We’ve seen a lot in the press recently about the negative perception of call centres here in the UK, ranging from a survey that has call centres as one of the least desirable places to work, through to a BBC interview which highlighted a negative, but not uncommon, experience of working in one. These stories, whilst true, don’t reflect the environment we’ve created here, so we thought we would write a brief summary of how we’ve created an environment that our telemarketers enjoy and find rewarding.
Break up the monotony
Obviously making outbound phone calls all day, every day is a challenge. That’s why we break up the monotony with things like quizzes, theme days, group activities and days out. You may have seen our East 17 music video over Christmas, or maybe our Doctor’s theme day and these are just some examples of how we keep the guys on their toes regardless of how well they’re doing.
Accept the human element
If you’re managing a call centre, you have to accept you are dealing with human beings. They are going to have good days and bad days, which is why you need to have good managers at every level. Our managers know how to get the best out of people each day and it’s clearly going to be different for each person. If you’re trying to treat everyone the same, you will struggle to create a good environment.
Targets are good if they are used well
If you tell a group the month target and leave it at that, they’ll look at it like a mountain that can’t be conquered. If you break that mountain down into much smaller steps the team becomes more motivated, especially if there are incentives along the way. We use things like go-home targets, as well as other rewards to keep people’s eye on smaller targets rather than leaving them with just the big target.
It has to be a positive environment
This comes back to the human element, it has to be a positive environment. We create that right off the bat; the TM’s (Telemarketers) receive an Audi A1 when they start and are constantly rewarded when things go well. There’s also a real team environment here where people genuinely encourage each other and push each other on. That said, when it doesn’t go well you have to handle it correctly. If someone has had a more difficult run, we’ll take them off the phones, listen back to calls, and most importantly of all we’ll listen back to calls when they’ve done well to remind them they can do it.
Training: don’t expect overnight success
When a new TM joins us we don’t put them on the phones straight away. Instead they receive 2 full weeks training which is then followed up by 1-to-1 training each fortnight and half a day each week of group training. This is all provided by TM Managers who have all been TMs themselves, so they can relate to the people they are managing.
Progression is important in any job, but especially for telemarketers. We have a lot of people who have been excellent telemarketers who have then moved on to other parts of the business. Right now we have former telemarketers in the sales, maintenance, lines, installations and base sales teams as well as our TM managers. By highlighting these progressions our TMs see that there’s more on offer for them, if they want to go another route with their careers.
Bonus Tip: It helps to be offering something you believe in
We do have an advantage here in that what we’re offering is something we really believe in, which helps us keep things positive in a way that might be a challenge in other places. We’ve seen our business phone systems help companies up and down the country and we get a lot of great feedback which makes the job more rewarding and easier. So, as a final piece of advice; if you think you’d make a good telemarketer, do it for a company and product you believe in.
To wrap up; we’ve had a lot of success creating an environment people enjoy here, which is why we reached 12th in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For and also why we’ve had people from other departments join our TM team. These tips have helped us to create this environment and if you’d like to join us, head over to our careers page to see what we have to offer.