Call Centre Audit – A Telesales Case Study

Call Centre Audit – A Telesales Case Study

A. Audit and Report

Teleopen Ltd was engaged by a company which sold Life and General Insurance products to the Consumer Market. We were asked to run an audit and write a report about their two call centres, one which was based in the South East of England and the other in Scotland. We conducted a number of interviews in both centres with the agents and team leaders respectively and also monitored calls. We were also given recordings of calls made by their top and poor performers in order to assess the difference in the deliveries.

Our call centre audit found:

  1. There was little formal communication training apart from the initial induction training
  2. Consequently among the poorer performers, there was a real failure to read the voice tone of the potential customer when they first came on the line. Often this would mean that the call would fail from the very outset.
  3. Even if the poor performers could get the call started, they would have difficulty in having a “real conversation” and just drag the potential customer through the script, which would result in a negative outcome.
  4. As a result of this, the poor performers would have great difficulty in keeping themselves going in terms of motivation and general energy level, so they sounded low.
  5. In contrast using Master Practitioner and NLP coaching skills we ran a “modelling” process with the top performers and noticed that they had the following skills and strategies
      1.  The ability to assess the potential customer’s world from the very beginning of the call
      2. The ability to move away from the script so they had a proper conversation, while maintaining a very clear focus on the outcomes which were desired from the call.
      3. They had a high level of awareness of how they sounded and the impact they made on the potential customer and when their state fell below the optimum level, they would adopt strategies to get it back to the desired level e.g. Take a walk, talk to a colleague, sing a song in their head, tell a joke etc.
  6. There were a number of Team Leaders who seemed to adopt a “tell them and do it like this” approach, when coaching their team members. Furthermore their lack of skill often led to frustration in moving the poorer performers to a better place.

B. Call Centre Agent Training

As a result of modelling the excellent performers, Teleopen selected three key areas of telephone skill development to work on:

  1. How to start the conversation from cold which included exercises on how to read voice tone and how to deal with different people’s worlds at the time of the call.
  2. How to keep the conversation going which meant getting them to understand the concepts of “matching” and “mismatching” as tools to do this.
  3. How to keep themselves motivated and maintain an optimum state so they sounded right. Teleopen anchored this with Call Centre staff by using the acronym FSC:

Feel

Sound

Cash

i.e. how they felt would affect how they sound and in turn affect the amount of money they earned!

C. Call Centre Team Leader Training and Coaching.

Again Teleopen used the modelling principle with the team leaders and those who were most able to

  1. Stand in the shoes of their team members, emphasise with their issues and move them to a better place. In order to train the other team leaders. We ran a “Perceptual Positions” exercise which was incredibly powerful for the individual team leaders and for the group as a whole.
  2. We spent a lot of time on the concept of state management with exercises on how the team leaders could manage better their own state as well as the states of their team members.
  3. How to adopt a real coaching spirit by learning to ask the right questions and move away from a “tell them” mentality.

D. Value gained from the project:

  • From the agent groups chosen to be part of the project, the sales performance improved initially by 5% with a high of 13%.
  • The coaching techniques which were used not only by Teleopen but adopted by the team leaders were shown to create a direct improvement in sales. An example of this was when two agents who had not sold all day, went through a 20 minute coaching session, then went out and sold three and four policies respectively in straight succession!
  • The morale in the call centre improved enormously and references were made to the NLP techniques as “magic”
  • From the Trainers point of view and management as a whole, the approach taken throughout the project opened up completely new possibilities as well as improved sales results.