Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Marketing using call lists

When thinking of customer service, we automatically think of a callcenter that processes inbound phonecalls, emails, letters and in some cases even chat. This is a logical thought, because throughout history, service was always initiated from the customer asking for service. Also, from a cost perspective, inbound calls are cheaper than outbound calls. Last but not least, the probability of the customer wanting service is bigger when he asks for it.

When thinking of sales, we are more likely to think of a salesperson visiting the customer, or calling the customer to inform him on the new product. This is a logical thought, because a sales process is more often initiated by the selling party.

If we combine these two worlds we can think of cross selling during service, so first servicing the customer making him happy and then doing him a good offer. If we take this a little further, we could consider triggering service (like for instance offering the customer a check-up of his product, or evaluating his satisfaction of the product) in order to maybe generate a new sale. A service offering is most likely to be done via a multichannel marketing campaign.

Example
Let’s say we sell motorcycles. We know that customers are likely to buy a new motorcycle every 2 or 3 years. The likeliness of a customer responding to a normal marketing campaign (direct mail) is less than the likeliness of a customer responding to a personal sales offer. The likeliness of the customer responding to a personal (free) service offer is probably the highest.
So, we decide to plan a continuous multichannel marketing campaign where we weekly select all customers that bought a motorcycle 2 years ago, and we send them a personal letter and the service offer. During the week, we also call the customer to ask if he is interested in the offer. We are now in contact with the customer, which can lead to a sale.

In the example above, in SAP CRM, we would use the following tools:
  • Marketing to create and execute the campaign.
  • Segmentation to select the customers.
  • Interaction Center to call the customers via a call list.
There are of course many examples of such processes (call-me-buttons on sites, calling customers that have visited a product page on your site, calling customers that have a product that has known issues, contract renewal processes, etc).

Call lists in the Interaction Center
Calling customers based on a selection can be done using call lists in the Interaction Center in SAP CRM. Depending on the process, you can consider using an external interface push customers to an existing call list, or you can add customers to a new call list during campaign execution, or you can add customers to a call list using custom actions in activities or orders (for instance if the status of an opportunity has changed, or a certain period after a sale).

Call lists are created in the IC Manager role, and can be assigned to organizational units (departments) or directly to certain employees.

Call lists are processed in the Interaction Center. You can choose to allow the agent to choose the next customer himself, or you can choose to implement the ‘call list dispatcher’, which is a powerful tool that allows the assignment of the next call to the agent based on your own business rules (so maybe the hottest leads first, or FIFO, or last contact longest ago etc). Implementing the call list dispatcher will also allow you to have multiple agents working on the same list at the same time (as the dispatcher handles the dispatching).

The status of calls in the call lists are synchronized with activities that are attached to the call and vice versa. This way, the status of the call is also visible in the customer overview, and a change to the activity will also trigger a change in the call in the call list.

In order to improve performance, you can also consider implementing a mechanism to archive (move the calls to a disabled call list) calls once they have been processed. I will explain how to do this later.

Also, when implementing call lists, you might consider implementing that a call is not to be processed again on the same day (or in a few hours), to avoid calling the same customer over and over again when the call list is almost empty. This is done in a BADI, and I will explain this later as well