The Important Process Of Professionally Putting Callers On Hold

Every single one of us has been put on hold in our lives – several times over. It’s a natural part of life. We make calls, we get asked to be put on hold, we wait and then someone eventually picks up. It isn’t a big deal, right?

Well, in today’s “get things quickly” world, being put on hold is a bit of bigger deal than it used to be. We’re a lot more used to having things done immediately these days. The internet is a big reason for that. Not only can we attain useful information with the click of a few keys on our smartphones, but we can also access music and videos in ways that were once unheard of. There’s a reason why video rental shops and music retailers are either completely out of business or are heading there fast.

People expect to get what they want NOW!

The entire on-hold process is regarded a bit differently because of our modern-day association with getting things quickly. So, business owners and the phone agents that work for them need to be mindful that their callers are expecting expeditious service. It’s not good enough to simply say “hold please” to someone who calls your business. To ensure that all of your potential customers know that their time isn’t being wasted, it’s wise to implement some courteous acts.

It all begins with asking – not assuming.

“May I please place you on hold for just a minute while I look into that for you?” is an ideal way to initiate the hold process. “Hold please” is just not going to cut it. Firstly, it’s imperative that your caller is made aware that he/she won’t be wasting his/her time waiting for longer than necessary. You’ll notice that the above written hold request has two important components:

  1. It kindly requests permission. It asks the caller to be placed on hold instead of demanding that he/she wait.
  2. It gives a timeframe. People don’t generally have problems with waiting for “just a minute”. If you’re going to be longer than the timeframe given, be sure to come back to the line and inform the caller. This measure of respect and courtesy will go a long way in boosting customer satisfaction.

On Humanity.com, David Galic lists the act of asking callers to be placed on hold as one of his five most important rules of proper telephone etiquette. He points out, however, that asking is not enough. “Wait for the person to respond,” he advises, “It’s important to make sure you have initiated the conversion and confirmed that you are there for them. If you ask politely if you can put them on hold for a few moments, most customers will say ‘sure.’ Be sure to use that approach if it’s indeed necessary.”

At SIClytics.com, we know how important it is for business owners who employ phone agents to ensure that top-notch customer service is always being provided. We offer Telemarketing Reporting services that help you to track telemarketer progress and results as well as Live Call Monitoring services that enable you to listen to the calls being taken by your telemarketers live and as they happen!

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

What Are The Best Ways To Boost Productivity In Your Call Centre?

No one would ever claim that it’s easy to run a call centre. At least, they shouldn’t. Because, as all call centre managers know, there are a lot of unique personalities to deal with on a telemarketing team. It’s the “personality” issue that a call centre manager should pay special attention to. Although talented phone agents help to make high-productivity call centres, it’s the emotional states of the employees that need the most nurturing.

No one would ever claim that it’s easy to be a telemarketer. And they shouldn’t. Being on the phone all day is a hard enough job as it is without having the requirement to meet sales targets. So, as a call centre manager, it’s important to address the mental strain associated with the telemarketer position when working to boost sales for your business.

So what are the best ways to boost productivity in your call centre?

Hold energy-boosting morning meetings.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve recommended the morning meeting for call centre businesses. And it probably won’t be the last. Use at least 10-15 minutes each morning to gauge the moods of your phone agents – and do your part to uplift them, if necessary. Tell jokes, share funny stories and encourage participation from your team members. An energy-boosting morning meeting is a great way to start the day off right.

Implement friendly competitions.

At the end of the day, you’re looking to boost your sales numbers, right? Why not encourage higher productivity by making it fun for your employees? Create contests that offer prizes for the highest producers. Divide your phone agents into teams and create a standings (not unlike in professional sports) so that your employees can see how they’re measuring up against their competitors.

“Healthy competition can be highly beneficial in the contact centre, so why not pit teams together in a head-to-head contest?” poses CallCentreHelper.com, “One month it could be handle time, and the next month it could be up-sell opportunities…This can really improve a team’s morale, and the productivity boost you get from the teams striving to attain their goals will never hurt. This works particularly well in outbound telesales.”

Encourage inter-team feedback.

Who better to help improve the productivity of your phone agents than your high-producing phone agents? They know, from experience, some of the top tips that can be used to help boost sales and overall customer satisfaction. Not to mention, encouraging inter-team feedback helps to increase employee morale and team-building.

“Involving the telesales team in improving productivity can be highly beneficial, as they know better than anybody else because they are doing that job on a day-to-day basis,” says Martin Jukes on CallCentreHelper.com, “Salespeople will know where the problems are, where systems perform poorly and where the processes are disjointed. There are not enough instances where the telesales team are involved in realigning processes or mapping out new procedures to improve productivity as well as performance.”

At SIClytics, we offer call centre mangers Telemarketing Reporting services that help them to track the progress and results of their telemarketers. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

Making The Case For Doing Away With Manual Dialing

There are many members of the SIClytics team who have extensive experience in call centre environments. They can recall the days when they’d show up for work, sit at their cubicles and have to sift through piles of paper in order to locate the contact information for all of the leads they would end up calling within the day. Needless to say, it was quite the time-wasting practice.

Manual dialing is now a thing of the past. Or, at least, it should be. Making your phone agents look through printed sheets of phone numbers is not only a waste of time but – you guessed it – a waste of money. We’re not just talking about saving paper here. We’re talking about the fact that you stand to get much more productive work days out of your employees when you invest in an automatic dialing system for your call centre.

Why use an automatic dialer?

Automatic dialers help your phone agents to spend a lot more time talking to leads and a lot less time trying to locate their phone numbers. Consider the amount of time it takes to review paper records, select a lead, find the lead’s phone number, dial the number and then document what happened on the call using handwritten notes. Manual dialing forces agents to spend a lot of time off of the phone.

“Manual dialing tends to be time-consuming and wasteful of contact centre efforts,” writes Madeleine Coe on Wired.com, “With each manual call, the agent has to get the number, physically dial it, and then wait for the person on the other line to pick up. It means your contact centre agents waste a lot of time dealing with answering machines, wrong parties, no answers, and that horrific cacophony when they accidentally reach a fax line. Ugh. That’s a lot of time they’re not spending talking to real live customers.”

Consider the time it takes to review handwritten notes before dialing up that lead a second or third time. Today’s automatic dialers do a lot more than simply contact leads with the click of a button. They also provide online note keeping and the creation of dispositions that enable you to categorize your calls based on the responses you receive.

“Auto-dialing takes all the guesswork out of manual dialing with the automated process,” insists Coe, “Agents can get typically only 15 minutes of real talk time per hour (not including finalization and reviewing call details) with manual dialing, but auto-dialing doubles that to 30 minutes of talk time.”

At SIClytics, we offer Lead DaFeeder.

It is a simple web-based telemarketing software that allows even the most inexperienced computer users to manage campaign dialing and dispositions. Lead DaFeeder has revolutionized how web-based technology helps small and medium-sized businesses to manage their telemarketing, customer acquisition and political survey strategies.

It delivers a feature-rich set of processes that enhances effectiveness, drives sales, improves customer satisfaction and provides insight into performance. Supported by administration capabilities that adapt to how your company operates, Lead DaFeeder is delighting companies and employees of all sizes across a broad range of industry sectors.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call SIClytics at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

2 Techniques That Help To Build Strong Rapport Over The Phone

As we pointed out in last week’s blog, there are big differences between providing customer service over the phone and providing customer service in person. When you are face-to-face with a customer, it’s so much easier to use non-verbal forms of communication. Hand gestures, facial expressions and other types of body language help for customer service reps to convey that they are friendly, polite and knowledgeable about what they’re offering.

When you are on the phone, however, you don’t have the benefit of utilizing any of the above mentioned forms of non-verbal communication. Naturally, everything must be communicated verbally over the phone. So, it stands to reason, that it can be a little harder for customer service reps to develop strong rapports with the customers being serviced.

What techniques can you use to build a strong rapport over the phone? Here are two:

1. Speak “with”, not “at” your customer.

There is a big difference between “with” and “at” in the world of conversations. “At” is pretty much a one-way street. When one person does all the talking – especially in an effort to push a sale – little is done to form a bond between the two parties in the conversation. “With” entails that you are taking the time to listen to what the other person has to say. It involves asking questions so that the customer is given the freedom to communicate what he/she really wants.

“When taking a customer service call, try to engage the customer in conversation rather than turn the call into a mechanical event in which you ask questions to fill out a report,” advises George N. Root III on Chron.com, “Avoid small talk, but try to mix in conversational aspects about the product and the problem the customer is having. Try to move the customer away from any anger toward your company and focus on solving the problem.”

2. Practice the “honesty is the best policy” method.

Remember that your objective is to have a real conversation. And keep in mind that, in order to do so, you need to show a measure of respect to the person you’re speaking with. It pays to be honest. Don’t make claims that you can’t back up and don’t make promises you can’t keep. There’s almost nothing worse than being caught in a lie in the business world. It’s a guaranteed way to lose a customer for good.

Root insists that you take ownership. This is especially important when you’re dealing with an irate customer. “Do your best to try and remedy the situation; if you have to pass the call off to the next level, try to be there to make the transition with the customer to the new representative,” he writes, “If you are able to follow up on the call, do so to make sure the problem was resolved.”

At SIClytics, we offer business owners and call centre managers alike the opportunity to strengthen the performances of their phone agents through our Live Call Monitoring and Telemarketing Reporting services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com!

Customer Service Over The Phone Is A Whole Other Animal

When you’re speaking with customers over the phone, you don’t have the benefit of facial expressions, hand gestures and body language to communicate your points. These non-verbal forms of communication are often heralded as the most potent ways to get a point across.

So what can you do to ensure that you are communicating effectively when the person you’re speaking to can’t see you?

Put yourself in your caller’s shoes.

The first thing you can do is pretend you’re the other person. How would you like to be spoken to? Consider the tone of voice you’re using so that nothing you’re saying comes off as offensive. Be mindful of the words you’re using so that nothing is taken out of context. Don’t forget that you’re a customer too. Your first rule of thumb should be to provide the type of customer service that you would want to receive yourself.

“If you’re working with a customer, either on the phone or in person, and they need something, pretend it’s you,” says Nancy Friedman on TelephoneDoctor.com, “What would you want to have happen? What would make you happy? What would make you satisfied? Here’s a great place to remember the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Laugh it up!

Keeping in mind that body language won’t help you when you’re on the phone, it’s important that the sound of your voice is constantly pleasant. You know what helps with that? Smiling. You may even want to take it one step further and laugh a little bit. Cracking an appropriate joke or two will not only help you to enjoy your work day more, but it will improve the overall customer experience.

“Laughter will lighten the load,” insists Friedman, “Everyone likes to laugh. Some even in the darkest moments. Take the time to laugh and enjoy your customers.”

Be empathetic.

Remember that you can’t frown or show your concern by the look on your face during a phone conversation. As important as it is to keep things light-hearted, not every call is going to be a jovial one. When a caller indicates that he/she has had an unpleasant experience, it’s incredibly important not to pass over the revelation as if it were some insignificant detail. Expressing empathy is a hugely important part of providing excellent customer service over the phone.

“Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing,” explains Pascal on Userlike.com, “Showing empathy in customer service is essential, because it shows the customer that you care. Jumping straight to the fixing part can make you appear unsympathetic.” Empathy, he later adds, “creates an emotional connection and trust, and shows the intrinsic willingness to offer support.”

At SIClytics, we are big proponents for excellent customer service over the phone. We offer unique services that allow for business owners and call centre managers alike to both monitor and track the progress of their phone agents. For more information about our Telemarketing Reporting and/or Live Call Monitoring services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

Recalling The Keys To A Telemarketer’s Success

Telemarketing is an industry that requires the most committed of individuals. This is especially true for those who work for businesses that employ cold calling techniques to generate leads. Such telemarketers need to have strong customer service skills. In fact, that’s an understatement. Cold callers need to have the best customer service skills in the business!

As we’ve pointed out in a blog or two in the past, telemarketers face a lot of rejection on a daily basis. Hearing “no” is something that they can’t be dissuaded by. A strong telemarketer is aware that he/she will have to overcome objections the majority of the time. The best know, however, that to overcome objections, a focus must be placed on the customer relationship – more so than the product or service that is being sold.

Focus on customer needs instead of hard selling.

“Customers don’t buy products or services,” informs Susan A. Friedmann on TheBalance.com, “They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming needs.”

This is why it’s important for sales reps who work on the phone to focus on the specific needs and wants of their potential customers and not the products and services themselves. In other words, pitch what you’re offering by placing emphasis on the benefits your customers will receive. It will make each call sound less like a sales pitch. Providing solutions to problems, as Friedmann mentions, is a key to both higher sales and greater customer satisfaction.

It’s all about listening.

How do you get to truly know your customers? Ask questions. But be sure to allow them time to actually answer. Listen to what they have to say and make note of important details. When you personalize your products and services in ways that make them appear to be made specifically for the customer you’re speaking to, you’ll be well on your way to increased success.

“Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying,” advises Friedmann, “Beware of making assumptions – thinking you intuitively know what the customer wants. Do you know what three things are most important to your customer?”

Don’t forget to smile.

Yes, even when you’re on the phone, a smile can have a huge impact on a conversation. When you’re smiling, your tone of voice automatically becomes more pleasant. Believe it or not, smiles can be “heard”!

“If you are talking to somebody on the telephone then you can still smile – your voice sounds different when you smile and are happy,” reports SkillsYouNeed.com, “Clients and customers are more likely to want to talk to a cheerful person with an enthusiastic personality and by smiling while you talk you can help to project this.”

Looking for ways to ensure you’re employing top telemarketers?

Contact SIClytics for more information about our Telemarketing Reporting services which allow you to report your telemarketers’ progress and track their results. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

3 Simple Steps To Ensure Your Telemarketing Skills Are A Cut Above

A telemarketer’s job is never easy. This is a sentiment we’ve shared on the SIClytics Blog on many an occasion. Working the phones is a responsibility only the most determined and patient individuals can adequately manage. Especially for cold callers, overcoming objections is a major part of the job. Still having the confidence to get a “yes” when most of your callers respond with “no” is quite the skill.

However, it can also present quite the annoyance. It’s understandable for phone agents to get frustrated when they are constantly being turned down. Being a telemarketer who is expected to hit sales numbers requires a lot of faith in one’s self. It also requires some excellent customer service skills. After all, it’s important to not sound angry or frustrated on the calls that follow objections that couldn’t be overcome.

So what simple steps can you take to ensure that your telemarketing skills are a cut above? Here are three:

1. Smile before you dial.

An excellent telemarketing practice is to keep a mirror in front of you while you’re speaking to your clients and leads. What do you look like when you’re on the phone? Although you can’t be seen by the parties you’re talking to, they can still “hear” you smile. Smiling makes a big difference in your tone and inflections. You can’t help but sound more pleasant when you’re smiling. It will go a long way in helping you to build rapport.

“It almost seems like a cliché, but it really is true that your voice sounds different when you are smiling, and your customers can hear it,” says Baker Communications Founder and CEO, James A. Baker, “The physical act of smiling releases endorphins that improve your mood, so you will be able to approach your job with a better attitude, and respond more positively and sympathetically. Both you and your customers will benefit!”

2. Be a name dropper.

Friends who know public figures and won’t stop talking about them are annoying. This isn’t the kind of name dropping we’re referring to! Be sure to refer to your clients by name when you’re speaking with them on the phone. They’ll appreciate it. It will give your conversations much friendlier tones.

“As soon as you receive a customer’s name, use it,” advises Laura McConney on SkillsYouNeed.com, “Write down the individual’s initials in order to ‘monogram’ the call. This will help you remember the client’s name and will personalize the call for you.”

3. Go easy on the ears.

Some telemarketers get a little too caught up in the knowledge they have of the products and services they sell that they can’t adequately describe them. How so? Too much industry jargon serves to confuse the average listener. You may be an expert in your field, but your leads are not. Take the time to explain the benefits of your offers in a way that are easily understandable. Baker refers to this concept as using the “5 C’s” of good communication.

“It should be clear, complete, concise, concrete, and correct,” he explains, “Make sure that the customer understands your explanation or solution by stating it clearly, describing it briefly but completely, in terms that are specific – and, importantly, that you have all of your facts straight. Providing bad information, or information that the customer doesn’t understand, is both unhelpful and unlikely to leave a good impression.”

For information about SIClytics’ Telemarketing Reporting services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

3 Ways To Strengthen The Call Centre Manager/Phone Agent Relationship

Call centre work can be gruelling. It isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned it and it certainly won’t be the last. At SIClytics, we have great respect for both phone agents and the managers who oversee their teams, knowing that they work within noise-filled, high-energy, often-hectic environments. Of course, the better that call centre managers are able to work with their phone agents, the more productive the business can be overall.

Are you a call centre manager looking to better your business? Here are three ways to strengthen the call centre manager/phone agent relationship:

1. Begin each day with a light-hearted morning meeting.

This is a simple, yet effective technique that will start each day off right. Naturally, it’s important to highlight the various priorities of your team each day. However, your morning meetings should be made up of as much friendly chatter as it is business-associated discussions. This will help to firstly, lighten the mood and boost the spirits of a potentially otherwise tuned-out audience.

But, secondly, it will encourage your team members to engage in conversations with you, making it easier to have open dialogue about various facets of the job. The more accessible you are to your staff members, the better the relationships will be. And strong relationships in the office enable you to offer feedback that will help to produce better results.

2. Schedule regular one-on-one feedback sessions.

Speaking of feedback, it’s absolutely mandatory within a call centre environment. A big part of a call centre manager’s job is to offer assistance that will help phone agents perform their jobs better. Some managers shy away from this, fearing that constructive criticism will dissuade their employees from trying harder. They fear that pointing out areas of concern will discourage their workers.

Not only is the opposite true (the vast majority of employees want to know how they’re doing), but the regular back and forth will help to grow senses of trust and respect within the call centre manager/phone agent relationship. Don’t forget that one-on-one feedback sessions are also excellent opportunities to get to know your employees better. They will help you to better understand how to communicate in ways that will serve to motivate them to perform at their best.

3. Equip your office with top-of-the-line equipment.

When your employees complain about their working conditions, it’s a reflection on you. To avoid this negative impression, be sure that your office is equipped with comfortable ergonomic chairs, well-functioning computers and cloud-hosted technology that make their jobs easier. We’re referring to such web-based telemarketing software as Lead DaFeeder which allows even the most inexperienced computer users to manage campaign dialing and dispositions.

We’re talking about a system that allows for one-touch dialing, doing away with the archaic practice of manually dialing phone numbers listed on pieces of paper. We’re speaking about an online filing system that enables your staff members to create and save valuable notes on each of their leads. We’re discussing a service that has been proven to enhance effectiveness, drive sales, improve customer satisfaction and provide insight into performance!

For more information about Lead DaFeeder, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com. Be sure to ask us about our Live Call Monitoring services too!

The Importance Of Listening To Your Telemarketers’ Calls Live


To a call centre manager, listening to the calls of his/her telemarketing staff is a regular part of the job. However, in the past, playing back call recordings was the standard way to monitor performance. Shortly after the calls were completed, call centre managers would listen back to pick out any instances when some assistance would have been helpful. The benefits to listening to call recordings included the ability to pause and rewind parts of the calls to ensure what was being heard.

The drawbacks, however, were many. Not the least of which was the fact that problems that may have occurred during the phone calls weren’t resolved during the first points of contact. Had the calls been listened to live, the call centre manager may have had the opportunity to step in right away, offer the required additional assistance and leave the customer with a much better taste in his/her mouth about his/her interaction with the company.

What are the major benefits of listening to calls live?

Well, let’s begin with the obvious. Immediate help is the best kind of help you can get. Customers appreciate when their questions are answered, their concerns are addressed and their problems are resolved – right away! Having to wait for a call back or even having to be placed on hold can be enough of an annoyance to send a customer to the competition. To vastly improve customer satisfaction, live call monitoring is practically mandatory.

Let’s not forget that with the immediate feedback you’re able to provide your phone agents, you’re bound to improve their performance. Arguably, there’s no better way to be better at your job than to learn on the job. By receiving help right away, your agent will be better equipped to handle similar situations in future – unassisted. Not to mention, phone agents tend to be on their toes when they know their managers are listening to their calls live.

Live call monitoring increases your phone agents’ credibility.

Better agent performance is just one of the many reasons that live call monitoring is so important. Improved efficiency, cost savings and increased credibility are other benefits to listening to your telemarketers’ calls live. On LinkedIn.com, U.K.-based entrepreneur, Chris Walthew explains that live call monitoring helps you to hear the credibility of your telemarketers on the phone.

“Regardless of your product/services, you want to ensure that the telemarketer representing your company is credible,” he writes, “Do they have enough knowledge of your company? Are they maintaining the level of professionalism that you expect from anyone representing your company? Through live listening, you can double check that the telemarketer is representing your company well.”

At SIClytics, we provide Live Call Monitoring services that enable you to instantly listen in to the live calls of your phone agents to hear what’s happening in real time. You can also use the feature to whisper information to your phone agents without the other parties hearing it. As well, the service allows you to barge into live calls in the event that they need to be taken over!

For more information about our Live Call Monitoring services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

5 Integral Techniques Top Phone Agents Use To Make Customers Happy


Conducting business over the phone requires special skills. Individuals who know how to manipulate their tones of voice while providing accurate information make up the most skilful of phone agents. Of course, there are many other tricks to the trade that a talented phone agent must have. But there are some integral techniques that every single person who works on the phone must use if they wish to make their customers happy.

Here are five:

1. Paying attention to detail.

This truly is a skill. It’s requires a lot more than simply listening. It involves a keen sense for what your customers need and want. Someone who has experience on the phone often gets a good understanding for how to interact with customers based on his/her previous interactions with like-minded clients. Picking up on certain patterns and habits enable the best phone reps to anticipate requests and appropriately manage concerns.

2. Displaying empathy.

The best phone reps never forget that they are dealing with other human beings on the phone – not numbers, not dollar signs, not opportunities-for-bonuses – human beings. As a result, they engage in meaningful conversations that add to the overall customer experience. They also express concern and sympathy if their clients are going through tough times. This relationship-building skill goes a long way in keeping customers happy.

3. Owning up to mistakes.

Talented phone agents make clear that they too are human. And, as we all know, humans make mistakes. Owning up to them makes all the difference in the world in the making-customers-happy game. Making excuses and avoiding responsibility is a great way to turn customers off. The best phone reps know exactly how to apologize and make up for errors. That way, they both maintain and grow their lists of happy clients.

4. Going above and beyond the call of duty.

Customers appreciate receiving those “little something extras”. Sometimes, the smallest gestures and have the biggest impacts. Going the extra mile for a customer can be as simple as wishing “good luck” when knowing a client has an important event up ahead. It can also take the form of a money-saving gesture such as the offering of free shipping or a freebie in a forthcoming delivery.

5. Under-promising.

Smart phone reps know never to dig themselves into holes by offering things they can’t guarantee. Take, for example, the date by which a shipment is supposed to arrive. Talented agents, who know that the product will be there by Friday, tell their customers that it will arrive “by early next week”. When the product comes “early”, the customer is pleasantly surprised and generally happy to have entrusted the business that sent it.

At SIClytics, we know how important it is for call centre managers, all across Canada, to employ the strongest of phone agents at their companies. As a result, we offer innovative services that enable them to monitor performance and track the results of their reps. Those services include Live Call Monitoring and Telemarketing Reporting. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.