Could call centres be the most important marketing channel for brands?
Roundly regarded as the graveyard of the brand / user interface, call centres are unlikely to feature high on the priority list of anyone carving out a career in marketing or creative communications. But for the people who buy these brands, a conversation with an agent in a call centre is one of the most vivid brand experiences they can have, it’s when it (literally) comes to life for them. It doesn’t matter how many millions of pounds a business spends on sexy advertising, influencer campaigns or product design; if the living, breathing conversations it has with its users fail to deliver, it’s money wasted.
The marketing community has been obsessing about authentic brand experiences for years; I’d argue that brand owners (and their agency partners) should be looking at call centres as one of the most important brand / user experiences available to them: a fully controllable, real time, human-to-human interaction with its buyers and users. Done well, it’s a channel that can instantly change opinions, increase loyalty and sell more. What’s more, the outcomes it delivers are 100% measurable – right down to each individual conversation, making it fully accountable as a comms channel.
We love call centres at Verbalisation. Our work with call centres has delivered a mind-boggling ROI of £176 (for every £1 spent). These are projects that can be proven to have paid for themselves, several times over. Not something that can be said for many ad campaigns.
When it comes to optimising phone conversations with customers, the only real weapon in your armoury is language. You can change your call centre team and fine-tune your product offering, but success comes from what you say and how you say it. In person-to-person conversations, your words are what make the difference. The same product can be perceived as irresistible and worth paying more for, orrun-of-the-mill and overpriced, purely on the basis of how it’s talked about.
Getting it right is simple, but it’s not easy. It requires a deep understanding of language and human psychology. At Verbalisation, it’s what we do: we analyse and then engineer language to effect positive behaviour change, where and when it matters most. Our methodology can be applied to any platform or situation where written or spoken language is used – from face-to-face dialogue and social media messaging, to call centre conversations… and everything in between. We know how to get people to say yes.
As someone who has worked across all of these channels, and been involved in big sexy ad campaigns in a former life, it’s strange to be arguing that call centres should be seen as one of the most important marketing platforms out there. Indeed, far from being the graveyard of the brand / user interface, customer calls have the potential to be the brightest, boldest and most effective brand experience.
So, let’s give the humble call centre the respect it deserves. All hail the headset wearer!
By Rachel Emms
Strategic Development Director,