We’ve all heard them. Audio clips of customer interactions with call center agents that have gone terribly awry. Most of them make us smile and feel relieved that we were neither the caller nor the call center agent involved in the exchange.
If you run a call center, however, feeling amused and relieved isn’t enough when it comes to phone calls that go off-kilter. While you can certainly learn from these exchanges, your focus needs to be on preventing them from occurring in the first place. After all, you don’t want a conversation one of your agents has with a customer to be the next big viral sensation, do you?
While providing training for your current team will go a long way toward preventing calls from going askew, hiring the right people, to begin with, will carry the figurative ball even closer to the goal line. Even if you already know how critical hiring the right people is to your center’s overall success as well as to the success of each individual call your team fields, you may be wondering how you should go about hiring great call center agents. To help you hire the right people for your location, we’ve put together a list of tips for hiring call center agents. Here are some things you can do to ensure you’re hiring the candidates who are right for your call center:
It will be significantly easier for you to hire candidates who’ll thrive in your call center if you create a profile of an ideal candidate based on your most successful agents. To do this, identify your top agents and determine the things that make them successful. Be as specific as possible when you’re assessing their skills, habits, work practices, and attitudes, and include all of the attributes that lead these people to do stellar work in your ideal agent profile. When your profile is done, give it to your hiring manager so they can ensure each candidate has the attributes that lead to success in your call center.
When you’re interviewing candidates, you’ll need to have a list of questions to ask each applicant. You should ask every candidate the same questions so you can score their responses and compare their individual answers and overall interviews fairly. Because you want to ask everyone the same questions, you’ll need to prepare a list of them before you start the interview process. Try to draft your questions so they will give you a good idea about a candidate’s core abilities and how they’ve handled challenges in similar work environments in the past.
What do you think is the best way to conduct an initial interview with a job applicant when you’re trying to staff your call center? While you may automatically think of your office, you may want to think again. Since you’re hiring for a call center, you may want to conduct an initial phone interview to accurately assess an applicant’s phone etiquette and communication skills. These skills are critical to the success of a call center agent because they don’t have the advantage of interacting with clients face-to-face. By interviewing applicants over the phone, you’ll be able to determine whether a second interview is worth your time and assess the likelihood they’ll succeed in your work environment.
This is one of the meaningful interview questions that tells you how interested your candidate is in a sales job. If they tell you that they got picked up sales because they like to interact with people, or if they show a keen interest in the product or services your company is selling, it’s a positive sign. Similarly, candidates who say they joined sales because of incentives are also a good bet.
The question will help you understand how logically the candidates define and approach their target audience. Ask them to give you an example of how they would approach your company’s target audiences. Sales professionals will be able to make a positive impression if they follow the right approach, even if your company’s product or service is completely different from what the candidates used to sell in their last job.
There are few who understand the importance of lead management, especially if the business thrives on economies of scale. The ones who do and implement a proper lead management strategy are those who top the sales leader board. Therefore, if you come across a candidate who understands the importance of lead management and demonstrates the ability to effectively manage leads, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t recruit them.
Being persuasive is a good-to-have attribute for salespeople, but pursuing a client even when they have given you a clear indication that they are not interested is beyond reasoning. In fact, it may even tarnish the company’s reputation. Therefore, look for a candidate who understands the difference between being persuasive and ‘going overboard’, and knows when to call it a day.
Make sure you don’t hire someone who doesn’t like to do what matters the most to your company. The question also helps you determine the weaknesses of the candidate. While their answers should not discourage you from hiring them, if they dislike doing what will be required from them, it is a red flag, no matter how good the potential hire appears to be.
Sales jobs can be hectic, with the number of rejections salespeople face being much higher than the successes they achieve. The question helps you get an insight into the candidate’s attitude towards their job. A competent sales talent knows how to tackle rejection. They do not let rejection take control of their emotions, and always figure a way to bounce back, no matter the odds.
Sales reps should not completely rely only on companies to provide them with consumer data lists. At times, they may be required to generate leads on their own. Therefore, they should be able to mine consumer data and create their own consumer phone lists or mailing lists. Ask the sales rep candidate what process do they follow for data mining and how it helps them sell better.
An inside sales rep has to pitch a product to multiple prospects, making it necessary for them to gather comprehensive knowledge about it. The excellent sales representatives need to convey the value proposition it has and why it’s a better option than the alternatives. Your product can win prospects if inside sales reps can effectively highlight the features separating it from the challengers. Sales managers need to test and ensure that inside sales reps have gathered adequate product knowledge and are aware of its finer nuances before they start pitching.
Instead of engaging inside sales reps in cold calling, managers need to try and utilize their skills in a more sophisticated manner. This may include lead profiling, lead nurturing, seeking referrals from closed leads, or reviving inactive leads. Managers can every now and then utilize their sales reps for a few cold calls, but should emphasis more on maintaining a solid pipeline. When telecallers are busy with cold calling, inside sales reps should take ownership of nurturing the leads. Though basic prospecting can be a part of the overall sales training, inside sales reps can develop advanced skills through mock training, and active coaching and monitoring.
A famous quote by Zig Ziglar says, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons”. The aim of your inside sales reps should not only be to “sell”, but also to build your brand. When reps talk and connect on common grounds, the chances of converting a cold lead to a warm or hot lead increase manifold. While some reps have a natural flair for developing rapport, others can develop it through training and gaining hands-on sales experience using different tools. Once they are done with the research, they can figure out a strategy to incorporate empathy in their approaches with prospects.
Pitching the benefits of a product without understanding the pain areas of the prospect is usually fruitless. Your prospects need a real-world “reason” to invest in your product. If, for instance, you pitch an inside sales software solution to a person who is looking for a predictive dialer, the proposition will not have any intrigue. Offering a blended software solution with inside sales and predictive dialing capabilities, on the other hand, will seem like a more compelling reason. Managers, therefore, need to teach inside sales reps to rely more on need-based prospecting rather than product-based.
Many sales opportunities slip through your hands as the reps fail in addressing the objection raised by a cold lead. Many inside sales managers skip objection prevention before moving on to objection handling, leaving a skill gap in the inside sales team. Rather, your sales reps should be trained to design an approach that restricts the roof for objections. Even if there is an objection, the rep should refrain from counting it as a lost sales opportunity and do their bit in to convince the cold leads and help them overcome the objections.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how many great call center agents you hire if you don’t have high-quality lists of leads for them to call. To find the telemarketing lists that will help your individual agents and your whole team succeed, contact TelephoneLists.Biz today.