Friday, February 13, 2009

Who may I say is calling?

Bill writes: When the volume of rings got completely out of hand, I joined those already on the roster of the do-not-call list. It has helped some. But I still get plenty, with caller ID displaying the name of the company, charity, political organization, call center or the mildly intriguing “unknown caller.” I don’t keep a log next to the phone to make sure this is an outfit I’ve recently done business with, and like most everyone else, simply assume the caller is inside the boundary line of legal—however barely.

But I take these calls every time. I’m in the customer experience business and want to hear the script. Most are delivered in that breathless way, a non-stop recitation of the “premise.” Once it’s established they’ve got the right person, there’s no pause—or what could be my one opportunity to get a word in edgewise—like “goodbye.”

These scripts have been tested over time, so the companies know what “works” and what doesn’t “work.” Still, it’s hard to get motivated when the delivery has that rote and robotic thing going on.
It was notable during last year’s political season that the Obama calls, highly scripted to be sure, still seemed…..earnest. And, in a good way, they had an amateurish feeling—however studied they may have been behind the scenes to make sure a dialogue was started and a human interest in the caller seeded.

Maybe there’s a different way for telemarketers to evaluate their outbound call scripts. Instead of using the blunt instrument of compliance—the rote adherence measurement to a set of words by the solicitor—companies should hunt for those associates with lousy compliance scores and high conversions. Perhaps they hold the secret to a new non-scripted “script.” Like the Obama boiler room gang, who raised almost $800 million over the phone.
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