A common thread among successful, enduring brands is always putting the customer first. Selling to existing customers is much more inexpensive than attracting new ones. Research shows that companies spend five times more to attract a new buyer than to retain a previous one.
Yet a primary mechanism for delivering customer service – a large call center operation – can be limiting. Often, these facilities are trying to lure local job seekers who have little attachment to the brand. And that becomes evident in their interactions with the customer.
Arise Virtual Solutions is trying to fundamentally change that paradigm. The Miramar, Florida-based company provides a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to utilize a network of “micro” call centers around the country. Often, these are semi-retired adults, stay-at-home parents, or even people with disabilities who work out of their homes.
Because the talent pool isn’t confined to a small geographic area, companies can look for individuals who have a higher level of work experience or who possess specific skills, such as the ability to speak a foreign language.
It also enables organizations – whether they’re manufacturers, retailers or service providers – to recruit representatives who share their values and interests. That aspect resolves some of the high turnover issues that plague a lot of traditional call centers. It also turns those individuals into advocates for the brand.
A cycling equipment maker, for instance, is able to staff people who are avid fans of the sport. As a result, they have a clearer understanding of the questions that customers have and are able to suggest products that will fit their needs.
In the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Arise was recognized for its innovative solution. The company was awarded the Gold Stevie® in the Best Use of Technology in Customer Service - Business Services category.
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A more flexible workforce
For firms that use the Arise platform, the advantages go beyond the talent level of the customer service workers. The technology also provides a flexibility that traditional call centers don’t offer.
Based on call volume, for example, companies can increase or decrease the number of on-duty reps in under an hour. As a result, users can turn a fixed cost into a variable cost – and save money in the process. The company calls it being “right-staffed.”
Consequently, an industry that was once dominated by large brick-and-mortar operations is undergoing a seismic transformation. A trade group survey found that as many as 70 percent of call center managers intend to move to a cloud-based infrastructure in the near future.
As one Stevie® Award judge put it, technologies like those offered by Arise offer a “desperately needed” tool that can “accommodate a flexible workforce.”
The array of benefits has led to impressive growth for the company, which was founded in the mid-90s. Today, the Arise network includes thousands of micro call centers throughout the United States as well as in Canada and several European countries. Those individuals provide support for companies in a wide range of industries, from healthcare to retail and banking.
Arise has garnered a number of recognitions over the past few years, including accolades from the Outsourcing Institute and the International Customer Management Institute, or ICMI. Arise CEO John A. Meyer indicated the Stevie Award represents a major achievement for the organization.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Stevie Awards and our peers,” Meyer said in a statement following the ceremony in Las Vegas.