Cold calling or making unsolicited outbound calls have gone beyond just telemarketing. Here’s how you can make better outbound calls to improve customer satisfaction. Gone are the days when call centers existed only for telemarketing and technical troubleshooting.
Call centers are now the first point of contact between a company and its customers. They are service centers that help solve customer issues, identify the best services and products for customers and most of all, record valuable business intelligence through customer feedback.
Ironically one of the friendly and most professional ways of collecting feedback is through the process of called “cold calling.” Cold calls are nothing but unsolicited calls to customers. Cold calling is a tricky art, mastered by very few in the customer services department.
Here are some tips to help you make effective outbound/ cold calls.
Get your facts right:
Fine-tuning your research and targeting the right people is the crucial first step. Your research should be fool-proof and names should be included in a list only after going through call notes. If a customer’s previous call notes indicate that he/she is generally busy, you must not include them on your list.
Right at the beginning of the call, tell the customer what you are calling about. Let them know if you are calling to get feedback, to explain the features of a new product or service, to talk about an exclusive promotion or if you are just returning a call.
Know your competition:
Learn about the product/service features that give you an edge over your competition. Have complete product/services knowledge. Be well-informed about the industry too. This will add value to your call and make customers listen.
No matter what turn the conversation takes, always be polite and respectful. Start the conversation on a polite note and end it politely too. This leaves a good impression.
Avoid being pushy:
Nobody wants to be forced into listening to you or signing up for a product/service over the phone. Speak about the features of your product but also understand what the listener is looking for. Understanding your prospect’s needs and then customizing your conversation accordingly, can go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction. It also makes you sound more genuine.
Don’t be a bore:
Keep the conversation crisp and informative. Be attentive to what the listener has to say. Don’t think that you need to give the customer all the details and information that there is. The person at the other end might want you to call at another time or might simply be trying to get a word in.
Make the right first impression:
The first few words you utter could make a good or bad impression. Say the most effective words at the start of the conversation to grab the listener. Getting the listener hooked is the biggest challenge
Be careful with follow-up calls:
If a prospect shows interest and asks you for additional information, ask them for a suitable time when you could get back to them. Make sure you call them at exactly the same time. People respect you if you respect their time.
You could be making one of the first few calls assigned to you, but you should come across as knowledgeable and confident. Nobody wants to listen to or buy from a green-horn.
Read the important signals:
Be attentive to signals. There is no need to persuade a listener who has been persistent about his/ her disinterest. If the listener sounds preoccupied call them at a more convenient time. If the listener sounds a tad interested and asks for more information, get back with it at the specified time.
Be original and interesting:
People get bored with the same outbound call gimmicks and don’t wish to be nagged by yet another one. Try to introduce some novelty in your conversation. Catch their interest and attention in the first few seconds. It could be the way you greet them or it could be some interesting trivia you throw at them. The idea is to get them hooked.