Archive for March, 2020

Crisis Communications Tips for Customer Service Teams

Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by dorarapcsak No Comments

For customer service teams across many industries all over the world, a global crisis like the current pandemic brings a dramatic increase in customer queries.

In such a tense situation, where customers are often angry, stressed and even afraid, maintaining the level of service they expect is no small feat. We’ve collected some crisis communications tips to help your team keep customer service levels as high as possible!

Prepare Your Team

Having to respond to an increased number of customer queries can be quite challenging for any customers service team. And while your team has probably dealt with peak times already, this time they will need to provide customers with systematic updates about how the pandemic will influence your products and services. Depending on the nature of your campaigns, you might receive an influx of new orders, while other customers will request cancellations or refunds.

In such a situation, providing your team with all the necessary information is our first and one of the most important crisis communications tips. Create a document, let’s say an internal knowledge base, and include all the information you gathered so far and your team needs in order to assist customers. Make the document accessible to your team and easy to update. Make sure to systematically update the document whenever you receive a new piece of information.

Create a Specific Page for Customers

In an unexpected situation when your incoming calls skyrocket, you’ll need to find ways to ease your customer service lines. One useful method to at least partly free up your phone lines is to create a specific page which will serve as a public information point for your customers.

Create a user-friendly, easily accessible and organized page your customers will be able to browse and understand without getting lost in a messy page structure.

Also, make sure to share all the information regarding your product and services your customers need in order to know when to expect disruptions or delays, what to do in case they request cancellation or refund, and so on. Keep it short and simple!

Create a FAQ section

In a global crisis like the current one, even if you have a specific information page, your customer service team should expect to receive a great number of questions from customers. The good news is that some of these questions will be repeated over and over again. That is why your information page should contain a FAQ section.

Start listing the questions your team has to repeatedly answer. Check your social channels as well for repeated topics. Then it’s time to set up your FAQ section:  It is often said that designing an FAQ section is very difficult, but in reality, perhaps it’s not as tricky as you think. If you still need any help with that, this article will definitely help.

What do your visitors want to achieve? To find answers as soon as possible, especially in a crisis scenario. So don’t let visitors get lost in endless number of questions. Make sure the content is well organized, so it’s easy to scan and navigate.

Support Your Team During the Crisis

Working in a call center can be emotionally exhausting even during an average day. Agents spend most of their time on the phone talking to customers, resolving complex issues with often angry customers. During a crisis, working as a call center agents can become overwhelming due to the increased number of calls and impatient customers, resulting in reduced support quality and high e. In this difficult situation, you need to support your team while they are doing their best to deliver service.

Adapting to an unexpected scenario is not only challenging for you but also for your employees. Also, as you’ve hopefully already switched to remote work, your team needs constant updates. So, make sure you consistently communicate with your agents, providing them all the information they need to support customers.

As we all know some channels are more difficult to handle than others. It is no question that dealing with an angry or impatient customer is worsts via phone. As such, it’s also a good idea to rotate your agents through channels if possible, allowing them to calm down after handling too many phone calls.

Managing a crisis is never easy, but eventually call volumes will drop and things get back to normal. Until then, with thorough preparation and clear communication, you can help your team to keep your service level as high as expected. What your crisis communications tips? Share them with us in the comments section!

The 5 Must-Have Features For a Remote Contact Center

Posted on: March 30th, 2020 by Dorottya Márton No Comments

The remote work trend of the past few years has also created a shift in the contact center industry. Contact centers are increasingly becoming virtual. Just like traditional call centers, virtual agents handle the same customer support or telesales tasks with the only difference that they work from home.

We have previously written about the benefits of setting up a remote contact center. Remote operations can be beneficial not just for employees, but also for companies and businesses. If you address initial concerns with the right technology and management mindset, a virtual contact center should be just as or even more productive as an on-premise one. Remote work can lead to increased productivity and lower operational costs. More importantly, it is essential for any business to be able to keep up business operations in times of uncertainty, such as mobility restrictions.

Already made up your mind? Good. But what is the next step in actually setting up a remote workforce and establishing a fully functioning remote contact center? While having a remote workforce might seem like a good idea, the steps to establishing it could strike one as difficult. However, keeping some of these five essential functions in mind make for a perfect foundation for a well-functioning remote business infrastructure.

1. Omnichannel communications

As we have previously written, omnichannel communications are an essential method for interacting with customers in an effective manner, making your business communications smoother and more effective. In combination with this, it also makes your agent activity more integrated and simple.

Multichannel communication means using several channels when interacting with customers. However, omnichannel communication takes things to the next level by aligning the channels used. Most call centers will be expected to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience to maximize personalization, as customers are no longer used to repeating what they said previously to another agent through a different channel. Instead, they expect that the agent they’re talking to knows their interaction history and efficiently solves their issues. 

By aligning your channels, your remote agents will be able to instantly identify the customer they are handling, regardless of when and where previous remote agents talked to them. Something that the customer said on social media, phone, or email, will be available on a single platform, for the agent to see the next time that she is communicating with a client.

2. Predictive Dialer

A predictive dialer is an outbound calling feature that is capable of predicting how much time agents spend idle or inactive conversation. Predictive dialer calls are also initiated by the dialer, as the system continuously and dynamically calculates the number of calls it has to initiate to keep the operators busy. According to some statistics, an agent can spend up to 25% of their time idle. 

If you manage outbound campaigns, a predictive dialer is perhaps the most essential feature for your contact center, whether you manage it from on-site or remotely. This way, you can reach the highest number of records from your database and keep your efficiency as high as possible, even if your team works from several locations. 

3. Remote Monitoring

This brings us to remote monitoring. Besides being able to see the real-time inbound and outbound calls of your agents with the help of the predictive dialer, a remote monitoring interface allows you to track the entire activity of your agents. With remote monitoring, you can listen into ongoing conversations, talk to an agent without the customer hearing, transfer agents between projects, or change the agents’ status. This can be done from anywhere, without the need for on-premise interaction, simply through an integrated call center platform.

 4. A KPI Dashboard

Understanding your metrics and establishing your daily or weekly goals might seem like a headache when initially trying to set up the management of virtual call center agents. However, the KPI dashboard of cloud-based contact centers provides easily understandable numbers that you can follow in real-time. These statistics include quantifiable oversight, such as disposition, global and project-specific calls, and inbound statistics. VCC live provides all these features that are needed to support virtual agents and their supervisors.

5. A secure, cloud VPN

Tracking your agents and keeping your KPI’s and your client communications on track might seem easy. However, data security can look like a bigger task. How can you make sure that virtual agents follow data security protocols? Modern call center solutions have an answer for this. With the help of a secure VPN connection and cloud technology, you can set up a call center network that your employees can have access to in a safe manner. Additionally features, such as two-factor authentication, prevent unauthorized access or data breaches. In the case of VCC Live, the data itself is stored in five various Global Data Centers with a 24/7 Security and Data team.

Bottom line? When it comes to maintaining a modern business, having the right technology is essential in building your enterprise on solid foundations. You have to keep the following in mind when setting up your remote contact center: Omnichannel communications help remote data handling and client communications. Predictive dialer and remote monitoring technologies allow for an effective workforce. A KPI dashboard helps you keep your business goals aligned. Last but not least, a secure, cloud VPN should solve all your data security concerns.

Managing Virtual Call Center Agents

Posted on: March 25th, 2020 by Dorottya Márton No Comments

The increasing trend in remote work has created the modern profession of virtual call center agents. Just like agents in a traditional call center, virtual agents handle the same customer support or telesales tasks with the only difference that they work from home.

In a fast-paced, globalized business environment, it is an increasing asset to have such a remote work infrastructure. There are an increasing number of studies on the benefits of remote work, such as location and time flexibility, time saved due to the lack of commuting, and general employee well-being. Remote work is also beneficial for companies as it increases productivity and lowers operational costs. More importantly, as the current situation shows, it is essential for any business to be able to keep up business operations in times of uncertainty, such as mobility restrictions.

The most common concerns

There is a lot of discussion on how to work from home as a single employee, all the way from its psychological to its practical aspects. Go through your morning routine, get dressed as if you were going to the office. Have a comfortable, secured home office infrastructure, including a quiet place to sit, high speed internet, and an established place for video calls. However, managing an entire virtual workforce is a whole different question. How do you remotely manage your employees while keeping your KPI’s and your clients happy?

Some of the most common concerns for managers of virtual call center agents involve productivity, security, and communication. In terms of productivity, managerial concerns include the failure to properly oversee agents. Many feel that if they are not there to supervise their team, agents might go on breaks more often or expand their downtime. Alternatively, they might feel that they cannot oversee agent communications with customers or clients.

Adding to this is the issue of security. Many managers might feel concerned about how to ensure remote data security. What if agents log in to insecure public Wi-Fi or simply do not have a secure connection of their own? What if their laptop gets stolen?

Last, but not least, communication concerns might involve the possibility of decreased community and work morale due to the lack of one to one interactions and live contact. This might be to the detriment of effective team collaboration when needed.

So how do you go about managing your virtual agents?

Track activity remotely

While your agents might not be reporting to you in person, you can easily manage them remotely as long as you have the right technology and plan in place. As we have previously written about setting up the office for remote work, your agent activity can easily be tracked with remote, cloud-based systems. With features such as user state logs, you can keep track of agents’ states to find out, for example, when agents are on a call, use a broken code, login or out, or exceed the allowed break limit.

Real-time monitoring can also give you direct insight into ongoing agent conversations and call-whispering features will allow you to give feedback to an agent without the customer hearing. Using a cloud contact center, you can transfer agents between projects, or change the agents’ status from a distance.

Similarly, features, such as the user activity log can further help you in keeping your remote agents’ work on track. User activity enables you or the supervisor of your team to log daily updates, log-in requests and updates do not call registries.

Remotely meeting you KPI’s

Understanding your metrics and establishing your daily or weekly goals might seem like a headache when initially trying to set up the management of virtual call center agents. However, the KPI’s dashboard of cloud-based contact centers provides easily understandable numbers that you can follow in real-time. These statistics include quantifiable oversight, such as disposition, global and project-specific calls, inbound and outbound statistics.

VCC live provides all these features, needed to support virtual agents and their supervisors. Additionally, it is worth considering tools that further help team cooperation. These involve easily accessible video conferencing and team collaboration tools, such as Zoom or Slack. Such tools not only enable team collaboration, but can also provide a sense of social contact and connectedness, making agents feel that they can reach out if they need support.

What about data security?

Tracking your agents and keeping your KPI’s solved. But how do you get around to data security? How can you make sure that virtual agents follow data security protocols? Modern call center solutions have an answer for this. With the help of a secure VPN connection and cloud technology, you can set up a call center network that your employees can have access to in a safe manner. Additionally, features such as two-factor authentication prevent unauthorized access or data breaches. In the case of VCC Live, the data itself is stored in five various Global Data Centers with a 24/7 Security and Data team.

The bottom line? Although it might initially seem difficult, managing virtual call center agents has never been so easy. If you are confronted with the challenges of managing a virtual workforce, remember the variety of software you can use to track your agents remotely, keep your KPI’s, and secure data. With the right technology, you can observe the full benefits of remote work in an effective and safe manner.

Top 3 Customer Onboarding Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Dennis Flaum No Comments

What is customer onboarding and why is it relevant for your business? What customer onboarding metrics should you be tracking? Many businesses think that the customer nurturing process ends with closing the sale. However, that is only half of the work. In order to retain your customers, gain more clients, and build your company reputation, you have to pay attention to the period after acquiring a new customer.

Why Does Onboarding Matter?

The stage immediately following the period of acquiring a new customer, onboarding is the process that helps new clients get familiar with the full range of your product and services. This can involve training sessions, tutorials and step-by-step guides, FAQ documents, milestone programs, and various consultancy services. 

The importance of providing customers with an excellent onboarding experience can be seen in statistics. According to a recent SaaS metrics report, more than two-thirds of SaaS companies experience churn rates greater than 5%, meaning that out of 1000 customers they lose 50 over the course of a single year. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that most revenue comes from already established business relationships. According to a recent Inc. report, gaining new customers can cost up to 10 times more than keeping already existing ones, while existing clients can spend as much as 67% more than newly established business contacts.

Key Customer Onboarding Metrics

Now that you know why onboarding matters, it’s time to look at the most important metrics that will help you measure the success of your onboarding process. 

Given the sea of information on the topic, it can get overwhelming when trying to decide which metrics to focus on. The specifics of your business, industry, and client relationships are always something to keep in mind. Nevertheless, having worked in a variety of sectors as a sales and key account manager, I’ve seen some metrics that have proven to be essential in most businesses. Therefore, if you are unable to decide which metrics to work with, here are three essential ones to start with.

Churn

Churn rate, or sometimes referred to as attrition rate, is the number of clients that stop their relationship with your company. The lower the churn rate, the better your onboarding process is.

You can calculate churn rate percentage by dividing the number of customers you lost last quarter with the number of customers you started with. Alternatively, you can calculate churn considering the value of the recurring business lost.

The main reasons why customers churn are multifold. Your clients either don’t get any added value or don’t understand fully the service you are providing them. Proper onboarding, however, can help customers understand the full potential of your product. The good news is that the fact that consumers are engaging with you means that they have an established need for your product or service. It is up to you to help them realize the full potential of your services. The onboarding process is the perfect time to do this.

First, make sure that you are indispensable by making their initial experience using your product as good as the sales process promised it to be. And don’t forget to make them sticky! According to Harvard Business Review, a sticky customer is likely to complete an intended purchase, become a regular customer, and recommend your business to others.

Regular customer interaction during onboarding is essential for creating sticky customers, even if your business model is not built on regular contact with customers. This could mean providing them with relevant articles and updates on industry specific news. Or, taking the example of other SaaS companies, a simple reminder of the benefits of your product during invoicing can also help. Additionally, try to identify activity churn, or the inactive users of your product. Once you are sure that they are inactive, send re-engagement emails and offer to help them with getting into the habit of using your product again.

Retention

Another metric that can help you manage your onboarding process is the tracking of customer retention rates (CRR). Retention is the number of customers that return to do business with your company.

In order to calculate CRR, first, you need to decide which period you are working with (yearly or quarterly for example). Then, collect the following data for that period:

·        The number of customers at the start of that period (S)

·        The number of customers at the end of a period (E)

·        The number of new customers acquired during that period (N)

The formula: CRR = ((E-N)/S) X 100 (/)

What should be the aim of your retention program? During the onboarding program, you should focus on getting your clients to use your product or service multiple times a week. With this, you can aim at establishing a pattern of usage and make your product indispensable.

How to keep high retention rates? Try to delight your customers by rising beyond expectations. This can mean providing complimentary webinars, or providing instant, on the spot customer support. Additionally, setting up a customer loyalty program can also help. Offering benefits for buying a product or service can provide direct incentives for making customers understand the value of your business.

Progress

By monitoring the progress of your customers in the adaptation of your service or product, you can create long term, sustainable relationships. In order to understand the progress of your customers, you can track metrics, such as time taken to meet implementation timelines, feature use, license uptake, or rates of product access.

In order to improve on your progress metrics, try establishing programs that help your customers adapt your product or service in a seamless manner. For example, you can set up complimentary training sessions to help users with the fast adoption of features or licenses. Alternatively, you can help your clients with consultancy and advisory sessions when it comes to feature use and implementation. Whatever your progress metrics are, aim to be as helpful and informative as possible when it comes to encouraging users to progress in the customer life-cycle. This will gradually make your business indispensable to them.

Bottom line: Be helpful and available.

While customer onboarding can be approached from a multitude of angels, keeping these three metrics in mind should help you progress along the road to a seamless onboarding process. As you add or refine your onboarding metrics, keep in mind the baseline in any onboarding process: When it comes to helping your customers understand your product, be helpful and available through the entire process. 

5 Tips For Successful Call Monitoring

Posted on: March 20th, 2020 by Dorottya Márton No Comments

Call monitoring is an essential component to any organization dealing with telesales or over the phone customer services. Taking the time to listen in and assess the quality of your phone conversations between agents and customers is essential for providing good service, customer loyalty, and revenue.

The goal of call monitoring is to identify the best and worst practices of your contact center operations in order to identify calls that do not meet your business standards and in order to continuously improve your customer contact goals for a faster, more effective, and seamless customer interaction.

While there is a lot of common practice on how to make the call monitoring process as effective as possible, a short list of some of the most effective practices might help with establishing your own call monitoring practice.

1. Establish an in-house quality control team

Try to establish your own call monitoring team to coach agents on the best call handling practices, about the business itself, and its products and services. By implementing a call quality control team, each agent will be able to develop the skills and the knowledge necessary to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction, regardless of what sector your business is in. Once you have a control team in place, you need to make sure that you have enough collected call data in order to have a representative sample on which you can evaluate your interactions. As soon as you understand the practices of your contact center, you can refine your agent training programs based on the data available.

2. Look for the highs and the lows

Once you have a representative sample of your contact center interactions, it is important to take into consideration both ends of your data. Look not just for the average but the highs and the lows. What are the practices of the most well-performing agents? What are the common mistakes of the most under-performing ones? Try to understand the patterns on both ends of the spectrum and refine your agent training program based on it. Draw attention to the do’s and don’ts of your customer interactions and let agents learn from each other. 

3. Involve agents

Once you have extracted the data and the patterns of your calls, why not involve agents in your training program? After all, they are the ones who have first-hand experience in handling day to day customer interactions and first-hand knowledge can be extremely helpful. One way to involve them could be to pair agents together. Let the best-performing agents work together with the worst-performing ones for a while. This provides a growth opportunity for agents who still need to learn the best practices of their job and it also allows well-performing agents to take ownership of their work and learn how to transfer valuable skills and knowledge.

4. Make KPIs visible to all

Another way to actively involve agents is to make KPIs available to them. Allow the whole team to see KPIs along with their own achievements in order to let them align their own development with that of the organization. Create a culture of openness and let employees approach managers to consult about their perceived developmental needs in relation to public KPIs. This way, agents can take ownership of their development, taking an active role in bettering their performance as opposed to a top-down management system, where managers approach passive, non-performing staff.

5. Monitor the Call Directly After an Angry Customer Interaction

We have talked about the role of agents and advisors. However, focusing on specific customer interactions can also help establish a good call monitoring program. When monitoring an agent who is handling a particularly difficult or angry customer, it is good practice to analyze both the call in question and the one after.  Often dealing with difficult situations, agents might carry on the emotional load and stress of the previous call into the consecutive one, potentially to the detriment of your business interactions. In order to avoid this, first, try to establish best practices when it comes to dealing with difficult clients. 

Additionally, have a program in place where agents can realign their emotions. Let them take a short break or have some extra time before making the next call. Most importantly, monitor the next call to make sure your program is working. At the end of the day, the wellbeing of your agents always translates into your business interactions and your brand image – so keep them in mind!

The above five tips can be a starting point for establishing a successful call monitoring program. As with any business, these programs always have to take into consideration the specifics of your client interactions. Nevertheless, the above could be used as a general rule of thumb. Let us know in the comments section what practices you use for successful call monitoring!

Measures Taken to Ensure Business Continuity at VCC Live During the Pandemic

Posted on: March 13th, 2020 by Dr. Gábor Fehér No Comments

With potential disruption from the current pandemic, we spent the last few weeks adding additional steps to our business continuity plan and testing our capacity to work remotely.

At VCC Live, we’ve always been committed to keeping your business safe and secure at all times, and took several steps throughout the years to ensure we’ll be able to continue providing you with the highest levels of service even in the event of an unexpected scenario.

Our ISO22301 certificate – an international standard for Business Continuity Management Systems – is the ultimate proof that our organization is prepared for the unexpected and will continue to operate without any major impact during such scenarios.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, we have taken additional steps to help keep our colleagues safe, and also prepared our team in the event of possible mass remote work:

1. We placed sterilizing products in our office and encouraged our colleagues to avoid any form of physical contact.

2. We provided all necessary infrastructure, devices and accesses needed by our workforce, enabling each of them to work remotely as required.

3. We reviewed and added new communications channels in order to keep internal and external communications secure and smooth at all times.

4. All employees are now required to take their laptop home every day, so that they can work remotely at short notice the next day if needed.

5. Everyone at the company has been offered the opportunity to work from home in case they feel this option is safer.

6. We canceled all external meetings and restricted internal meeting attendance to 3 people maximum.

7. We canceled all business trips and attendance at conferences in the forthcoming months

We can confidently say that all conditions have been met to allow VCC Live to be able to switch to mass remote working at a moment’s notice, ensuring that your business won’t be affected by any such transition.

In these business-critical times, acting quickly is key for the sake of both our employees and customers. We encourage everyone to take the same measures and wish good health to you and those around you. 

How to Prepare For an Unexpected Health-Related Scenario in the Contact Center

Posted on: March 12th, 2020 by Attila Szűcs No Comments

As we are with the current global healthcare situation, an unexpected health-related scenario – requiring businesses to completely reorganize their operations – can happen at any time. Companies who are not able to react to such sudden changes face serious financial and organizational consequences.

In such unfortunate situations, businesses need to act quickly, ensuring business continuity by the use of remote work and preventing the spread of the disease in the contact center. 

In contact centers especially, where normally a great number of employees work together, often seated in small cubicles next to each other, taking the appropriate measures as soon as possible is of utmost importance.

How to Prepare for Remote Work

In the event of a serious health-related scenario, mobility restrictions can be announced any time by governments, so businesses have to be able to switch to a remote working situation at a moment’s notice. For contact centers, who often have large workforces, making this transition without previously having done the preparation will be very challenging. 

We have already talked about the advantages of remote work in contact centers in a previous article. So, let’s see what steps you’ll need to take in order to make sure your contact center is ready for remote work!

1. Provide all necessary devices needed by your workforce

For remote work, your employees will need equipment including laptops, laptop bags, chargers, and most importantly a headset. Make sure you have enough of even the “less important” items, such as laptop bags, around, so that if an unexpected situation arises you won’t need to desperately order something quickly.

2. Make sure employees have access to systems and applications

You’ll need to give your employees access to all the systems and applications they require in order to be able to work remotely. Also, make sure they have appropriate internet connections wherever they will be working, whether it be at home or elsewhere. 

3. Rely on cloud technology

Make sure to utilize a secure cloud-based technology. Modern cloud contact center systems are web-based and can be used anywhere. As such, you can securely set up a contact center network (with authentication to prevent data breaches) that your employees can access anytime, anywhere.

4. Set up systems to effectively track remote agent activities

There is no need to worry about losing control over your operations when your agents are working remotely. Once you set up your virtual contact center, your agent activity can easily be tracked using a remote, cloud-based system. You can keep track of when agents are on a call, use a broken code, log in or out, or exceed the allowed break limit.

5. Communicate with your agents

Last but definitely not least, make sure you communicate with your employees. Adapting to an unexpected scenario is not only challenging for you but also for your employees. A general rule of thumb is to find out which of your employees are happy to work remotely, while also effectively explaining the need for cooperation.

How to prevent the spread of the disease in the workplace

While preparing for remote work is a necessary first step, contact centers, who often employ hundreds of operators, will also have to take all the necessary measures in order to prevent the spread of any health-related conditions in the workplace until remote work takes place. Follow our advice below to help you keep your employees and your contact center’s operations running smoothly.

1. Introduce staggered shifts to reduce the number of employees arriving and leaving the contact center at the same time.

2. Offer the opportunity for those who can work from home. By doing this, some of your seats will remain empty, allowing colleagues to keep their distance from each other instead of sitting too closely.

3. Try and separate workstations as much as possible. General suggestions say at least 1,5-2 meters of distance. 

4. Make sure to place sterilizing products next to your contact center’s entrance, in the kitchen and in the toilets. Make sure to sterilize office devices at the end of each day.

5. Avoid internal and external meetings. Instead, hold video conference meetings whenever possible.

6. Physical contact, such as handshakes, should be avoided.

7. Cancel or postpone company-related events attended by more than 10 people, such as presentations, team building sessions and conferences.

8. Raise awareness of prevention in your organization: make sure to give your employees systematic updates about the current situation, and provide them with all the necessary information they need in order to prevent the spread of any illness both at work and beyond.

At VCC Live, we’re committed to taking all appropriate measures in the event of a serious health-related scenario for the sake of our employees’ health. Having well-structured processes and appropriate technology will help you to also prepare for unexpected situations – whether it’s the need to switch to remote work or reorganize your workplace processes.

How to Build Customer Rapport for Your Telesales Business

Posted on: March 9th, 2020 by Dorottya Márton No Comments

Customer rapport is a term often talked about in relation to a number of businesses including telesales where success depends on whether you can build trust with your customers and convince them over the phone. 

How can customer rapport help you in establishing a healthy and sustainable relationship with your customers? And more importantly, how can it help you as a developing professional?

The Importance of Customer Rapport in Telesales 

Rapport can be defined as the ability to communicate well with someone, or, simply, a good sense of understanding and trust. When it comes to telesales, rapport is essential for building a good relationship with your clients. Through harmonious relationships, you can meet your business goals, increase your sales, and build long lasting, sustainable contacts. 

Customer rapport is also important at a personal level. On bad days, being in contact with customers all day can not only feel monotonous, and tedious but also stressful. Some clients can get particularly hard to deal with, and maintaining an aura of professionalism can get extremely challenging. In these cases, the ability to communicate well is essential in not just keeping your business targets but also your spirits high.

Open the Call With a Smile

Ever yawned because the person in front of you was yawning? You’re not the only one. According to neuroscience, we are coded to mirror others. For this, a brain circuit called the insula is responsible, the area of our brain regulating our emotions. The psychology of mirroring translates into very specific consequences when it comes to sales. 

As Tímea, one of our key account managers discusses, if you do not asses your own mood, you’ll end up automatically mirroring others. In telesales, this can get problematic when dealing with frustrated or impatient clients. 

While it might be a challenge in the beginning, try making your reaction to situations with your clients into an active choice. Behave in a way that you want the conversation to go. Is the client rude? Be extra polite, and see what happens. Is he being irrational and demanding? Keep a cool head and stick to the facts. Is he bored and uninterested? Take an excited, enthusiastic tone. And most of all, smile. Smile, even if you are on the phone, because it shows. 

Having a longstanding career in telesales, Tímea worked for a number of years as a call center operator. She remembers listening to her recorded voice conversations, and being astonished by what she heard. In every single interaction, you could tell when she was smiling. “Simply starting the conversation with a smile, lays ground for a completely different interaction. Both you and your customers’ mood will start off with a positive note, and in the long term, this will lead to quantifiably better sales results.”

Stay Authentic

Most importantly, remember to maintain authenticity. When you are communicating to clients, keep in mind that you are talking to another human being. This might simply mean listening to them with empathy. 

Tímea discusses that showing empathetic gestures could involve very simple things. “When I had to make outgoing calls during my time as a telesales agent, clients would often pick up the phone in the middle of an activity (taking their children somewhere, going to the vet, etc.). If I managed to reschedule a call with them, the next time I called, I asked about the activity they were doing when we last spoke. How their dog was, about their daughter’s ballet recital. The effect was immediate, their tones changed and they became way more open to our conversation.”

Authenticity is important not just in your relationship with your clients but also in your relationship to the product or service you are trying to sell. If not necessary, don’t obsess about sticking to the call script. Try to explain why your product is relevant to the customer with your own words. By putting your own personality into it, you will sound more authentic instead of just another telesales agent who reads information from a script. 

Remember to Stand Your Ground

At the end of the day, sales is not about trying to desperately impress the person on the other side of the line. Behave with your clients on an equal footing. This establishes a sense of partnership and trust, regardless of whether or not you are communicating with them over the phone or in person. 

When it comes to particularly difficult clients, standing your ground and establishing your boundaries can actually help your sales, as it makes you come across as consistent, reliable and ultimately, a trustable person.

Behave with others the way you would want others to behave with you.  Remember the importance of customer rapport and open the call with a smile, stay authentic, and stand your ground. The power of mirroring can help increase your sales, build long standing relationships with your clients, and most importantly, it can help you maintain a healthy state of mind at the workplace.