Ask Kathy: Why Telemarketing Programs Fail – Part 3

By Kathy Sisk

In the last issue we discussed the expectations, the list, and the reporting needed when setting up and managing a campaign. Now the discussion shifts to the importance of properly assessing and preparing agents for training before the start of the campaign. Poorly trained agents are one of the quickest ways for a campaign to fail.

Sometimes a program starts without asking for adequate training from the client or assigned project manager. Additionally the call center may replace an agent in the middle of the program but fail to give adequate training to the newly assigned agent.

Excessive training on product knowledge can actually hinder agents from performing well, as too much information may intimidate them if they feel unable to absorb it all. It is best to give enough training at a pace where agents feel confident enough to present products or services using the call guide or script. Once they can confidently go through the call guide, they should focus on the quality of delivering the presentation, along with branching off the script to other areas when necessary.

Be sure to assign the right agents to the campaign; not all campaigns are alike, and not all agents are alike, either. Some campaigns require assertive agents, while other campaigns can use agents who possess a more easygoing approach. Carefully matching the attributes of the campaign with the appropriate agents is an essential part of the overall success of the campaign. This should be identified up-front during the agent selection process.

The best time to assess agents is before hiring them. Assessment tools should be in place so that the right agents are selected before training them. After the initial assessment, continue to assess agents during the basic, simulation, and applied phases of training. Not all agents will pass the basic training, and not all agents will pass the simulation training. It is essential to select the right agents for the applied training, as this is where they begin to represent the client’s campaigns.

Kathy Sisk, founder and president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc., is a trainer and consultant, contributing thirty-five years of expertise to the telemarketing, sales, and customer service industries.

[From Connection Magazine Mar/Apr 2015]