Friday, 24 September 2010

What is the difference between the Press Office and a Call Centre?

Whilst walking the aisles of Call Centre Expo at the NEC on Wednesday it struck me that this event, more than any of the other tradeshows my colleagues and I visit, is more pertinent to the PR world in which we work. So, what does a PR person have in common with a Call Centre Manager, or a Customer Service Agent for that matter? As I spoke to vendors, visitors, industry experts and journalists I realised that the answer was an awful lot indeed.

We both work at the communications coalface, trusted to be the custodians of the respective brands we represent. What we say, how we say it and when has a dramatic impact, both good and bad, on the perception of the business by the market at large. We undoubtedly find ourselves in a privileged and powerful position to influence the future success of the business.

To succeed we must always keep at the forefront of our minds the need to impress and deliver an exceptional and consistent standard of customer service. As PR professionals we cannot forget that we are in the service business and our customers are diverse, not only the clients we represent, but also the evolving media landscape. It is our job to know what each ‘customer’ wants and needs, and strive to continually meet these expectations. Which brings me to what I consider to be one of the most compelling similarities between the PR world and that of the call centre - the need to listen and to use these insights to influence what we do next and how we do it.

Finally, the overwhelming similarity that I took away with me from the expo was the need to adhere to one simple core value that we all expect as customers, which is simply: To always do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it.

Upholding this single value is the foundation for building long-term loyalty and turning a customer into an advocate.
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