The Most Effective Call-Center Training Technique You Can Use, Part 1 of 2
In this first article of a two-part series on providing you call-center training techniques that can add value to your company, this week I’ll look at how role-playing improves call-center performance.
As direct marketers, we spend a great deal of time and money developing campaigns to make the phone ring. But it’s the call center that can truly make “the cash register sing.”
Thus, I believe it’s imperative to spend a great deal of time training customer service representatives (CSRs) to be powerful brand advocates and difference makers with all customers. Personally, I hate calling a company and having to hear some disinterested rep take my order in a lackluster way. I believe it reflects that the company I’m dealing with doesn’t necessarily “get it.” The people on the phone are the voice of your company.
Increase conversions through training
I like to train CSRs to think on their feet. You have to do more than just interact with customers and prospects by reading a script. Of course, good call-center software within a scripted environment can be effective, but sometimes even the best scripting can’t beat a well-trained CSR’s instincts. It’s important to hire reps who can work this way. It’s always possible to mentor and monitor them on an ongoing basis (and make sure you analyze their call times as you can burn phone time getting personal).
For more on this particular issue, take a look at my archived articles (Past Blogs, to the right of this article) where I’ve addressed how to increase your average sale and how to train your reps by recording their calls.
Develop the proper instincts during “play time”
Another extremely powerful technique at your disposal is role-playing. Role-playing is simply having two people “act” as if they were in a live-call situation, with one playing the role of the customer and the other playing the CSR (essentially himself). Some CSRs may feel uncomfortable being put on the spot this way, so it’s important to stress that the environment is safe; no right, no wrong can be done. And make it fun. Keep the spirit light, add humor and make sure even the dumbest mistakes aren’t taken too seriously. What’s important here is not to scare your CSRs, but to have them really get behind your products and company. Make them feel like you’re adding value to their jobs. One thing to stress is that this training program will help them now and in any future career endeavors.
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.