Briefing in a call center, (my) invincible method
Have you ever wondered where a caller’s training is based on? With this post today I want to address this aspect, as much important as delicate, because it is just from the training that a succesful telephone interview depends on and so a company like IFF.
I have learned over the years that the key word of this process is to standardize and make everything scalable, which means finding one single method that can be repeated over time, obviously with the natural case evolutions.
In IFF we think our method is very effective, that is because results prove this to us . Both in terms of the staff’s learning and in terms of effectiveness of the interviews.
Let me tell you what is this all about.
Our method is based on a training video to call center, that provides a few steps
The first one is a vision of a video that lasts three hours where introductory contents are shown, for instance : What are market research, how the office is organized , technical characteristics about the CATI software, conditions relating to the contract and remuneration, how work will be organized, the best practice in the field of telephone market research.
The second step provides the vision of a second video that lasts an hour, whose contents vary from the company’s presentation, so who is IFF, how is our staff composed, what is the mission, what we expect from the caller . The interviewer’s role and how the job should be done.
Each section is treated in detail, with both listenable content and visual aids that show slides that teach visually how to login on our CATI system, how to work, and what are the types of questions. This is a passive phase in which the caller learns but still does not work practically. Once this phase is completed , we let each caller begin with a simple project, ideally a 5 minutes B2C questionnaire, assisted by a coach, who indicates him what to do and what not to do, how to adjust the headphones sound, how to avoid blunders, how to overcome simple or difficult problems. A supervisor’s dedicated support in the first phase of the project allows the caller to begin to gain a basic confidence by familiarizing directly with the work they will be performing later and if this phase will be well done , we will get to the next step which involves a more complex project, in which he will have more autonomy but by always getting feedback from the supervisor.
The first part of the training has always been lived with much anxiety because the amount of information and stimulus that the caller receives is substantial and it is given to him in a very short time, but the constant support that we provide to each of them means that no one will feel alone and abandoned. This aspect is crucial because it creates that psychological and professional confidence which characterizes each of our employees.
Over the years I have also learned that another important and distinctive business aspect is talking to the customer about the method we use to train our caller, that’s because callers are the ones that determine, as I mentioned before, the practical success of an interview. They are the ones who collect data and convince people to answer our (your) questions by finding the right key to deal with each one of them, because let’s always remember that our job means mostly , having to deal with a potentially infinite variety of “human material” and that each caller has a type of project in which he can succeed better.
Is our method the best one?
What I do know is that a good training means a good caller, and a good caller means collecting good data. We try not to only train someone with highly professional standards, but also a person who knows how to manage all in a communicative and psychological level and by customizing his own work. And that’s why during the briefing with the customer, he will be 99% sure of what he is doing and of the project that he is assigning.
The client’s project becomes our project and consequently it becomes the caller’s project , who feels responsible about the result. Precisely with this in mind, our training work never ends and it finds an important phase in the video briefing that goes with each new project and it explains the purposes the study, the screening rules, the body of the questionnaire and ultimately the demographic questions to make sure that callers know the objective of the research, how to better ask questions and how to report data properly.
Knowing this is very important for our customers, because this way you are sure that our callers are all trained from the beginning to the end and that this standardization process (remember? We talked about it at the beginning of the post) ensure, to all (it applies to all IFF call center) to receive the same information.
In IFF we work to collect information and we kind of do the same thing when we train a new staff. We give information, but at the same time we receive others that are useful to place our callers on projects to which they are more related.
I can’t say if this is the best method of all, but if our results speak clearly , this means that we have definitely identified without a doubt an effective, efficient and conclusive method.
See you soon!
If you need help, write me firstname.lastname@example.org
Federica Curcurù (Branch Manager, UK)
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