Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Poor training kills telesales

Earlier today I received a phone call from a friendly woman in a call centre offering me a free mobile phone. The fact that she was obviously calling from an Indian call centre makes this story no less relevant. This can and does happen everywhere in call centres.

I asked a few questions which she could not answer and instead of trying to find the answer she hung up on me! That's right a sales person hung up on me for asking questions about their organisation and offer. Here's how it went:

Sales: "Hi I'm calling from XXXX (name removed to hide the guilty). We work with 3G networks."

Me: "Is 3G Networks a company? I haven't heard of them?"

Sales: "Haven't you heard of 3G networks?"

Me: "No. Who are they?"

Sales: "I am calling from XXXX. We work with 3G networks."

Me: "I haven't heard of either company. Who is your organisation?"

Sales (ignoring my question): "We would like to offer you a free mobile phone."

Me: "I already have a mobile phone, thanks."

Sales: "I know. That's why we would like to offer you another one."

Me: "Why do I need another phone?"

Sales: "We are offering you a phone as your number has been specially selected."

Me: "But you haven't answered my questions - who 3G networks is and why I need another phone?"

The phone line went dead.

I honestly wasn't trying to be difficult. I was trying to find out about the sales person's company and why they thought I needed a second phone. The problem was the script in front of her didn't provide the answers and no one had trained her with the information she needed. So with that failing the sales person tried to continue down the safe route of the call script. When that failed she gave up.

But the worst part would have to be that she hung up on me. Why? She initiated the call. I am asking questions - simple, logical questions. If you haven't heard of an organisation before you obviously want to know who they are. And I was intrigued as to why they thought I needed a second mobile phone.

If you are running an outbound call centre they are usually at the front line of your sales force. If they are trained poorly then the image they present to your customer is not going to be very positive at all. That is going to cost you sales and hurt your reputation, especially when you are in a competitive market space like mobile phones.