Live Message and the Sales Appointment Call

Recently I talked with a long standing client about a service that they had never used called Live Message. It was a great way to remind myself that as clients needs and our services continue to evolve, it’s necessary to review both our understanding of what we can do for them and their understanding of how our services fit.

For example- take the client. They have used us almost exclusively for event promotions in the past because all other parts of their lead generation have been outsourced up until recently.  However, they now have an inside sales team who not only follow up any inbound leads, but also cold call potential clients with an objective of setting a phone appointment.

Now take Live Message.  This is a service we originally introduced to manage a few industry verticals our clients wished to target, with a lower than average development of voicemail. We’re in the business of delivering messages to help our clients push their sales and marketing goals, so we chose to expand our service to ensure that we could still do the job when our call center agents enountered the response, “We don’t have voicemail. Can I take a message?”

So originally, live message allowed us to take a shortened version of our clients voicemail and deliver it directly to company receptionists and personal assistants, who would in turn pass it on to the original contact.  And it worked very well indeed.  Maybe its just something about the corporate culture in an organization that still writes down messages on litle pink slips, but the returned call rate has always been excellent and so the service thrived.

But, it also evolved in a very important way and it started, as many of the best enhancements do, with a client request.  “If you get a live answer, (that’s when the target contact picks up the phone. (Yes, it does still happen.)) can you deliver a live message directly to them?”So, we gave it try and after fine tuning our senior call agent training, made it a regular part of our add-on service line up.

Our call center agents have, in the past few years, routinely relayed information directly to our clients’ contacts, related to event invitations and reminders, down load opportunities and mail follow ups and confirmations.

So, going back to the beginning of this post, we now have a service that has evolved to fit with a client who is looking to do campaign types that they never did before.  When their inside reps call and don’t make a connection, they leave a message based on fairly broad opportunty categories, to intro themselves and line up a pain point with the potential for a solution and a phone appointment suggestion. It’s certainly not a one-size-fits all message, but with some intelligent list sorting the tactic works.

What they couldn’t see (at first) was how any shortened version of their basic voicemail message could potentially be delivered directly to their target contacts, since even the best trained callers, would not be properly prepared to do a really good job of fielding that “Tell me more” request.  Live message is, afterall, still a very clean and simple service.

The solution is a little counter-intuitive and a great example of how a flexible approach can help take advantage of any possible opportunity.  The live message version, when delivered directly to the target contact, makes no mention of an appointment request. Instead, it is used to ask permission to forward one of several possible case studies/whitepaper combinations.  Confirmation or denial provides a level of feedback that a delivery failure could never do.  Naturally, an agreement to accept the information is followed up by the inside team to further qualify the contact. The call pick up time is recorded to help guide the clients inside team to a good time to make a connection.

Services change.  Client’s needs change. When we keep track of both, new opportunities are presented for everyone.

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