Seventy percent of customer engagements at the software company come from channels that didn’t even exist a few years ago, notes Dean Shaw, global chat program manager, SAS, who spoke at the recent MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston.
The customer contact center has about 8000 engagements monthly, on just about any topic imaginable. The company’s average deal size is $22,000. While in some organizations, the customer contact function is seen as merely a cost center, this is not the case at SAS.
“We are a revenue center because we indiscriminately talk to anyone who wants to talk to us,” he notes. This ability to gather information means they can have a significant impact on the sales cycle.
“Reps fight over leads that come into the customer contact center, because these are not blind leads,” Shaw says. “They are coming in with a lot of information not only about who they are, but about the conversation they had with the rep. We are doing so much vetting that by the time they get to sales, most of the work is already done.”
When combined with customer data, the conversations add a layer of information that can help sales close deals. “Each engagement is a one-on-one focus group,” he notes. “This is not a burden, this is an opportunity to learn from our customers about what we can do better.”
The conversations also help SAS identify pages on its website that are high-value lead generation pages and drive engagement. It is also able to uncover pages that are perhaps less traveled, but have a high conversion rate: Lead gen rates can be increased by increasing traffic to those pages.
For example, the team noticed that there was a lot of activity to the schedules page for training and classes. But, these pages were a significant pain point for users, because there was too much information lumped together and it was confusing. This led to improvements to make those screens easier to use.
A drilldown into chat transcripts also showed that there were many conversations about price, leading the team to create predefined content for reps to use surrounding prices and product costs.