Re-examine Your Call-Center Practices, Part 4
Over the course of this series, I’ve discussed several techniques to help you maximize revenue in your call centers. Today, I offer another way to make sure you aren’t leaving sales dollars on the table.
To review, I’ve defined the four types of calls into your call center as follows:
1. calls answered where an order occurs;
2. calls answered where an order doesn’t occur — contact data captured by the customer service representative (CSR);
3. calls answered where an order doesn’t occur — contact data not captured by the CSR; and
4. calls not answered where no order occurs (call abandoned).
This week’s column focuses on No. 2 above.
If your CSRs have done their job properly, they’ve done everything possible to close a sale. If after all their sales tactics have been exhausted and there’s still no sale, then it’s necessary for them to capture the prospect’s contact info. If they’ve gotten the prospect’s phone number, they have a whole new opportunity to generate a customer.
Develop a call-back program where your CSRs — or an outside company if you have the volume — call prospects back and make them offers they can’t refuse.
Consider the following factors before starting your own outbound telemarketing program.
* Test slowly. You never know how prospects will react to being solicited over the phone. Of course, you’re going to meet resistance. Most people, in fact, won’t be happy you called. Set yourself an initial goal of converting 5 percent to 10 percent of the people you call.
* Test different offers until you find the one that’s best received by your prospects (i.e., the offer with the highest conversion rate).
* Monitor your calls to determine if you’re doing the right thing by calling.
* If you deem the program a success and have enough volume, consider hiring a third-party telemarketing company to ramp up the program.
* Monitor your third-party telemarketing company on a consistent basis to ensure a positive experience is being created for your prospects. Provide the third-party telemarketers with ample training — have them try your products; they are, after all, going to be selling them. In short, get the CSRs to buy into your company and your products. If you sell clothes, let them try wearing the apparel. At a vitamin company I worked for in the ’90s, we provided free vitamin samples for every CSR. They went from salespeople to product advocates!
* Telemarketing firms have two basic pay models: pay per order and pay per hour. While pay per order is extremely enticing, prospects might find the company is being too aggressive to make a sale. It may be wiser to start with a pay-per-hour deal.
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 post a comment here or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.