From my first day, I knew I was in the wrong place. I wanted to become a journalist, but the newspaper had plenty of journalists, so they did not need me. So they put me - whose passion was in writing - in the next best place, yes as you might have guessed - in telesales. Of course, they had plenty of room for telemarketers. The sales office had a revolving door where turnover was higher than retention.
Despite sales not being my thing, I did have fulfilling moments. There were times where I felt that I brightened the day of my customer. Equally, there were days that I want to forget. In reflection, I think that success, as a telemarketer is the difference between listening to a customer with empathy versus interrupting a customer's day without caring.
Our telesales team worked from a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that included the names, addresses and phone numbers of customers, and their subscription details. But us sales reps had no information about who (which sales representative) made the last call to a customer, and when they made the last call , or details of previous conversations.
The other problem for new and more seasoned sales reps is that there was very little information on new or old subscriptions and campaigns. Those who were new to the job also had no scripts, so they had to learn on the job. It was very unpleasant. They would experience what we called “the hair dryer treatment”- face a customer screaming down the phone at them, or an irate manager yelling, “DIAL FASTER!”
Applying the flywheel to telemarketing
Using a flywheel and inbound principles in telemarketing isn’t as much of an adjustment as you might think. You just to make a few tweaks to make things better. Let’s first explain what a flywheel is:
Flywheels are essentially business growth models. They work using force, speed and friction. All departments collaborate to generate awareness, engage, and delight customers. At the center of the flywheel are your customers. Happy customers cause the 'flywheel' to move faster and grow bigger, while unhappy customers cause friction in the flywheel, slowing it down.
So how do avoid friction in a telemarketers’ flywheel?
One example of avoiding friction in the telemarketing flywheel is to have an information-rich Contact Relationship Management System (CRM). CRMs should include who called the customer last; customers' objections; what customers like about a service or publication, or how customers think it could be improved. Lastly, all teams (marketing and customer service) should have access to this information.
Help customers with external resources
Another friction point that can be solved is that customers aren't always aware of the range of services or subscriptions on offer. But it should not be like that. To help your customers, you need to “have external resources that index in Google”.
Michael Redbord writing for HubSpot says that once you have consolidated information in place on your website, you need to make it accessible and easy to find in blogs, on landing pages, and on a page with your customers’ Frequently Asked Questions.
Another idea is to add a live chat window on your website, with one of your customer service team members operating it. From there they can forward customers on to the right department that can answer their questions.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Once we have an information-rich CRM and improved access to information, the next step is creating a buzz through word-of-mouth marketing. One great way of doing that is by asking customers to provide feedback about a service or subscription.
Many companies use a scoring system that differentiates between happy customers and unhappy customers. Someone should always follow up customers’ negative reviews and ask them what they think will improve the service or subscription.
For positive reviews, let's say that get a 9+ score - or however you want to score them - why not ask customers to provide testimonials? Testimonials turn your customers into your biggest promoters - resulting in a faster-spinning flywheel.
Keeping the flywheel spinning
Making the transition to a flywheel model need not be as dramatic as tearing down a house to rebuild it. The main thing that you need to do is change is your mindset.
Sure, who doesn't want more sales? When you use the flywheel model -which revolves around customer satisfaction, sales won't be too far away.
Part of making sure your customers are happy is using an information-rich CRM and making information easy to find for customers. Using inbound marketing practices with a flywheel model helps to transform once unhappy customers into your biggest fans.