On August 16th I started a new job with Marusa Marketing Inc, a subsidary of TelePerformance USA, providing inbound call support for an American cell-phone service provider. After four weeks of in-class training tonight was the first night of actually taking calls.
And I survived.
These next two weeks are called learning lab where we're to get used to taking calls and ramp up to production expecteations.
Obviously I can't can't give too many details (confidential customer data and all that), so suffice it to say it wasn't as bad as I expected. I knew how to do most of what I wanted to do, though I did have to ask a number of questions but the only real problem I had was something that even my supervisor could not fix, so I don't feel too badly about that.
Part of the job is up-selling, or, in internal corporate lingo: MAXimizing. It's where I say to the caller something like "I notice you've got this snazzy phone would you like to get the Internet package - I can give that to you free for the first bit to try it out." In the one hand we're told that we're not supposed to pressure the customer but on the otherhand we're told to try and overcome their objections. I've never worked in sales and I'm strill trying to wrap my brain around this dichotomy.
The production expectation is a MAXimize offer rate of 85% (i.e. making an up-sell offer 8 or 9 times out of ten) and a success rate on MAXimizing of once per hour or ~8 times per shift or about 1 success every 10 calls. The first part, merely making the offers, that I can handle even though I kept forgetting to do so until after ther customer had hung up. The actual success rate is something that has me anxious because of the previously mentioned dichotomy. If I'm expected to have minimum number of successful MAXimizes every day, to me that says that some pressure is used. Because how else do you overcome customer objections? And if it is supposed to be no pressure then how can I guarantee that I will get this minimum number of successful MAXimizes? We're told to think of it as customer education, but to me changing the name doesn't change the reality.
Like I said, I survived to today. Things weren't as bad as I had feared but neither can I say this was a good day. I can only work on remembering to make offers more often, pray that I will get used to doing this and hope that making enough offers will result in the minimum of successes simply through volume.