consulted for many self-storage companies and spoken at industry events in Canada, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Prior to joining StorageMart, he managed one of Culligan’s top U.S. bottled-water franchises. For more information, visit www.phone-smart.net .