When catalogers and retailers first started to go multichannel, they believed Web-based self-service would be significantly more cost efficient than fielding a full operation of customer service reps at terminals. Over the long haul, they reasoned, humans are more expensive than machines. But like the benefits of the paperless office, many call-center payroll reductions have been elusive.
Some call-center employees stay with their companies for many years because their employers are generally fair, locations are convenient for them, the pay is good, the work isn’t too hard, and their coworkers are likable and supportive. Despite a good work environment, doing the same job day in, day out can get a little, well, boring. This not only results in a feeling of staleness, but it can also manifest in that rote, pro-forma voice that undercuts interactions with customers. So how can managers enrich or enliven the work environment to keep reps feeling and giving their best? Here are 10 ways to
Sometimes after a meeting or a difficult interaction we think, “What a disaster!” Sadly, there have been many recent disasters, real ones, that have put families, businesses and communities at risk or out of commission. Most people avoid the topic of disaster planning like the plague — but it’s the plague that might be coming. An AT&T survey on disaster planning found that, on average, more than 30 percent of U.S. companies have no disaster recovery plan at all. What’s more, of the companies surveyed, more than 20 percent have neither updated nor tested their plans during the previous year, and more than
Whether you’re just embarking on disaster planning or looking to update the plans you already have, consider the following. 1. Designate a readiness team or individual coordinator to make lines of responsibility clear. The coordinator should know all necessary contact information, such as evacuation routes and check-in locations, and that these also are readily accessible in all operating locations. Have employees provide emergency contact information and that they program these numbers into their cell and desk phones. 2. Set up phone and e-mail contact chains and test them. Set up multiple voice mailboxes in remote locations so that employees can call in to leave messages about
Before you work out an upsell pitch, resolve the original reason for the customer’s call. If possible, use this original impetus or the specifics of your resolution to craft your customized approach. Find out if customers would rather place their orders online. Then the rep will need to get them to clickthrough to the right links. (Or, would customers rather the rep take care of that for them?) Also decide which screens you want customers to see while reps are handling the processing end. Your reps should have experience viewing different browsers’ characteristics and should know what the different browser screens and screen sizes
Upselling, the Multichannel Way It’s Time to Master the Phone/Online Upsell By Liz Kislik Since the 1980s, when the majority of catalog orders began shifting from mail orders to the telephone, it’s become standard practice to not just take phone orders efficiently, but also to incorporate the upsell as a regular part of call center operations. But it’s 2007, and the typical catalog order isn’t necessarily over the phone anymore. Consider this scenario: Your customer calls to place an order and everything in the process goes smoothly. Your order taker follows standard practice and offers one or more upsells. In the classic
Since the 1980s, when the majority of catalog orders began shifting from mail orders to the telephone, it’s become standard practice to not just take phone orders efficiently, but also to incorporate the upsell as a regular part of call center operations. But it’s 2007, and the typical catalog order isn’t necessarily over the phone anymore. Consider this scenario: Your customer calls to place an order and everything in the process goes smoothly. Your order taker follows standard practice and offers one or more upsells. In the classic equation, you’ve created additional potential value for the customer — more satisfaction with your fabulous
Elizabeth Kislik is President of Liz Kislik Associates LLC, a consultancy that works with organizations of all sizes and segments to enhance customer satisfaction, employee success and business stability. Her extensive experience in customer service and telemarketing management includes mission and strategy development, organizational design, process analysis, program design and execution, operational assessment, and training and development for managers, supervisors, and reps. She speaks and writes frequently about customer care, employee development, and effective marketing techniques. Kislik serves on the DMA’s Board of Directors, its Ethics Policy Committee, and its Committee on Privacy. In 1994, she received the DMA’s Telephone Marketing Excellence award.
You don’t have to resort to enforced compliance among your customer service reps to make an upsell program successful for your catalog. In fact, you’ll probably sell a lot more incremental product if you invest the time and effort to ensure that your reps understand and support the validity of the process. Following are six important keys to an incremental sales program that your reps will accept and follow. Stress offers, not selling. Most reps in catalog operations are more comfortable with the idea of helping customers to buy than they are with selling. So soft-pedal your sales talk, and make it