You are to lead a small call center. This center has a simple campaign where prospects are contacted (cold calling) offering them a new product. It is a difficult product to sell in a business to business market. So there are many ways of doing this. In most cases a call script would be used. So each call center agent knows what procedure to follow. Without having such a script, the manager could focus on either the concrete results – the number of contracts made - or at the way the contact process takes place. Combining these methods would be the worse of both worlds.
Thé Client Relationship Management approach would focus on the contact with the client. Contact in the sense that the agents should wait for the client to show attention (and maybe interest). If you go directly to the point (the features of the product) you might loose the prospect in the beginning of the call.
Some call center agents will focus (by nature and experience) more on this first phase of the call. Trying to establish a real contact. Yet this takes time and it is not always possible. If you manage this process by focusing on the numbers of calls to make, you might make it impossible for experiences agents to establish such a contact. You pressure them too much which could be ineffective.
You could also choose to focus on the results only. For example that at the end of each week there should be a certain number of contracts.
If you want to control everything you will focus on the way it is done. This is however very difficult. Your (personal) approach may not always coincide with the agents preferences. Besides it is very difficult to manage (to control). You should constantly be present, take random tests, etc (managing by walking around). To have the agents focusing on the results is easier to manage. You can set the targets, either to the number of calls made or to the number of contracts to make.
Combining both approaches will confuse the agent. In this approach you will set concrete targets, but you will also inform the agent how to reach these targets. This will not do because you will give them different signals. One signal is saying “Concentrate on the quality of the contact" the other signal hints “hurry because you have a target to reach. "
Management is not difficult, as long as you stick to your rules.
© 2005 Hans Bool
Hans Bool is founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company where Internet is the main interaction medium. By offering online tools we can address management issues in hours what normally would take days of consultancy. Astor White. Committed to your management issues. On a distance.