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MA Global Services

Call Center Training Manual

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INTRODUCTION TO CALL CENTERS
WHAT IS A CALL CENTER?

Industry term referring to a company phone center that handles such services as help desk,
customer support, lead generation, emergency response, telephone answering service, inbound
response and outbound telemarketing is a call center. It is a part of an organization that handles
inbound/outbound communications with customers. A call center is a central place where
customer and other telephone calls are handled by an organization, usually with some amount of
computer automation. Typically, a call center has the ability to handle a considerable volume of
calls at the same time, to screen calls and forward those to someone qualified to handle them, and
to log calls. It is a functional area within an organization or an outsourced separate facility that
exists solely to answer inbound or place outbound telephone calls; usually a sophisticated voice
operations center that provides a full range of high-volume, inbound or outbound call-handling
services.

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Inbound vs Outbound

Outbound Inbound

•An outbound call center is one in •An inbound call center is one that
which call center agents make calls to exclusively or predominately handles
customers on behalf of a business or inbound calls (calls initiated by the
client. customer)
•The outbound call centers do •The inbound call centers do Customer
telemarketing, debt collection, sales, Support, Online Help, Bookings, Placing
fund raising and other work that Orders, Resolving issues/queries etc
requires proactive contact with
customers

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Call center technologies

• VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, technology providing voice services


over IP connections)
• Internet (E1, DSL, SDSL DXX etc)
• Hardware (LAN, Switches, Routers etc)
• Networking (LAN & WAN, Different Components of networking)

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Skills Necessary for a Call center Agent
•Learning Skills
•Communication Skills
•Customer Handling Skills
•Team work and Individual capabilities
•Telephone Etiquettes and the ability to respond professionally to
clients on the telephone
•The candidate's ability to use proper grammar
•Vocabulary skills relevant to a call center position
•Attention to detail and ability to follow specific instructions
•Ability to follow specific instructions
•Telephone problem solving skills

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Call flow management – Do’s and Don’ts
DO’s… DON’Ts…
•Match your message script to your goals. When all is •Be predictable. Predictable messages include phrases
said and done, make sure the final product actually like: “your call is important to us,” “we are
fits the purpose for which it was designed. This experiencing heavy volume, so there will be a long
includes an audio scan, as well as measurement of wait,” “we’re sorry you’re on hold,” as well as
customer behavior changes as a result of the message. endlessly repeating short messages.

•Create a variety of messages. •Confuse people. Giving complex instructions or


information during hold messages doesn’t usually
•Keep messages short. This refers to the content work. Keep it simple.
rather than the total length.
•Repeat too often. Make sure that your messages
•Write scripts in a conversational style. To check this, have some “breathing time.” In between messages,
read them aloud to yourself and others. Use allow for some silence or play music or some other
consistent voicing. The exception to this rule is when sound.
you inform customers to expect different voices •Keep telling customers to hold or that they are on
(e.g., when using a queue jockey or employees’ hold. They already know it, and are likely to be
recordings). annoyed by such commands.

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Call flow management – Do’s and Don’ts
DO’s… DON’Ts…

•Be creative. Messages that get customers to relax •Apologize too much. The real issue here is that
and enjoy the wait (i.e., humorous, entertaining, you’re not prepared to make the investment that
informative messages) can be crafted if you don’t makes the delay so short that you don’t need delay
limit your imagination to what you’ve already heard. messages — so don’t emphasize this fact. One
apology is all that’s needed.
•Give customers control and information. •
Brag too much. Sales messages need to be
•Thank people for hanging on. Just doesn’t overuse informational in nature rather than a hard sell.You
the thank-you message or it may become irritating. have a captive audience on hold; you need to treat
them gently and persuasively.
•Be careful when providing estimated wait times.
This can work very well if you’re only feeding one •Lie to customers. If you have messages that say, “due
queue to one agent group, but it breaks down with to unusually heavy volume,” or “due to a snowstorm,
virtual agents or multiple call priorities because calls there’s going to be a long delay,” use them sparingly
can “budge” to the front of the queue. or, eventually, they will not be believed. .

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CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTBOUND
DO’s… DON’Ts…

•Greeting the customer: Smile, speak clearly; give •Do not rush: Do not rush through the call in an
the customer your undivided attention. Identify attempt to feed the customer as much as possible
yourself and your department, offer help. Note the once he is on the line. Wait up, relax, talk, and do not
customer’s name and address the customer by name blabber.
that creates and attentive impression. Begin the
conversation with your customer on a positive note. •Don’t get tense: It’s nothing personal; you are just
doing your job. They are just missing out on another
•Listening to the customer: Ignore disruptions, good deal.
distractions or being too fast or too slow.
Concentrate on what the customer is saying to you •Do not be afraid: They cannot come out of the
and acknowledge what he says. Attempt to identify phone and hit you, relax, listen to their questions and
the need and basis of the call. Deliver information answer them.
more and more.
•Do not impersonate: Do not start by saying “if I was
you…” Empathize, put yourself in their shoes and
think like them.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTBOUND
DO’s… DO’s…

•Getting agreement Seek feedback and agreement •Responding to customer needs: First, provide an
from the customer at this point to establish whether empathy statement to address the customer’s
he is satisfied with the solution. psychological needs. Then, with the customer,
develop an action plan that directly addresses his
•Concluding the call: Smile and have a positive, needs. Developing an action plan involves informing
friendly attitude; use the customer’s name; review the customer of the steps that you plan to take,
the plan of action; offer further assistance, and thank explain any steps he should take. Answer questions,
the customer for his patience and co-operation. handle objections do not run away from questions.
Remember when a customer starts asking questions
•Following up as necessary:You might want to follow those are actually BUYING signals. So pay attention
up particularly urgent requests or such requests that and do not deviate from the subject. Check
are critical to a large number of users agreement whether the customer has understood and
agreed to the proposed solutions.
•Keep Smiling: Remember, a smile can be heard even
on the phone. Relax and enjoy.

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Phone etiquettes
• Avoid using Slangs.

• Make use of phrases such as "May I help you", "You are welcome", and "Thank
you", etc.

• Always speak clearly so that the other person can understand what you are
saying.

• When picking up the phone, it is good practice to identify your Company and
yourself to the caller.

• When transferring calls, make sure that you are well versed with the
procedure for call transfers. It is good practice to use the name of the person
you are transferring the call to.

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Phone etiquettes
• Always adopt a pleasant tone of voice and be attentive.

• When placing a call on hold, inform the caller of the same.

• Don't interrupt the caller when speaking.

• When initiating a call, spend a few moments to mentally prepare yourself so that you
know what need to be said / discussed.

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Phone Manner

GT-V3

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USA MAP

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American Culture

GT-V4

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Standard Phonetics

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Types of Survey

•Online surveys
•Intercept studies
•Mystery Shops
•Focus Groups
•Business to business (B2B) (telephone)
•General Population Surveys (telephone)

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What data collections requires

•Excellent communications skills – speak clearly


•Confidence – assume the “sale”
•Use your voice – tone, inflection and annunciation are key
•Listening skills – needed to accurately record what respondent says
•Knowledge – understand the study, it will be more enjoyable for the respondent
•Understanding – use empathy statements (as needed)
•Be neutral – do not bias the survey or the respondents
•Skills to overcome negatives – memorize rebuttals
•Professionalism – remember you are a representative of Winning Research and
our client
•Be conversational – avoid sounding robotic

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Parts of a Survey

•Introduction (i.e. your name, company name & the reason for your
call)
•Qualifying questions (i.e. Are you registered to vote?)
•Main topic (i.e.Your level of approval with the job that congress is
doing?)
•Demographic Questions (i.e. What was the last grade you
completed in school?)

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Type of Survey Questions

Closed-end:

Example: What year were you born?

Open-end:

Example: What did you like about this product?

Hybrid:
Example: List your favorite color(s):
Red, green, yellow, orange,
Other (specify) ____________

Rating scale
Example: On a scale of 1 to 10 please give me a number…

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Do’s

Read verbatim - read word for word


Record Verbatim – record exactly what the respondent says
Probe – ask for more information than was volunteered (i.e anything else?)
Clarify – Ask for specifics (who, why, where etc.)
Do Not Lead – no suggesting answers or assuming answers
Read/do not read list as instructed – follow script instructions
Read every question - skipping any is considered falsification
Follow instructions – you will be given study directives make sure that they are followed
as outlined by the client/PM.

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Don’t…

•Paraphrase or change the text of the survey without permission (Exception is the
intro)
•Argue or speak over the respondent
•Speak too fast or too slow, too loud or soft
•Pause after introduction
•Conduct survey in a language other than English
•Allow respondent to take control of the conversation
•Mislead the respondent about the length or any aspect of the survey
•Identify the client unless its permitted
•Digress from survey topic too often or long

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PROBING

Probing is a skill to be developed which requires practice. There is no specific number of times
which you will be required to probe because it all depends on the respondent and how he/she
answers the question being asked.
Interviewer: “What did you like most about Lay’s potato chips?”
Respondent: The salty taste.
Interviewer: What else do you like about Lay’s potato chips?”
Respondent:The crispiness.
Interviewer: What else?
Respondent:That’s all
Keep asking, “any others,” “what else,” or “anything else” until the Respondent indicates that
they cannot provide additional responses.

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CLARIFYING
Similar to probing, you will not be told when to clarify but you must be able to indentify when its
needed. Golden rule – clarify all vague or ambiguous responses. Here’s how…

Interviewer: “What did you like most about Lay’s potato chips?”
Respondent: The taste.
Interviewer: What was it about the taste that you liked?
Respondent:The amount of salt they used.
Interviewer: And what exactly did you like about the amount of salt used?
Respondent: It was the perfect amount of salt. Not too much or too little

Once all vague responses have been clarified PROBE again for more responses . Clarify
again if needed.

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RECORDING VERBATIM
A respondents subjective response to any open-end is golden and must therefore be entered into
the system VERBATIM (word for word):

Here’s how…

Interviewer: “What did you like most about Pepsi’s?


Respondent: Umm, that’s a tough one but I’m going to say the taste. Its refreshing
and … oh yeah, its not as sweet as Coke.”
Interviewer Records: “That’s a tough one but I’m going to say the taste. Its
refreshing and … oh yeah, its not as sweet as Coke.”

DO NOT: Include any “ohh”, “umm”, “ahh” or any other pauses uttered by the
Respondent. Keep grammar and spelling accurate.
DO NOT: Paraphrase what was said even if it means recording profane words.

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Engaging respondents

•Taking the time to hear and understand what your customers are saying is a critical component
to call center telephone etiquette. When callers know you are listening to what they are saying
they feel important and respected and the call has a higher chance for success.

•Be enthusiastic and upbeat. Callers can hear a frown in your voice just as easily as they can hear a
smile. They’ll react in a positive manner to your voice if it sounds happy and inviting.

•Drop everything else that you’re doing and give your undivided attention to the caller: That
means no checking your email, having a side conversation or reading your favourite magazine
when you’re supposed to be taking calls. To provide superior customer service, callers must be
the only thing you are focused on when you are working.

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Engaging respondents con’t

•Ask permission before putting the respondent on hold: Not only is it very confusing for
respondents to be speaking with you one second and the next second they hear music or
silence, but it is also extremely rude. It is the equivalent of hanging up on a caller.

•Check back with your customer periodically if you need to keep him or her on hold for
an extended period of time.

•Ensure that you are well trained and knowledgeable enough to handle calls successfully.
Keep handy documents such as pronunciation list and “cheat sheets” nearby to help you
get through your more difficult calls.
•When you’re typing or looking up information for the customer their might be periods
of dead air, asking questions helps to avoid this awkwardness.

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Dealing with…

A difficult respondent: There are some people who will make your job difficult. This
may include folks who are rude, profane or drunk. If you ever encounter a respondent
who is disrespectful know that you have the right to terminate the survey at any time but
be professional when doing so. Never hang up on a respondent. You may also terminate a
survey if a majority of the respondent’s answer is “DK.”

A lengthy survey: The best approach to a lengthy survey is keeping your respondent
informed as to where you are throughout the process. Phrases such as, “only a few
questions/minutes remaining” will help you to keep the respondent on the line. Remind
them that none of the information collected will count unless the survey is completed.

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Dealing with…

Closed Quotas:

There will be times in the evaluation of a study where you will looking to speak with
respondents who are hard to reach. This maybe because of their age, gender, or perhaps
ethnicity. Your Team Leader may instruct you to ask for males between the ages of 18-34
first instead of screening for any other age or even gender. Once you know who you are
looking for you will have to customize the survey intro to easily locate your target and save
time. This is how it should be approached…

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Dealing with…

Standard intro: Hello, my name is __, I’m calling on behalf of Winning Research. We
are conducting a survey about local politics. May I speak to the head of the household
please?
Customized Intro: Hello, my name is __, I’m calling on behalf of Winning Research.
We are conducting a survey about local politics. May I speak to a male in the
household who is 18-34?
If the male 18-34 is not available…
1. Arrange for a callback if you do not need older males or females OR
2. Ask for older males or females if those quotas are open OR
3. If you are looking for males 18-34 exclusively and the man on the phone does not fit
that profile or if no males reside in the household, code the call as “DNQ”

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Dealing with…

PARTIAL: In some instances a respondent may be unwilling to complete a survey


which they’ve started. If possible, arrange for a callback. If a callback cannot be
arranged, alert your Team Leader to the situation. He or she will determine if the
survey data can still be salvaged and perhaps counted as a “sale”. Never make this
determination for yourself.

COMPLETE: Once you have asked the Respondent every question in the survey
you will be required to input a few pieces of data about yourself before the survey is
considered a complete or a “sale”. This may include your first and last name, agent
ID, gender age, and sometimes our clients may even comments about the
Respondent surveyed.

The last screen that you see before a survey is considered a sale should read, “Thank
you that completes the survey…”

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Sample management

SAMPLE: By definition is the telephone numbers which you call.

•In most cases, our clients provide the numbers which are used for each project. The
numbers maybe RDD (random digit dialling), targeted (e.g. moms with kids in the
household) or client list which is exactly what its name indicates.
•Sometimes its more that we need hit our quota but sometimes its not. In either case
you will have to learn how to manage sample effectively. This means learning how to
disposition each call properly so that a. we do not run out and b. we can achieve a high
rate of productivity.
•Keep in mind as your review the disposition list that numbers coded as NI, DNQ,
DNC, WC, IN, WN, SP and NE can never be called again. Try to avoid abusing these
dispositions. Remember before you code a number as DNC or NI what doesn’t work
for you may work for someone else. Use this code sparingly.

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Calls Disposition list
NA - No Answer
AM - Answering Machine
DNQ – Does not qualify
NI – Not interested
DNC – Do not call (try to avoid using)
WC –Wrong Contact (not listed respondent)
IN – Invalid Number (fax, not in service etc.)
CB – callback another time (personal or general)
DC – Disconnected number (interchangeable with
invalid number
NE – No English (language barrier)
SP – Spanish speaking only
WN –Wrong number (business contact instead of
residential)

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Never Forget

•Phone Etiquette ( be friendly, professional, knowledgeable, empathetic)


•Call introductions – identify who, why and what you are calling about.
•Rebuttals (do not give the respondent an easy option to refuse)
•Word Fillers (Um, I agree, great, perfect, etc. can hurt your productivity)
•Confidentiality
•Call Control
•Call Dispositions/Break Status

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Quality Control (Monitoring)

You will be monitored to ensure proper quality of work. Our QC’s will assess…

1. Intro – answering calls in a timely manner, standard greeting and


rebuttal
2. Main body – reading verbatim, leading, skipping questions
3. Closing section – communicates clearly, controls survey, adjust reading
speed if necessary
4. Other – flow of words, Pronunciation, speaking into the microphone,
professionalism, show of appreciation.

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FALSIFICATION IS…

• Inputting data (or answers) which was not given my the respondent
e.g. the respondent does not qualify for the survey but you change
their response so that they do

• Recording false answers to a partially completed survey so that it


counts as a “complete” e.g. the respondent hung up but you
proceed to record answers to the remaining question until the
survey ends

• Skipping a question(s) e.g. bypassing a question(s) without asking


for a response

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Sample of Script

•Introduction
•Qualifying Questions
•Survey Questions
•Demographic Questions

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Respondent Complaints &
Problem Solving
Rebuttals are very effective if agents sound confident, smooth, and DO NOT
HESITATE. We will now go over common refusals and the tactful way to
rebuttal and turn a NO into a complete.

Respondent: “I have only 5 minutes to complete the survey”


We can go through the survey until you have to go and then we can
set a time and day to call back and complete the survey or we can simply call
you back at a more convenient time and day sir / ma’am.”
Respondent asks, “Do I get paid?” (non paid study)
“Unfortunately this is a non paid study but your opinion is very
important to us.

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Respondent Complaints &
Problem Solving
Respondent wants to know who we are calling on behalf of:

The client may not be identified in the survey introduction. Mention that this
information was not provided as it may bias the responses of the survey. Let them know
that the information was not provided to us and ask them if you may ask the first few
questions of the survey to give them a better understanding of purpose of the survey.

Respondent says, “I am not interested.”

“I know you may not normally complete telephone interviews, but the opinions and
feedback of residents are the only things we would like to discuss and can influence
changes within the community.”

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Refusals and Rebuttals Cont’d

Respondent says, “I don’t have time for this.”


“I understand you are very busy and we can definitely schedule a call back at a more
convenient time for you.”

Respondent says, : “I am on the Do Not Call List.”


“ I am not trying to sell you anything. The National Do Not Call List does not apply to us
because we are a market research firm who is only attempting to obtain opinions and
feedback.

Respondent says, : “How did you get my number.”


“Your number was randomly generated by our system?”

Respondent says, : “I don’t know much about the survey topic.”


“That’s fine. We are looking for a users and non-users of this product/service”

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Refusals and Rebuttals Cont’d
Respondent: Who is funding the project?

Unfortunately that information is not released to us, as it may bias your responses.

Respondent: I don’t want to answer any personal questions.

All your opinions are kept completely confidential and your name is not attached to any
of the data. If there are any questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering, just let
me know and we can skip to the next question.

Respondent: I have to go now this is taking too long

If we stop the survey now, the time and responses will not count. We have approximately
X minutes left and will go through as quickly as possible.

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Be Creative

GT-V6

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Setting a Goals

GT-V7

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Thank You

Any Questions???

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