A New Take on Social Media

I recently had a chance to attend a presentation by Corey Perlman, the author of Eboot Camp. After just 2 hours I had a whole new outlook on what this can mean to a person in sales. Although i have seen many presentations like this, most focused on the importance of using Facebook and Twitter etc. in promoting our business. Every one of them stressed the “millions of users”, or the size of country Facebook would be if it were a nation. But Corey opened my eyes. Here’s just one example.

He asked everyone to raise their hand if they could name their top three customers. Of course every hand went up. “Keep your hand up if you know the first name of the most important contact at each of those three companies … now put your hand down if you know each of their birthdays. I would say half the hands dropped. “Put your hands down if you know the names of their pets.” There were two hands remaining up. And finally “put your hands down if you could send them a card congratulating them on their 10th anniversary of being tobacco free” That did it — no more hands were up.

We all have access to the use of a tool that could provide you all those answers within minutes-of not just your top 3, but all customers. Become friends on FACEBOOK!

Social media marketing doesn’t have to be about the 500 million users — it can be about a one on one business relationship — which in my opinion is just as valuable.

What Does a Call Center Cost?

In our business we are often asked by people considering using our Call Center “How much does it cost?” A friend once said he answers with “How long is a piece of string?” Unlike a loaf of bread, the cost of having someone answer your phones doesn’t have a fixed price. Usually there is a “base rate” which includes a number of minutes and then a charge for extra minutes used each month. There are many variables you need to consider.

The first is call volume and the reason you are considering the service. If you need your phone answered 24 hours a day because your most important client may call with a 3 am emergency, once or twice a month — you need a low base rate – but if you have 1000 patients who call with appointment changes you need a higher base rate that includes a substantial number of included minutes.

Next think about how you want us to deliver your message to you. Do you want each one simply emailed as soon as it arrives, or do you want us to follow up with your staff in 5 minutes to ensure it was received, with escalation procedures to follow if they are not available? Most services can do either one to accommodate your business model — but one costs more than the
other obviously.

Seasonality is another concern. If you provide snow plowing and landscaping services — you will get fewer calls in summer — so you may be better to have a lower base rate throughout the year and just pay some over usage charges in January. Some places may offer a “flat rate” — but keep in mind that an “all you can eat” restaurant may seem like a good deal — but if you
just have a plate of salad it becomes a very expensive plate. Flat pricing is usually set to ensure that the service gets substantially more than enough to cover the cost of providing service.

So when you ask a salesperson “what does it cost to have someone answer my phones” expect them to ask a few questions before giving you an estimate. If they just blurt out a price beware that you may not be getting the best deal for your particular business.