Maximizing Results for Outbound Telemarketing

By AJ Windle

John Quincy Adams once said “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish”. I think the reality in this quote speaks to the fact that challenges in this industry are not in moderation, with every program comes new challenges and with every venture come new obstacles. Because results are directly impacted by these ever changing variables, pushing through the challenges to create success is what makes us great.

Outbound telemarketing is a fast paced, ever changing industry with growing demand for increased results and with those expectations our performance must follow. We all want to be riding that cloud nine at the end of the day looking back and knowing that we are ahead of the game. Just like anything else we are going to have bumps along the road but it is how we as an industry handle these things that affect us in the long run.

Preparation

A well organized and extensively thought out plan is what it will take to get a program off to a good start. Cross your Ts and dot your I’s when you are ramping up a program. Do we have everything you need? Do we have goals set? Have we communicated clearly the expectations of the program? Have we tested the system? These are all good questions to ask ourselves when beginning a program start up. Make sure you have everything you need to hit the ground running. Even a small piece of information or miscommunication can throw a huge wrench into how performance kicks off.

Training

Training is a pivotal part of the success of any program. If the agents are not prepared to handle all the aspects of the program they will lack confidence and their results will typically follow suit. Make sure that all the information of the program has been communicated thoroughly to the agents in a way that can be easily translated to the work they will do on the phones. As you focus in on training don’t be so concerned with the length of the training but more with the content that is involved. A lengthy training can have its benefits but if the agent isn’t moving forward then they are standing still and can begin to lose focus. There does come a point where training in the classroom will reach a standstill and the only way to increase the agent’s knowledge is through experience on the program.  Develop program training by being cognitive to the fact that everyone learns in a different way and in order to create a strong team in all avenues you will need to use engagement, visual, lecture, and curriculum based styles of training. Grow your agent’s knowledge, experience and confidence in training and you will see a dramatically positive outcome in your programs performance.

Analysis, Ideas and Action

One of the greatest things about results and performance is they are measurable. In order to really know where you are at and where you need to go these statistics must me analyzed frequently. Because variables change it is important to set up specific KPIs on programs to measure performance in a consistent fashion. These KPIs will help you to identify trends, weaknesses and opportunities within your outbound dialing. They will help you formulate creative ideas with your team and will help when making decision about what actions need to be taken to increase your results. Tracking these numbers on a consistent basis will help you to analyze if your changes are making a positive or negative impact to your numbers.

Statistic analysis should be evolved around both the universal level as well as a granular perspective. Because of this, it is important to think not only about what KPIs you will be using but what directly affects these particular numbers. Its cause and affect, it is not enough to see that you are or are not hitting your completes per hour you need to know why. Do we need to dial more aggressively? Are we reaching our DMCs? What is our Wrap time? What’s our conversion rate? This is where monitoring at a granular level really comes into play. Think about it, average team numbers are great to look at but if they not coupled with a more magnified observation approach they can be a little misleading. Say for instance you are hitting your metrics on completes per hour, while this is great if you were to jump down to the granular level you might find out that there are several people riding on the shoulders of the few that are way above goal keeping your numbers just where you need them to be. The result of this can be eye opening but also a great opportunity for increased performance on any program. If you have a solid group of individuals that is far exceeding goals you now have two things working in your favor. One is you have identified people who need additional coaching, one on one sessions, or more training. The second thing going for you is the fact that you have people who are excelling on the program who you can use to share best practices and make your team even stronger. No matter how you look at it, this is a win, win situation.

The bottom line is that excellent performance and exceeding results don’t come without struggles, hard work and determination. We all have been in a situation where we ask ourselves how can we get better, and what can we do to increase our numbers? While there is really no simple answer to these questions, proper preparation, a well developed training and program measurement will help get you on the right track to maximizing your results on your Outbound Telemarketing Programs.

Outsourcing to an Outsourcer

Nathan Teahon, QCS Director of Operations Espouses Benefits of Using a Telemanagement Company to Manage Inbound and Outbound Telemarketing Programs

Working in telemanagement for me has been a very gratifying experience. I also believe that it has been a very gratifying experience both for our clients and the call center partners that we work with. But outside of that circle that has very close links to our telemanagement process I still get the sense that many feel it’s an abstract concept. Some of the initial questions that pop up include if we have a physical call center, are we brokers, is our service quality monitoring, and more. Those questions, however, are all very easy to answer within just a few minutes.

The one question that does sometimes pop up that is nails on the telemanagement chalkboard is, “Why would I want to outsource to an outsourcer.” Now, is this a totally unreasonable question? No, of course not. If you have never lived with the telemanagement process then you don’t know what you don’t know and it ends up being a good opportunity to educate others on the process. Nonetheless, the question still makes me want to bang my head against my desk at times. If the process was just “outsourcing to an outsourcer”, then it would not be telemanagement at all, it would be nothing more than brokering. Finding an appropriate call center to handle the calls for our clients is merely the first step in the value that the telemanagement process provides.

The value that the telemanagement process provides our clients is that they don’t have to worry about managing the call center directly. If a company has a product or service that they are selling for example, they are most likely experts regarding their product or service and the corresponding industry. They are 95% of the time probably not experts regarding the call center industry, so why does it make sense for them to manage a call center? Our goal for our clients is to allow them to focus on the things they are experts at. Let it be our job to work hand in hand with the call center to insure things go smoothly. One client for QCS said, “The reason that I prefer the telemanagement model that QCS operates on is because it puts an expert in the industry right in the middle of my business. I have the comfort level knowing that my business is in highly capable hands and is being taken care of and watched over very well. This allows me to focus on other issues that impact my industry and my specific customer base. I rely on QCS to be the eyes and ears for me while I tackle other challenges that are equally as important to managing the business.”

It’s certainly a win for our clients, but what about our call center partners? It’s a win for them as well. Instead of having a client that is not familiar with the call center industry all of their contact is with us and part of our job is to make the lives of our call center partners easier. Once one of our partners has completed a program with us, it’s very simple for them to set up following programs after that. We help them in every phase of project setup, including training development and execution. Once a program is up and going, we stay involved on a daily basis with data and reporting, quality assurance, and overall project management. Mike Needham with Premiere Business Solutions has been working with QCS for over a year and said, “Working with QCS and their model has been a pleasure. They are very devoted to making things easier for us and helping to put us in a situation where we can be successful for them and their clients. It’s been a great partnership.”

Telemanagement is much more than just “outsourcing to an outsourcer.” At least good telemanagement is. This was a high-level look at the value telemanagement can provide, both for our clients and our call center partners. If you want more information regarding the specifics of our telemanagement processes, please don’t hesitate to contact us. I promise I won’t bang my head on any desks.

Dean Garfinkel Joins Quality Contact Solutions

(Aurora, Nebraska) – Angela Morris, President of Quality Contact Solutions (QCS), is pleased to welcome Dean Garfinkel as her new company partner. As his first order of business, Garfinkel will expand the technology solutions available to their call center clients.

In addition, Morris and Garfinkel will soon be announcing a host of new, innovative call center technology solutions that will fall under the QCS umbrella. “Our new technology-driven products will ensure our clients have access to leading edge contact solutions,” said Morris. “QCS offers unparalleled experience and capabilities, and Dean adds a whole new layer to the organization that our customers will appreciate.”

Well-known within the telecommunications and teleservices industries, Garfinkel has more than 30 years experience in a wide-range of technologies, including TDM, SS7, IP, VoIP, WIFI and Wireless, and specializes in value-added solution development. Garfinkel invented TeleBlock®, a patented call routing system, which has become a national telecom standard and is sold by telecom carriers including AT&T, Verizon, Qwest and PaeTec. He is a leading expert on telecommunications, Caller ID and Do Not Call compliance, and is a regular speaker within the industry circuit.

Garfinkel is a member of the National Board of Directors of the American Teleservices Association, and was instrumental in developing and implementing the Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO), which has been credited by the Federal Trade Commission as a positive step in the teleservices industry.

Headquartered in Aurora, Nebraska, QCS and its divisions, QCS Telemanagement, QCS At Home, Quality Online Solutions, and Quality Voice & Data, create customized in-house and outsourced call center solutions to boost inbound, outbound, or online call center results. A value-added approach ensures each customer contact is enhanced through higher quality and increased productivity.

Angela Morris is an industry-leader in call center operations and performance management, with more than 20 years experience. She has been extensively involved with the American Teleservices Association, and is a founding member of the ATA Midwest Chapter. She is a frequent writer and speaker on call center performance and regulatory compliance. Morris holds a B.S. in Telecommunications Management, an MBA, and is a certified ATA-Self Regulatory Organization auditor.

Angela Morris Receives ATA CEP Designation

Aurora, Nebraska –  Quality Contact Solutions announced that Angela Morris, President of Quality Contact Solutions (“QCS”), has been awarded the designation of Customer Engagement Professional from the American Teleservices Association (“ATA”).

The Customer Engagement Professional designation is the culmination of Ms. Morris’ active involvement in the ATA at both the national and chapter levels.  Ms. Morris frequently speaks at industry events on call center performance improvement, productivity and compliance.  Ms. Morris is also certified as an ATA Self Regulatory Organization auditor.  Ms. Morris has been an ATA member since 1992 and was a founding member of the ATA Midwest Chapter board where she currently serves as marketing chair. 

As a recognized industry leader with more than 20 years of experience, Ms. Morris views Customer Engagement Professional designation as a valuable program that will encourage education, participation and leadership within the call center and teleservices industries.  Ms. Morris noted, “I am fortunate to work throughout the call center industry with some exceptionally talented and dedicated people.  Often-times those people are not formally recognized.  The Customer Engagement Professional designation gives professionals at all levels within an organization an opportunity to work towards and attain formal recognition.” 

Angela Morris and Quality Contact Solutions:  Angela Morris is the Founder of Quality Contact Solutions and holds B.S. in Telecommunications Management, an MBA, and is a certified ATA-Self Regulatory Organization auditor.  Quality Contact Solutions and its divisions, QCS Telemanagement, QCS At Home, Quality Online Solutions, and Quality Voice & Data, create customized in-house and outsourced call center solutions to boost inbound, outbound, or online call center results. A value-added approach ensures each customer contact is enhanced through higher quality and increased productivity.  For more information about Quality Contact Solutions, please visit qualitycontactsolutions.com

Customer Engagement Professional Designation Program: The Customer Engagement Professional (“CEP”) Designation program is jointly managed by the American Teleservices Association and its partner, The Taylor Institute of Direct Marketing at the University of Akron.  The CEP program is the first-ever professional designation for customer engagement.  CEP designation is designed to recognize members of the ATA who have completed a series of educational events and activities and have tested into this elite group of professionals. The designation is available to all ATA Members and Associate Members across all business units.   

 

 

B2B Appointment Setting Tips

By Angela Morris

July 2011

There are 5 key components to a successful business to business appointment setting program.

List

Business to business appointment setting is a tenuous balance between a numbers game and creating a work of art. A successful appointment setting program begins with developing the criteria for what types of businesses you want to target, what size of businesses you want to target and what level of decision-maker you want to target. A wrong list selection can doom the program from the start. An on-target list selection gives your program a running head start.

Offer

Why would a business owner or manager want to accept the offer of an appointment? It’s the classic question of, “What’s in it for me?” WIIFM. Spend some time developing talking points that clearly answer this question and you’ll be on the right track. Again, the art of creating the program is in the answer to this question. It may also be beneficial to offer an incentive in exchange for the appointment. Try to make the incentive relevant to your business if possible (discount offer, free trail, etc.)

Professional and Memorable

Every good B to B representative knows how to engage the gatekeeper and their prospect in a professional, yet memorable phone conversation. It is important to make a positive impression, while at the same time engaging the prospect in such a way that they remember you and subsequently honor the set appointment when the time comes.

Record Keeping

It is important to track every appointment and to document the results of each appointment. Feed these results back to the appointment setting team so that they can make adjustments to their approach that minimize no-shows (Yes, there will be no-shows!) and increase back end sales rates.

Persistence

Most businesses do not have unlimited prospects within their target market. once you’ve identified your top prospects, engage in a perpetual B to B appointment setting and lead nurturing program. By perpetual, we recommend calling your prospects and sending a postcard or other direct mail piece every 2-3 months. A “no” today could be a “yes” in a couple of months when their situation changes. Studies show that it takes an average of seven impressions with a prospect before they start to actively recognize who you are. The more competitive the market, the number may be significantly higher than seven.