It requires a leap of faith to hire an outsourced call center services provider for a B2B lead generation, appointment setting, customer win-back or customer survey program.
For the risk-averse – and who isn’t? – the doubts mount: How do I know if the outbound call center will be effective? How can I be sure I’ll like the way its representatives talk with potential customers? How do I decide if the risk is worthwhile? Why would I make a long-term commitment to an untested call center?
The best way to address these issues is to start with a scaled-down pilot project that minimizes your financial risk while testing your outsourced call center’s capabilities. And it’s a great way to hold your call center accountable for strong results.
A good pilot project is a balancing act. It should be small enough to minimize your financial risk yet large enough to be an accurate test of the call center’s skills. It should give the call center’s representatives enough cold calling “at bats” with your sales pitch that they become proficient, confident and conversational when delivering it.
In terms of scale, we recommend approximately 150 hours. This would enable two or three outbound call center services representatives to each devote 50 to 75 hours to your program, less than two weeks of work apiece, and build up the knowledge of your sales messaging, your product or service, your customers and your market to enable you to decide whether to continue the program.
The well-run pilot project has two critical and interrelated elements: Mid-course corrections and detailed reporting.
Once results start to come in, it’s important that you and your call center services program manager examine them and make program adjustments in real time that refine and improve your messaging, your target audience and other program elements.
Doing this requires detailed and quick reporting. Be sure your call center can provide daily reports that capture the outcome of every call. This let you assess the call center’s productivity (how many calls they made) as well as the number of calls that resulted in new leads, appointments, completed surveys, rejections or no contact made.
Ongoing program assessment also includes gathering feedback from your front-line agents. Meet with your team of representatives and ask for their impressions of the calls, what seems to be working and what doesn’t. Listen to recordings of calls and identify effective calling tactics. Accentuate what’s working and eliminate what doesn’t.
A good pilot project should give you a strong idea of a scaled-up program’s likelihood of success. Demand plenty of data and agent access, and you’ll improve your ability to make a smart decision on whether you should increase your call center investment.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Call Center Services