Contributions to Profit: Track Call-to-Order Conversions
During the training process, set up contests for the CSRs and the training team that generates the highest conversion rates. Train the reps to be gentle with customers (keep a careful eye on your returns). Being overly aggressive to win a contest can be the unwanted end result. Stress the quality of the customer relationship as well as the quantity of orders.
Using this technique at one company, we increased conversion rates by 20 percent. And by fostering an atmosphere of teamwork and healthy competition, we increased the enthusiasm and level of positive spirits in the contact center.
Capture All Demand
Also train CSRs to capture customers’ basic contact data (e.g., name, address) and how they heard about your company, at the beginning of the call in case a sale doesn’t convert. Not only does this unfulfilled demand count on your response analysis, but these potentially are future customers who’ve already shown affinity toward your products and should be included in future mail plans. Moreover, you wouldn’t want to pay a list rental fee for these names later on.
One way to combat lost demand is to offer a down-sell item, a low-cost or discounted product that can be used as a last effort by your CSRs to make a sale. The key to this technique is to ensure your CSRs are properly trained to be aggressive without crossing a legal or ethical line. Of course if a customer wants something that’s out of stock or just has a question, you may wind up upsetting a future customer or creating ill will by giving the down-sell offer. For those callers you may be better off just getting their contact data and including them in future mailings.
My goal for this column is to have it be a forum for exchanging ideas on how to increase sales and decrease direct-selling expenses. How do you combat lost demand in your contact center? What techniques do you use to manage your CTO ratio? Send your ideas and comments to my e-mail address below; we’ll publish them in an article or on our Web site.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.