Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Top Tips for Call Center Staffs

Four of the 2011’s best tips to running an effective call center
As the new year approaches, let’s take a look back through the best practices found after months of research. These four tips come directly from you.

Last year, we ran several articles talking about the importance of training or coaching your call center’s sales staff. As the new year approaches, let’s take a look back through the best practices found after months of research. These four tips come directly from you. Some through conference lectures, some through discussion, all through careful evaluation of the changing dynamics in the newspaper classified advertising sales industry. Here’s hoping for another year of helpful hints and techniques “perfected.”

1.) Have a plan

It’s basic call center knowledge to have a plan established before you make a call. Make sure your staff is prepared to handle the conversation stoppers, and they each have a customized idea of how to keep the conversation flowing. It’s important to remind them to remain pleasant, even if their first attempt at a sale is rejected. If the prospect at the other end of the line has an overall pleasant memory of their discussion, they’re more likely to buy from you in the future. 

2.) Drop the script

As mentioned above, it’s absolutely essential to have a plan in place when making a sales call. That said, heeding from advice given by Teresa Hicks at WCAA this year, drop the script. Well, at least drop the formal script, she says. Work with your team to customize their opening lines and ease them (both the sales rep and the potential) into a less structured conversation. Allowing each rep to sound as though they’re truly comfortable with each call they make will help the prospect actively participate in the dialog, leading to increased knowledge and added sales.

3.) Proactively coach the floor

Everyone is busy, but simply training your staff to start then leaving them to it isn’t enough to ensure an increase in sales. Proactively coach your sales reps to continually see improvement. Use a plus/delta evaluation model for both self and supervisor evaluation. Show each sales rep the positives of their performance (the pluses), and then discuss with them what needs improvement (the deltas). Meet with at least three of your reps every week to discuss how they can improve their sales.

4.) Do more with less

It comes as no surprise that sales managers in every department are talking about how to do this. There are simply less resources available now then there has ever been. Not only are you working longer hours for less pay, you’re also forced to cut back your sales staff, leaving you with fewer people to get the same job done. How do you compensate? While there is no easy answer to this question, morale boosters are one way to help your staff get through the day-to-day monotony. Incentives needn’t come just as money; extra half hours off for lunch, wearing jeans to work, or even just bringing in cookies can help create a more pleasant work environment.