Magazine article Marketing

The Art of Conversation

Magazine article Marketing

The Art of Conversation

Article excerpt

The Decisions Group provides a full range of telephone marketing and call Centre services. Its 335 station call centre in Kingston upon Thames operates 24 hours a day, handling calls from around the world on behalf of major brands, including BUPA, American Express, One 2 One and Smirnoff.

Applications range from campaign response handling and outbound projects to full call centre management. The company also provides teams of trained and managed staff to work on client sites.

The consultancy and planning division has specialists in a range of disciplines, from the development of telemedia plans to the set up to fully equipped call centres.

This supplement is dedicated to the telling industry, the challenges we all face and the future opportunities. Some of my more personal concerns am issues that for one reason or another, may not always get the recognition I believe they should The first is `selling UK plc' and m explain more about that later, the others are the impoverishment of outbound telephone marketing and securing a professional status for all our front line staff.

Reviving the art of conversation

There seems to be more talk about technology, capacity and DRTV than anything else in the industry at the moment. True, they are important. So let's master them quickly and move on. By concentrating on only volume and capacity we are reducing our skill to a fulfillment backwater and ignoring the relationship building benefits of the telephone.

Alan Webber in the Harvard Business Review said: "In the new economy conversations are the most important form of work -- it is the quality of the conversation that matters." With the spotlight on one-to-one relationships, managing conversations is the key to developing profitable dialogues for our clients and their brands with customers.

The growth of inbound telemarketing has established a telephone relationship with customers and prospects alike. Yet, how many companies really extend and continue this relationship by telephone? Not enough. All the evidence shows that customers do want contact. Contact that is appropriate and meaningful, not the cold calling that characterises the worst reputation of teleselling. At The Decisions Group we are launching a programme to extend our knowledge of how and when outbound can be used effectively. By sharing the exercise with key clients and undertaking live projects in laboratory conditions, we will develop a broader understanding of what is acceptable and what works.

This programme will benefit every company that wants to maintain a dialogue with its customers by telephone. …

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