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Increasing Call Center Agent Performance for Telemarketing and Inside Sales

You can't argue with Michael Jordan. The man knows a thing or two about winning. In discussing his role in the Bulls' phenomenal success, Jordan remarked, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." When you talk about improving call center agent performance, you are really talking about three interrelated areas: call centers, agents, and performance.

To improve the first takes a focus on work culture. The second requires more intelligent hiring and development practices. The third demands technology that simplifies the process for more reliable performance. None of these areas alone can drive the kind of increase in revenues it takes to move into a leadership position based on profitability.

Here is a closer look at different tools and techniques that can help you achieve higher quality in all three areas:

1. A Cultural Focus on Productivity

Telemarketing is really the science of making connections. To successfully nurture leads into satisfied customers, outbound agents need to connect with their prospects using whatever channel makes the most sense for each case. That can mean contact by phone, email, chat, social, or a combination of channels. Effective telemarketing provides a work culture that encourages agents to use the most effective channel for each close. Higher quality interactions translate directly into happier customers and better business outcomes. Along with helpful feedback and on-point reporting for managers, an environment of continual improvement can become a profitable way of life for your outbound agents.

2. Developing Star Performers

Inside sales is a dynamic field where even agents with average performance can suddenly surprise you with amazing close rates. Consistency is what matters most for your company as a whole, though. You need to optimize agent quality performance based on your own KPIs. For example, real-time speech analytics can clarify areas where agents can improve their quality all around. Make sure you have the tools in place to deliver ongoing sales training. This contributes to a drop in your cost per lead while agents are able to close more business with fewer calls. In the end, it's all about delivering more reliable revenue streams. Successful telemarketers have the flexibility to capitalize on their successes. This means that when an agent discovers an original approach that works for them and posts results as a top performer, they get promoted. This provides them with a platform upon which to coach their colleagues in how to replicate that success.

3. Standardizing Success

When technological innovations sweep through an industry, winners and losers can rapidly change places. This is happening now in the world of contact center software, as cloud-based technology reduces the number of applications that agents need to use and streamlines the entire inside sales process. Adopters are gaining a vast competitive advantage through communications advances like predictive dialing, progressive dialing, and TCPA compliance assurance. Also, with out-of-the-box integrations, coupled with other agent-facing applications, contact center agents are able to focus on selling instead of jumping between platforms.

Three Points

As Jordan suggested, it is only when the entire team comes together, through the combination of improved culture, agents, and technology that you can expect to see a high performance from your call center. Although there is certainly much more to the story, this is an effective framework for exploring what needs to change. For more in-depth research that digs into the main factors impacting agent performance, be sure to check out ICMI and Five9's recent survey results.


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