Three-Minutes are for Eggs

November 13, 2008
54 Views

I met a call center manager for a specialty products catalog a few years ago, his mantra was simple – he wanted his CSRs to earn the trust of those they were speaking to. Using this relationship, they would then be able to up-sell callers on the value of their products and services.

Prior to his management, the call center reps were trained to wrap up calls in under three minutes. Calls over the limit were scrutinized, CSRs were reprimanded for w


I met a call center manager for a specialty products catalog a few years ago, his mantra was simple – he wanted his CSRs to earn the trust of those they were speaking to. Using this relationship, they would then be able to up-sell callers on the value of their products and services.

Prior to his management, the call center reps were trained to wrap up calls in under three minutes. Calls over the limit were scrutinized, CSRs were reprimanded for wasting time and as a result they served as order takers, rapidly asking customers for their email ID to send the confirmation. Occasionally the CSR would work in a plug for the promotional emails but only had a few conversions.

Under the new management, CSRs were encouraged to take the time to talk about the products and services ordered, the reps were trained to inquire about where and how the product was to be used. Calls were lasting longer, but the CSRs were able to learn more and then offer an incentive or information to help the caller. The new approach also helped collect more email IDs, because the CSRs were able to work the request into their conversation and offer an instant message – a brief email the CSR sent that described the types of offers and the email program.

By taking the time to understand the customer, the CSR was able to solve a need, offer an enhanced service (email) and fulfill the offer by sending them a welcome email immediately. They took time to describe the email program – creating a sense of expectation which has helped their email program garner higher open rates (they average over 80%) and reduce their printed catalogs (mailing 20% less)… unfortunately; they had to break the three-minute call limit.
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