I’ve heard from several friends in call center operations that outsourcing inbound telesales to the Philippines has resulted in close rates below expectations. In at least one case that I know of, a company is re-establishing an internal sales center to try to get to the root of why telesales is harder to offshore than customer care.
After listening to hundreds of sales calls and care calls and helping companies find actionable patterns in them, I’ve got some opinions on the subject.
1) Sales is harder to script than care - a care call is bounded by the product or service the customer has bought. There’s only so much that can go wrong, and most/all those scenarios are documented and can be scripted into the CRM system. Sales calls are open-ended; they can go anywhere, and can veer off track at any moment. Will the prospect complain about the price? Will they bring up a competitor you’ve never heard from? Any left turn a prospect makes can cause an offshored rep, already managing language complexity and reduced empathy, to panic or lose his place (see “confusion kills sales,” below).
2) It’s easier for a prospect to give up than a customer - anyone who has made a call through an offshored center knows that it’s more difficult to communicate with someone who’s from a different culture, with a different accent and familiar with different figures of speech. That difficulty can breed frustration. A current customer with a problem is more inclined to persevere through the frustration, in order to solve her problem, than a prospect, who can hang up the phone or say, “No thanks” and be no worse off than she was before.
3) Confusion kills sales - if your sales process has a number of steps, and/or it has options a customer has to understand and select, the rep or the customer is prone to become confused. And if the rep gets confused, the prospect is soon to follow. My experience listening to and finding patterns in sales calls tells me that confusion is a sales-killer. There are enough negative emotions swirling around the buying process that adding confusion into the mix can tip a sale from Yes to No.
What have your experiences been with offshored telesales? Are there other reasons sales is difficult to outsource?
(If you’re interested in getting a deeper read as to why your telesales operation is undershooting its objectives, we can help.)
(Photo by vlima.com via Flickr Creative Commons)