Credit union call centers have historically focused on service rather than sales. Preliminary results from Callahan’s 2009 Credit Union Call Center Survey indicate 31.4% of credit union call centers have no active sales program. Another 34.3% of respondents have inbound or add-on sales only.
Outbound calling can maximize your credit union’s return on existing resources. How can you effectively start an outbound calling program in your call center? Executives who have started programs in their own call centers have this advice:
1. Make a commitment to outbound calling. Understand what you want to achieve before you set up the staff.
2. Build a campaign with set calling lists. Outbound callers will need to work closely with your marketing team to recognize and act on the right opportunities in your marketplace.
3. Choose the right people. Strong inbound agents may not transition well to outbound calling. Each job has a different skill set necessary to succeed. If you are integrating outbound calling with your inbound staff, make sure to provide proper training and encouragement. Another option is to hire one or two agents (even on a part-time basis) with previous sales experience dedicated to outbound calling.
4. Remind your agents that they aren’t cold calling – members know their credit union’s name. Agents are reaching out to members to discover and meet individual financial needs.
5. Track and monitor success. Whether it is increased usage of online banking or capturing HELOCs, being able to benchmark your agents’ performance is critical to understanding the return on the credit union’s investment. Don’t hesitate to make changes to processes or staff if things are not working smoothly.