August 8, 2011
Dealer Services Manager, Alex Brown
Where were you before coming to Outsell?
[Alex Brown] I consider myself a Renaissance man. Immediately prior to coming to Outsell, I worked in financial services as a Financial Analyst and NASD Branch Office Supervisor. One of my greatest loves was training and growing strong teams and leaders. My time was split between helping families understand the many financial mechanisms available and presenting at training events. My most exciting and challenging training presentation involved around 2000 of my peers! Once you do something like that, stage fright becomes a thing of the past.
My transition to financial services began 16 years prior in the mortgage industry. As one of the youngest people to receive a California real estate license, I constantly needed to overcome the age objection. Thoughtful approaches to presentation and a truly caring heart helped with even the most stubborn of clients. My mortgage acumen afforded the opportunity to work in most areas of the industry, from loan officer, loan processor, underwriter, and wholesale account executive. In fact, I was given the choice of territories when an account executive, and the only clear choice was San Diego, CA. Fun in the Sun and all!
My father taught me at a young age to try as many occupations as possible, not only to garner more experience but to learn empathy for other occupations. Additional places I’ve worked: deli, commercial Salmon fishing, excavation and backhoe, telemarketing, service station, software programming, pipe and cigar sales, and exotic car sales.
What key responsibilities do you have as part of your position at Outsell?
[Alex Brown] As the Dealer Services Manager, my key responsibilities center around three main buckets of activity: On-Boarding, Maintenance, and Cancellation. I manage a team of exceptional Dealer Services Specialists and ensure the proper tools, information, and guidance is available at all times. Our goal is to make enrollment simple, resolve issues quickly, provide clear explanations, and support our internal customers.
What excites you most about the Outsell Digital Marketing Platform?
[Alex Brown] More and more people are going to digital media prior to making purchases. For example, before purchasing my television, I did most of my research online. I never visited an actual store until I knew exactly what I wanted to buy. The Outsell Digital Engagement Platform provides a way for dealers to engage their customers, create a positive experience, and help guide them to making the right purchase. The Platform’s analytics is simply amazing! It is able to determine the best digital marketing media, be they eNewsletter, Live Chat, specially designed campaigns, or SMS messages.
How do you keep active outside of work hours?
[Alex Brown] I am the proud father of an active soon-to-be 3-year-old. Need I say more?
Tell us a little-known fact about you.
[Alex Brown] I have a passion for wrestling… not the kind on television with atomic elbow drops and folding chairs smashed over heads, but the Olympic kind. I wrestled for 10 years in high school, college, and individually afterward. I support our local programs and am a season ticket holder for our local university. The sport is special because of the amount of drive, determination, and mental toughness involved in becoming successful. In addition to wrestling, I branched into Muay Thai, a Thai martial art, because of many of the same characteristics.
December 8, 2010
November 8, 2010
Consumers Are Often Unhappy with Online Assistance
In Outsell’s continuing dedication to improving our current digital marketing services, Dealer Services Manager, Alex Brown, discovered an insightful article from earlier this spring by Diane Clarkson of Forrester Research, Inc about the expansion of online customer service in retail.
Email has been at the forefront for years as an offered online option for customer service, and many retailers that sell their products online have an advantage with online customer service as further methods are being implemented. The difficult aspect for most companies is in aligning their strategies for online marketing and customer service effectively.
Live help is growing rapidly as an online option, particularly reactive chat, the method in which a customer can choose to click on a chat icon and engage an online professional, versus the proactive method that automatically opens a chat window without prompting.
Mobile customer service such as text alerts is rapidly growing as well, despite being one of the currently least offered online services. In the Chat Center at Outsell there have even been a number of growing customers using their cell phones to chat rather than a computer.
Despite attention being placed on additional online customer service methods, Forrester Research, Inc found that most of the companies they polled are not listening to what their customers want.
“Only 49% of survey respondents agree that their brand drives their online and offline customer services strategy. This lack of alignment can be jarring for customers when their service experience is inconsistent with the expectations a brand has promised.”
In other words, most consumers are not as happy with the customer service they receive as retailers promise they will be. More effective online methods may help salvage this disconnect, but only if implemented well, and if companies take into account feedback on how their customer service methods are working.
Forrester Research, Inc summed up their findings in five main points for how retailers can improve:
1. integrate brand alignment into customer service strategy
2. align customer service metrics to brand
3. listen to social channels
4. solicit customer feedback across your customer service channels
5. establish customer service cross-channel and cross-functional collaboration
Online customer service in the form of online chat and potential social media methods are becoming the standard, but to utilize this effectively and provide the best possible customer service to customers, retailers need to have clear goals, clear understanding of how their brand fits into the methods they are exploring, and clear understanding of what their customers want.
If done well, new online customer service options for expanding sales and customer loyalty may be the most beneficial evolution for retailers in reaching and assisting their customers since email, but only if done correctly.
Outsell has recently implemented a survey offered to customers at the end of their chat experience to query how much of consumers’ automotive shopping they want to complete online, and how successful the chat process was for them. Outsell plans to share the findings from this survey later this year.
To download the full article by Forrester Research, Inc please click here.