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Managing Successful Call Handlers
Episode 513th September 2021 • Close The Loop • CallSource
00:00:00 00:31:25

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Kevin Dieny:

Hello, welcome to the Close The Loop podcast.

Kevin Dieny:

We are today going to be talking about managing successful call handlers.

Kevin Dieny:

I'm joined by my co-host Matt Widmyer.

Kevin Dieny:

Matt is

Kevin Dieny:

the sales development manager here at CallSource.

Kevin Dieny:

He oversees the ever-growing sales development division while

Kevin Dieny:

working as a liaison between the marketing and sales department.

Kevin Dieny:

Whether there is an individual or a team operational gap he'll roll

Kevin Dieny:

up his sleeves and go to work.

Kevin Dieny:

He is a problem solver, he is a mentor, he's a coach all rolled into one.

Kevin Dieny:

Matt has a wife and daughter and loves all things outdoors.

Kevin Dieny:

So, welcome Matt!

Matt Widmyer:

Thanks Kevin, thanks for having me again.

Matt Widmyer:

Good to be back!

Kevin Dieny:

Yeah, We are really excited to get into this

Kevin Dieny:

topic because this is Matt's...

Kevin Dieny:

Matt lives and breathes managing his team of SDR called handlers all day every day.

Kevin Dieny:

That's his primary thing.

Kevin Dieny:

So we were excited to jump into this and share our expertise with everyone

Kevin Dieny:

about how you actually go about managing successful call handlers.

Kevin Dieny:

And every business that has called handlers needs to be

Kevin Dieny:

able to manage them correctly.

Kevin Dieny:

It needs to be able to manage them so that they provide, they are able

Kevin Dieny:

to achieve their essential function.

Kevin Dieny:

Which is answering the phones, routing phone calls, going into discovery,

Kevin Dieny:

qualifying, potentially even selling right on the phone right there.

Kevin Dieny:

Whether it's inbound or outbound handling who knows what's coming in or

Kevin Dieny:

calling out with a very specific plan.

Kevin Dieny:

That's the role of the call handler.

Kevin Dieny:

From a management perspective how does a business get their

Kevin Dieny:

call handlers to be successful?

Kevin Dieny:

How do they hire the right call handlers?

Kevin Dieny:

How do they train them, onboard them, and send them off with the right behaviors

Kevin Dieny:

so that they will be successful in the company and move their way up.

Kevin Dieny:

The first question I have for you Matt is why is managing

Kevin Dieny:

call handlers so much work?

Kevin Dieny:

Why is it so difficult to help call handlers succeed and be successful?

Matt Widmyer:

I think the primary reason is because the role itself

Matt Widmyer:

comes with a lot of rejection, right?

Matt Widmyer:

So rejection could be a little de-motivating sometimes.

Matt Widmyer:

If you're having a bad day or you're just getting beat up over the phones,

Matt Widmyer:

it's a you have to muscle through it.

Matt Widmyer:

If you come in with thin skin you'll get that thick rhino skin after a while.

Matt Widmyer:

It's just it's tough especially if you weren't feeling that well it's one of

Matt Widmyer:

those roles where the last thing you want to do is make prospect phone calls or

Matt Widmyer:

field inbound leads and stuff like that.

Matt Widmyer:

It can be a pretty taxing role in itself just because of the all the

Matt Widmyer:

rejection that comes with the territory.

Matt Widmyer:

There's no one size fits all for this role.

Matt Widmyer:

You get tons of different personalities from different walks of life.

Matt Widmyer:

So everyone needs their own little management style.

Matt Widmyer:

There's no cookie cutter way to do it.

Matt Widmyer:

It's a lot of work.

Kevin Dieny:

You mentioned that every single person you hire

Kevin Dieny:

might be a little different.

Kevin Dieny:

So is that mean that the expectation is that the managers should

Kevin Dieny:

be able to be successful...

Kevin Dieny:

turning any type of person into a successful call handler, or is everyone

Kevin Dieny:

cut out for it, or is there a certain type of person that's cut out for it best?

Kevin Dieny:

And this other type just will never have any success here?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you look at managing all those unique personalities and types?

Matt Widmyer:

Not everybody is cut out for it right It's one of

Matt Widmyer:

those roles where not everybody is successful right out of the gate.

Matt Widmyer:

I think one of the important things is to be able to know can this person

Matt Widmyer:

be developed into being successful.

Matt Widmyer:

I'm very much of the school of thought where anybody can do anything

Matt Widmyer:

if they put their mind to it.

Matt Widmyer:

But I've also learned that a lot of people don't want to put their minds

Matt Widmyer:

into this, which is fine, right?

Matt Widmyer:

It's the decisions being made either from their side or our side.

Matt Widmyer:

But I think that if somebody comes through the door with the strong worth work ethic,

Matt Widmyer:

a great attitude, and a student mentality they will be successful in this role.

Kevin Dieny:

So let's say you've hired a new call handler for your team a new SDR

Kevin Dieny:

for your team, what does the onboarding process look like for a new hire?

Kevin Dieny:

What do you think that the core important things are for onboarding a call handler

Kevin Dieny:

in their first 90 days to be successful?

Matt Widmyer:

Our team is broken down into there's a senior level and an entry level.

Matt Widmyer:

The seniors are responsible for most of the day to day training but

Matt Widmyer:

I make it a point at this point in time anyway just to do some really

Matt Widmyer:

strong handholding in the beginning.

Matt Widmyer:

Day one is always setting expectations letting them know exactly what they're

Matt Widmyer:

responsible for right out of the gate.

Matt Widmyer:

Letting them know how they're measured what their quotas

Matt Widmyer:

are per day, week, month.

Matt Widmyer:

My role in getting that, their accountability partners role

Matt Widmyer:

in helping them, and since that's really day one stuff.

Matt Widmyer:

Week one stuff, the next few days would be mostly talking about once you're crystal

Matt Widmyer:

clear on expectations and I confirm right, and make sure they have all that stuff.

Matt Widmyer:

Then we start going into the products and some of the systems we use as well as the

Matt Widmyer:

other people they will be working with.

Matt Widmyer:

So in terms of systems I'm talking specifically about CRM, sales

Matt Widmyer:

automation, anything that there'll be that they don't know how to use or

Matt Widmyer:

don't know how to use our instance of.

Matt Widmyer:

They'll get some one-on-one training there and then I do it, I'll do it

Matt Widmyer:

first, and then we'll do it together.

Matt Widmyer:

Then I'll just watch them to make sure they that's kinda like our

Matt Widmyer:

mastery, my way of gauging it any way.

Matt Widmyer:

Then a lot of it's just products, a lot of Q and A, lot of walking through

Matt Widmyer:

what our different products do.

Matt Widmyer:

Once I feel like they're comfortable enough to discuss those with

Matt Widmyer:

prospects, we'll have them dialing outbound in about a week's time.

Matt Widmyer:

And now it's not like we are throwing them right into the deep end.

Matt Widmyer:

We'll work really closely with them, listen to some calls

Matt Widmyer:

together, a lot of it's objections.

Matt Widmyer:

"Hey I'm getting a lot of this," and then we work on okay, well if you hear

Matt Widmyer:

this try this if you hear this try this.

Matt Widmyer:

A lot of that following up it's usually a daily recap towards the end of the day

Matt Widmyer:

and several times throughout the day too.

Matt Widmyer:

But then the ongoing after a couple of weeks then they'll get deeper into warmer

Matt Widmyer:

initiatives and that's when they start dealing with the inbound leads too.

Matt Widmyer:

I want to make sure that they're able to discuss our products from an outbound

Matt Widmyer:

perspective before they start dealing with the inbound leads because those

Matt Widmyer:

are a little more handle with care, I'm sure you'd appreciate that too....

Kevin Dieny:

More unpredictable?

Matt Widmyer:

Yeah, I mean it's why they're wild cards as you know so every

Matt Widmyer:

single one is whether or not they know what they're inquiring about they have

Matt Widmyer:

an idea of what they want and then it's our it's our job to best qualify it and

Matt Widmyer:

send it off to where it needs to be.

Kevin Dieny:

Okay so I got at least three things from what you said, I

Kevin Dieny:

think that are pretty core to onboarding successful call handlers The first one is

Kevin Dieny:

it sounds like you have the approach of maybe, the quote, "It takes a village."

Kevin Dieny:

You have both mentors within the team, senior members of the team assisting

Kevin Dieny:

the newbies getting their feet wet and understanding what's needed.

Kevin Dieny:

You mentioned that you call them accountability partners, really quickly

Kevin Dieny:

can you tell us what that means?

Matt Widmyer:

Basically it's our way of giving the senior members of the

Matt Widmyer:

team, I've already proven that they're able to do this job right, from a

Matt Widmyer:

trainer perspective, it's really a way to scale our team, they're

Matt Widmyer:

responsible for the day-to-day, the really in the trenches management.

Matt Widmyer:

A lot of what I do is a larger scale trying to build the team out, work our way

Matt Widmyer:

into new verticals and stuff like that.

Matt Widmyer:

They get into the actual more of the call training aspect of it, the

Matt Widmyer:

one-on-one let's listen to some calls together, let's do it, let's do a power

Matt Widmyer:

hour, let's do a blitz real quick.

Matt Widmyer:

They kind of keep the swords sharp on a day to day basis If that makes sense?

Kevin Dieny:

Yeah, and the accountability aspect are they

Kevin Dieny:

actually setting appointments or calls with or for the senior SDRs or the

Kevin Dieny:

senior role of call handlers here?

Matt Widmyer:

Some of what they set will go to the senior member because

Matt Widmyer:

our seniors are also closing deals too.

Matt Widmyer:

We also are sending things over to the sales team that there'll be doing too.

Matt Widmyer:

So it's a combination of both they're accountable for making sure that their

Matt Widmyer:

entry level reps attain their appointment or demo quotas, they're monthly quotas,

Matt Widmyer:

and they get rewarded if that happens too.

Kevin Dieny:

The village the first main one, is a lot of delegation happening.

Kevin Dieny:

And that is allowing the people who are doing this every day all the time, the

Kevin Dieny:

senior role, who has proven themselves they're the ones that are going to

Kevin Dieny:

be training the new younger guys.

Kevin Dieny:

It's coming right out of the experience of doing this every day leaving you to

Kevin Dieny:

do some of the bigger picture stuff.

Kevin Dieny:

So delegation, you know having everyone in the team contribute

Kevin Dieny:

or providing mentorship, it seems like a really important one.

Kevin Dieny:

The other thing you mentioned which was really cool was you get them calling

Kevin Dieny:

within a week or two, like pretty quick, so maybe other companies throw

Kevin Dieny:

them right in, day one, answering, picking up phones, and calls.

Kevin Dieny:

But you wanted to make sure they understand that the processes

Kevin Dieny:

that we have, where information goes, CRMs, things like that.

Kevin Dieny:

The technology and also an understanding of our products.

Kevin Dieny:

Maybe even an understanding of the audiences and stuff like that we're

Kevin Dieny:

going to be talking too, some objections.

Kevin Dieny:

So in that early period of time you make sure that they're going to be

Kevin Dieny:

productive I would call that productivity.

Kevin Dieny:

So number one, is delegation is a vital component and mentoring and stuff.

Kevin Dieny:

The second one I would say is probably focus a little bit on

Kevin Dieny:

the productivity giving them the tools they need to succeed.

Kevin Dieny:

And you've mentioned it requires a certain type of motivation for someone who wants

Kevin Dieny:

to be hungry and take all the tools you're giving them and all the education

Kevin Dieny:

and experience from others you're giving them so that they can run with it.

Kevin Dieny:

Is that roughly what you're mentioning?

Matt Widmyer:

No you summed it up pretty good, and keep in mind the week

Matt Widmyer:

timeline that's more of a fuzzy timeline.

Matt Widmyer:

One of my most successful reps only had two full days of training and then

Matt Widmyer:

they were on the phones, day three and beyond and never looked back.

Matt Widmyer:

It is more of a fuzzy timeline but if it takes much longer than a week there

Matt Widmyer:

might be some additional things that we didn't account for in the hiring process.

Matt Widmyer:

I think a lot of the hiring process is, does this person look like they

Matt Widmyer:

are able to get ramped up like anybody else in in roughly a week's timeline?

Matt Widmyer:

And if it's like a day or two after it's not a big deal but I don't want

Matt Widmyer:

to be sitting in a classroom setting with somebody for a month because it's

Matt Widmyer:

not a great use of either one of our time for something, it's probably not

Matt Widmyer:

going to work out if it's that long.

Kevin Dieny:

Let's go to the next phase, of a maturing call handler.

Kevin Dieny:

So they're past the onboarding period a couple weeks months they're out of

Kevin Dieny:

their period of time where they're just continually feeling like this

Kevin Dieny:

is the first time I'm doing this.

Kevin Dieny:

And now at this point they're doing something for the nth time.

Kevin Dieny:

So how do you foster a more successful call handler from that point?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you incentivize them?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you motivate them?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you help them to succeed once they've got their

Kevin Dieny:

legs and they're running?

Matt Widmyer:

I think first things first you have to let everyone know that they're

Matt Widmyer:

important piece on the team, right?

Matt Widmyer:

Where they're all contributors at an individual level, and their contributions

Matt Widmyer:

are getting factored into a team goal.

Matt Widmyer:

Acknowledging it's not an easy job, I've worked in environments before where

Matt Widmyer:

the call handlers or the entry level people are looked at as the peasants.

Matt Widmyer:

They're a cog in the wheel.

Matt Widmyer:

Doing the day in day out smacking a yard stick on their desk and making

Matt Widmyer:

sure they're making phone calls and hitting the minimums and everything.

Matt Widmyer:

And if they don't then there's write-up and stuff like that.

Matt Widmyer:

I think keeping them motivated it helps you prevent a lot of that collateral

Matt Widmyer:

damage that could come down the road.

Matt Widmyer:

I think the most important thing is just to get a gauge on what they want to do,

Matt Widmyer:

where they want their career to head.

Matt Widmyer:

There's a linear path here for the entry-level reps, they moved

Matt Widmyer:

to senior, and then they moved to sales, or they can do more training

Matt Widmyer:

if that's what their strong suit is.

Matt Widmyer:

But I think just giving them a vision of where the team's headed and right

Matt Widmyer:

now we're headed into a good place.

Matt Widmyer:

So it's a little bit easier for me to give that vision.

Matt Widmyer:

But just letting them know that, "Hey we're going places and you

Matt Widmyer:

know you're on the bus as long as you continue to put your head down

Matt Widmyer:

and work hard and ask questions."

Matt Widmyer:

If you aren't doing well that's fine cause everyone goes through difficult times.

Matt Widmyer:

I still remember back as an SDR myself three days in a row of not getting an

Matt Widmyer:

appointment you go to really dark places.

Matt Widmyer:

Now I'm able to sympathize, empathize a little bit, and just be like,

Matt Widmyer:

"Hey, look I've been there before, it's not easy but chop the day up."

Matt Widmyer:

And I can give a little advice a little things I tried before if you're just

getting crushed on the phones:

go get something to eat, take a walk around

getting crushed on the phones:

the building, or something you know.

getting crushed on the phones:

I see all of the stuff that I've gone through myself and I see

getting crushed on the phones:

them going through and it's just kind of refreshing because I know

getting crushed on the phones:

it wasn't like a just me thing.

getting crushed on the phones:

It comes with the territory, so it's cool to be able to offer

getting crushed on the phones:

that from that side of things.

getting crushed on the phones:

I think that's where I do have a little bit of an advantage managing

getting crushed on the phones:

this team because I've actually sat in the seat before doing it for so long.

Kevin Dieny:

Yeah I think that does help and I think you come at it

Kevin Dieny:

with a perspective that at first comes with a bit more empathy before

Kevin Dieny:

you know stick to your numbers, why are you down, what's going on.

Kevin Dieny:

That does lead me to wondering how important is it for your

Kevin Dieny:

team to know the numbers?

Kevin Dieny:

To know how they're measured, what's important, what's okay?

Kevin Dieny:

Like, is calling a hundred people without an appointment or without a result

Kevin Dieny:

that you're going for is that okay?

Kevin Dieny:

How important is it for your team to know the numbers you're tracking

Kevin Dieny:

and how they're being measured?

Matt Widmyer:

Sure, so in any situation really for any job, if

Matt Widmyer:

you're going to lay out expectations you gotta manage to them, right?

Matt Widmyer:

If you feel like somebody is fully onboard and those expectations aren't being met

Matt Widmyer:

that's something that we need to address.

Matt Widmyer:

Luckily we have a nice little dashboard in Salesforce our CRM and they're able to see

Matt Widmyer:

every metric that they're responsible for.

Matt Widmyer:

They're able to see at any given time just by going to that page and hit it refresh.

Matt Widmyer:

I think at most places this is a basic function but to all of them they say

Matt Widmyer:

it seems like the coolest thing in the world which is cool for me to hear.

Matt Widmyer:

It's almost like we're living in the future here but to know

Matt Widmyer:

exactly where you're at, how you stack up against everybody else.

Matt Widmyer:

Because expectations, they have to just come out of thin air

Matt Widmyer:

until we see what's realistic.

Matt Widmyer:

And then we can adjust and we have to decide does this make sense,

Matt Widmyer:

does this do, are we on metric?

Matt Widmyer:

Does this add up into our team goal?

Matt Widmyer:

If it does then that's the expectation.

Matt Widmyer:

If we fall short we need to work on identifying what aspect we're falling

Matt Widmyer:

short on and then manage to that.

Matt Widmyer:

If I see somebody making a hundred phone calls every single day and usually not

Matt Widmyer:

getting any appointments and then it's whatever they're saying on the phone.

Matt Widmyer:

We look at connections too, are we even connecting with anybody who's

Matt Widmyer:

capable of committing to it appointment.

Matt Widmyer:

If we aren't, then we're having gatekeeper issues usually.

Matt Widmyer:

If we're connecting with a ton of people and not getting appointments

Matt Widmyer:

then we're botching whatever it is that we say on the phone to them.

Matt Widmyer:

It's called training right?

Matt Widmyer:

Which, I don't disappear when new people start so even though the call training

Matt Widmyer:

is a lot on the accountability partner or the senior SDR level I'm always

Matt Widmyer:

available for that kind of stuff too.

Matt Widmyer:

I'll make phone calls, I'll listen to phone calls, and we can usually pinpoint

Matt Widmyer:

out exactly what we need to address.

Matt Widmyer:

If the efforts all there and the results aren't, it's usually nine times out of

Matt Widmyer:

ten, it's either a gatekeeper issues or it's just whatever they're saying to

Matt Widmyer:

the actual decision maker on the phone.

Matt Widmyer:

Every once in a while it will be a list that we thought was a

Matt Widmyer:

lot better than it actually was.

Matt Widmyer:

It'll sometimes happen with a brand new initiative, if it's the actual list

Matt Widmyer:

itself it might need a little bit more cultivating from whoever manages the

Matt Widmyer:

partnership, or whoever got the list.

Matt Widmyer:

So it's an ongoing process.

Kevin Dieny:

I can totally see that and I also like that the things

Kevin Dieny:

you're doing to track your performance of the team, there's layers there.

Kevin Dieny:

Where you're tracking the performance of each individual person and the

Kevin Dieny:

metrics in-between are telling you what needs to be worked on.

Kevin Dieny:

You mentioned if any one of these metrics is falling short you know what

Kevin Dieny:

conversation to have, what to focus on.

Kevin Dieny:

Whether that's the conversation itself, whether that's seeing who they're calling,

Kevin Dieny:

what kind of conversation they're leading in with, what they're saying on the phone

Kevin Dieny:

listening to some recordings, having a one-on-one time with them that's helping

Kevin Dieny:

you to know what's going on with them.

Kevin Dieny:

Now that the improvement itself is where I want to go next,

Kevin Dieny:

which is incentivizing the team.

Kevin Dieny:

How do you quickly boost the motivation or the improvement

Kevin Dieny:

of your team, how could you?

Matt Widmyer:

Quickly boost the motivation or improvement...

Matt Widmyer:

yeah, so there's a number of ways.

Matt Widmyer:

One way is just straight up bribery by using gift cards and stuff like that.

Kevin Dieny:

That you do use?

Matt Widmyer:

Yeah I do, yeah, and now this might not be practical for

Matt Widmyer:

every business but even just praise, acknowledgement, walking over their

Matt Widmyer:

desk, "Hey, you're killing it today!"

Matt Widmyer:

That's enough for most businesses.

Matt Widmyer:

And it was enough before we started doing gift cards but I just felt like

Matt Widmyer:

adding that layer into it on top of that.

Matt Widmyer:

It doesn't mean the praise stops, the praise is still there, it

Matt Widmyer:

doesn't have to be anything crazy.

Matt Widmyer:

You don't have to give away $500 at a time.

Matt Widmyer:

$10 Starbucks card, 25 bucks here and there a couple of times a week.

Matt Widmyer:

That's enough to keep people motivated.

Matt Widmyer:

There's individual, there's team contests, there's challenges where,

Matt Widmyer:

"Hey, I bet you can't do this."

Matt Widmyer:

And then if they do then they get a gift card.

Matt Widmyer:

Sometimes I don't even tell them I'm having a contest and I just walk

Matt Widmyer:

over and hand somebody a gift card because I was having a contest without

Matt Widmyer:

telling them I was having a contest.

Matt Widmyer:

So secret contest will work pretty good too.

Matt Widmyer:

There's a number of things but I think one of the one of the

Matt Widmyer:

most successful one of the most engaging one is like a point system.

Matt Widmyer:

So for every call you make you get one point, for every appointment

Matt Widmyer:

that you set you get 10 points.

Matt Widmyer:

And then at the end of the day you have to set a cutoff time.

Matt Widmyer:

But at the end of the day at that cutoff time we tally up the points and

Matt Widmyer:

then it's the points are all based on what it was being entered in the CRM.

Matt Widmyer:

And then whoever gets the most points wins and there's no, "Oh,

Matt Widmyer:

I didn't get it in in time!"

Matt Widmyer:

Well, too bad because that was the cutoff time.

Matt Widmyer:

The points are the points, right?

Matt Widmyer:

You have to just be very black and white with contests like that.

Matt Widmyer:

And then every time you do run a contest like that there's going to

Matt Widmyer:

be one or two things that come up.

Matt Widmyer:

"Well, oh, I didn't, I didn't, I clocked in late or I had

Matt Widmyer:

another couple of phone calls."

Matt Widmyer:

So you have to account for everything and you're going to keep modifying

Matt Widmyer:

and adjusting and creating new rules based on every time you do it.

Matt Widmyer:

But it ends up being pretty advanced after a while.

Kevin Dieny:

I know some of the contests that you've run over there

Kevin Dieny:

and I know the impact it has in some comradery, some competitiveness.

Kevin Dieny:

It does align well with the emotion that exists over there.

Kevin Dieny:

Matt has an area of our office where his team operates and it's

Kevin Dieny:

definitely has a different feel.

Kevin Dieny:

Everyone there is trying to push.

Kevin Dieny:

It does take a lot out of you emotionally.

Kevin Dieny:

A day can start out well and then go bad like you mentioned just a few

Kevin Dieny:

days of things not going great has a pretty severe emotional, mental impact.

Kevin Dieny:

So let's flip the question how do you disincentivize or how do you

Kevin Dieny:

keep people using the processes and productivity you have in place?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you make sure that they're having the right kinds of conversations

Kevin Dieny:

or keep them on the right path here?

Matt Widmyer:

Keeping them on the right path in terms of the

Matt Widmyer:

conversations that they're...

Matt Widmyer:

you're talking about outside of contests?

Kevin Dieny:

Yeah, like how do you disincentivize the wrong things?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you keep the behaviors you don't want happening from happening?

Kevin Dieny:

How do you try to continually reinforce the right stuff and so

Kevin Dieny:

that they don't get off track?

Matt Widmyer:

Got it, if somebody is performing and then they're no

Matt Widmyer:

longer performing or they haven't performed in awhile, we will have more

Matt Widmyer:

of a serious conversation with them.

Matt Widmyer:

First things first, this is about you, and you're in a performance-based role.

Matt Widmyer:

This is why it's so important at the beginning, day one, just to go

Matt Widmyer:

so clear clearly over expectations.

Matt Widmyer:

Because then when performance related conversations happen you

Matt Widmyer:

know what you signed up for, right?

Matt Widmyer:

And we talked about this week one and I can confidently say that

Matt Widmyer:

to anybody out there right now.

Matt Widmyer:

And if someone's not performing, hey we talked about this, we

Matt Widmyer:

knew, you know this was coming.

Matt Widmyer:

Usually if you see something start derailing we have all the metrics tracked

Matt Widmyer:

on a dashboard, so as you see things start steering in a way they shouldn't

Matt Widmyer:

be steering you have the ability to still grab the wheel and steer it in the right

Matt Widmyer:

direction before it gets to that point.

Matt Widmyer:

But if it's someone who you've been working with and they used to have it

Matt Widmyer:

and they lost it or they've never had it, then yeah if they're working a really warm

Matt Widmyer:

affiliate they could be pulled off of it.

Matt Widmyer:

We do improvement plans over the period of a month and if they don't

Matt Widmyer:

improve then they may be terminated.

Matt Widmyer:

I don't like to hover that over anybody's head like, "Hey, if you

Matt Widmyer:

don't do your job you're gone," but that is the reality of it.

Matt Widmyer:

There's a reason why we're paying everybody to be in a seat.

Matt Widmyer:

It's because there's an expectation of performance.

Matt Widmyer:

So if that's not there we can't justify the spend on a seat.

Matt Widmyer:

Before it gets to that point we will address it well before

Matt Widmyer:

it gets to that point usually.

Matt Widmyer:

I've learned over the years is you can't save everybody but there are some people

Matt Widmyer:

that you can turn around and we've done a pretty good job with a few of them out

Matt Widmyer:

here, and they're still here today too.

Kevin Dieny:

I don't feel that as someone who looks onto your team I don't feel

Kevin Dieny:

that there's any sort of animosity there or that there's anyone who has overly

Kevin Dieny:

complicated conflicts with each other.

Kevin Dieny:

There's some pretty good teamwork going on with everyone there even though

Kevin Dieny:

there might be pods of people who are on teams and other people on other teams.

Kevin Dieny:

Things are kept light enough and friendly enough and everyone's

Kevin Dieny:

on aligned and on the same kind of page they're on your team too.

Kevin Dieny:

Everyone knows what's expected and everyone's trying to do that, and

Kevin Dieny:

I've been over there where they walk over and they'll share, "Hey

Kevin Dieny:

this is working for me or whatever."

Kevin Dieny:

The openness of being able to have that environment where people can share and

Kevin Dieny:

move forward together is pretty great.

Kevin Dieny:

It's not if I'm successful it means someone else in the other on the team

Kevin Dieny:

isn't, everyone's working together towards similar and shared goals.

Kevin Dieny:

So, final question for you here sort of to wrap it up a little bit is, the call

Kevin Dieny:

handler oftentimes is the frontline.

Kevin Dieny:

They are the one having the one-to-one conversations with somebody.

Kevin Dieny:

The phone is a pretty expensive seat, every second they're on a

Kevin Dieny:

conversation they're really can only be talking to one person.

Kevin Dieny:

They can't have a window open with 10 call conversations

Kevin Dieny:

happening, it's not possible.

Kevin Dieny:

So it's an expensive touch point for a business to have with its consumers.

Kevin Dieny:

And if they mess that up it can cause people to get upset.

Kevin Dieny:

I've heard a lot of stories where people were mistreated or rude on the phone and

Kevin Dieny:

it sends someone away from the business.

Kevin Dieny:

So it seems to me to be a really really important role for a business to focus on.

Kevin Dieny:

So if you're the type of business that hasn't really spent a whole lot of time,

Kevin Dieny:

hasn't focused on coaching, mentoring, providing the assistance, or maybe the

Kevin Dieny:

type of management you may want to your front office, your call handlers, your

Kevin Dieny:

secretary, whoever it is that's managing your phones what would you say to them?

Kevin Dieny:

Why would you say the call handler is so important to a business?

Matt Widmyer:

They're the first impression that business gets usually.

Matt Widmyer:

So, if somebody is wanting something and they're inquiring and as you

Matt Widmyer:

know it's not cheap to get the phone to ring in the first place.

Matt Widmyer:

If somebody on the front lines botches a phone call it's not a good look.

Matt Widmyer:

It can go a lot further than just that one sale.

Matt Widmyer:

It can destroy any future sales opportunities for that prospect.

Matt Widmyer:

It can destroy it, if it's bad enough that they could start talking to their friends,

Matt Widmyer:

"Hey don't do business with CallSource."

Matt Widmyer:

It could end up being pretty bad.

Matt Widmyer:

We as a business, and here's the plug here we actually have all of our inbound calls

Matt Widmyer:

are recorded through a tracking number and through our tracking number we do

Matt Widmyer:

drink our own Kool-Aid here at CallSource.

Matt Widmyer:

So through our tracking numbers those calls are being recorded and

Matt Widmyer:

play a disclaimer and everything.

Matt Widmyer:

Each call handler that picks up the phone is scored on their call.

Matt Widmyer:

So, there are things that need to be mentioned on every single call.

Matt Widmyer:

The call needs to be answered a certain way and we need to

Matt Widmyer:

be asking the right questions.

Matt Widmyer:

What's the person's name, what's their contact information, what's their phone

Matt Widmyer:

number, what is the problem they're trying to solve for within their business?

Matt Widmyer:

Are there next steps?

Matt Widmyer:

There's a laundry list of probably 30 different things and they're

Matt Widmyer:

all yes no very objective things.

Matt Widmyer:

It would be pretty tough to get a hundred percent on every single call, but if

Matt Widmyer:

somebody is very far away from that, then I'll have a conversation with them.

Matt Widmyer:

We have the ability to pull them off of inbound leads, from fielding

Matt Widmyer:

inbound leads which would be a lot harder to hit their numbers that way.

Matt Widmyer:

That's the light warning like, hey you need to get your scores up.

Matt Widmyer:

Opting to be able to field inbound leads you're taking some of the

Matt Widmyer:

outbound workload off yourself.

Matt Widmyer:

Therefore you need to abide by this scorecard.

Matt Widmyer:

Every single one of them, I think, has it printed out and put it on their desk.

Matt Widmyer:

Every box they need to check.

Matt Widmyer:

The only issue with that though is when you first introduce it they just

Matt Widmyer:

go down the list like a checklist, and, hey do you do this, do you

Matt Widmyer:

do that, what's this, what's that.

Matt Widmyer:

Making those key points as conversation points into a back and

Matt Widmyer:

forth dialogue is the tricky part.

Matt Widmyer:

So there's an art to it but they all get better at it over time.

Matt Widmyer:

Everyone here has been on the team for awhile.

Matt Widmyer:

They're all pretty good at answering the phone.

Matt Widmyer:

Nobody's score is like glaringly bad to where we need to have performance

Matt Widmyer:

related conversation as it pertains to it.

Matt Widmyer:

But that is a must If you're spending money and get your phones to ring

Matt Widmyer:

measuring the performance that people are picking up is a must.

Kevin Dieny:

Okay, so let me try to summarize a little bit here.

Kevin Dieny:

The first one that we talked about before was the importance

Kevin Dieny:

of setting expectations, right?

Kevin Dieny:

And delegation making sure that they have all the tools they need to succeed.

Kevin Dieny:

The second one was walking them through the processes walking them through

Kevin Dieny:

productivity and making sure that they know what they need to do, what's expected

Kevin Dieny:

of them but also how they're measured.

Kevin Dieny:

Making sure that you're having those conversations with them.

Kevin Dieny:

You've just also highlighted that managing successful call handlers it doesn't have

Kevin Dieny:

to be so intensive, consume all your time.

Kevin Dieny:

It is doable.

Kevin Dieny:

And if you utilize a tool that scores the calls for you, shows you who's

Kevin Dieny:

trending up or trending down that can save you a lot of time from having

Kevin Dieny:

to listen to the calls yourself.

Kevin Dieny:

Bringing them in right, setting the expectations right, giving them the

Kevin Dieny:

right environment, delegating some of those things to other people

Kevin Dieny:

and your team and the training to other tools that could help.

Kevin Dieny:

All those things help you manage the call handlers.

Kevin Dieny:

We talked about incentivizing the right behaviors.

Kevin Dieny:

Starting with empathy, rewarding with gift cards or with praise or finding something

Kevin Dieny:

with each unique person that would help them feel motivated to keep going.

Kevin Dieny:

It's part of the call handler trade to have the rollercoaster emotions

Kevin Dieny:

of up and down, and success and not success, and this list works great

Kevin Dieny:

but I need to go to another list.

Kevin Dieny:

That's tough, a lot of that you don't have a whole lot of control

Kevin Dieny:

of and that doesn't ever feel good.

Kevin Dieny:

So as the manager, managing that, helping them getting their legs and helping them

Kevin Dieny:

move forward in the right direction.

Kevin Dieny:

Another thing you mentioned somewhere in the middle, being able to know

Kevin Dieny:

the numbers, being able to know what to improve with each call handler,

Kevin Dieny:

looking at the team as a whole keeping that process very transparent...

Kevin Dieny:

That to me, connects the dots of setting the expectations and then like you

Kevin Dieny:

mentioned, managing what you're preaching.

Kevin Dieny:

So was there anything else you wanted to add to all of this Matt?

Matt Widmyer:

Yeah I would say just to add to the daily motivation or

Matt Widmyer:

keeping the temperament of each individual SDR is so important.

Matt Widmyer:

Right?

Matt Widmyer:

Because the emotional roller coaster, you have one day where you just

Matt Widmyer:

blow away expectations and then you have another day where you connect

Matt Widmyer:

with a bunch of people and you strike out every single one of them.

Matt Widmyer:

"Nah, we're too busy," or every single call goes bad.

Matt Widmyer:

My advice it's gonna happen, and I always let all my people know do not get

Matt Widmyer:

too excited on those really good days.

Matt Widmyer:

Don't walk around beating your chest because when those really bad days

Matt Widmyer:

come it could come back to haunt you.

Matt Widmyer:

But also try to stay away from those dark places.

Matt Widmyer:

Continue to put your head down and work hard and then you can

Matt Widmyer:

work your way out of a hole.

Matt Widmyer:

Hot streaks go cold, cold streaks go hot.

Matt Widmyer:

It's just a by-product of the role itself.

Matt Widmyer:

Everybody comes through the door a little bit soft and then after a few weeks

Matt Widmyer:

they'll there'll be carved out of wood.

Matt Widmyer:

It's kinda how the role goes.

Matt Widmyer:

I would make the roller coaster a little bit more even rather than just

Matt Widmyer:

like you know you want to keep the you don't want to keep the highs super high

Matt Widmyer:

and you don't want to you don't want to have the lowest super low either.

Matt Widmyer:

Because then that can really mess with their mindset on a day-to-day basis right?

Kevin Dieny:

Yeah that's really tough.

Kevin Dieny:

And the call handler is so important to the business.

Kevin Dieny:

They're the front lines oftentimes and they set the stage for what could

Kevin Dieny:

be months or years of revenue for the business, it's really important.

Kevin Dieny:

And every business can successfully manage successful call handlers.

Kevin Dieny:

They can do it.

Kevin Dieny:

You can.

Kevin Dieny:

You've showed me not every person may not be cut out for being the

Kevin Dieny:

best call handler in the world but everyone does bring something unique

Kevin Dieny:

and every call handler is unique.

Kevin Dieny:

So it is possible to manage them if you can onboard them right, set

Kevin Dieny:

expectations as you mentioned right.

Kevin Dieny:

You can train them help them know what they need to improve on continually.

Kevin Dieny:

You can hold on to them and retain them so that your business can

Kevin Dieny:

grow, can make the call handling part of it, not a bottleneck, not a

Kevin Dieny:

thing anchoring the business down.

Kevin Dieny:

Call handlers are very important and you can manage successful call handlers.

Kevin Dieny:

So that's it for today, thank you again Matt.

Matt Widmyer:

Absolutely.

Kevin Dieny:

And I appreciate everyone for listening.

Kevin Dieny:

Go out there and set some appointments or bring in those

Kevin Dieny:

calls and answer those calls.

Kevin Dieny:

We really appreciate you listening, thank you!

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