Telemarketing's Labor Puzzle (1,501 words)
by Mary Ann Falzone
Second only to the quality of your front-line supervisory staff, the quality of your telephone representatives is key to the success of any phone sales, service or support program. Your reps are quite literally the voice of your company!
Finding great phone talent, whether from inside or outside your firm, is not always easy. And if your call center is located in a tight labor market with low unemployment and/or a labor pool that's unsuitable for your telephone applications, the search for raw talent can be a daunting one.
The key to success is to use a combination of traditional and non-traditional ways to identify, attract and screen phone talent, then to pay careful attention to training and retaining new recruits.
The first question that should come to mind in recruiting for telephone assignments is how to identify the particular application(s) you'll need to support. A cold-call sales program to consumers requires a very different set of skills, experience and resources than one to take incoming technical support or service calls from current business customers. Even within a sales application for the same target market, it takes a very different profile of representative to make outbound unsolicited calls than it does to take inbound self-qualified calls.
In determining the skills and motivations required of the workforce, examine the characteristics of your target market, the market's relationship to your company and what you have to offer, and the complexity of the call and the tools required. Simpler applications, which require fewer skills and resources from representatives, are those in which the following conditions exist:
• Strong affinity with the target market.
• There's an existing relationship with your company.
• Application is non-sales (service, support, referral, research, etc.) or "low sales" (upsell, add-on, etc.).
• Prospects self-qualify (they contact you).