If you’re launching a new sales contact center or looking to bolster lead conversions in an existing center, it’s well worth the effort to institute contact center “best practices” to get the most out of your investment. Your staff’s core knowledge of your products and services is an excellent base upon which to build a strategy. While I can’t promise a “quick fix” to resolve issues overnight, I can provide some input that will help you move forward with a carefully constructed, efficient plan.
There are many ingredients to successful lead generation, service call upsell or cross-sell, and sales conversion. The contact center must have a clearly articulated strategy that considers the life cycle for each customer segment and the value proposition that motivates the customer to action. This strategy must also contemplate the means through which customers engage the contact center (and/or the center engages them), and the appropriate triggers for a “sales” conversation. With clarity around those core issues, a number of factors influence an agent’s success:
- A well-articulated job description that narrates responsibilities and performance expectations accurately and specifies the required skills, experience, and characteristics for success
- An effective hiring process that sources qualified candidates and screens for the best match
- An onboarding process that introduces new hires to the company and their roles within it
- Superior new hire and reinforcement training (including soft skill and feature to benefit conversion) to prepare new hires for success
- Scripting or call handling guidelines, and knowledge aides to enable agents to process calls effectively
- Quality management processes that include a focus on opportunity identification and overcoming objections, enabling recognition for skills done well and redirection when needed, and provides best practice examples to use in training
- Appropriate metrics to enable agents to gauge their performance, pursue incentives and rewards, and receive coaching as needed
- An equitable compensation and incentive plan that motivates the right behaviors and encourages employees to stay on the job (especially the top performers!)
- Routine, balanced coaching that helps agents hone their skills while exploring career development over time
- The right technology to help agents do their job efficiently and effectively
While the list may seem daunting, an assessment can determine which areas can provide the greatest benefit with the least effort and/or cost. Just as Rome was not built in a day, it can take sustained effort over time to work through the contact center’s “ecosystem” and achieve the right balance. The key element is having an overall blueprint that guides the individual projects and ensures that they fit together seamlessly.
One of my proudest moments as a contact center professional was when I helped a team shift from a cost center to a profit center and achieve their sales goals. Their success was built on a foundational plan that gave them the tools and training they needed, and ongoing motivation and teamwork. We celebrated together but were also eager for our next challenge. If you want to see your center reach new levels of sales success, contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to share some stories.