Friday, 13 February 2015 08:00

Retiring from a Career in the 21st Century has its Own Characteristics

  According to the 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median number of a worker’s tenure with an employer is 4.6 years. Although employee tenure is generally higher among older workers (10 years), these data have remained unchanged since 2012, which may indicate a new norm for those entering the workplace. Like many statistics, there are the exceptions that must be touted and have their story told. This month, Terri Fernandez celebrates an 18-year anniversary at Graven, Austin and Drake. GAD is a telemarketing firm located in Colorado Springs that employs hundreds and sees a fair share of turnover.  Terri, a true “needle in the haystack” says she enjoys working at GAD and plans to retire from the tele service company. “It’s such a friendly work-environment and everyone is so easy going,” she says. “The hours are flexible and the managers try to accommodate everyone.” Fernandez began her career “old-school.” As an outbound telemarketer, she says back in the day, her leads came from the phonebook and her technique was dialing manually. But, within a week of being hired she achieved top sales rep, and one might say the rest is history. “Over the years I’ve probably spoken to and sold services to millions of Americans.” In telesales, it’s vital to keep record of confirmed sales. However, in 1997, the technology of recording a sale was a bit different than today. Once a sale was made, “confirming was easy,” Terri said. “When a customer was sold, I’d record the sale with a cassette-recorder.” What’s changed in the industry since Terri began her career? People aren’t receptive to receiving calls during their hectic day-to-day. Once a show of personal service, tele-service has befallen to an annoyance for many. But, US News Report shows that consumers still prefer to speak to service providers to…
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 13:48

Tele Marketing and Services Continue to Get Bad Rap on Do Not Call List Complaint Sheet

As reported by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 217 million consumers have elected to list their numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry (DNC) to limit the amount of unsolicited calls they receive. The Registry was created in 2003 after the FTC’s three-year review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), workshops, meetings, feedback requests from those interested in its formation and over 64,000 public comments.  According to the TSR, the do not call terms cover plans, programs or campaigns to “sell goods or services through interstate phone calls that are made to personal phone numbers that include residential landlines and cell numbers.” These provisions include third-party sellers and those who are paid to provide services or products to consumers.  However, since the Registry’s release, implementation and growth, some consumers remain uninformed about who can call and who not. Because of the misconception that all telemarketing calls are prohibited, legit Teleservices providers all too often feel the wrath of consumers who’ve had it with unsolicited pinging.    But, political organizations, charities, tele-surveyors, companies with which a consumer has an existing (business) relationship and business-to-business calls are all exempt from Registry restrictions.   Established Business Relationship? What Does this Mean? Many genuine telemarketing companies are reaching out to previous clients or offer third-party customer tele-services to business related clients who’ve had an “established business relationship with a consumer.”  Meaning, provided you’ve not asked to be placed on an organization’s specific do not call list, calls may be made to you, even if your number is listed on the Do Not Call Registry if the “seller on whose behalf the call is made has an established business relationship with the consumer within 18-months preceding the call” as follows: $1·         A purchase, lease or rental $1·         Financial transaction $1·         An inquiry…
Friday, 08 August 2014 08:21

Time to take the temperature of your corporate culture and policies

Comcast Call Gone Viral – Time to take the temperature of your corporate culture and policies In today’s world it seems that it is not only the call center that is “recording for quality control purposes.”  By now most of you have seen the news of Comcast’s customer service call gone horribly wrong.  If you haven’t, you can listen to a recording of the call here.  It is this type of call that keeps many clients up at night wondering how their brand is being handled by an outside call center vendor. I must admit, in my sixteen-year call center career I have listened to numerous recordings from our agents that have made me blush; any call center manager who doesn’t admit the same is either ignorant of their surroundings or simply not being honest.  Even applying all principles and policies properly we are subjected to the greatest of all variables: human variability.  Humans have their flaws and communications can be misinterpreted.  Nevertheless, I think the real question here is whether or not Comcast is promoting a culture that drives this type of behavior.  A rogue agent is easy to deal with in comparison to a corporate culture that is overrun with the attitude of pitting customer against call center agent for the benefit of the company. The root of the problem seems to be an incentive schedule driving the culture, evidenced here, that encourages the very type of behavior demonstrated on this call.  Incentive schedules can be a double-edged sword when it comes to the acquisition of new accounts or retention.  Obviously every call center wants to reward an agent for successful outcomes, but when the success is solely determined by the numbers and does not account for the satisfaction of the customer or the protection of the brand…
Sunday, 10 March 2013 14:46

The Smart Inbox: Could it Change Marketing Practices?

The Smart Inbox: Could it Change Marketing Practices? For years call centers have dealt with consumers utilizing CallerID and answering machines to screen calls.  This works to our advantage if our client has a very strong relationship with the end-user; we consistently see increased answer rate when we display our clients name on the CallerID versus the call center’s name.  Soon email marketers could be dealing with a similar means of consumer screening. A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Walls Street Journal Technology section touting a new application which will automatically organize your email through a series of algorithms; determining what is important based on your “electronic relationship” with the person sending you email.  The application – “Cloze” creates a “Cloze Score”.  This score measures how well you know someone and how important that person is to you based on six categories: Dormancy Frequency Responsiveness Privacy Freshness Balance The application is available for iPod, iPad, and the Cloze website.  If this catches on it will certainly add a new complexity to email marketing.    As a marketer I have to ask, how are we doing with the six Cloze Score categories?  What is the quality of relationship with our customers?  Have we maintained recent interactions with our customers in a fresh and balanced approach? I am not sure if Cloze will ever catch on, but it is an interesting concept that we can apply to everyday marketing. -Graven, J 
Thursday, 06 September 2012 17:07

Importance of Customer Satisfaction Measurement

Experts say it costs five times more to win a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Still, U.S. companies lose an average of about 20% of their customers each year. In today’s economic climate it becomes increasingly difficult to acquire new customers to replace this attrition. But this is only half of the battle. Today customers have an enormous amount of information at their disposal. It’s never been easier to shop the competition. Every day consumers are turning to search engines to compare you against the competition. More than ever you need to know what your customer values and quickly resolve service issues that exist for any disheartened customers. One way to learn more about your customers and gain loyalty is through properly designed and implemented customer surveys. Quality control of a service entails watching a process unfold and evaluating it against the consumer’s expectations. The only completely valid standard of comparison is the customer’s level of satisfaction. By closely monitoring your service levels you can reduce customer turnover and increase loyalty.
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