Liz Kislik Associates LLC

Keep ’Em On Their Toes
April 1, 2008

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

Telephone Upselling: Be Realistic and Not Pushy, Kislik Advises
November 6, 2007

As long as it’s not forced or aggressive, telephone upselling still has a rightful place in catalog call centers, pointed out Liz Kislik, president of Liz Kislik & Assoc., during a presentation she gave at last week’s Cyber City Teleservices Forum and User’s Conference in New York City. Kislik outlined several pointers and reminders about upselling; below are the five most notable ones followed by five useful questions catalogers should ask themselves. 1. Don’t be pushy or “slick.” “Customers hate anything that seems like aggression, pushing or manipulation,” Kislik said. “The use of force is bad news and just doesn’t pay off in the

Disaster Preparedness: A Quick Guide
May 1, 2007

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

Special Focus: Ops & Fulfillment
April 1, 2007

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

Prepare Your Reps
April 1, 2007

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
April 1, 2007

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

The 50 Best Tips of 2006
November 1, 2006

What better way for a tips-oriented business magazine to wind down 2006 than with the top 50 tips of the year? My staff and I spent the past several weeks going through every article that’s run so far in Catalog Success and the Catalog Success Idea Factory e-newsletter this year to bring you the ultimate how-to “cheat sheet.” Throughout these pages, we’ve synthesized the year’s best tips, summarizing, and in some cases quoting directly, from stories and/or the sources themselves, where noted. Below each, you’ll see the industry expert who offered the tip. We reference the issue from which the tips originate so

CS Staff 05_Kislik
August 30, 2006

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.

Operations: Two industry veterans share their insights on using Benchmarks & Best Practices
March 1, 2006

A catalog executive suffers from no shortage of metrics to watch for: from average order value to e-mail inquiry turnaround times to indirect labor costs to number of calls answered in 20 seconds or less. The real questions, though, are how to use the numbers, and if the metrics even are appropriate to track for your operations. Comparing operations solely on numbers can be misleading. Is it better to establish a set of best practices and then hold your staff accountable to them? Donna Loyle, editor in chief of Catalog Success, asked two catalog operations experts for their thoughts on such questions:

Operations Benchmarks & Best Practices
March 1, 2006

Edited by Donna Loyle Two industry veterans share their insights on how to best leverage operational benchmarks and best practices. A catalog executive suffers from no shortage of metrics to watch for: from average order value to e-mail inquiry turnaround times to indirect labor costs to number of calls answered in 20 seconds or less. The real questions, though, are how to use the numbers, and if the metrics even are appropriate to track for your operations. Comparing operations solely on numbers can be misleading. Is it better to establish a set of best practices and then hold your staff accountable to them?