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Calling all agents: Creating a can-do staff to handle PPC

Calling all agents: Creating a can-do staff to handle PPC

As more businesses take advantage of pay per call (PPC) marketing, the training of call center staff to maximize those calls gains even more importance.

In today’s market, products like Dial 800’s CallView360 can easily record and time such calls, identifying their source and determining by which ad in which medium they were precipitated. CallView can then use that unfiltered switch-level data to compile cost per call, cost per lead and ROI, creating customizable menus and graphs to help prioritize the owner’s budget.

How to help your call center use that info to its best advantage?

  • Ensure agents have the big picture in terms of your business, product and PPC campaign, and how they fit in.  They should be aware of the impact of negative customer experiences and how positive experiences build loyalty.
  • Take advantage of interactive voice response (IVR) options that automatically route the customer to the most appropriate agent. Routing criteria can include staff strengths and weaknesses, time of day, location or caller ID.
  • Answer all calls within 5 to 10 seconds, with hold times of no longer than 20 seconds.
  • With PPC, your company often isn’t charged for calls shorter than 60 seconds. One or two well-worded questions at the start of each can save money by enabling agents to politely end conversations that won’t end in sales.
  • Provide agents scripts so they can customize their greeting and approach according to the source of the call. Knowing the customer’s intent, location and what kind of business or product they’re searching for saves time and typically results in a higher chance of conversion. The scripts, which should be practiced to sound off-script, should include info on different scenarios, including how to direct callers who need further information.
  • Make the process easy on your agents. “Simple processes, simple procedures, simple, easy-to-implement computer aids — all mean training time is reduced and productivity increases,” reports Callcentrehelper.com.
  • Critique actual calls with and without your agents, noting which approaches are most effective. Ask your star agents to coach others.
  • Use monetary rewards for reps who hit certain targets or go above and beyond during sales calls.
  • Average handling time may seem like the most important metric by which to track agent and center performance, notesCallcentrehelper.com. But teaching staff to shoot for high customer satisfaction levels, new business sales and net promoter scores is also crucial. “Strike a balance between efficiency (the cost per interaction) and effectiveness,” the site advises.
  • Some experts believe timing calls is counterintuitive. “This can cause both parties an initial tension between the two, even though it’s subliminal,” advises Mark Dorf of Performance Media Strategies. “It will sour the start of the call, leading to a poor experience.”

Finally, don’t forget to ask your staff what they think is working best.

“You’ll be surprised at the quality of ideas they come up with,” says David Miller on Customerthink.com. “Motivated agents are happy agents and happy agents create happy customers, boosting customer satisfaction and profitability.”

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