Why Telemarketing Programs Fail – Part 4

By Kathy Sisk

In the final segment of “Why Telemarketing Programs Fail,” we’ll look at branching and agent learning curve.

Branching: Branching means that an agent uses a script but takes that script down another path to meet the same objective: close the sale, make an appointment, or generate a lead. Branching is always preplanned; it allows the prospect or caller to take the conversation in another direction. Branching causes the agents to go off the primary script and take a different route. Though the outcome is still the same, the way to get there is different.

Agents should be taught the process of branching during basic training; this allows them to use their skills and techniques to guide the call through a more personalized approach. This process can be challenging, however, and it takes practice to perfect. During simulation training (role-playing), the agent can help to fine-tune various types of branched calls, but the best training is giving the agents time to hone their branching skills during the applied training (live calling). This allows them to learn through trial and error.

Being skilled in the use of branching is what differentiates one agent from another – it’s the reason why one agent may have an 80 percent conversion rate and another will have only 20 percent conversion rate.

Learning Curve: With every campaign, a ramp-up time is required for an agent to get comfortable with the campaign and become confident. Often either the client or the center does not allow enough time for this learning curve to develop in order for the call success rate to reach its potential.

All too often immediate results are expected, and either the client or the project management team gives up before the agents can perfect themselves on the campaign or make the necessary adjustments to either the campaign or the script. Ideally agents will have the opportunity to share how they think the program can be improved. Often the agents’ feedback is key to identifying issues with the account or with the agents’ techniques.

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 – May/June 2015]