Cable Industry Article

The secret to winning more sales in cable customer contact centers? The Quality Conversation

By Bob Davis

June 30, 2011 — Bridgevine, an authorized reseller and customer contact center outsourcing provider for several major cable companies, hired Robert C. Davis and Associates (RCDA) to conduct a pilot project with one key question in mind. Would RCDA’s Quality Conversation approach with cable customers drive additional sales in digital products and services? The answer was a resounding yes.

The Quality Conversation defined

RCDA defines the Quality Conversation as “a meaningful and mutually rewarding dialog that occurs when a company’s representative takes and clearly conveys a genuine interest in an individual customer’s wants, interests and needs. It goes beyond building rapport to make an emotional connection and establish real trust. Practicing the Quality Conversation with authenticity and the proper skills shows the customer that the representative truly cares, wants to help, and has not only the desire but also the ability to deliver world-class solutions and service.”

For the pilot project, RCDA trained and coached a group of Bridgevine’s agents and their supervisors on how to have a Quality Conversation with customers who called the center. Many of these calls are typical of the kinds that come in to cable customer contact centers. Customers call often for help with a remote that doesn’t work, to pay a bill, or to ask about the current Internet deal.

Double-digit sales increases, fast

By learning, practicing and using the Quality Conversation approach through a combination of intensive classes, role-plays and on-the-job application, Bridgevine’s agents and supervisors achieved truly remarkable results within a very short time. The number of these calls that converted to a sale increased 13 percent. The number of single sales that converted to multi-product sales rose by 14 percent. These increases represented a huge boost in revenue for the cable companies, and the pilot program is now being rolled out across the entire division at Bridgevine.

Here is how the customer contact center transformed their calls to meet the definition of the Quality Conversation and achieve such stellar results:

  • Enthusiastic greeting – Agents on the pilot team learned how to greet each caller with sincere enthusiasm.
  • Assured help – Regardless of the request, agents gave customers an enthusiastic assurance of help.
  • Full discovery – Here’s the real magic in the Quality Conversation. Regardless of why each customer was calling, the agents asked full discovery questions on all of the customers’ digital needs. For those who called in about the Internet, the agents asked related questions such as, “Would you call yourself a heavy user with a need for speed or more of a light user?” After asking these questions, they transitioned to other digital products by asking, “While we find the best value for your Internet needs, let me ask, who is your phone provider?” Sometimes the customers balk at this question, and the agents are trained to say, “We’re just asking these questions to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money.” More often than not, the customers answer the phone questions, and this full discovery provides the agents with tremendous opportunities to sell. In fact, the Quality Conversation helps customers sell themselves on the additional digital products, because they begin talking about their needs for the full range of services and attractive deals.
  • A process that empowers agents – The Quality Conversation call flow process customized for Bridgevine also empowers agents with methods on effective search and qualification, solutions and upselling, how to handle objections, an assumptive approach to trial closes and closes, how to cross-sell, and how to wrap up the call with a full disclosure and recap. The results of the pilot project speak for themselves.

In short, the key components of the Quality Conversation are enthusiasm, taking a genuine interest in the customer, and asking great discovery questions on all digital products.

More information on RCDA and the Quality Conversation approach is available online at www.robertcdavis.net/process.

Bob Davis is the president of Robert C. Davis and Associates (www.robertcdavis.net), a consulting firm in Alpharetta, Georgia, specializing in improving sales, customer service and retention results in customer contact centers across North America. RCDA has been improving sales effectiveness for cable customer contact centers for more than 10 years and has been particularly successful in helping agents transition routine customer service calls into sales opportunities. Bob is also co-founder of Surpass (www.surpasscalls.com), a highly specialized outsource customer contact center serving the needs of business clients across the country.

To learn more, contact Bob here.