Tying Monitoring and Verification to Provide a Complete Solution

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The scope of telemanagement services continues to broaden as the business community places increased emphasis on call center quality. The path that telemanagement is taking may at first appear unconventional; however, after a second consideration the branching from independent monitoring services to third party verification is a natural. TPV is gaining a great deal of attention by telecommunications providers, as it becomes the regulated method of confirming the authenticity of a customer's acceptance of new carrier.


Having been exposed to the value that telemanagement services provide, purchasers and providers of telecommunications call center activity have called upon this support segment to develop innovative ways to maximize revenue streams generated through telesales while maintaining goodwill among a finite prospect base. Viewed as a strategic partner, telemanagement firms can fulfill this need by developing a service strategy that combines both types of verification services into a complete quality solution.


Representative quality and sales integrity are crucial issues in today's market. Legislation continues to expand in the telecommunications industry to protect against "slamming" (the act of switching a customer's service from one carrier to another without the customer's authorization), thereby regulating sales quality and customer treatment. At the same time, corporations continue to raise their expectations of TSR quality and their demand for higher revenues. And this dilemma is not only faced within the telecommunications industry. As de-regulation continues within the utilities industry, a similar path of concern is expected. As the pressure for better sales results rises and quality control demands continue to surface, corporations must ensure that the two objectives do not collide in a manner that impedes a provider from delivering both to the customer. A sound strategy that ties the two goals together will guarantee success; without such a strategy the provider is risking fines and its customer base.


The development of such a strategy is new to the market, but is expected to become a service staple based on the favorable receptivity thus far. It's a multi-faceted quality program that includes a targeted TSR coaching program combined with a TPV service. The success of this formula is obvious. Following the customer from the point of the sales presentation through to sales acceptance and independent verification is a valuable quality assurance process that generates creative ideas designed to maximize sales and approval rates.


For a TPV provider, a program's success relies on several factors that are not directly controlled by TPV. These factors, including the quality of the telemarketing agency's TSRs, sales delivery and strength of disclosure, directly impact the program's approval rate, which is the percentage of customer's who confirm that they have chosen to switch carriers. While those components within the TPV process that are controllable also impact the rate of approvals, those that are uncontrollable can cause the TPV provider and client heartaches.


This quality solution begins with implementing a coaching program via remote monitoring. Utilizing a coaching angle, the objective of the monitoring program is to improve the skill sets of the TSR base by assisting them in understanding the needs of the customer and how to target the service offered to meet such needs. This includes a diagnostic of the scripted sales approach (strategy); analysis of the specific objectives conveyed by the customer and the effectiveness of the rebuttal utilized on overcoming such objections. Additionally, the coaching program will analyze the sales confirmation/disclosure process, including the "hand-off" to the TPV agent to evaluate if any information gaps exist, which could negatively impact approval rates.


The TPV agent is a unique resource in this formula. The agent is not simply a call center representative - he or she is a quality specialist. The most successful TPV formula is a team of agents that specialize in quality assurance work, such as sales verification or quality audits, receiving on-going training in regulatory compliance issues, customer service strategies and quality monitoring training. Having these agents receive similar monitoring training as an analyst who performs monitoring sessions provides the agent with insight regarding the role of TPV and how to define acceptable sales quality.


TPV training is a major contributing factor regarding those controllable" factors mentioned earlier. Additionally, utilizing a customer-friendly script and controlling call lengths make up the remaining ingredients in a successful TPV initiative. The secret behind developing customer-friendly scripts and managing call lengths truly lies in understanding the telemarketing sales variables. That's the core reason that linking both services has been so powerful. Being aware of the interaction between the customer and TSR on the front-end sales call provides the TPV unit with insight that can be used to strengthen the back-end. This includes identifying weaknesses that will negatively impact approval rates and customer satisfaction, and providing a value-added service to the client including recommendations for strategy refinement on the front-end.


Telemanagement firms have earned the reputation of developing creative scripting and training strategies to target customer concerns and maximize every telephone contact made. The same creative advantage that a client enjoys by hiring a telemanagement firm for its front-end sales work can be applied to its entire sales cycle. The knowledge gained is directly applied to the TPV phase of the sales cycle to ensure not only front-end production, but also back-end results that will increase customer retention and satisfaction. Case studies show that there are many advantages to this strategy, including 90 percent TPV approval rates, which is considered a success in anyone's book.


<I> Lisa DeFalco is president/CEO of TPG TeleManagement, Yardley PA, which developed and provides this joint remote monitoring and third party verification formula.<I>
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