Sunday, May 16, 2010

Conversations That Run Your Business

The importance of discovering which recurrant conversations drive your business.

The fact that we are creatures of language should be no surprise, but how many of you can identify the specific and recurring conversations that run your business and determine the success of your company?

Most business executives I know show up on the job, open up for business, and the chatter begins. The phone rings off the hook and sales people and CSRs handle many thousands of calls with prospects, customers, vendors, business associates, and the home office in a blur of activity we sum up as the ‘Chaos of Commerce.'

Click image for full-sized view.

No business or department is immune from the craziness. In fact, the crazier things get, the better we seem to do. The problem and challenge, from my studied observation, is that there are usually only a few recurrent conversations that really drive the business and our sales and operations staff get lost in the shear volume of chaos, data, e-mail, and seemingly endless verbal chatter. In other words, the chaos clouds the picture and gets in the way of effective customer service and operations.

Case in point; we perform ‘Call Audits’ for clients whereby we ‘x-ray’ remote branches or an internal division, by recording all their inbound phone calls for a week or two. Then we report back on the types of calls they are handling on a daily and weekly basis. It’s a revealing and extremely useful process for clients committed to improving the coordination internally and/or with customers.

For instance, in a recent Call Audit for a client on the west coast who was having problems with the performance of a remote branch, we discovered that:

1. Over a two week period between February 21 and March 6, they received 452 inbound calls into the branch.
2. All the calls were made up of 89 different types of conversations.
3. Exactly 30% of all the calls were deemed to be sales opportunities
4. 19.9% were other types of requests from prospects and customers, such as directions etc.
5. 46.9% were other types of calls altogether that had nothing to do with sales. These include;
a. No answer – missed calls – 16.15% (this was a huge realization to the client)
b. Personal
c. Corporate office
d. General information – address, directions etc.
e. Telemarketers
f. Other employees
g. Delivery calls
h. Etc.
6. 2.7% were other types of sales opportunities, for products and services not currently offered by the client.

The big news is this:

1. Since only 30% of the total volume of calls were sales opportunities, 70% of the call volume tends to overshadow or cloud the picture and the efforts of the thinly staffed branch.
2. One huge problem was the fact that 16.15% of the calls were not answered.
3. 44.58% of all the sales opportunities were for a specific type of product.
a. 13.9% were for another major produce and 11.02% for another.

In closing, this Call Audit allowed us to focus immediate training around the types of conversations that are really responsible for the bulk of the sales. We were able to design a training program around:

A. Improving employee competence at servicing customers and prospects within the Chaos of Commerce
B. Focus training and coaching on the four to six sales and customer service conversations that literally drive the business.

This type of measurement allows for rapid growth in sales and customer service competence and shows clients which core products and services to focus the advertising spend on.

We would be happy to perform a cost effective call audit for your company or department within your company.

Call: 877-212-6001 to make arrangements.

Dan Molloy
President / CEO

SAMPLE REPORT; Follow this link to see a sample Call Audit report from the automotive tire and repair industry. Audits can  be done for any company or department within the company.