In the Corporate World, Is Bigger Badder?
Yet for headsets.com, a San Francisco supplier to businesses and telemarketing companies, its telephone operation is the soul of the business.
At the Merit Direct Business Mailer's Co-op and Interactive Marketing Conference last week, CEO Mike Faith, a Brit who just became an American citizen, described the infinite pains that headsets.com takes to hire its telemarketing staff.
A prospective telephone rep must undergo nine separate interviews-in person and on the phone with a business psychologist, a voice coach in Sydney, Australia, and with Mike Faith himself. In addition, a Wonderlic cognitive ability test is administered and the prospect must fall within a certain range--bright but not too bright. An emotional profile is created and handwriting is tested and analyzed. The hiring process takes four weeks from the posting of the ad to the final hire, and each rep undergoes extensive training in order to become an expert in the many products the company sells.
Each rep's performance is continually monitored; a rep is expected to love every customer; any rep who disrespects a customer--on the phone or off--is summarily fired.
The average telephone rep will make $42K to $44K the first year. In addition, high achievers can find random surprise bonuses in their paychecks-a little extra thank-you from Mike Faith.
In 1998, headsets.com had revenue of $40,000. In 2005, headsets.com revenue will jump to $30 million from $17 million in 2004. Revenue per-employee is $750K per year.
For Mike Faith of headsets.com, telemarketing is the heart, soul and core of his business.
Letters to the Editor
These letters were written in response to "What Will the Scammers Think of Next?," which was published on Sept. 29: