Are Your Call-Center Reps Performing?
When times are tough, B-to-B marketers need to stay close to their customers via their call-center reps. On the front lines, reps hear customer objections, concerns and moods. Marketers will want to stay informed to develop sales tactics and offers that will incentivize that next purchase. As you stay close to your reps, you’ll inevitably discover that some are getting better results than others. Why?
Here are some common metrics you can use to evaluate your inbound call-center reps.
1. Paid time, time ready to receive calls and time on the phone. You’ll be surprised at how much of the paid time gets eaten up by activities other than talking to customers. You’ll also find that those reps who talk to customers longer and have higher average call times generally sell more, as they engage customers in a consultative sell.
2. Average order size and median order size. If the median and the average are significantly different, you may have occasional high-value orders that might better be serviced by a national account rep.
3. Returns, both transactions and credit dollars. High return rates may indicate a rep is just pushing orders out the door without a committed sale.
4. Lines per order. Reps that are cross-selling will have higher average lines per order. Offers on complimentary items help reps cross-sell.
5. Units per order. Reps that are upselling will have higher average units per order. Volume pricing helps reps upsell.
6. Orders taken. I’d never suggest you incentivize reps to take more orders, because that simply turns them into order-takers. The goal should always be to make the most out of every call received by maximizing the order value and building the customer relationship.
7. E-mail addresses captured and e-mails sent. Provide your reps with template e-mails that they can customize. Encourage them to send a personalized thank-you e-mail, especially when your call center is slow.
8. Source code tracking. If you still rely on source code capture to measure results, provide incentives to hit performance targets. If you’re relying on matchbacks of all orders, place incentives on other more important goals.
Some Further Thoughts
I’d also suggest you arrange your call center into clusters or pods with a working supervisor or team leader in each pod. Place new reps beside experienced reps. Rotations are often healthy.
Reps will learn by osmosis as they sit beside high-performance reps. But don’t let that be a substitute for formal training. Also, post individual performance records by rep each week to let everyone know where they excel and where they need improvement.
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Terence Jukes is president of Ability Commerce, a 140-person firm that designs, builds and runs e-commerce and related marketing programs for catalog companies. He can be reached at TerryJ@AbilityCommerce.com.