Re-examine Your Call-Center Practices, Part 3
We all know that not every prospect who calls your call center actually places an order. This week, in the third installment of this series, I offer a fresh way to leave no stone unturned and no money on the table when it comes to your prospecting efforts.
First, a quick review of my last column, in which I defined the four types of calls your call center receives:
1. calls answered where an order occurs;
2. calls answered where an order doesn’t occur — contact data captured by a customer service representative (CSR);
3. calls answered where an order doesn’t occur — contact data not captured by a CSR; and
4. calls not answered where no order occurs (call abandoned).
This week’s column focuses on No. 3 above.
Prospects often call with questions. Maybe they’re just tire kickers, or maybe their sales “problems” never were solved during the phone call with your CSR. Your CSRs should view themselves as problem solvers. Therefore, they need to ask questions, probe these prospects, and determine the difference between what the prospects say and what they really mean. The best CSRs have a level of intuition that helps them ferret out those who are real prospects vs. the deadwood.
But then again, not every CSR can have that level of prescience. And even if they all did, not every call would close.
So give your CSRs every ounce of ammunition they need to close sales. And if they can’t close sales, they should be armed with the tools they need to capture prospects’ contact information. Here are a couple of ways on how to make this a reality.
* Have some low-cost items your CSRs can use as a down-sell, which is a last attempt to make a sale. Identify a group of products that have universal appeal and are low-cost. Then train your CSRs to offer these items before they get off the phone. Your CSRs shouldn’t be pushy; they should even offer it as a throwaway item.
Here’s an example: “Ms. Jones, before you go today, we have a special on X. Just for calling today I can offer it to you for only $X. That’s an $X savings off the retail price. How does that sound?”
* If not a down-sell, have some giveaways available for contact info capture. For instance, at the very end of a call where no sale is going to be made, ask for an e-mail address to send a newsletter or special offers (remember to comply with CAN-SPAM). Or have the CSR ask whether he’d like to continue to receive your catalogs.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.