Sales & Marketing: Telemarketing Top Cats Share Their
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Telemarketing Top Cats Share Their Wisdom
At a recent "Focus on the Front Line" Town Meeting and panel
discussion held in Philadelphia, call center industry leaders came together to
discuss some key issues facing those on the front line and their supervisors.
The panelists included: MaryAnn Falzone, president, Falzone & Associates;
Steve Fagan, senior vice president, RMH Teleservices; Chuck O'Donnell,
telemarketing consultant; and John Welsh, consultant and president, K-Tel
The foursome touched on some interesting insights and tips during their
roundtable Q & A. Here's how it went:
Q. What's the ideal ratio of supervisors to reps?
Welsh: "It depends on what there is to do. For telemarketing, 1:12 is best;
for customer service, try 1:8."
Fagan: "It depends on the ergonomics of the call center, and on whether
you're handling inbound or outbound calls."
Q. What are some tips for training people on the frontline?
Falzone: "Have a go-to person for different areas of specialty. This really
helps with retention by giving individuals a sense of expertise. Try training
people to be campaign, product and client specialists."
Fagan: "Supervisors need to understand how to read a production report to
review who's hitting benchmarks and who's not. Before each shift, take the team
and review the previous day's stats in production, efficiency, penetration and
contact rates. These stats give supervisors a springing-off point for the
supervisor to lead the reps."
O'Donnell: "Make learning fun with good-natured competition. Try passing
around an egg timer to reps to serve as a physical reminder of their goals. Just
be sure that everyone has a turn holding the timer so no one feels singled
Falzone: "Take a holistic approach to training both reps and supervisors.
Don't just base evaluations solely on monitored calls."
Fagan says he implements periodic written tests to make sure everyone is up to
speed on procedures and rules.
Q. How much time should supervisors spend on calls?
O'Donnell: "In deciding what percentage of time supervisors should spend on
the phone, it's important to remember that having supervisors continue to do a
certain amount of customer service work gives them credibility when it comes
time to give feedback."
Q. How can I monitor for quality without compromising production?
Welsh: "In some environments, even good numbers don't mean much if the
quality of customer service is poor. Don't be blinded by high figures—a strong
long-term relationship with a customer is ultimately worth a lot more."
Q. How do I spot talent in a future team leader?
Welsh: "Look internally first for new team leaders. Don't look for your
best performer, but instead look for those who are helpers, the people others
look to for guidance. Look for people who are patient."
Q. Some top agents may never become supervisors because they're too valuable to
lose as reps. How can I bridge the salary gap?
O'Donnell: "Try offering reps a base salary and an incremental raise
structure. They can gain promotions by hitting pre-set production benchmarks,
giving them an on-going sense of acknowledgement for their improvements."
Excerpted from Target Marketing Magazine online.
& Marketing Quote
"Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor
who wants to wipe you off the map."
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