Warmth in the Cold.

It was a great morning or so I thought as I went to the office with a bounce in every step. I had gotten the whole weekend off which is a blessing for call center agent (where shifts run 24/7). I remember not having issues with the bus conductor when I had given him NGN 500 which is a rare event any Lagosian can attest to. As soon as I stepped into the office all that bliss changed then I started wishing for that argument with the bus conductor. I was summoned into the office of the Head of Department and duly informed that I was going to join the teams that make Cold Calls. You can imagine my dread, cold calls are very complex calls to make because you never know the client you maybe talking to. After about thirty seconds of meditating on what my career life will be, I decided to take the plunge, and that was how my life changed.

Today, I lead a team that makes only cold calls day in day out and I have learnt a lot. I have heard all the calls you can imagine: the good, the bad, the just horrible and the thank God that client finally dropped the phone calls. In this Business Miracle Worker series, I will share with you some of the ways you can transform your cold calls into warm calls. I call it the “ Warmth in the Cold”.

  1. Getting the right equipment- Survival skill 101 for every call center agent or customer support person is to ensure that your gear is flick. There is nothing more frustrating for both the caller and the receiver than the following words.

Caller: Hello { Agent Introduces himself/herself}

Receiver: Hello, I can’t hear you.
Caller: Hello, I can hear you can you hear me?

This just drags the issue and makes the agent tired before getting to the crux of the matter. A perfectly working headset for a support person is like having Ice cream Sundae every day. It makes the work easy peasy.

2. Good Script- Actors get Oscars for good delivery of a story script. So why not give a good performance with your cold call script. The first questions asked in the script should not go directly to the reason for the call rather give the client a chance to talk about himself/herself. Never jump the gun to the reason for the call. In five seconds inquire about their day and thank them for picking your call. Some call centers enforce agents to read the script verbatim. This is a big NO NO as it will only make your clients receive calls from Humanoids not Humans. Always practice the call script and use it in a way that would sooth your personality.

3. Positive Attitude: It took me about thirty seconds to get to this point the day I was told I was going to make my first cold call. Nevertheless, I strongly believe you can never go wrong with positive attitude. This is most important when you encounter High Rise clients who would not back down with the argument that your service is bad or is just transferring a different aggression on you. You always need to be pumped with positive energy. While it takes me thirty seconds to go to my happy place, it can take longer in other people so ensure you have happy place things around your table. Positivity also includes treating your body right and being healthy. My advice, stand up to stretch every half hour so you are not overwhelmed in the course of the day.

4. There are no bad calls- Never view a call with a high rise client as a bad call but look at it as a learning call- you have just learnt one new way to avoid upsetting the next client you call. When you do this often, you don’t get offended when a client responds rudely to your call.

5. Finally, prepare for the unexpected- Every call brings a new curve to the ball everyday; so prepare for that. Never take a client's words personal rather view it as a company challenge that can be solved with the right answers.

Let’s be truthful, do cold calls ever get warm? I will be waiting for a response to that. :) However, always find a way to get the warmth in the cold.