I often find myself coming to the defense of Telemarketing as a whole over dinner conversation with friends and family. You know how the table talk goes…….
Friend – “I received a call last night at 7.30pm…. right in the middle of Dinner! I mean how dare they, it’s so intrusive!”
Me – “It’s not like they know what time you eat dinner…. it’s not a calculated plan. If you don’t want to be called by anyone, put your name on the Do Not Call Register.”
Friend – “But seriously, they hardly even spoke english! I just hang up on them… I don’t care how rude I am.”
You see, even I have to admit that on some level I can see where my friend is coming from. I like to think that I am very open to Telemarketing calls, for obvious reasons. But gee I get cranky when I receive a bad Telemarketing call! I get it….. just like a great Telemarketing call can brighten your day, a bad one can really make you mad.
And I think that is the issue here. Telemarketing is not the problem. I have spoken to so many people who tell me lovely stories about getting great deals, or having a great conversation with a Telemarketer they connected with.
I believe that Telemarketing has a bad name in the community for one reason only – bad Telemarketers!
Now being a poor Telemarketer is not always the fault of the Telemarketer. In fact in most cases it is the fault of the employer or the trainer.
In the case of outsourced overseas call centers, there is often not only a language barrier that causes a lack of rapport between client and Telemarketer, but there are also distance and lack of cultural understanding that can cause problems.
I recently worked with a company that had outsourced their Telemarketing to the Phillipines. When I listened in on the calls, I was struck by how little rapport was built on each call. Most calls consisted of a Telemarketer who spoke too quickly (which when you add an accent, makes it very difficult for the client to get a good grasp of what’s being said), no ice breaking rapport (are you enjoying the beautiful weather?) and no sense that the telemarketer liked the client. The feel was very much….”It’s my job to get through this script…and that’s all.”
As the Telemarketer is not working directly with the company they are calling on behalf of, they aren’t usually passionate about what they are selling and often don’t really get why they are making the call. Add to that the difficulties I have already mentioned and you can see why outsourcing overseas can generate very poor results. But, it’s cheaper and that’s why so many companies utilize it. It really lacks an understanding of how people respond in a buying environment and of looking at the big picture.
In saying all of that, local call centres can also have very poorly trained staff. My favourites are:
* The Telemarketer who sounds robotic while they read their script
* The Telemarketer who speaks at a snails pace…. boy do I know I am going to be in for a long call!
* The Telemarketer who talks over the top of you – as though that is some form of real objection handling
*The telemarketer who can’t ask the closing question – creating an awkward silence
Of course, there is much more that can go wrong.
So what is the answer? Let’s go back to my dinner conversation….
Me – “My Telemarketers rarely get anyone hanging up on them. I make sure I hire nice people, I train them well and I find that our clients mostly enjoy the call. I know bad Telemarketers can be frustrating, I get frustrated by them too. The good news is, there are lots of great Telemarketers out there too!”
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