February 27, 2003, 12:00 AM

Web-based research is creating challenges for call center agents

The amount of product information on the web has created new challenges for call center reps who must educate themselves continually to stay one step ahead of their customers’ level of product knowledge.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The amount of product information on the web has created new challenges for call center reps who must educate themselves continually to stay one step ahead of their customers’ knowledge level. “Prospects are getting more educated; the Internet has created more savvy buyers,” says John Stones, executive vice president and a founder of !n Pulse Marketing Group Inc., a provider of call center services to direct marketers. “Our whole focus has been to provide sales service to direct marketers by using skilled people trained in the product. But because of the Internet, our buyers are becoming more informed, and as a result we have had to continue to improve our sales training program.”

One way that !n Pulse, formerly The Aftermarket Co., is addressing the challenge is to lengthen the initial training and orientation period from 7 days eight years ago when the Phoenix-based company was founded, to 14 days today. In addition, it hosts the product developers from its client companies, who come to Phoenix to explain the product, its features and benefits to agents.

!n Pulse also finds that the agents who do best in an information-heavy environment tend to be college educated. “It’s not a requirement, but it is desirable,” Stones says. “Smart people do well with us.”

Stones also says !n Pulse pays above the average pay for telesales agents in the Phoenix area and offers a 401(k), health, dental and vision benefits and life insurance.

 

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