Training Representatives for Inbound Services

By: Randy Harmat


Inbound Call Center Services are used by small or large organizations which offer services and support for selling of product or services. At some point of time a business cannot handle large volume of customer responses (query or request). They then turn to inbound service providers as a solution. By definition, an inbound call is one made to a call center or contact center which is handled by the help desk. This help desk consist of representatives employed by the contact centers. They handle all the calls on the behalf of your business or organizations.

The Inbound Services is categorized into Sales and Order processing consisting of order taking, sales closure and up sells & cross selling, Customer Services consisting of application or claims processing, billing queries, subscription services, query resolution, seller/broker queries, service activations, services/plan changes, order fulfillment, product or service features support, equipment warranty and replacement program and contract extension. The next category is Booking & Reservations consisting of Pre-assigned or defined reservations, reservation processing, address changes and loyalty programs, Technical help desk services which cater to high-end tech support including customer service, product feature or services support and trouble shooting. The last category consists of product information requests, dealer locator services and office hours call handling.

As evident from the categorization above, the contact center needs dedicated, hard working and market savvy professionals for handling of inbound services. The professional qualifications require that the call center representative is at least a high school graduate have a good command over a required language and can handle the basics of computer operations. Candidates must be tested for good communication skills. Organizational skills matter and are preferred in a candidate. Since most of the call centers have turned bilingual and multilingual knowledge of more than one language is preferred. A representative should have positive attitude and should be a team worker. Training mist be and is provided to the representatives when they join; nevertheless the training and upgrading of skills and knowledge should continue.
This training can be either internal or external. Internal training sessions are generally known as train-the-trainer where the supervisors train their juniors internally. External training is given by a hired organization. The trainings show the representatives how the inbound services can be improved by paying attention to customer retention and customer profiling. It helps them understand consumer behavior in the sales process, identify the solutions and develop sales process guidelines, and help develop cutting edge selling skills to improve closing ratio.

During the training they are made to understand the sales process, building trust, understanding competition, buying criterion, guiding people to high end products and services, overcoming obstacles by building rebuttals in advance, reducing the fear of failure, and strengthening self esteem.

One of the most important things that representatives learn during the training is to identify difficult people and how to deal with them. These are know-it-all-experts, complainers, indecisive stallers and customers who want everything. It is important to be trained to give and gain clarity in difficult situations. Along with this organizational skills are also sharpened which help the representatives in prioritizing, goal setting and time control. The fine art of follow up is also taught to them which help then use repeatable process. The telephone skills are also honed which help them getting the calls returned. The collaborative toll kit of ask, listen, agree and recommend is also a part of the training.

The representatives or agents are also taught the art of making the deal. This consists of asking the right questions subtly, dealing with people who are slow in making decisions, determining the strengths and weakness of competition and the Socratic method of gaining agreement. The agents need to identify the opportunity and convert it into sales. They are trained to help people and provide them solutions so that they come back. It is not important to be the best but consistently chosen. The trust building with the customers takes lots of training and experience.

Every time after the training the agents add to their knowledge bank and also improve
the results and productivity of their company or organization.

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Randall J. Harmat is the President of Ansafone Communications a full state of art bilingual call center company located in Santa Ana, CA. Besides providing call center inbound services Ansafone's professional outbound call center programs are well known in the business community.

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