I may be overlooking a few things, but it seems that almost anything we do is being done to have an influence on someone or something. The pharma contact center is no exception. We want our actions to not only have a satisfying effect on customers but also a positive financial, operational, or strategic effect on our company. We ask then, “How can our contact center become more influential?”
At the root of influence is information, and information is one thing that contact centers generate a lot of. Sometimes our information is rough-edged and presented as data – and that may be one of the reasons why contact centers are not as influential as we would like them to be. That’s not the issue being addressed here. Let’s assume that we’ve already met the challenge of transforming our data into packages of useful information. What could be holding us back now?
Perhaps the problem is that we are not as persuasive as we could be. Maybe the reason others in our company are not recognizing our value is that we are not persuading them on the value of the service and information we are providing. OK, so if persuasion is the problem, how do we fix it?
In the landmark article by Robert B. Cialdini, “Harnessing the Science of Persuasion” in Harvard Business Review, October 2001, Volume 79, Issue 9, he describes 6 methods of persuasion that are used to influence others. I will provide a brief description and encourage you to read the full article if this idea captures your interest as it did mine.
6 Methods of Persuasion:
- Liking – We are persuaded by people we like, find attractive, or even look like us. This works in reverse as well. Use praise to create liking.
- Reciprocity – When people give us something, we feel obligated to give them something in return, even if of different value and whether it is requested or not.
- Consensus – We want to do what others are doing or having. Clothing manufacturers have created their industry based on this method.
- Scarcity – We want more of what’s harder to get. This is a basic understanding of supply and demand that we learn as children.
- Authority – We trust independent, authoritative sources. Experts save us time.
- Consistency – We work to show others that our actions are consistent with our words or past actions.
After considering all of the methods of persuasion, you can see that the magic is not in any single method but in using the right method or methods for the circumstance. The purpose of my blog is simply to introduce these methods and to inspire thinking about the methods you currently use to persuade others about the value of the call center. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 317-797-2244.