- 16th April 2018
- Posted by: Manolis
What the eyes can’t see, the heart can’t feel? Not always. In the case of Back Office it might turn out that although this activity is invisible to the eyes of the end customer, failing to take care of it can cause a lot of pain, and the consequences can be – loss of clients and undermining of the brand image.
BACK OFFICE – WHAT’S HAPPENING “BEHIND THE SCENES”
As a general concept, back office processes include activities connected with the correct functioning of the company, among others, accountingfinancial services, legal department, IT, HR. Although these activities are not so as important as controlling activities nowadays, they are important to ensuring effective and high quality customer service, which leads straight to customer loyalty. There can therefore be no doubt that what happens “behind the scenes” of every company is of great importance.
Just such an important role is played by Back Office activities in the contact center industry. Although here, the name signifies a different area of activities – taking care of how the process goes, to make sure that a client is happy with his/her new product. Even if he/she is unaware that this is the way their order works. In the general understanding of customer service it is just as important how the product is sold, as what happens with the call afterwards. Call Center Inter Galactica has been undertaking back office services since 2009. Years of experience and results analysis from completed campaigns show that only a well running team responsible for the back office activities, allow the full potential of orders to be reached along with the maximum financial benefits. What does this mean in practice? Taking care of every stage of the process, so that the client can receive his order as quickly as possible and not want to return it.
The Back Office workers at CCIG are the first line of defense to verify if the data gained in the telephone sales process is correct and complete so that the order can be fulfilled. If so, they add the order to the system and supervise its effective completion. If some data is missing, they contact the client at once to complete it. They try to complete the order as fast as possible and similarly, if there is a problem such as a lack of a product or any other reason which makes it impossible to complete the order, they contact the client and find the best solution for them, e.g. choosing a similar product. This contact makes a lot of difference to the completion of the order. The client appreciates that the company reacts quickly to his issue and even if there is a complication, they are prepared to and want to solve the problem.
ACTION – COMPLAINTS
Although companies focus above all on sales and gaining customers, they should not forget about the important area of communication that is making complaints and sending products back. A pro-customer attitude and fast reactions to change, allow workers to effectively undertake questions connected with these issues. You see, there is a lot of truth in the old saying that “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. The way in which complaints, renouncing of products and refunds are handled, certainly influences a customer’s opinion about a brand. In the case of a product being sent back, Back Office department contacts the customer, asking about the reasons why the product was not suitable. This is an opportunity to try to solve the customer’s issues in order to decide finally whether or not they want to take advantage of the product.
CCIG Back Office activities are focused not only on the verification of whether or not data is correct in contracts and adding them to the business partner’s system, but also with complaints and returned products. This department also successfully undertakes so called “soft” vindication actions if, when the contract is verified there are debts in payments for other services. Consultants undertaking these kind of calls, are specialists in this kind of customer service. That’s why, they undertake the conversation sympathetically, calmy and politely, but also firmly. Such contact is so effective that in many cases the debts are repaid completely. What’s more, the customer appreciates this kind of debt
collection. They realise they have debts, yet it is also important for them to have individual treatment of their case and a conversation with a professional who explains to them the possible ways of solving their problem.
SPECIAL MISSION: ANALYSIS AND EDUCATION
We need to realise that an effective Back Office system is important not only because of its impact on the company’s brand. Back Office is a source of confirmed information about why the customer, despite at first declaring an interest in using our products, finally resigns from them. Thanks to analysis of the reasons giving for resigning, we know which area needs to be addressed – is it at the sales level, or perhaps the courier company should be changed because the products are arriving in bad condition?
Back Office also allows us to save and optimize the salesmen’s time, as they don’t have to worry if everything is ok with the order they have gained – they can focus on the next transaction. Data collected and analyzed by Back Office allows the competencies of the sales team to be increased. Analysis shows which area in the sales team’s training should be strengthened and which should be refreshed or changed. Having this knowledge, we can quickly improve the service level and the team’s motivation. The knowledge of the Back Office workers is an underappreciated help for the salesmen too. The role of feedback in their job is incredibly important, especially as far as indirect contact is concerned, when the client is not seen and they can not read their body language (let’s remember that non verbal communication accounts for even 70% of communication). Also the salesman are not always able to „catch” the moment when a customer begins to have doubts. When they are directly involved in the conversation with the customer, they may also not notice mistakes which mean that in the end the consumer, despite having a positive opinion of the consultant on the whole, decides against buying the product. Feedback from Back Office such as: “the Customer says they did not understand which documents they needed to prepare to effectively complete the transaction” allows the sales team to react immediately, in order to avoid the sale falling through when the order is completed. When the salesman knows what is the reason, he doesn’t lose time checking in which part of the conversation he made a mistake, which in turn improves the comfort of their task, because it reduces the frustration caused by an incomplete transaction.
THE IMPORTANT THINGS ARE OFTEN INVISIBLE
Although at first sight sales back office processes are invisible for the customer, there can be no doubt that they impact to a great extent on sales success. Unfortunately, due to economic reasons, a lack of workers, sometimes a lack of knowledge, companies often don’t have a separate department which specializes in “back” sales. A solution is the decision to outsource back office services. This decision can be preempted by worries about data protection. It is worth confronting this with the losses that are caused by lower quality aftersales service and a lack of analysis of the salesmen – in the long run these can become painfully apparent. Especially in times of a saturated market (no matter which industry) and the higher awareness of customers’ expectations as far as service is concerned.
Such worries can be put at ease by contact with an experienced service provider, who can present in which ways data is protected and who can propose a contract which can bring comfort to both sides. In outsourcing, experience is a key factor because years of running back office processes for other clients, allow effective solutions to be found, which can easily be adapted for other clients.
If the decision about outsourcing back office processes is being blocked by worries about the quality of the service offered, it is important to remember that the business partner has the possibility of monitoring the way in which the service is carried out. The conversations are recorded, the Back Office Manager completes reports and analysis which sales benefit from, but which are also material for the business partner, allowing him to “keep his finger on the pulse”. Each project also has its own supervisor, who is in constant contact with the business partner. The supervisor registers all the events in the process, suggests solutions, draws attention to areas which need to be strengthened.
An undeniable advantage of outsourcing Back Office, which most business partners pay attention to, is the flexibility of staffing selection of the team of advisors. CCIG’s business partner doesn’t need to worry about whether his customers will have to wait for an answer or for a contract to be completed, even in the case of heavy call traffic. If the situation occurs, team increases the amount of advisors or extends the number of work hours in order to keep the solution of issues notified to Back Office to that previously agreed with the business partner, e.g. in the case of adding contracts to the system, each of them is added to the business partner’s system usually the same day when they were recorded. All this in order that the end client can quickly and completely satisfactorily use the business partner’s services.
TASK WITH AN ASTERISK
Finally, we have a suggestion – try for a moment to look at your customer service process through the customers’ eyes. But not only at what happens at the moment of contact with the salesman, but also later – whilst they wait for the parcel of service. And during any possible complaints procedure. Are the processes intuitive? If there is a problem with installation or a need to ask technical questions, is the information easily available?
Think about what you can change to make things better. It is not an easy task, but it is important because our client is not only our client at the first moment of contact with our brand and its representatives. Sales is the moment when we begin an opportunity to have a loyal client for life. However, whether or not that happens depends on how they remember the whole sales process. And in this is it as in life – it is important how we begin but it is equally important how we finish.