Mobile apps are bringing in a paradigm shift in telesales

The telesales space in India has largely been a dichotomy. At one end there is the elementary “Manual Dialing Operation” by telecallers using POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) or Mobile SIMs; without the value add of technology and at the other end of the continuum there are completely automated BPO set-ups that use gateways, dialers, voice loggers et al. The entities that deploy the former cite costs and scale issues as the inhibiting factors forcing them avoid embracing technology. The operators in the latter spectrum have the scope and scale to deploy the extant technological tools to run their operations. There are also in-between guys who use lighter versions of hosted call center solutions like Intelliverse (a sales CRM), Con Vox and the like. But these are essentially upgraders in transit who one day would graduate to fully hosted Cloud solution or build an in-house automated set-up. The customer reach out mechanism for all the three species is more or less similar where most of the calls end up being intrusive and pesky, so to speak. Another commonality is the agent burn out and attendant employee attrition. Cutting across industries like BSFI, Telecom or any other service sales process; the attrition percentages are as high as 20% month-on-month basis for telesales. This translates into having a completely new workforce, every five months. Such levels of attrition, leads to wastage of time & energy for constant recruitment and training. This piece does not aim at addressing the attrition challenge but delves into the telesales ecosystem to sight ‘what” and ‘why’ new technologies are emerging for this industry. A study on telesales attrition done by a leading telecom operator, across top 10 Indian cities, has thrown up some interesting findings:
  1. Roughly 80% of its telesales workforce comprised of women telecallers.
  2. The agent attrition percentage (>=23%) too had close to 80% composition of women.
  3. About 50% of the women left for better pastures or were unable to bear the high work pressure. These were classified as “Voluntary reasons”.
  4. The balance 50% left work due to personal issues- like time to commute, safety at workplace, continuing education, aging parents at home or young children to be tended etc. These were clustered as “Involuntary reasons”.
  5. On probing the ‘Involuntary list’ of respondents it came to light that given a chance or option these women would like to work from home. An opportunity was unearthed that trained and experienced women workforce was cooling their heels at home for want of home based employment that suited their skills- namely sales.
The last nugget of wisdom triggered a technological innovation. An app that was hitherto parallel to a virtual call center solution was adapted to create a platform for home based calling. The product is called Tentacle by Sunoray Systems. Tentacle is a ‘cloud software’ that is available as a mobile app. It enables telesales operators to handle their sales, tele-calling, lead management and MIS Reports. This solution is being pitched to women who want to work from home. It is a nifty solution that helps upload databases to callers remotely through an admin console. The solution has a DND filter that weed out database which are registered on the National “Do Not Call” Registry. The telecallers have to download the app from Google Play store. The app consumes sub 500 MB of space and is compatible with all smartphones on Android versions starting 4.2.2 onwards. The telesales operator has complete control on the app usage where s/he can set the timings allowed for telecalling and can check how many remote agents are live and outcalling. After logging into the app the telecaller can select the allocated campaign she wants to undertake first and start her day. Like a virtual dialer the customer records pop up and on pressing on a record the outcall is initiated. After the call is over a call disposition window opens up wherein the status of the call may be keyed in.
Tentacle enables telesales operators to handle their sales, tele-calling, lead management and MIS Reports
Pre-defined dispositions like “Not Interested”, “Call Back”, “Confirmed Lead” etc can be selected as per the customer interaction. The dispositions are automatically updated on the remotely located server. All customer conversations get recorded on the cloud which are then downloaded by Team Leaders and verified for Quality Checks. Post verification the lead gets further forwarded to field teams. The lead status updation can be done by the field team when it physically meets the customer at the designated location. The reverse flow of information is also in real time. Customer application forms and document pick-up status are known to all the constituents in the value chain via the app itself. Most of the leading mobile telephony companies and insurance firms are latching on to this ‘work from home’ bandwagon, thanks to this app’s availability. There are many other developments in the Telesales & Service space where technology is re-shaping the way business gets done. Innovations like ‘virtual receptionist’ accord prestige to a small enterprise that wants to masquerade as a large corporation. Direct Lite solution by Sunoray again, is a tool where one can build a telephone survey in a jiffy. Here, all that the client needs to do is select a dial-in number and write the desired questions in a web interface. After listening to how they sound the client can publish his survey. Tracking responses of customers who call-in, is available in real time. Voice Biometrics in IVR solutions are also getting re-defined in telesales Inbound processes. This one would catch on like a wildfire in the times to come. These are a few of the new technological fads that are inundating telesales entities. More updates to follow. Watch out for this space!

Samrat Sinha

Samrat Sinha is Head Capability Building &amp; Channel Engagement, Tata Teleservices <!--more-->Samrat Sinha is Head Capability Building &amp; Channel Engagement, Tata Teleservices Limited. A seasone

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