Shelley Freed, co-founder of
Ashton Business Solutions
, a consulting group specializing in research-based business strategies, admits that she relies on technology just as much as the next person. But amidst all the emails and text messages, Freed’s goal is to put the human touch back into ABS’s strategic marketing and positioning.
“I do a lot of market research and strategic research for companies,” says Freed. “I get to interact with companies’ internal teams about how customers impact their businesses. Inevitably, I end up interacting with their databases.”
In doing so, Freed found that many companies do not have complete data on their customers, and therefore can’t make informed decisions on how to make improvements to their customer service.
“Very few companies have really solid data,” says Freed. “So I started thinking, wouldn’t it be great if companies would update their records -- throw in an extra question as a customer service touch point, like, Is there anything we can do for you today?
The thought prompted the creation of ABS’s Customer Service Outsource Center. “And it’s a real person on the phone,” says Freed. “People still want to be able to talk to a human being. It makes a big difference. It’s all about humanity in business, even if it’s sometimes easier to send off an email.”
ABS is rolling out the center, including a secret shopper service. “This, then, is more than a data bank for customer information; it is intended to be an invaluable resource that can help companies discover new and highly successful ways of growing their businesses,” explains Freed.
ABS has several part-time people on staff now and Freed is interviewing for the call center. They recently hired someone to lead the telemarketing aspect of the company.
“The initiative for Ashton this year is to push the humanity back into business,” Freed says. “Business is about relationships. That means getting on the phones to talk with customers, prospects and referral sources on a regular basis all the time. We’re hoping by the end of the year to have a handful of people in permanent part-time positions.”
Source: Shelley Freed
Writer: Karin Connelly