I get to listen to a lot of phone calls in my business. As a sales consultant I’m always analyzing sales calls. The other day I was listening to Inbound payment processing calls at a local call center. Inbound phone calls are routinely recorded for training purposes.
Yes – call center personnel do get trained. You wouldn’t believe how much training goes into one call campaign.
The management and I were actually listening for the tone of the call, the length of the call, and the accuracy of the call. In a call center since you are not face to face with your customer you have to be extra helpful, however sometimes that leads to very long calls and time is definitely money in this environment.
After a few calls we ended up on one where a customer was trying to pay a bill and handle a current problem. This particular call center can ONLY handle credit card payments. They can see the issues the customers are having but they cannot fix them (another department – and obviously any story).
The representative was professional and empathetic to the customer’s plight. Everyone has had this happen to them at some point in their adult life. Yet midway through the call the customer was ready to pay. The rep was about to process the credit card and then she made a wrong turn. She went back to the customers issue to talk about it one more time.
5 minutes later they were still taking and the customer is NOW not sure he should pay the bill. Maybe he should dispute the entire charge!
Here’s the point, when you have a close deal, what ever that deal is, just stop talking. If you reopen your mouth you reopen the closed deal. In the case above the rep could not fix the customer’s problem, she may have actually compounded the problem by allowing the customer not to pay.
Can you imagine when that customer actually calls customer service? He’s going to say…. “Your representative told me not to pay.” Now that’s not exactly what the rep said but she did make the situation worse.
JUST STOP TALKING. In all cases you should be doing more listening and less talking. Oh yea… If someone is handing you money then you should probably take it.
David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting
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