We have all had them. Those horribly annoying calls from people in call centres who are trying to sell you something that, usually, you have absolutely no interest in buy. Maybe it’s a mobile phone deal, or insurance, or funeral cover. There are a lot of companies who do it. And what’s worse, those calls never come at a good time. It’s always while you are in a meeting, or catching up with friends, or in a library doing some quiet research. How come they can never call you when you are stuck in traffic by yourself, without a radio for company. But done well these outbound centres must work, because otherwise they would exist. Here’s our list of what a good call centre should do to achieve the highest success rate.
In so many instances once a company has your details they never leave you alone. Every time they call you decline their offer, but in a week or two they are calling you back again. It damages their brand and is extremely annoying. One company in Australia Econnex has gone so far as to announce they have a no call back policy. And by all accounts it works. You enter the system on your terms and you exit on your terms, and there is either a solution for you or there isn’t – but the point is, they don’t badger you either way.
To often the person calling you is so busy reading off a script that they don’t bother listening to you. And in sales, the key is not telling people what they need, it is listening to them tell you what they want and then offering a solution. The whole notice of ‘selling ice to Eskimos’ is ludicrous. If a successful business is built around repeat customers, then the key to success is offering people what they need as opposed to what you have – and all too often the people at call centres are entirely focused on the latter.
It might be a cliché, but the adage ‘if you pay peanuts you get monkeys’ holds true to call centres. It is not an easy job to sell through cold calling, the rejection rate is high and people are frequently rude to you. So it doesn’t necessarily attract the cream of the crop intellectually. But if pay and commission are a little better then the calibre of recruits will be better and the desire to make it work higher. It might also mean that the people on the call centre end of the phone are better equipped to converse with their potential sales targets.
Lose the script
Originality is very important. You only get one chance to make a first impression and that is the key to closing any deal. A good first impression leads to a better interaction and a higher chance of making a deal. Studies have shown that the quality of the product has less bearing on the chance of a deal being made, than the relationship between the parties discussing the deal. It’s why attractive women are often used to ‘sell’ products to middle aged men. It has less to do with the fact that the men want the product and more to do with the fact that they want the women. And the same applies to call centre sales, you have to ensure that the person answering the call wants to talk to you, and that happens long before you talk about the tech product. And it definitely won’t happen if you read a script from the get-go.