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Service-to-Sales Transformation at Contact Centers Hinges on Soft Skills
Date:9/18/2007

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Contact centers have been transformed into sales centers as part of the Service-to-Sales movement that has reps selling while conducting ongoing customer service. Across industries, companies are in agreement that soft skills are critical for converting service reps to sales producers, according to a study by benchmarking leader Best Practices, LLC.

Ninety-eight percent of the 57 companies in the study reported that the two categories most frequently taught to service-sales reps are fact- finding/probing skills and soft skills (relationship building, stress tolerance and assertiveness), according to the research. Ninety-four percent of participating companies also rated the soft skill of active listening as the most important success factor for service-sales reps, according to the research.

The study, "Transforming Contact Centers into High-Performing Sales Channels: Building Service that Sustains Sales," showcases key learnings from a detailed benchmark survey of 57 companies and in-depth interviews with contact center executives. A complimentary summary of the research is available online at http://www3.best-in-class.com/rr856.htm .

Contact center executives and managers across multiple industries can use this research to compare their center's services and sales readiness, training programs and staff management approaches. The study probes four broad areas: Staff Selection Practices, Training and Development Practices, Process Management Insights and Process and Performance Management Factors.

The report delivers almost 100 innovative and effective practices and 341 metrics. Some of the findings to emerge from the study include:

-- Interviewed executives identified clear benefits to staffing with

incumbent employees. For example, a senior vice president in operations

at a financial service company noted that staffing with incumbents

allows the firm to cut initial agent training by more than half.

-- Benchmark partners said agents who sell and cross-sell successfully

experience significant salary increases. In some contact centers, high

performers have the potential to double their base salaries from a

typical salary of around $20,000 to around $40,000 through cross sales.

-- A partner in the banking industry follows a 6-week service training

class with a 2 to 4-week integration period where new hires take live

calls with "walkers" close by to help out and provide coaching.

To learn more key findings from this comprehensive report, visit http://www3.best-in-class.com/rr856.htm .

To learn more about Best Practices' other research, visit: http://www3.best-in-class.com or contact Cameron Tew at 0919-767-9245 or ctew@best-in-class.com.

ABOUT BEST PRACTICES, LLC

Best Practices, LLC, conducts work based on the simple yet profound principle that organizations can chart a course to superior economic performance by studying the best business practices, operating tactics and winning strategies of world-class companies. Best Practices, LLC has been a leader in benchmark research and consulting for nearly 15 years.


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SOURCE Best Practices, LLC
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