Making Your Telephone Test a Success (888 words)
by Mary Ann Falzone
Testing on the phone is more complicated than setting up a direct mail test. In a telemarketing test, you have the following factors to contend with:
• the script;
• the offer (whether it's $39 or $29);
• the calling time;
• the list; and
• the human variable of the reps placing the calls.
This human element is an added component to be considered as part of the test equation—good or bad. On the one hand, great reps can skew your results to the point where those results will never hold up in roll out. On the other hand, poor reps may not have the skills needed to handle the changes on the fly that are part of testing and retesting scripts.
As a variable, scripting is not static. For this reason, you're almost always better with a "crash" test—not a scientific A vs. B test. What I mean by that is simply put together a team of creative and cooperative representatives, and get them on the phone. It should almost resemble a lab environment. This should be a fluid process.
In all honestly, it's an art, not a science when you test on the phone. Not only are you dealing with quantifiable test information such as calls placed, sales per hour and conversion rates, you must deal with the qualitative information. That's where the art comes into play: You need to be able to listen, hear for resistance, the tones, what people say, problem areas in the script. So...
Tip #1: You must get knee-deep into call monitoring. In order for this level of listening to take place, you must pay careful attention to call monitoring. You cannot just sample 1 percent of calls. You have to try to isolate the data that are having the impact on a test. And sometimes a careful ear is what's needed to do that.