Staff motivation and retention seem to be recurring challenges that a majority of call centres are faced with. This is why, at telecommunications company, italk, we have invested considerable time and energy in perfecting our sales technique and ensuring our managers really get the most out of their workforce.
What does getting the most out of employees mean to us?
We train our staff to focus on the right kind of sales, rather than stress over impossible targets. We incentivise and support the team and, crucially, show how instrumental they are to the success of the company. As a result, we have high retention rates and a rapidly growing business model; this was highlighted earlier in the year when we were named Vodafone’s Fixed Partner of the Year.
Based on our successful and long-standing methodology, we share our top tips for getting the most out of your workforce:
Focus on training
We put a lot of impetus on creating a bespoke training programme for all new hires, primarily focusing on the product and the ‘italk sales technique’. Rather than rushing the training process, we spend several days in the classroom environment to ensure all agents feel completely comfortable and confident before they go out onto the sales floor.
We work closely with all new hires to try and eliminate fear, which we have found to be a huge barrier for success when selling over the phone. Once our agents have passed the training process, we then monitor them closely to quickly identify any possible issues; working with each individual on a case-by-case basis and providing more bespoke training when required.
As managers, our role often involves offering moral support, and we encourage a feeling of inclusivity across teams with more experienced members of staff helping to train and mentor new hires from the offset.
The techniques our agents use focuses on value rather than the hard sell approach, and works within a positive framework. We aim to only sell our product to those who really need it, targeting the benefits our clients will gain from switching to our services which are usually cost-led.
We encourage our agents strike up engaging conversations with prospective customers, to spend the time required to understand their needs, as we believe this not only delivers a better service overall, but helps our employees to feel valued; in turn boosting motivation and job satisfaction.
For us, adopting a realistic approach has led to an open dialogue across the workforce, as many of whom have been used to a call centre environment dictated by high sales figures and a lack of genuine communication when it comes to career prospects.
We don’t want to flog or force our products, and our sales targets reflect this expectation. As a result, we have a very high staff retention rate and our agents are actually selling more. Customers tend to respond better to genuine conversations rather than scripted sales spiel.
Furthermore, our high retention rate is also linked to our policy of hiring internally. Giving our employees the opportunity to move up within the company provides a clear vision and a drive to succeed.
Most of our managers — including our managing director — started out on the phones, and this visible progression helps to motivate staff members and showcase how hard work is greatly valued. We have created an environment with almost endless opportunities for progression in the sales team and beyond, and it’s an exciting prospect for everyone involved.
Get your employees involved in the brand
The first thing we do with new hires is get them invested in the italk brand. We’ve found that in order for people to do an exceptional job; they really need to believe in the product and the benefit it provides to customers.
A focus on high-quality marketing and our new website — which launched a few months ago — helps to instil pride and continue our passion for creating a brand with real personality.
To find out more about italk, click here