From providing your employees with an all-inclusive call guide to protecting your telemarketing merchant account from credit card fraud and chargebacks, there are many key elements you need to understand in order to be a successful telemarketing merchant. Luckily, Instabill has been providing MOTO credit card processing for so long that we truly understand what your business needs to thrive. The following are seven failsafe tips on how to operate a profitable telemarketing business.
1. Know Your Competition
As any successful business owner will tell you, you need to know your competition. Not only will you be able to keep up with your competition, but more importantly, you will also know how to set yourself apart from every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. You work for an SEO firm. Great! What can you do for me that your competition cannot?
2. Provide Reliable Technology
There are three major necessities for any successful telemarketing call center: computers, telephones, and a CRM. Short for Customer Relationship Management, a CRM is a software program you download to a computer that allows you to share notes within customer accounts. Each account can contain the customer’s name, business name, telephone number, email address, physical address, additional contacts, and much more. Require your employees to update accounts with proper notes so everyone understands each individual customer’s situation.
Your telephone system is just as equally important. Depending on the type of telemarketing business you run—in-bound leads, purchased leads, and cold calling to name a few—consider purchasing a VoIP system. Also known as Voice over IP, you will manage your telephone and Internet through one network. In short, your employees can turn their computers into telephones—starting and ending calls with the click of a button, dragging and dropping phone numbers into dial boxes, and maximizing on the time it takes to call customers.
3. Provide a Script or Call Guide
Nothing makes me want to buy a product less than a sales person who stumbles over their words and cannot answer my questions quickly, accurately, and professionally. In order to be a successful telemarketing merchant, you must provide your employees with a script or call guide that includes a list of possible questions and answers related to your products or services.
However, train your employees properly so they do not have to read a script—this will make the call more automated and robotic and could sway a customer’s decision away from buying. Make sure your employees truly know and understand your business so they can have uninterrupted, authoritative conversations with your customers.
4. Educate Your Employees on Fraud
If you operate an in-bound call center, credit card fraud and chargebacks can hurt your business and cause interruptions in your telemarketing merchant account. Educate your employees on how to identify a fraudulent transaction to help protect your ability to accept credit card transactions over the phone.
- Pre-authorize transactions so you have the ability to cancel the order before shipping goods or providing services
- Use an Address Verification System (AVS) so you can acquire more information on the cardholder before completing the sale
- Be suspicious of transactions if the customer cannot provide all of the credit card information or provides inaccurate credit card information
As a successful telemarketing merchant, there are things you can do to prevent chargebacks from occurring.
- Fax or email your customers receipts and require them to return a signed copy before you complete the sale
- Record telephone conversations to provide evidence of verbal authorization
- If you sell tangible goods, use a shipping service that requires a signature upon receipt
5. Avoid Unnecessary Fines
Between paying employees, rent and utilities, and the costs of a telemarketing merchant account, operating your business costs enough. You need to do all you can to avoid unnecessary fines from your employees calling people registered on the national Do-Not-Call list. However, this does not exclude asking for permission to call through means of direct mail marketing. According to ResourceNation.com, “One example [Jon] Hamilton [CEO of Authtel Permission Solutions] gave was to send consumers a CD with road map software, that when opened by the consumer for the first time asks permission to call (allowing the consumer to specify how many times they can be called and what time of day).”
6. Employ People Who Enjoy Talking with People
When you business revolves around telephone calls, it is important to make sure your employees enjoy talking with people as well as enjoy talking on the phone. Before you schedule a candidate for an interview, conduct a preliminary phone interview to test their skills.
Do they sound genuinely happy and sincere when they speak with you? Do they sound confident and authoritative? Is their voice clear, steady, and professional? If you can answer yes to the questions above, then they passed the first test. Next, bring them in for a formal interview.
7. Motive Employees and Encourage Enthusiasm
Admit it—you know that working in a telemarketing call center can be mundane. Day in and day out, your employees talk to the same type of people with the same attitudes and sell the same goods and services. Motivate your employees and encourage enthusiasm by making work fun. Here are a few ideas to help boost your employees’ sales and productivity.
- Build a prize table. When an employee meets a daily or weekly sales goal, allow him or her to pick a prize from the table. Small, yet nice prizes encourage your employees to work hard every day while slightly larger prizes encourage your employees to meet their weekly quota.
- Set a weekly goal for your entire sales team. If the team reaches the weekly goal by 3 p.m. on Friday, allow them to leave an hour early while still getting paid for the extra hour. This also works really well if you have smaller sales teams within your company.
- Hold individual competitions with enticing prizes. Some competitions can be easier to reach while others motivate your employees to work harder. Competitions can include the first employee to reach 50 sales, the employee who makes the most sales in one month, and the employee who can exceed the highest record for sales in one month.
Learn More about Phone Communication Skills
At Instabill, we take it upon ourselves to provide our merchants with the skills they need to survive and operate successful businesses. Read our article about effective business communication for more information on how to operate a productive call center. Also, check out our article about how to handle customer complaints.