You already know that outbound telemarketing can help grow your business. Before you start shopping for an outbound call center, keep this in mind: the telemarketing firm you hire represents YOUR company. They are calling potential customers and your reputation is on the line, so choose wisely. Whether it’s direct selling, surveys, lead generation or information verification, a good telemarketing firm can handle these responsibilities with seamless professionalism and courtesy. Here are a few simple actions you can take to avoid making a bad telemarketing hire.
Check out several different websites of outbound call centers. You can get a lot of great information on rules, policies, specialties, and areas of expertise. Use the website as a first step in getting to know the company. If upon reading about the outbound call center, you think that their services would be a good fit for the needs of your business, then you establish more personal contact.
Although this may not be feasible, visiting the call center in person is a great way to get an accurate feel for the culture of the firm. In person, you can see how the call center management treats their telephone sales representatives (TSRs) – the people on the phone who will be speaking with your potential clients. You can also get a feel for the general attitude of the outbound call center. A positive and energetic workplace fosters enthusiastic and pleasant TSRs. And we all know that happy TSRs best serve your company’s interests. While you are there, see if you can sit down and review scripts and meet a few agents. An in-person visit is often beneficial for both parties. It helps to establish trust, gain awareness of company policies and procedures and increases accountability.
One of the best ways to gauge the performance of the TSRs at any outbound call center is to listen in on live calls. Pay close attention to 1) the general image that the TSRs project, 2) their familiarity with the scripts, and 3) how well they cope under pressure. Take this time to check in on any feedback the call center supervisor gives the TSRs—a positive work place starts at the top of the chain of command.
Though it is easy to get excited about a company after listening to just one call, you will gain a more accurate picture of the general service level of the company by listening to several calls. The more data you can get about a specific call center, the better your chances are of making the right decision.
If you are curious about the ability of the TSRs, request that the supervisor has the TSRs call you and run through the script. Ask them a line of questions ranging from easy to difficult, and see if you like the way they handle the situation. Listen to their pitch, and make sure that you feel comfortable with the TSRs methodology and abilities. This test technique, in combination with listening to calls, is probably the easiest and best way to gauge the performance of any given call center.
As with any big purchase, you will want to gather as much information about the company as you can before you buy. References of former and current outbound call center clients should be able to describe the level of professionalism, rapport and capabilities of the telemarketing agents based on what their clients say. Try to get references for companies that have had similar goals and a similar time frame, so you can get an accurate idea of the services that the outbound call center provided. If you have any questions that you want to ask but don’t feel comfortable asking the outbound call center representative point-blank (or don’t know if you’ll get the truth), you can often get the answers by talking to their references.
If you need some ideas for questions to ask, these will help you maximize the outbound call center reference:
Find out more about outbound telemarketing call centers by reading our Telemarketing Services Buyer’s Guide.
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