The Most Effective Call-Center Training Technique You Can Use, Part 2 of 2
In the final installment of this two-part series on call-center training techniques, this week I focus on how working with enthusiasm can make all the difference in your call center’s productivity.
(To read part one, click here.)
Plan for the unexpected
Role-play the entire sale process — opening, closing, upselling, cross-selling — with your customer service representatives (CSRs), and pay special attention to handling objections. Be aware of all of the potential customer objections that could come into play with your product, and come up with multiple rebuttals that your CSRs can use for each.
Consistently train your reps until they can respond to any customer objection or situation with ease. I like to get progressively tougher with each CSR as role-playing continues. Eventually you want to have the person playing the customer role to be really tough, trying to get the person in the CSR role frazzled and off-track.
Say it with a smile
Always make sure you role-play with enthusiasm! No level of product knowledge or any sales technique can beat enthusiasm. I actually teach CSRs to smile while speaking with customers and prospects. Believe it or not, the person on the other end of the phone can actually hear a smile. Your voice sounds different when you smile, even over the phone.
Use incentives to help motivate your CSRs. Set up contests that reward the CSRs and training teams that generate the highest results once they’re back live on the phones. One word of caution on this technique, however: Drill your CSRs on how to be gentle and not pushy. Keep a careful eye on your returns, as being too aggressive to win the contest can be brought out by human nature.
Stress the quality of the relationship with customers, as well as the quantity of orders. By using this simple technique at one company where I worked, we increased conversion rates by as much as 20 percent. Also, by fostering an atmosphere of teamwork and healthy competition, we increased the enthusiasm and level of positive spirit in our call center.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.