Contact centers are an ever changing arena and yet one thing remains constant: The generation of revenue! Call center managers are constantly looking for ways to increase their inbound and outbound revenue while keeping costs low and CSAT scores high. Successful managers understand that a robust initial training program for their agents fortified with an ongoing refresher training program is critical.
Your training program needs to be the cornerstone of your operation. Starting with the recruiting process, search for individuals with good communication skills who have a positive and enthusiastic attitude and are self-motivated. Remember that successful salespeople are hard workers and smart workers, have great time management skills and display a high level of emotional intelligence. Gear your interview questions to uncover these traits and additional questions can be added that are more mission centric for your organization. Please lay to rest the myth that there is a “magic bullet” regarding sales types. These salespeople are few and far between that can sell anything to anybody – seek out the person that matches the requirements of the position that you are hiring for.
Once you have selected your “All Star Team,” on the first day of training your expectation of their performance regarding the sales position should be conveyed to them. This expectation should be echoed throughout your salesforce and management team. Your training of this group needs to focus on different verticals such as: Building relationships with your customers along with building trust by helping customers resolve their problems, offering potential solutions and/or savings and providing after the sales service. In addition, they must have a thorough, working knowledge of the product(s) that they will be selling to the customer, whether it is an inbound or outbound caller.
Each agent must learn to concentrate on the customer at hand. Every customer has needs and expectations that must be met. Providing training exercises for them will help them once they reach the floor and start taking/making calls. The employee must be able to handle customer’s objections and pay attention to voice inflection as it communicates exactly how a customer is feeling. If they hear an objection they need to address it immediately and not ignore it. Otherwise, they may have lost a customer and a sale. Every call is different and they must learn to recognize these differences and adjust their conversations accordingly in order to monopolize on the prospect and make a sale.
Prior to graduating from the class and entering a live call center environment, silly as it may seem, make sure that they understand the telephone equipment that they will be using. Too often new agents place a customer on hold to ask their supervisor for help when they actually have disconnected the call. Chances are they will not get a second opportunity to close that sale.
Training doesn’t end upon their graduation. You must have an ongoing training program in place to keep them abreast of new products, scheduled training sessions to help them keep their sales skills sharp. Don’t forget to integrate remote monitoring to provide them regular feedback, whether good or bad, to help them improve their sales skills. Your sales team skill sets must be constantly monitored and evaluated for their effectiveness and success rates. Make sure that you do an inventory of their skills sets and that each representative has a personal action plan on which to improve their skills that they are missing or our weak in.
Weak training equates to weak results.
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