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Our success stems from this philosophy: Every contact with your prospects and customers is an opportunity to nurture the relationship and help your company grow.

Throughout the relationship, we are listening and adapting to the needs of our Clients.

TMP Direct Customer Service Reps receive over 100 hours of training each year. This means that their knowledge of your products and their customer service expertise continues to grow.

Our Customer Service Reps will think like you, act like you and be part of the culture of your company.

It’s a seamless process… we are an extension of your organization.

We celebrate great service. A generous incentive program is only one of the many ways we develop excellent CSRs.

TMP Direct’s many services help you unlock the full potential of every contact — whether it comes by phone, email, mobile or the web.

As your partner, we are always searching for the best sales and customer relationship opportunities with every contact.

Newsletters

Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category

Cold calling best practices

No one likes making cold calls … it’s hard work, it’s filled with rejection, and it can be downright depressing. But cold calling is critical to the success of virtually every business, so understanding and implementing a few best practices can help make the process more productive, more enjoyable (yes, it can sometimes actually be enjoyable), and deliver a better ROI.

Here are a few key points that should help boost your results.

Its a job not a hobby. You cant do it just when you get the time. The most successful cold callers make time i.e. they pick a day or days and blocks of time during which cold calls are the only thing they do. Don’t let anything interrupt or distract you from making your calls. This requires discipline, but it becomes a habit after a while.

Develop a process that enables you to:

Capture Data You’ll want the tombstone information (e.g., name/ title of the decision maker, email address, level of interest, purchase timeframe) that forms the basic data points of every prospect record. You’ll also want to be able to update this data, record actions taken (such as sending a thank you letter or emailing literature), and append data from outside sources.

Nurture Prospects Not every prospect you speak with the first time is going to be ready to buy now. Many will have no interest, but some will indicate that although now is not the right time, they’d welcome re-contact in a month, two months, six months, etc.

Your system should be able to remind you to follow up with a prospect at the appropriate time. By following a nurturing process, you’ll move some of your prospects further along toward a purchase.

Measure Results The final result of all your contacts with all your prospects should be tracked and recorded. Its the only way to evaluate how well your cold calling lead generation program is performing. Unless you have outsourced this entire process to a company that specializes in sales lead generation (like TMP Direct), you’ll need to have a realistic assessment of your true lead generation costs. For instance, you’ll need to assign a dollar cost to the time you and/or other members of your organization have spent on cold calling and lead generation. You’ll also want to include the cost of literature mailed or emailed, lead generation software, the cost of purchased call lists, etc.

Evaluate ROI Once you have measured your results, the next step is to calculate and evaluate the ROI. Your time and money are both valuable and limited resources, so they should only be allocated to the components of your sales lead generation program that produce an ROI acceptable to your business model. You may find out, for instance, that certain purchased lead lists are better than others, that cold calls during a particular time of year work best for some of your products, or that mailed literature works better than the same literature sent via email.

Change Your Process to Maximize Results Every cold calling/sales lead generation program should be dynamic. By measuring results and evaluating ROI, you will be able to fine-tune the process. On an ongoing basis you must eliminate what has proven to be unproductive, while retaining and expanding what has delivered the required ROI.

Remember, there’s no one magical thing you can do that will produce a successful, cold calling lead generation program. Its a combination of consistent, continuous actions that produce a successful outcome when they’re implemented together.

This article is from a TMP Direct newsletter. Would you like to subscribe We will not share your email address with anyone else without your express permission, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Common list mistakes

A common way to get the word out about your product or service is to rent an outside list of people you can reach out to via direct mail, email or telemarketing. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when deciding on a list.

1. Don’t accept your list brokers word for it that past list purchasers are satisfied with the quality of the names. Ask for references from at least two other people who have used the list.

2. Don’t start your marketing effort with random sample names. Ask for sample names that match the criteria of the names you’re interested in purchasing.

3. Don’t feel pressured to buy.A good list broker will help you find list(s) that meet your true needs, and admit it if they can’t find a list that’s right for you.

4. Contact multiple list brokers, and choose a broker who has the ability to understand your real needs so s/he can make multiple reasoned recommendations.

5. Don’t feel pressured to buy your list now. Order your list at the latest possible point, so its got the freshest data.

6. Don’t order until you’re really ready. Think about what kind of prospects your telemarketing script, mailing or emailing is targeting, then rent a list with the right demographic and/or psychographic criteria (called “selects”).

7. If possible, follow up your mail or email with a phone call, since you can often improve your mailing and emailing results with a telemarketing program.

8. Don’t be cheap. The cheapest lists often aren’t the best lists. And, though one-time usage is cheaper than arranging for multiple usage, a prospect who hears from you more than once is more likely to buy.

9. Don’t assume all customers can use your product or service. Know your target audience — their age, their income, their titles, their family size, their geographic location, etc., and choose list selects that match your criteria.

10. Finally, accurately measure the results of your efforts. Take the time to understand how each list performed, then look for ways to improve performance next time.

This article is from a TMP Direct newsletter. Would you like to subscribe We will not share your email address with anyone else without your express permission, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Online brand reputation monitoring with customer care

You may also be interested in “5 Things the Most Customer Service Savvy Companies Know About Social Media” here

A few facts:

  • There are almost 1 million blog posts every 24 hours, according to www.thefuturebuzz.com.
  • 175 million people update their Facebook status each day (per Facebook.com, Jan 2010)
  • In mid-November 2009, there were an average of 27.3 million tweets per day.

For many people, social media is a public soap box — a podium upon which anyone can step and give their opinion of anything under the sun.

Today, the savviest marketers are not only monitoring the conversations, they’re participating in the conversations — and they’re participating using the best practices of customer service.

How do you approach what people are saying about you online

Are people looking for information on your product, praising your customer service, or complaining about your one of your trusted distribution partners

TMP Direct can now listen for you — then act.

Step 1: We actively monitor forums, blogs and social media regarding your company, product or brand. We track the comments and conversations, and provide analysis back to you.

Step 2: Once located, TMP Direct can posts appropriate response(s) if desired. Responses include providing product information, answering technical questions, correcting mis-stated information, and escalated handling of potentially dangerous posts.

Step 3: The posts are then entered into an Online Activity Database, which provides the foundation for invaluable analysis. Tracking reports categorize what is being said — which helps you understand:

  • If there are pervasive complaints or misunderstandings about your products or services
  • How passionate your current customers are about recommending you
  • Which competitors are being discussed
  • What people are saying about your advertising, website, packaging, dealers or distributors
  • How accurate your market research is concerning what customers and prospects really care about
  • Are there liability issues you should be aware of
  • And more!

Why choose TMP Direct

Not only are we using the leading analytical tools, we’ve put these tools into the hands of career customer service professionals whose passion is to strengthen relationships.

And better still, our tracking data and analyses are reviewed and summarized by human beings, so we offer a more reliable view of your online presence than automated-only tools.

Read a case study here.

Contact 877-477-7845 to find out more about TMP Direct webWatch. Ask about a 30-day free trial.

This article is from a TMP Direct newsletter. Would you like to subscribe We will not share your email address with anyone else without your express permission, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Cut costly seconds off calls

What is TMP Insight

Now TMP Direct can know up to 100 data points about your callers before we pick up the phone.

In less time than it takes for the phone to ring once, we can use the caller’s phone number to tap into a database of over 215 million land line-based records and 60 million cell phone-based records.

The database provides a wide variety of demographic and lifestyle data that are instantly available to our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), including:

  • Name and address at the individual and household level
  • Financial indicators, such as credit risk, spending assessment, estimated income, home purchase date, presence of credit card, mortgage info and more
  • Dwelling type
  • Education level
  • Presence and age range of children
  • Presence of pets
  • Ethnicity/diversity insights
  • Propensity to buy upscale merchandise, male merchandise, female merchandise, books, specialty foods, magazines, and many more purchase categories
  • Interest categories, including do-it-yourselfers, philanthropic causes supported and political affiliations, travelers, gardeners, exercise enthusiasts, outdoor enthusiasts and many others
  • A green assessment identifies consumers with an interest in the environment
  • And there’s an assessment of the caller’s likelihood to respond to a targeted offer

The benefits of having this data:

  • It shaves costly seconds (20+ seconds on average) off each call, which saves money. The amount of money you save depends on the number of calls received, but one company says the service pays for itself in the first 72 hours of each month.
  • It significantly reduces costly data entry errors, because instead of asking for (and typing) caller-supplied information, our CSRs merely confirm the data supplied by TMP Insight. This is less time-consuming for callers, and allows our CSRs to concentrate on providing excellent service rather than data entry.
  • It lets us route your call to CSRs with the most appropriate training or skills and even lets us use the most appropriate script. For instance, callers from a certain area may get a geography-specific offer, or do-it-yourselfers might be directed to a CSR who’s been trained on installation or troubleshooting aspects of your product.
  • It helps us sell your products better because we can, for example, use caller data to determine which products to cross sell or decide whether to email an inexpensive fulfillment package to a so-so prospect or a higher-cost package to a hot prospect.

In short, we can identify your better prospects and better customers before we say “hello” and handle their inquiries in the way that’s most likely to result in loyalty, satisfaction, or a new sale.

Caller data can also be analyzed on the back end, to give you a better picture of who responds to your campaigns, packaging, and other marketing activities.

What results can you expect from TMP Insight

Results vary by client, objectives and call volume, but these are not atypical results:

  • Increase sales conversions by 15% or more
  • Shave 20+ seconds or more off each call
  • Increase call center capture rate of caller data by 50%

Find out more!

It can’t hurt to find out what we can do for you. Just call 877-477-7845 or Contact Us and we’ll get right back to you. Thanks!

Customer Service Fast Facts

Loss of customer loyalty:

“Contact centers leave 18% of customers with unresolved issues. More than half of customers with unresolved issues (56%) are at risk of defection, or have already decided to leave.” [Contact Center Satisfaction Index for 2008, published by the CFI Group]

“We spend up to 10% more for the same product with better service.” [Motivation Matters, at www.successories.com, from an article “Get The Facts on Customer Service Week”]

“While 88% of customers whose issue was resolved indicate they will do business with the same company in the future, only 46% of
customers with unresolved issues indicate the same. Consequently, call centers with the ability to solve problems have enormous potential to help firms retain valuable customers and preserve the value of their customer asset. [Contact Center Satisfaction Index for 2008, published by the CFI Group]

A mere 8 percent of customers see their experiences as “superior” in contrast to 80 percent of companies that believe they are delivering superior service. [Meyer C., and Schwager, A. (2007, February) “Understanding Customer Experience,” Harvard Business Review]

An unsatisfied customer tells how many people

“Given that nothing travels faster than bad news – with estimates that reports of bad experiences outnumber good service reports
by as many as 5:1 – the importance of responsive, high quality customer service is yet again highlighted. [Trust In Advertising, a Global Nielsen Consumer Report, October 2007]

“A person who has a good experience with a company will tell an average of eight people about it, but someone who has had a bad experience will tell 16.” [TARP Worldwide Research, 2008]

Customer service & social media:

“Service is one of the biggest creators of online conversation….” [Pete Blackshaw, executive VP of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services]

Customer service: A competitive advantage

“It is clear that the cost of acquiring a new customer is far greater than the cost of retaining an existing one. Additionally, resources allocated to customer-retention programs have been shown to return 2.5 to 3 times their cost in revenue increases.” [Frost & Sullivan report, “Creating Corporate Value from the Support Experience”]

“A compulsory reaction to recessionary conditions is to dispense of anything deemed nonessential, or a ‘luxury,’ to business objectives, and basically strip the chassis to the power train. While this can indeed make for a leaner machine, it may not drive the way your customers prefer…. Remember that your customers are facing the very same pricing pressures, reductions and blood-pressure spikes you are. What they need is a dependable friend in the business who understands their challenges and can assure them it will be OK.” “Customer Service Is Key To Survival,” Tyler Dikman, CEO CoolTronics, published April 2009 in CRN.

“9 out of 10 customers surveyed considered service ahead of brand and price when considering how loyal they were to a product or business.” [2008 Convergys study]

Price will always be important in a customer’s purchase decision, but “outstanding service” is the number one reason customers do business with a company. [Source: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Report 2006]

“The direct connection between revenue and customer satisfaction is well-known. A Harvard University Study (Reichheld and Sasser [1990]) showed that a reduction of 5 percent in the customer-loss ratio results in 25 to 85 percent increase in company profitability (depending on the industry).” [Frost & Sullivan report, “Creating Corporate Value from the Support Experience”]

Integrating e-mail and outbound telemarketing to improve lead generation

Reproduced with the permission of btobonline.com, from an article originally posted June 26, 2008.

When MegaFab, a machine tools manufacturing company, was searching for ways to boost its telemarketing sales numbers, managers took a closer look at the company’s e-mail marketing efforts. MegaFab relies on telemarketing for the lions share of its sales, said Alfred Julian, VP-marketing, so tapping e-mail response data had the potential to provide a gold mine of valuable leads.

Until recently, the Hutchinson, Kan.-based manufacturer had been using a low-end, in-house e-mail package that provided minimal reporting information about responses to its online marketing campaigns, Julian said. The most detail marketing managers gathered was a measurement of increased traffic to the Web site soon after an e-mail blast, which offered no help to the sales force, he added.

Julian said he believed a more sophisticated e-mail system integrated with the company’s telemarketing efforts could boost sales. Our goal is to have telemarketing and e-marketing running together as a team, Julian said. We hope that instead of calling people randomly two to three times a year, we’ll make more calls to people who express interest in an e-mail.

To that end, the company made significant changes to its e-mail marketing program earlier this year. MegaFab switched to an e-mail reporting system from ReachMail Inc. that gives the manufacturer real-time information about recipients who opened e-mails and acted further on them. Julian can access that data in spreadsheet format and drill down to get details about specific actions a recipient took on the companys Web site. By targeting follow-up phone calls to people who clicked through on e-mails to visit particular places on the Web site, the companys sales team is working more efficiently, Julian said.

The company also improved its e-mail content, he said. For instance, e-mails invite recipients to click on a short (45-second) video about a specific product. MegaFab also makes sure that relevant information will be viewable in the e-mail’s preview pane. Plus, it offers technical information to selected recipients, Julian said, noting that those who take action on such information are important customers.

As a result of these efforts, MegaFab has experienced a 50% increase in the number of hot lead phone calls its sales representatives made since late March after people expressed interest in an e-mail sent to them, Julian said. Hot leads are more valuable contacts than individuals who may have purchased products in the past but aren’t necessarily seeking information on new machine tools, he said.

Considering we’re in a down economy, an increase in our outgoing hot leads is remarkable, he said.

Traits of the best call centers Part II

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is one of the call center industry’s most respected organizations. ICMI’s president, Brad Cleveland, wrote Call Center Management on Fast Forward: Succeeding in Today’s Dynamic Customer Contact Environment, in which he identified “Traits of the Best Managed Call Centers.”

Below is the second of a series of articles in which TMP Direct’s Mary Ann Kerr takes a look at how TMP Direct stacks up against Brad Cleveland’s list of best call center traits (bolded below).

“They build plans and services around evolving customer expectations.”

Successful call centers are advocates of change. They redefine and reshape the services they provide to meet the needs of customers. They see the benefit in frequent reviews of customer data, and they look forward to insight and feedback.

At TMP Direct, we embrace this philosophy. Frequent, regularly scheduled “call calibrations” provide our Call Center Management Team with client feedback about our call handling procedures and abilities. At these sessions, we often brainstorm about new scripting or product information at these sessions.

In order to understand the changing needs and expectations of our Clients customers, we also provide research services. The amount of information that can be learned from a simple customer satisfaction or purchase cycle survey can be significant. We often suggest that email, online and phone surveys be offered to ensure that we are communicating using the customer’s preferred method. Survey results have even changed our clients’ packaging, merchandising, scripting and customer service policies.

“They view the call center as a total process and recognize that the process is responsible for most quality problems.

Successful call centers review procedures with an eye toward efficiency. We develop tools and training materials to drive up productivity and quality. We measure results daily and monthly, then look at the data to help us make decisions that maintain customer satisfaction while reducing costs through increased efficiencies.

The customer service process is part of a bigger process. Successful call centers understand the larger goals of their clients and set their processes to strive toward them. The call center cannot be seen as a stand-alone entity, but rather a life-supporting organ within the body of the organization.

As an extension of our clients organizations, TMP Direct Customer Service Representatives are trained to understand the goals, procedures and plans of our client companies. Open, frequent communication is key to success. We know that our services are part of larger goals — such as increased sales, customer satisfaction and retention.

“They identify the technologies that further the mission of the organization, and implement them with foresight, planning and training. And They get the budget and support they need.”

TMP Direct ownership invested over $500,000 into our call center infrastructure in 2008. This investment expanded our seat capacity and upgraded our agent systems. Implementation of a Citrix environment allows us to more efficiently manage desktops and data. An upgrade of our Interactive Intelligence, Inc. (I3) phone system software allows us to more effectively route, supervise and monitor customer contacts.

Our Senior Management is committed philosophically and financially to remain a cost effective provider of high quality customer care services to our clients.

Traits of the best call centers – Part 1

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is one of the call center industry’s most respected organizations. ICMI’s president, Brad Cleveland, wrote Call Center Management on Fast Forward: Succeeding in Today’s Dynamic Customer Contact Environment, in which he identified “Traits of the Best Managed Call Centers.”

Below is the first of a series of articles in which TMP Direct’s Mary Ann Kerr takes a look at how TMP Direct stacks up against Brad Cleveland’s list of best call center traits (bolded below).

“Great call centers know that people are the key to success.”

TMP Direct never forgets that our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are on the front line. Each CSR is the personal representative of our clients’ companies, products and brands. And each CSR has the power to create a positive experience every time they talk, email, or click & chat with a customer or prospect.

One of our guiding principles is that that CSRs require two things to succeed in their mission to make every contact a positive one: (1) the technology and training they need to deliver the specific information and superior service our clients desire , and (2) reward programs that provide recognition and monetary bonuses for a challenging job well done.

How well does TMP Direct succeed We’ll let three facts speak for themselves:

  • 48% of our CSRs have been with us for 10 years or more
  • 62% have been with us for 5 years or more
  • And when we ask our CSRs what their biggest frustration is, they don’t talk about compensation, schedule or work conditions, they say “having to disappoint a caller!”

That’s why TMP Direct takes our CSRs’ feedback very seriously — constantly working with clients to update business rules, modify procedures, and amend missing information so that next time a caller won’t be disappointed.

“They have a supporting culture.”

Truly supportive corporations identify and prioritize goals for the call center, align every department within the organization behind those goals, then put their money where their mouth is by allocating the dollars needed to achieve those goals.

At TMP Direct, our goals are the goals of our clients:acquiring new customers, increasing customer satisfaction and improving customer retention. Senior management in each of TMP Direct’s departments — Contact Center, Client Services, Fulfillment, Business Development and IT — are fully supportive of our CSRs. They ensure that the individual program goals of our clients are fully understood, and supply CSRs with the infrastructure, information and training they require to deliver continuous excellence.

As an example, we recently transitioned to a Citrix environment that improves data flow. And we’re upgrading our Interactive Intelligence telecommunications system, so our CSRs and their supervisors have the superior tools they need to support our CSRs’ superior customer care skills.

“They leverage key statistics.”

Statistics can be seductive … it’s a thrill to improve upon a benchmark or surpass a performance indicator. But statistics and data are not end results: they’re tools that help effective call centers understand real causes of success and identify the underlying circumstances that limit further success.

At TMP Direct, we use many traditional metrics such as Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and Service Level. We’ve also developed quality, adherence and productivity metrics — which are continuously monitored by our Contact Center Director (Rosemary King), Quality Manager (Rachel Ryan), and Training Manager (Lee Ann Hartung). Their review and evaluation of these metrics, coupled with ongoing intercommunication, make TMP Direct’s call center a very fluid environment that’s adept at responding quickly to the evolving needs of our clients.

Remembering that statistics are nothing more than measures of how human beings and technologies perform is one reason why TMP Direct’s CSRs are so loyal to TMP Direct and the clients they serve.