Outbound Telesales is an arena that sees a lot of scope in terms of improvement. This is one of the very few sectors which might keep the management engaged. That is because, improvement in this area means not just increased revenue but also decreased cost in sustaining the revenue.
Lean Six Sigma in Telesales elucidates that only if the sale itself changes, or the customer says he is not interested, will the status of the potential sale change. Otherwise, as long as there is a request for a call back, or the possibility of getting the potential customer the next time, the value of the task remains.
There are a number of ‘muda’, or wastes, involved in outbound telesales. Wastage of valuable time when a wrong number gets dialed, or when the caller reaches an answering machine are some of the very common waste points in the process.
Value stream analysis jots down various flaws that are a part and parcel of this industry. Although some of them do not add any value to the overall process, they are still considered essential. For example, agents performing an after-call summary work, talking more than necessary to convince a potential customer, or gathering excessive data, are a few of many such cases.
While ‘muda’ is about the wastes in the processes, ‘muri’ refers to unsatisfied people and process, who might be overburdened with work, facing lack of training, or poor work environments.
Value stream analysis has studied that the turnover for agents in outbound telemarketing is exceptionally high. Some companies have even reported them to be as high as 350% annually. The reason behind this is the repetitive nature of the job, and the constant rejection from the customer end. From the company’s end this means a very high ‘muda’ in terms of re-hiring, re-training, and restarting all over.
And then there is the between-agent and within-agent variation. Temporal differences such as mood, focus, fatigue, or individual differences such as IQ, accent etc. effects the process to a great extent. Lean Six Sigma in Telesales understands each agent as a process, because each of them has individual improvement scopes.
Thus, what is needed is to create a scoreboard to address the NVA activities, finding a cost metric, and a conversion metric. These will start to eliminate the wastes, and bring about improvement in the process.