Training Representatives for Order Taking

By: Randy Harmat


Order taking services provide live customer service through which customers can place their orders for desired products or services. It is generally done through customized database which includes product description and price changes. The service providers or call centers hire representatives for Order Taking who become the direct point of contact for the customers. These representatives work with the help of online order taking systems and provide generic information to the customer along with generic response to their inquiries, handling complaints and finally converting the customer calls into sales. They communicate with customers through telephone, e-mail, fax or regular mail. For order taking services the customer may ask routine questions or may also ask detailed explanations regarding refunds, exchange, other offers or discount coupons. Some of them need assistance in deciding what type of product or service would best suit their needs. It is important to be of assistance to the customer at all times even though it may not result in sales.

There are certain qualification and qualities are necessary to become a representative for Order Taking. Normally the minimum qualification for this job is a high school diploma or equivalent but they are thoroughly screened before appointment. In addition to this one should have the basic computer knowledge, good interpersonal skills, strong communication skills, problem solving skills, strong verbal communication and listening skills. Clear fluent English with the knowledge of correct grammar is a must. Nowadays the knowledge of a second language, generally Spanish or French is also required.

The Customer Service Representatives should also be optimistic and have a positive mental attitude. This is an important quality as not call calls translate into sales. Competitive spirit helps them to win and accept defeat sportingly and move on. They should also be people oriented and have an objective problem solving ability. Well organized people with decision making capability and application of knowledge make good representative who create sales and revenue for their organizations.

The above describes the criteria for selection for this job. After recruitment by companies or service providers the representatives are trained in order to be prepared for the job and increase productivity of the organizations. The training requirements are different for different industries. Usually the representatives are provided with some form of training on joining prior to beginning work .After that also the training continues once on the job. The training is given in both, formal and informal format. This training generally covers call taking skills, training on products and services, computer problems, telephone operations and company policy and regulations. The length of the training varies; generally it spreads over several weeks. As the representatives are in constant need to update skills and knowledge, most of them continue to be trained and instructed throughout their career.

A good representative training program covers all the above mentioned skills. The computer skill includes typing speed of 25-50 wpm and windows based applications. Communication skills training will include listening skills, how to respond to open and closed ended questions and choosing correct words for the desired effect. The Telesales training helps them to recognize sales opportunities and how to overcome resistance and objections and learn closing techniques. Training on telephone skills is also very essential, as the representative spends his entire time on the phone. This training covers the mechanics of answering calls, how to avoid exhaustion and monotony and remain focused on the calls. These activities are designed to facilitate the learning and development of new and existing skills, and to improve the performance of specific tasks or roles.

Training may also include structured or informal interactive sessions as mentioned above. These are group discussions, role playing, classroom based courses, on-the job training and simulation games.

The training may be provided by an internal training officer or department or by external training organizations. Some organizations conduct a training needs analysis before the actual training. The training is followed up by an evaluation .Overall training equips the representatives with important skills; thereby enhancing their performance and directly impacting the organization. With constant training and experience, some of the representatives even get promoted to the manager position.

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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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