You may be looking at call center talk time the wrong way. Find out why more time on the phone can lead to better outcomes.
There is an idea that call center talk time needs to be as short as possible. In some situations, this is true. Inbound call centers, for example, need representatives to solve problems quickly so they can move on and help more customers.
But with outbound call centers, time with customers and potential customers can be time well spent. This is especially true in the case of new leads. These early calls are where you build relationships and try to match your lead with the right product or service.
New leads will, hopefully, have questions or want to chat about different features and options. You’ll want time to set appointments or explain complex topics. Unlike inbound calling centers, longer outbound call center talk time is generally favorable. So how can you do that?
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10 Ways your outbound call center talk time can increase
When you’re reaching out to new leads, short talk times usually mean you’re leaving messages or someone doesn’t have the time or desire to talk to you. Certainly, you should expect to leave messages. Plan it right, and those messages could lead to returned calls and profitable relationships.
The real wins, however, happen when you can increase your call center talk time. That’s more time demonstrating how your product or service can solve a problem or make life better for your new lead. Here are several strategies you can use to get that talk time up and boost your revenue.
1. Write several scripts. Call scripts can keep your team on track and ensure they convey the necessary information, but the details on calls will be different every time. Some of the most successful call centers keep several scripts in rotation, so they are more personalized to leads.
2. Don’t robotize your team. Yes, scripts are important. At the same time, you don’t want people reading the same script over and over. There has to be space for meaningful conversations with new leads. Think of sales scripts as guides.
3. Appreciate your team. It’s no mystery that when you treat people well, they’ll treat your customers well. Metrics are important. So is productivity. But don’t get hung up on numbers to the point where your team is so stressed that they can’t do good work. If you can create a relaxed atmosphere, your team will do better work.
4. Train your team. The best salespeople in any industry understand their product or service inside and out. They can share that information with customers and answer any questions that might come up. And the best way to increase call center talk time and make those sales is to ensure your team has expert knowledge of your industry, your company, and your product.
5. Be selective. Increasing call center talk time without increasing sales could mean you’re calling the wrong people. There’s a lot you can do to fine-tune your calling list, including such simple things as qualifying your leads and ensuring you are personalizing your sales pitch.
6. Train your team to anticipate and work through objections. In many cases, objections simply mean you haven’t effectively solved a problem. Objections can also feel final, but that’s not always the case. You can often work around these issues with a little digging or altering your approach.
7. ABP–Always Be Positive. Want to boost your call center talk time with new leads and current customers alike? Always be positive. That doesn’t mean your team needs to wear fake smiles and sound bubbly all day. You can be positive without faking it. Skip any mentions of dreary weather, being tired or hungry, and do not, under any circumstances, make negative comments about your competition. Is it rainy and dark? Looks like there’s some sunshine in the forecast next week! It’s going to be great! Your competition just got arrested for defrauding customers? Don’t bring it up. And if your new lead mentions it, reply that you prefer to focus on treating your customers well and closely following regulations and best practices.
8. Be prepared with social proof. If we’ve learned anything from social media, it’s that there really is some truth to the idea that we are influenced by the opinions of people we like and trust. It goes beyond that, however. At times, a few online reviews or referrals, even from people we don’t know, can make a difference in decisions. If you have a few testimonials in your script or at the ready, that could be just the thing to tip the scales in your favor.
9. Be prepared with facts. Does your new software increase business efficiency by an average of 16%? Can your product reduce business expenses by 9.5% on average? These are the kinds of numbers people use to determine how valuable your offering is to them. Have them at the ready.
10. Keep it simple. One of the tricks to success in sales is to keep things simple. Too many options and decisions overwhelm us. Of course, there may come a time in the conversation when you do have to get more in-depth and deal with potentially complex issues, but save that for the right time.
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