I have been a part of the telemarketing world for many years and work with a wide array of clients, but I always get excited when I work on a project related to membership renewal and retention using outbound telemarketing.
Associations provide many important benefits as part of their value proposition to members. From networking to certification programs to meetings and conventions, associations are ideally positioned to meet the unique needs of their members.
Because of this, members often don’t like to see their membership lapse. In my experience, if it does lapse, they really appreciate a quick phone call with a reminder to renew. But training is key to making that call successful. Here are some essential tips for call center agent training that will get a membership renewal campaign off to a great start:
Get involved in the telemarketing training. First, frontline call center agents like to put a face with the name of the client. Who are they making these calls for, and why is the membership important to the person they are calling? Having the client be present at the outset, providing knowledge and encouragement, can make a world of difference in how a frontline team performs.
The agent needs to be well-versed in processes, especially if payment is being taken by phone. Having the knowledge to walk the member though each piece of the renewal is key.
Start each call with a reminder to smile. You’ve probably heard the phrase “smile and dial.” I don’t know how many times I say this during trainings and monitoring sessions, but a caller can hear a smile. Starting the call off with a pleasant tone will help the agent connect faster with the member. Have the agents role play before their shifts to make sure that you can hear that smile. If an agent is happy and energetic, it will also help their tone and pace. Many members that we call are busy professionals. They are thankful for our call, but they need to get the renewal done quickly without feeling like they were slighted in customer service.
Train the team to be clear and concise. This one goes back to the initial training and making sure that the frontline agent has all the right tools. The script, also known as a call guide, should be clear and concise. This includes stating who the agent is calling on behalf of, what type of membership is up for renewal, and the price to renew. The agent should also have access to the member’s ID and expiration date, so that they can speak intelligently. Finally, the agent needs to be well-versed in processes, especially if payment is being taken by phone. Having the knowledge to walk the member though each piece of the renewal is key.
Arm the team with answers to common questions. A telemarketing agent is not going to be an expert on the association right away, so you need to provide them with frequently asked questions. No one wants to feel like they are ill-equipped for placing a call. They need to know the basic information and proper contacts for times when they cannot answer a question or member concern.Stress good listening skills. Preparing the agent to listen carefully to the member is very important. Many times, members will offer pertinent information that the association would like to have noted. It may be the reason for a nonrenewal or why they love the membership so much. Feedback and transparency helps ensure a fantastic, long-term relationship and is the key for future success.