It's Monday morning and you're just about ready to start a new week. You take a seat at your desk, glance at today's to-do list, and adjust your headset. The first sales call you make is a total dud. Not only did you not make the sale, but the individual on the other line is, let's just say, not having a great morning.
The experience can be daunting, but coming across unpleasant callers is relatively common in an outbound call centre environment. So, how do you handle negative calls?
There's always that potential to face a negative experience when you're the person making that call, simply because the customer didn't call us, we called them, says Crystal Singh, national human resources manager for Stericycle Communication Solutions Canada (formerly TigerTel Communication Inc.).
With their supervisors and peers, outbound call centre representatives have a strong support team to encourage a quick bounce back. I honestly believe it's the team environment that gets them through it, says Singh.
At APAC Customer Services Inc., outbound representatives confront potential negative experiences during their training.
You're going to have the people that'll hang up on you, but you just brush that off and move to the next call, says Jennifer Gavin, recruiter at APAC Customer Services, explaining what associates may experience on the sales floor. We have them role play during training on irate customers. They're trained on how to handle an irate customer.
Is the representative supposed to transfer the call to another person? Or determine the issue beforehand? Gavin explains that it varies on the situation and client but, because of the training, all associates are well versed in dealing with the appropriate next steps.
What it takes
The type of outbound person who is really successful in our organization is one that has a lot of the same values that our company has, says Singh. This includes Individuals who thrive in teamwork, enjoy a challenge, and have enthusiasm in what they do.
And if you excel at the job, this could lead to potential growth within the outbound call centre, whether as a team leader, supervisor, account manager, or trainer. We never go external to promote any higher position, says Gavin. The opportunities to branch off from there are endless and we would always promote that to our entire cell centre first.
Stericycle Communication Solutions approaches promotion in a similar way with their Promote from Within Policy, where they also look to staff before posting externally.
Although a post-secondary education is appreciated and encouraged, Singh says character is most important. If the person has the qualifications for the job and displays innate character traits of being inclusive, friendly, compassionate, and enthusiastic, then the rest we truly can and will train.