Call Center Book Review On Driving Peak Sales Performance In Call Centers

Driving Peak Sales Performance in Call Centers

Mary Murcott

Call Center Press, 2005

Dan Coen is President of CallCenterToday.com.  He can be reached at www.CallCenterToday.com or DanCoen@CallCenterToday.com

Do you believe the call center is a scalable engine that provides great opportunities to increase sales?  In Driving Peak Sales Performance in Call Centers, Mary Murcott, founder of Performance Transformations Inc., has written an engrossing 315 page book on this very topic.  Her key premise:  Your call center is a sales enhancer.   There are “hidden opportunities” for additional revenue, if your organization embarks on a strategy of tools and practices for driving large-scale performance improvements.

It is refreshing to have read such a detailed book about the sales and revenue opportunities that call centers offer companies.  I have felt for a long time that the call center has moved beyond your parent’s center.  It is not a cost center designed to simply react to customer complaints.  The call center is a remarkable communication channel of energy and proactive opportunity for companies of all sizes.  It is a place where missed opportunities become wins. By using your people and technology to deliver sales and marketing programs to customers, the call center can become the preeminent lightening rod for your company.  I stress to my clients that most call centers are, by and large, an underutilized function of an organizations strategic sales and marketing program.  Driving Peak Sales Performance in Call Centers provides a roadmap for engineering your call center the right way by capitalizing on the missed opportunities.

Mary Murcott makes this book easy to read by blending a simple and story telling writing style with real world charts, graphs and action-plans.  In effect, she has mastered the art of teaching while entertaining, which is no small feat.  It is refreshing to see a book that talks to the reader, and Murcott has done well.  For instance, her blending of teaching and entertaining can be read early on, when she describes the importance of “The Hum” and “The Buzz”.

“The Hum” is the actual sound heard when you enter a call center.  Any call center manager has knowledge about “sound”.  I equate a managers’ knowledge of sound to a chef’s knowledge of the cook’s kitchen.  Murcott explained it best: “It is not the sound of managers screaming across a center….it is not phone reps wandering the floor looking for management…it is not seeing paper airplanes flying across the call center…rather it is the low-key sound-a real hum-which occurs when service levels are being hit and employees are being very productive but not overworked”.

“The Buzz” is a similar sound only higher, louder and more impacted.  It occurs primarily in peak performance sales centers.  Murcott makes the case that “the buzz” is an explosion-that sound of sales makers on the telephone, creating great opportunities for customers and future customers alike.  In essence, I see “The Buzz” as a successful “Win-Win” of energy.  Great things happening, from contests and awards to meeting and exceed goals.  Every call center manager of a sales center knows that good things happen when “the buzz” is functioning well.

Driving Peak Sales Performance in Call Centers has an added benefit that makes it a must read.  It is not your typical call center book because it focuses entirely on a critical area of call center operations:  Increasing sales performance and unlocking new sales and revenues programs.  Have you noticed how most books focus on service level metrics, benchmarking or management performance?  This book touches on those topics, but stresses improving ROI and revenue through call center sales and marketing.  Today, so many call centers consider themselves an inbound shop, or a customer care division.  Others view themselves as an outbound sales organization.  Those centers miss the key ingredient, which is the call center can and should be everything. Each call to an IVR or a customer care unit is a customer “touch”, and that “touch” should be capitalized on by the call center.  Integrate your touches:  Direct mail, email, web site, telephone, and so much more.

Murcott writes that “Once you begin to hear “the Buzz” in your call center, you’ll find that the profit from increased sales potential is so compelling, all cost-cutting initiatives pale in comparison.”   I second that statement.  Too many companies are leaving money on the table.  Murcott’s book helps solve the challenge.

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