Posts Tagged ‘telesales’

Cold Sales Call Strategies to Sell More Effectively

Posted on: September 13th, 2019 by Péter Málhai No Comments

People tend to say cold calling is dead, but in reality, there’s still a lot of potential in cold sales calls. But only if you do it right.

When it comes to cold calls, getting it right means thoroughly planning your conversations in advance.

Using my 15 years’ experience in sales, I’ll bring you an article every month to show you how to plan and execute cold sales calls effectively, so that you can make more sales and close more deals. Don’t miss out on the first article of our cold sales call strategies article series!

Build trust and gain sympathy

Imagine the situation: you’re at home and hear your cell phone ringing. You check your phone and don’t recognize the number. You think maybe it’s the feedback you’re waiting for from that job interview last week, so you pick it up excitedly – only to find out it’s a cold call from a company. As soon as the operator starts speaking, you already know they will want to sell you something, and you immediately begin to feel negatively about the call. That’s why building mutual sympathy and trust is the first and very (if not the most) important step in any cold call.

Pro tip: when making a cold call, the first sentence decides everything. Don’t start by asking “is it a good time to talk”, since it’s not only vague but also indicates the call might be long and therefore reinforces the receiver’s negative feelings towards the company you represent. Instead, try and introduce yourself quickly, ask them if they have 2-3 minutes for the call, and promise them you’ll be very quick. By doing this, your customers will know from the very beginning of the conversation that the call will not take long and you’re not going to take their valuable time for too long. 

Assess needs and make an offer

The goal of customer needs assessment during a cold sales call is to understand what your customers want and how your product or services can meet their expectations. Assessing customer needs is a vital part of the sales process. Put simply, if you don’t know what your customers want, then it will be difficult (if not impossible) to meet their expectations.

Pro tip: In certain occasions, customers don’t have any specific needs. In such cases, it is the sales rep’s task to generate needs for them. Let’s look at an example: “I understand that you like your smart TV, however, I’m sure you would enjoy watching your favorite movies even more on a device with higher resolution (of course, it only works if you manage to gain information about their favorite movies before.)”.

Once you manage to build trust with a customer, it’s time to thoroughly assess their needs. The best way to do this is by preparing a series of questions and selecting the most relevant ones, based on the current conversation. After having got an overall picture of the customer’s needs, make sure to summarize what you’ve heard, and the make an appropriate offer.

Pro tip: when you summarize what you’ve heard make sure to apply the ‘three yeses’ rule, meaning if you ask three questions and the customer’s answer is yes to all three questions, then it’s 90% that they will say yes to your next question as well.

Handle customer objections

No matter how good a product or service is, every customer will have objections which will make them hesitate before buying them. And in order to make more sales and close more deals, sales reps will have to learn how to successfully overcome these objections.

Objection handling means responding to the customers’ concerns in a way that changes their opinion and encourages them to proceed with the purchase. The best way to handle objections is through active listening, asking follow up questions and responding to customers’ comments in a thoughtful way. When it comes to responding, reacting too impulsively, arguing with a customer, or pushing them too hard to proceed with a purchase will only make things worse, as customers will easily lose the trust you’ve built with them so far.

Also, don’t forget about the golden rule of commerce: the customer is always right. So, even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, try and respond in a way that makes them feel they are right. 

Pro tip: when customers are not sure about a purchase, they usually refer to the easiest and most common type of objection, which is objection based on price. In such cases, however, they might actually have every intention of making the purchase, therefore, it’s worth asking a few additional questions to discover what the customer’s real objections are and start handling them.

Cold sales calls can be frustrating both for your reps and customers. But if you follow the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to build trust, gain customers’ attention and as a result close more deals. 

5 Stages in the Customer Buying Process (and How to Get the Most Out of Them)

Posted on: April 30th, 2019 by Dan Deschidar No Comments

Your company’s success depends greatly on your ability to sell. But in our ever-competitive business environment, having a great sales team is no longer enough. You also have to be able to approach customers with the right message at the right time.

These days, customers are always on the go and simply do not have time to answer calls that are not relevant to them. Instead, they expect businesses to be familiar with their purchase history and reach out with personalized offers.

And this is where the five stages of the customer buying process come in handy. These stages describe the steps customers go through when deciding to purchase a product or service.

Put simply, if you can identify which stage your customer is at, you’ll not only be able to empower your sales reps to sell more effectively but also level up your sales strategy.

Below, I’ll explain to you the 5 (+1) stages of the customer buying process and how you can leverage each of them. Don’t miss out on this one!

1. The honeymoon stage

The first stage after any purchase is the ‘honeymoon’ stage (also called the ‘satisfaction’ stage). The name speaks for itself: this is the stage right after a purchase when customers are (ideally) very satisfied with the product or service they just purchased. The ‘honeymoon’ stage can last days, weeks, months or even years, depending on the product purchased.

Since customers are happy at this stage, it is very likely that they are not considering making a new purchase. Therefore, cold calls and offer-making at this stage is simply a waste of time.

What you can do, instead, is to reach out and start building relationships with your customers. Try and discover as much as you can about their situation, and also get as much information about them as you can. And don’t forget to reach out to them again when their second stage begins!

2. The problem stage

Nothing lasts forever, and that’s also true for the buying cycle. In the customer buying process, right after the honeymoon period, the problem stage begins.

During this stage, customers start to notice shortcomings of the product or services they purchased. Since these are usually minor issues, it’s still too early to make direct offers, as customers are not ready to make new purchases yet.

As such, the problem stage is an ideal time to reach out again, identify the problems customers are experiencing, and subtly highlight how these problems could affect their everyday life in the long run.

3. Decision to change

In the customer buying process, the ‘decision to change’ stage is when product or service problems have started to build up and customers begin to realize it’s time to make a new purchase.

As you can see, slowly but surely you’re getting there. But, again, instead of rushing into making a hasty offer, what you need to do at this stage with customers is to try and obtain commitment to change from them.

When you reach out, make sure to list the problems you already talked about and offer the possibility of an alternative solution. Example: “based on our last conversation, if I understood correctly, you are experiencing the following problems (…). Did you consider looking for an alternative solution?”

4. The investigation stage

The next stage is the investigation stage, where you’re just one step away from actual selling. Once a customer has recognized they have issues with their product or service and decide to change, the investigation stage of the customer buying process can begin.

As the customer is already looking for an alternative, this is where your sales reps will need to act quickly and take things to the next level.

At this stage, make sure to get specific about customer needs, prioritize what the most important things are to them and prepare to make a personalized offer. Guide them closely through this stage and you will be able to ensure that at the end of the sales cycle they will choose your product or service.

5. The purchase stage

After proper investigation, customers move to the purchase stage, where actual selection takes place. By now, the customer has investigated multiple options and is about to select a certain product based on their experience in earlier stages.

At this point, however, they may still change their minds and decide to walk away. As such, this is the stage in the customer buying process where you’ll need to step up the game to make sure customers choose you over the competition.

Make sure to highlight the value of your product or service and list its advantages, and remind them why they wanted to purchase your product in the first place.

Once they are convinced, the time has finally come to make an actual offer and get the customer to make the purchase.

+1 The follow-up stage

Just because a purchase has been made, it doesn’t mean your job is done. Indeed, after a new purchase, customers immediately start to evaluate whether they made the right decision to choose your product or service. As mentioned above, the ‘honeymoon’ stage will likely wear off after a while.

But even if they are satisfied with their decision at the moment, you should not leave them alone. Customers expect businesses to offer them a fully personalized buying experience, and following up is definitely part of the deal.

As such, make sure you do this, asking them if they have any questions and reassure them about their decision. Remember, a future purchase might depend on your post-sale attitude!

So, there it is, the five stages of the customer buying process. As you can see, actual selling takes place only towards the end of the process, and with good reason: rushing into making a hasty offer may easily scare your potential customers away. Instead, make sure to understand the stages they are going through and target them with the right message at the right time!

Key Features to Look for in Your Sales Software

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019 by Attila Szűcs No Comments

Satisfied customers, satisfied agents and satisfied management – for me, that’s the Holy Trinity of Sales.

Sales is vitally important for the success of any business. But selling in 2019 is definitely more challenging than it was in, say, the 1990s.

Customer expectations have changed, and sales departments have had to change with them. Gone are the days when companies can focus their sales strategy solely on cold calls. And although calls are still an important part of any sales cycle, in our tech-dominated world your company also needs to rely on comprehensive sales software in order to reap success.

Below, I’ve outlined the key features that any sales software you use should definitely have. Check them out and you’ll soon start to be selling more effectively in 2019!

Up-to-date Database

Besides having the right attitude and receiving high-quality sales training, your sales agents will also need certain technology tools in order to sell effectively. An accurate and up-to-date database is, without doubt, one of those tools.

In fact, an accurate database is a prerequisite if you want to successfully manage sales campaigns. Leveraging an up-to-date database will not only allow you to better understand your customers’ behavior and needs but also help you provide your customers with a more personalized experience, thus increasing your up- and cross-sell rates.

Therefore, I suggest you always choose a sales software solution that either comes with built-in databases or can be integrated with any other database.  

Killer Sales Script

As I’m sure you will know, call center scripts are written scripts that call center agents refer to and read from when on the phone with a customer. When used properly, they can greatly help your agents provide a seamless customer experience and sell more effectively. When written poorly, however, they can easily turn your customer experience into a nightmare and even reduce your sales performance levels.

Building powerful scripts is not always easy, and often requires significant time and resources. Even worse, if you hire a third party to build your sales scripts, the process can take up to several weeks. And, of course, time is money for any business.

So, make sure to choose a comprehensive sales software solution that comes with an easy-to-use script editor, allowing you to build and customize your own scripts in the blink of an eye.

With VCC Live®’s system, for example, instead of hiring a third party, you can quickly and easily build your own scripts by using an intuitive drag-and-drop editing interface. You’ll see it makes all the difference!

Predictive Dialer

One thing is certain, running a call center is extremely costly. But with the right tools, you can easily turn your call center into a profit center, rather than a cost center. One tool that will definitely help you do this is having a predictive dialer feature in your sales software.

The golden principle of sales is simple: the more people you reach, the more you can sell. Predictive dialers use statistical data to help predict how many numbers need to be dialed at any one time, so that every agent is always in an active call, and as a result, outbound dialing rates are substantially sped up.

VCC Live®’s intelligent predictive dialer, for example, can allow your agents to spend up to 40-45 minutes per hour in active talk with customers, enabling you to significantly increase the possibility of making more sales. Impressive, right?

Furthermore, our intelligent predictive dialer monitors activity during specific periods and automatically sets its parameters based on historical data available from those periods. Feedback from our customers shows that utilizing our predictive dialer results in, on average, an overall 30% increase in sales performance.

Effective Integration

There’s no doubt that embracing new technologies during the customer journey is essential to meeting customer needs. But if you ask me, without integration, there is no digital transformation.

Most companies use several technology solutions on a daily basis, and it is integration that helps keep their customer data consistent and up-to-date throughout all their systems. It is also integration that allows agents to use one single platform during customer interactions, instead of switching from one system to another.

If your systems are not integrated, your agents will have no choice but to switch from one system to another during customer interactions. Needless to say, making your agents navigate between several systems will hurt your team’s productivity, and consequently their sales performance.

On the other hand, with system integration, your agents will be able to access all necessary customer information on a single platform, allowing them to provide customers with personalized up- and cross-sell offers.

Based on my experience, I would say it is crucial for any business to choose a sales software solution that is able to integrate with other tools. VCC Live®’s system, for example, can be integrated with a great number of tools, such as CRMs, workforce and workflow management systems, including Zapier, Salesforce, Facebook Messenger , MS products, and so on.

Data Analytics

Having access to limitless information certainly led to new challenges (just think of the increasing number of cyberattacks), but at the same time, it also created new opportunities for businesses to make good use of the great amount of data they gather.

And how can you make good use of this data? By measuring everything, of course.

Applying data analytics to measure data can play a key role in increasing your sales performance. It’s logical if you think about it: your best chance of selling your product or services is if you understand which offers are most relevant to your customers.

By using data analytics, you’ll be able to examine patterns, such as purchase history, in a customer’s past behavior, and then identify their preferences and needs. Such information will, without doubt, help your agents cross- or up-sell products that are the most relevant to your customers.

Luckily, these days, comprehensive software solutions come with intelligent reporting tools such as real-time statistics, dashboards and wallboards to measure customer data and KPIs.

In particular, by measuring your KPIs, you can structure your workforce management based on identified peak and idle times. As such, in peak times, you can allocate more agents to take care of incoming calls, while in idle times your agents can initiate outbound campaigns.

So, these are the features that I believe are the most important ones to consider when buying a sales software. Now that you know what to look for, there’s no reason for you not to choose a comprehensive technology solution that will help your sales numbers skyrocket!

Your Call Center Needs a Predictive Dialer. Here’s Why!

Posted on: March 27th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

When it comes to sales, reaching the maximum amount of potential customers is vital for the success of any business.

However, many call centers still rely on manual dialers, with call center agents having to dial numbers themselves. And many of these calls end up lost on answering machines, or with agents waiting too long a time for a customer to pick up.

Under such circumstances, how many productive calls do agents make in a single day? Needless to say, not many…

Luckily, technology, in the form of predictive dialers, is here to help again. Predictive dialers are intelligent outbound call processing and managing systems that use statistical data to help predict how many numbers need to be dialed at any one time, thus making sure that every agent is always in an active call.

Below, we’ve outlined why call centers need to rely on this technology. Make sure to read on!

Increased Talk Time

It’s simple: when it comes to selling, the more you can talk, the more chances you have to make a sale.

Predictive dialers work by dialing numbers while agents are still in a call, often initiating more calls than the number of available free agents. By the time an agent finishes a call, the predictive dialer has already dialed the next number. As a result, agents are able to spend as much time as possible talking to customers.

VCC Live®’s intelligent predictive dialer, for example, can allow your agents to spend up to 40 minutes per hour in active talk with customers, thus enabling you to interact with customers more effectively.

Increased Sales Numbers

Since predictive dialers significantly increase average talk time, agents have the opportunity to go the extra time to make more sales.

Furthermore, a predictive dialer will also allow your agents to get the most of the increased talk time by keeping customer data update.

In particular, predictive dialers can offer the ultimate in efficiency when integrated with other systems, such as a CRM. With CRM integration, an intelligent dialer can determine the best time to call customers by creating call-back lists with preferred calling times. When the time comes, the dialer automatically starts the call, while also supporting the agent with relevant information from the customer’s purchase history.

As a result, agents can reach customers at the right time with the right message, thus increasing overall sales rates.

Increased Agent Efficiency

One major advantage of predictive dialers is that they can greatly enhance agent efficiency.

Firstly, by relying on a predictive dialer, agents save time as they no longer need to manually dial numbers.

Secondly, once an agent finishes their current call, the predictive dialer already has the next call ringing and ready to handle. As such, the average waiting time agents spend between two calls is reduced to only a few seconds.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

These days, customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of any business. And luckily, as well as helping your agents, predictive dialers can also help you keep your customers satisfied.

Using unique algorithms, a predictive dialer can collect and store valuable customer data. And so, as well as your customers being contacted at their preferred time, your agents will also be able to offer them products or services that are actually relevant to the customer.

And as customers highly appreciate a company going the extra mile to keep track of their history and provide them with personalized offers, you can be sure that it will increase their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.

6 Telesales Tips to Increase Efficiency

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by Dan Deschidar No Comments

There’s no doubt that most customers find telesales calls annoying. So, why do businesses still rely on telesales to contact their audiences?

Because, despite its bad reputation, telesales is a great way to engage with your customers, promote your products and services, and increase your sales on a global scale. In addition, while customers may be looking for exactly the kind of product or service your company provides, they may actually not know about your company – unless they receive a call from your telesales team.

Telesales has great potential for any business – but only if you have an effective strategy. In order to be successful, you need to follow a few steps.

So, in this article, I’ll show you how to increase your telesales efficiency. Stick to my telesales tips and success will definitely follow!

1. Recruit smartly

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, telesales is not for everyone, so it’s important to know what to look for when recruiting telesales staff.

A successful telesales agent needs to be optimistic, extrovert, and emotionally intelligent. In addition, a friendly attitude and great communicational skills will without doubt help them close more deals.

When it comes to recruiting telesales staff, I would recommend considering hiring part-time workers. As we already talked about in a previous article, the gig-economy workforce model works perfectly in call centers, so maybe it’s time for you to give it a shot.

Last but not least, always bear in mind that it’s a bad idea to try to ‘convert’ customer service agents into telesales agents. As mentioned above, telesales agents need to have specific skills that are very much different from the skills needed by customer service agents.

2. Invest in training

Having previous telesales experience, while ideal, is not essential for someone with the right attitude and personality.

That is why you should invest a lot of energy and resources into training. Make sure to take induction periods seriously, and organize in-depth training sessions to ensure your agents can master their telesales skills before they start working on your campaigns.

Furthermore, comprehensive knowledge of your products and services is a key to success. In order to close as many deals as possible, your telesales agents will need to know your products and services like the back of their hand.

And, as we all know, there’s always room for improvement, so it’s also important to offer ongoing support to agents once they successfully pass the induction period. Make sure to organize systematic training sessions and empower your agents with the opportunity to improve their skillsets.

3. Start with the manager

One thing is certain, a good team needs a good leader. So, once you have the right telesales agent team in place, you’ll also need to appoint a manager who will empower them to thrive.

Managing a team of telesales agents is no small feat, so don’t just appoint someone who seems to be promising but is not ready for the position yet.  

Telesales managers really have to be able to see the whole picture as they are responsible for the overall performance and budget of the telesales department. In addition, they will not only need to cope with processes, technology and customers, but also with employees.

In fact, good telesales managers don’t just give instructions to their team, they actively coach and motivate them. Therefore, if one of your potential candidates is exceptionally good business-wise but lacks people management skills, it may be a good idea to keep on looking.

Last but not least, bear in mind that a good leader needs to give plenty of feedback to their team. And if you haven’t mastered the method of giving feedback, make sure to check out our article on it.

4. Have realistic targets and appropriate tools

‘Anything is possible’ is a well-known saying, but let’s admit it, in business, one normally has to be a bit more down-to-earth. In order to reap success in telesales, you’ll need to set realistic targets, meaning you shouldn’t aim too high or too low.

Furthermore, as technology is advancing at lightning speed, and changing the world around us every day, in order to increase your telesales efficiency, you’ll definitely need to rely on a comprehensive software solution.

Software options these days come with many powerful features, such as predictive dialers or real-time statistics, which are vital when looking to increase your team’s efficiency. VCC Live®’s predictive dialer, for example, allows telesales teams to process a large number of calls and sign more successful deals by maximizing talk time per hour.

In addition, real-time statistics allow your team to make the most of customer data, as well as react to real-time situations including allocating more resources during peak times.

5. Have a powerful script

When it comes to telesales, having a powerful script can help your agents close more deals. Luckily, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a powerful sales script. Just make sure to do your research, check out how your competitors achieve success using scripts, and you can start creating your own.

Not so long ago, agents printed out their scripts, and read them out from their hard copy. Fortunately, these days, you can easily create powerful telesales scripts and integrate them within call center software.

Our call center software, for example, allows you to build and customize your scripts using an intuitive drag-and-drop editing interface.

6. Be patient

Last but not least: it requires patience to achieve success in telesales. My experience is that it takes about 2-3 months for even the best telesales operators to start performing well at their job. For most telesales agents this period is between 4-6 months, while for those who develop a bit slower than others, this period is normally about 10 months.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should fire your agents just because they need more time to perform well in their role than you would like. As mentioned above, it is definitely worth focusing on hiring and investing in training programs, as in the long term they will help you build the team of high-performing telesales agents you’ll need to maximize your success!

So, these are my telesales tips that will definitely help you put your business on the path to success. Make sure to follow them, and reap success in telesales!

GDPR and Telesales – Is Cold Calling Still Permitted?

Posted on: July 24th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

On May 25 this year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. After a two-year preparation period, it’s now official: organizations need to ensure that the way they store and process data complies with the new rules outlined by GDPR.

GDPR certainly affects most businesses, but there are a number of industries that are more affected than others when it comes to complying with the new legislation. And the telesales industry, which typically relies on cold calling, is not surprisingly one of them.

We already created a GDPR checklist and outlined how your call center can process call recordings in accordance with the new rules, so now it’s time to talk about how GDPR affects telesales, and most importantly cold calling.

And if you think that GDPR doesn’t apply to your telesales activities, think again and read on. In this article, we’ll show you what you need to do to ensure you can continue relying on cold calling as part of your telesales strategy in the post-GDPR world.

 

Cold calling after GDPR

As we all know, telesales is a service that sells products or services directly to customers via (often cold) phone calls. Of course, in order to be able to contact customers via phone, businesses need to store and process a huge volume of personal data. Now that GDPR came into force, how has the situation changed?

The good news is that cold calling is still permitted, however, the rules of the game have changed considerably. Although the new legislation does not address cold calling directly, having your customers’ personal data may be against GDPR principles.

Before we immerse ourselves in the topic, let’s quickly clarify what’s the definition of personal data under GDPR. As we already mentioned in our previous article, voice files are considered personal data as they can include personal information, such as the caller’s name, address or financial information.

Consequently, data telesales departments typically rely on, including names, home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, are all considered personal data.

 

Six criteria outlined by GDPR

If you want to continue your telesales activities in accordance with GDPR, it’s time to take a look at the six criteria you will need to meet in order to be able to store and process your customers’ personal data. Under GDPR, your business needs to justify that the purpose for storing and processing customer data fulfills one of the criteria below:

  1. Customers gave you their consent to use their data
  2. You’re entering into a contract with a customer and you’re processing their data in order to fulfill the contract
  3. Processing of data is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation
  4. You’re processing data to protect someone’s vital interests
  5. You’re processing data to carry out a task in the public interest
  6. Processing is necessary for legitimate interest, except where such interest is overridden by the customer’s fundamental rights and freedoms

When it comes to cold calling, it’s quite unlikely that criterion 2 to 5 will apply to you. So, your best bet remains focusing on customer consent and legitimate interest.

 

GDPR and consent for cold calling

With GDPR now in force, gone are the days of hiding pre-checked boxes at the bottom of a webpage. In order to be able to contact a customer, businesses now need to have the customer’s clear and explicit consent.

As outlined by GDPR, when initiating cold calls, you’ll need to notify your customers that you’re storing and processing their data, and ask for their consent to be able to continue to do so afterward. Of course, it’s probably not recommended beginning a phone call with this information, but you’ll need to make sure they’re fine with you having their data, ideally within the first seconds of the call.

GDPR also specifies that customers who previously gave consent to have their data stored and processed can withdraw this consent at any time, and it’s your business’ responsibility to immediately delete the relevant data.

Furthermore, the actual consent itself always needs to be recorded and be available at any time. Call recording is a common call center practice and can be used to make customer consent easily available and transparent. However, bear in mind that GDPR also applies to call recording.

 

GDPR and legitimate interest – the savior of cold calling

Let’s be honest, obtaining your customers’ consent to contact them before you actually contact them is not an easy task.

And this is where the option of legitimate interest comes into play: the last criterion says that as long as you have a legitimate business interest in contacting customers, and it’s not overridden by your customers’ decision not to be contacted, you’re allowed to call them.

Luckily, selling a product or service is considered a legitimate business interest, making the last criterion in the legislation the savior of cold calling.

For instance, if you call a customer and offer – let’s say – a new service package to them over the phone, then, as long as you’re not misleading or deceiving them, your offer is considered a legitimate business interest.

But while this is, without doubt, a great loophole for telesales departments, it doesn’t mean that businesses can continue to call an endless number of potential customers.

With GDPR in force, telesales departments need to be able to justify that they are calling potential customers who are truly interested in their products or services, rather than just randomly dialing all available phone numbers in their database.

 

Balancing test

In order to ensure that your cold calling efforts are a legitimate business interest, you’ll need to do a so-called “balancing test”, in other words, a comparison of your business interest against those of the prospects you want to call.

In brief, products and services that are offered via cold calling in a genuine way, without misleading or deceiving customers, are considered a legitimate business interest. Simple as that.

However, in order to make sure that your cold calls based on legitimate business interest won’t harm your customers, you’ll need to put certain “safeguards” in place.

Amongst other things, you’ll always have to provide customers with the opportunity to easily opt-out of continued storing and processing of their data. GDPR also states that businesses can only store and process data that is absolutely necessary for providing their service to its full extent. For instance, if you don’t need to have a prospect’s date of birth, then you shouldn’t ask them for it. Furthermore, always make sure to raise awareness of data protection in your organization, and test your procedures systematically.

The more “safeguards” you implement in your organization, the more balanced your rights to do business will be against the prospect’s right not to be called.

As you can see, GDPR is not the death of cold calls. Just study our article, allocate enough time to prepare for the new rules (if you haven’t done so already), and you’re good to go!

Articles and entries on vcc.live/blog do not constitute legal advice. Should you have any legal questions, please contact your lawyer or legal advisor. VCC Live® will not take any responsibility or liability for any damages, disadvantages or losses that may arise from the results of any interpretation of the contents of the blog.

VCC Live® receives Great User Experience and Rising Star Awards

Posted on: May 24th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Exciting things are happening at VCC Live®: we’re more than delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Great User Experience 2018 Award and the Rising Star 2018 Award delivered by FinancesOnline.

The expert team of FinancesOnline examines and analyzes hundreds of B2B products and customer reviews to find the possible best solutions that allow businesses to grow. FinancesOnline contains more than 5,000 detailed business software reviews in 140 categories, and we’re proud of the fact that this reputable software platform featured our product in a detailed VCC Live® overview on their site highlighting all the great features our software offers.

VCC Live® is a top performer in FinancesOnline’s top 10 best call center software due to its feature-rich, up-to-date technology solution that empowers businesses to perform a wide range of call center related actions on a single platform, without any initial investment. The software review platform highlighted VCC Live Pay, our one-of-a-kind payment feature, allowing customers to handle payments over the phone while keeping their transactions 100% safe and secure.

The experts from FinancesOnline agreed that VCC Live®’s comprehensive software offers everything a call center needs while supporting work from more than 150 countries all around the world. Amongst other things, they’ve highlighted the following benefits:

  •      All-in-One cloud-based platform
  •      Powerful features, such as a predictive dialer and VCC Live Pay
  •      Variety of communication channels including phone, email, SMS, chat
  •      Excellent integration capabilities
  •      Multi-country operations

As discussed in the review, VCC Live® is more than just a software company: after the setup and training period, our support team and dedicated account managers continue to offer ongoing support as needed. Furthermore, our agile development methods ensure that our clients enjoy the benefits of a customized and state-of-the-art call center software solution.

All of these great features have allowed us to receive these two awards from FinancesOnline. Winning these two awards is proof of the success of our aim to keep delivering the latest technology solutions to the call center industry.

About the awards

Software solutions that provide an intuitive interface and well-designed tools are distinguished with the Great User Experience award by FinancesOnline. We are proud to have received this distinction under the best call center software category. The B2B review website also discerned us as a Rising Star for 2018, indicating that various call center companies all over the world believe VCC Live® is reliable in handling their daily operations.

Implementing a Business Continuity Plan in call centers

Posted on: May 22nd, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

“I recently traveled to Africa to negotiate with one of our African partners. Power outage is quite common in Africa, so I suggested that the company should utilize a reliable, cloud-based backup solution that could deal with such issues. Although the management supported my idea, they still insisted on having a physical backup server at their headquarters, rather than choosing a cloud-based solution physically placed elsewhere.

Amazingly, just at the time, I was about to tell them how dangerous it would be to store their primary and backup servers in the same room, a massive storm started and proved my point. Without any warning, the power went out in the entire building, and as they did not have any backup solution, the company’s business operations were paralyzed for several hours. Needless to say, after that it was easy to convince them about the importance of a reliable and cloud-based backup solution.”

Gábor Kocsis, Customer Journey and Business Development Consultant Partner, EMEA at VCC Live®

Imagine the same thing happening to your call center: there’s no doubt that your business would be seriously impacted. As the main task of any call center is to communicate with its customers, if communication is interrupted for any reason then the inevitable result is that the call center will start losing revenue and generating costs. However, with a properly implemented Business Continuity Plan (BCP), unfortunate events such as the scenario above can be easily avoided.

Before we go deeper into the topic, let’s quickly clarify what a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is. A Business Continuity Plan ensures that business processes can continue during a time of emergency or disaster, such as power outage, cyber attack, data breach or natural disasters.

According to a study conducted by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, 73% of businesses continue to not have a Business Continuity Plan in place, or if they do, they don’t take the time to make sure that the plan actually works. It’s true that designing, implementing and executing a reliable Business Continuity Plan takes significant time. But when the survival of your business is at stake, isn’t it worth the effort?

So, what are you waiting for? Check out our article, and make sure your call center is prepared to recover quickly from any events of emergency or disaster.

 

Analyze your situation

When it comes to creating your Business Continuity Plan, always start by identifying the risks your call center may experience in the event of a disaster. Then, imagine how the most critical component of your call center – such as your infrastructure, servers, computers, computer telephony integration, IVR and other applications – would be affected by such an event. By doing this, you will be able to understand the possible threats and the potential costs that your business would need to face if these critical components stopped working.

As a call center supports its customers using a variety of communication channels, it’s essential that the uninterrupted performance of these channels is ensured as part of the call center’s Business Continuity Plan. Therefore, the next step in creating your Business Continuity Plan is to identify your critical communication channels, for example, web chat, email, SMS and incoming calls.

While all of these communication channels are extremely essential for the proper functioning of any call center, certain channels are more critical for its basic operation. If you need some help, just check out the pros and cons of different communication channels normally used by call centers here.

For most call centers, the ultimate critical communication channel is still inbound and outbound calls, as they represent the largest part of operators’ workload. For example, if you run telesales campaigns, your most critical communication channel is obviously outbound calls. As simple as it sounds, if your agents are not able to initiate calls, then your call center will soon start losing revenue.

On the other hand, when customers are unable to contact a customer center via email or chat and are redirected to a telephone customer care line, incoming telephone lines become even more important for call centers handling customer service activities. And, as we already talked about in a previous article, failure to handle these activities effectively, and the resultant complaints from customers and negative reviews, will definitely impact on your call center’s reputation.

After you identified the most critical components and communication channels at your call center, try and make it a priority to come up with efficient backup solutions to restore these components to normal functioning as soon as possible following a major disruption.

 

Consider having a cloud-based backup solution

Providing continuous service to your customers is vital to the success of your call center, and so service interruptions and outages of any kind will simply not be acceptable to them. For call centers, which typically rely on technology, having a reliable backup solution as part of their BCP is a prerequisite.

Not so long ago, if call centers wanted to secure their data, they had no choice but to purchase and establish an on-premise backup server. Besides being extremely costly, physical backup servers have proved to be not 100% safe, especially if physically stored together with primary servers.

Still, many companies store their servers and backup servers in the same room, which, of course, can result in major problems for the organization in the event of any disaster, such as a fire in the building.  

Luckily, as today’s cloud computing boom continues, more and more businesses are moving their data from physical backup servers to cloud-based platforms, and for good reason: with an expert backup call center solution in place, your business can stay safe from any system-threatening issues, and can meet your business continuity requirements and expectations.

Cloud computing has evolved a lot in recent years, and now cloud-based backup call center solutions even allow users to run their application from virtual servers. By transferring your workload to a backup call center solution, you can minimize your call center’s operations downtime and the number of lost calls. This is a proven and efficient way to overcome operational disruption.

Even better, if you use a stand-alone solution, independent from your primary service provider, it provides further security to your business continuity.

In brief, a reliable cloud-based solution can easily be implemented and is much more cost-effective than having a physical backup service. So, if you haven’t already done so, we recommend you look into moving your business to the cloud today, as this is one of your best chances to keep up with technology advances and ensure your Business Continuity Plan is sufficiently secure and future-proof.  

 

Test and monitor your Business Continuity Plan

So, you finally finished creating and implementing your Business Continuity Plan, but that’s only the beginning. Many companies focus solely on measuring their efficiency (if you need help in measuring your call center’s efficiency, then check out our article on it), and still think it’s enough to know that their recovery systems and processes are up and running. Well, your recovery systems may be up and running – but what if they already become outdated, or simply do not match the performance of your primary servers?

So, make sure you start testing and monitoring your Business Continuity Plan before it becomes too late. Ongoing testing and monitoring will provide your call center with the tools to successfully assess a possible disaster and its impact on your services.

However, without proper testing and monitoring processes, your business won’t be able to know if it’s prepared for an unexpected disaster and have the right tools to overcome the difficulties.

Unfortunately, companies often invest a lot of money and time in testing and monitoring their primary systems – while ignoring their backup environment. So, don’t make the same (serious) mistake, and make sure you monitor your backup solution just as strictly as your primary systems and servers. After all, your backup solution will take over the role of your primary servers and systems during any emergency or disaster.

 

Take away

As you can see, having a well-structured Business Continuity Plan, with well-structured processes and solutions, appropriate technology backups, and continuous monitoring and testing procedures is a vital prerequisite for any call center that wants to survive a potential disaster. So, don’t forget to spend the time creating a reliable Business Continuity Plan for your call center, so that it can run smoothly and uninterruptedly, even in the event of an unexpected disaster.

Articles and entries on vcc.live/blog do not constitute legal advice. Should you have any legal questions, please contact your lawyer or legal advisor. VCC Live® will not take any responsibility or liability for any damages, disadvantages or losses that may arise from the results of any interpretation of the contents of the blog.