Telco Staff Training: Nearly Everything You Need to Know

Whitepaper Cover

Today’s telco customers visit stores in search of an incredible experience. Do your salespeople have the skills to deliver?

For the telco salesperson, the stakes have never been higher. The quality of their performance impacts how customers feel about the business, how much money they spend, and whether they will return in the future. And one false move can send the customer running to the competition.

And yet, many telcos fail to prepare their salespeople for their roles. To be successful, telcos need to invest in staff training to ensure peak performance and profitability.

Contents

  1. How to Make Customer Experience Your Best Differentiator
  2. What Does the Perfect Salesperson Look Like?
  3. How to Create a Winning Training Program
  4. What to Look for When Recruiting New Staff

1. How to Make Customer Experience Your Best Differentiator

Customer experience is all the rage these days – and for a good reason. Competition is high, options are endless, and consumers have more spending power than ever before. It’s been said a million times and it still reigns true: customer experience is your business’ best differentiator.

A performing a transaction in a store.

The Importance of Customer Experience

The experience that your customers have will make or break your business. A good experience nearly ensures the customer will return; a bad one, and you may lose that customer forever.

According to Gartner, 64% of people say customer experience is more important than price.

That’s huge!

While there are many factors that impact experience, the largest is the performance of staff. 68% of customers said that a pleasant representative was key to their recent positive service experiences, and 62% said that a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key.

The cost of a bad experience is high and is likely to send customers running into the arms of your competitors. 51% of customers say after one negative experience, they will never do business with that company again.

So, despite craving a great experience, this is where many telcos let their customers down the most.

A group of people sitting at a table meeting.

Telco’s Experience Problem

Telco has an indisputable customer experience problem. In 2019, Marketing Week benchmarked customer experience across 15 industries in the UK. The telco industry’s results were uninspiring with a barely positive Net Promotor Score of just +2. Water, energy and logistics were the only industries who scored lower.

There are several reasons for this, including high staff turnover, a complex product set, and a general lack of experience.

Knowing how important staff performance is to customer experience, it’s imperative that telcos instill their salespeople with the skills and experience they need. Fortunately, the answer to this situation is simple: industry and role-specific training.

A sales person showing a customer a mobile device.

What Makes a Great Experience?

Here’s some additional content that might help you make sense of this employee-customer experience-success love triangle:

Apple: Retail Do Or Don’t?

Ahhh, Apple. The retail golden child no more?  

Apple has long been an inspiration for retailers across the world, but during a recent experience, we’re wondering if they’ve lost their magic touch.

In this blog, Will Gibson describes his infuriating staff interactions at a Dubai Apple store, and questions how long the company can rely solely on their name.

Think You Can Get Away with Your Old In-Store Systems? Think Again.

There is one more element that is key to a salesperson’s performance that unfortunately is entirely out of their hands: the systems they use to process transactions.

It’s not uncommon for a telco to use up to 30 different systems to process a simple sale. When these are poorly integrated, transactions become cumbersome, and the use of new digital tools is limited.

In this blog, Will Gibson recounts his uninspiring experience at one the largest tech retailers in the U.K.,  which perfectly illustrates the intersection between staff training and store systems.

2. What Does the Perfect Salesperson Look Like?

A salesperson’s behaviour has a huge impact on customer experience. So much so that, about one in three people say the most important aspect of customer service is speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent.

A great salesperson also affects whether customers will return in the future. 73% of customers say that friendly employees or customer service representatives make memorable experiences that keep them around.

Think back to your own past retail experiences. What did you think of the sales associate? Did that have an impact on your experience? We bet it did.

Two people using a tablet in a retail store.

The 5 Essential Skills of a Great Salesperson

In the hyper-competitive telco environment, the following 5 skills are considered essential.

  • People Skills:  Great salespeople are highly perceptive of human behaviour. They understand the customer’s state of mind and tailor their interactions to encourage a positive outcome.
  • Self-Awareness:  Great salespeople understand their strengths and weaknesses and how their role fits into the overall store experience.
  • Can Recognize & Seize Opportunity:  Great salespeople find opportunity in every customer visit by solving pain points.
  • Knows How to Sell Effectively:  Great salespeople use advanced sales techniques to navigate objections and close a sale.
  • Industry Knowledge:  Great salespeople are experts in their industry and use their knowledge to facilitate a positive outcome.

It would be extremely rare to find someone off the street that possessed all of the aforementioned essential skills, let alone half of them. To be successful, telcos need to train, coach and inspire their staff to perform and achieve success in their role.

So, if you’re one of the 88% of companies that prioritize customer experience, you need to get serious about your salespeople’s behaviour.  

Examining Great Sales Behaviour in Action

Here is some additional content that shows how behaviours can enhance your retail environment and how they improve your customer experience:

How to Turn Every Store Visit into a Sales Opportunity

Selling has changed dramatically in recent years. Pushy sales tactics are out; consultative selling is in.  Customers don’t want to be “sold” to - they want salespeople to hear their concerns and solve their problems. Fortunately, this is exactly what a consultative approach does.

In this blog, learn the ins and outs of a consultative sales approach and how it helps salespeople uncover hidden opportunities.

How to Revolutionize your Training with NLP

Whether you realize it or not, there is a lot of psychological work at play when it comes to sales.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has long been used in life and personal coaching but has never been applied to retail – until now.

In this blog, Will Gibson explains how salespeople can leverage the principles of NLP to boost performance (Pro Tip:  Incorporate these elements into your sales training program for even better results!).

6 Things Your Telco Staff Must Do To Enable Incredible Customer Experiences

Retail expectations are at an all-time high. As the face of your brand, salespeople have big shoes to fill.

In this blog, we explore the 6 essential things telco salespeople should be doing to create a positive customer experience.

Telco Retail Needs A New RoboCop

As the world moves to a seamless, channel agnostic future where automated fulfilment can happen in any time or place, the role of the salesperson is more important than ever.

Telco needs a new RoboCop; a supercharged salesperson that can meet the demands of the modern retail environment.

In this blog, learn what a Telco RoboCop looks like, and how to bring out these qualities in your staff.

3. How to Create a Winning Training Program

Vince Lombard once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they’re made”. At Maplewave, we have our own version of this mantra: “Salespeople aren’t born, they’re made”.

A person writing notes on a piece of paper.

The Case for Training

Just as telcos can’t create memorable customer experiences without great salespeople, those salespeople can’t be great without the proper training.

And yet, far too many retail staff are thrown into the deep end with no experience, no training, no support, and are expected to provide five-star customer experiences. That’s ridiculous!

By not training their salespeople, retailers are self-sabotaging their customer experience, with U.S. companies losing more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.

Training programs pay off, both in terms of experience and profit. According to HR Magazine, companies that invest $1,500 on training per employee see an average of 24% more profit than companies who invest less.

A person writing in a notebook sitting in front of a computer.

Tips for Creating Your Telco Training Program

Here is some additional content that will help you create a new telco training program, or evaluate your current one:

The 3 Tools Your Salespeople Need to Be Successful

You couldn’t expect a chef to cook without ingredients, or ask a photographer to photograph with no camera – so why do we think a sales associate can sell without the right tools?

In this blog, you’ll learn about the 3 tools salespeople need to be successful, and how to supply them.

How to Delight Customers with Store Design and Staff Training

Just like no two customers are the same, no two store visits are the same. That’s why a great store design has designated areas to accommodate different types of transactions. But even the best designed stores are useless if telcos don’t train their staff how to use these environments to their full potential.  

In this blog, learn how to train staff to work with your store environment so they can create exceptional customer journeys.

4. What to Look for When Recruiting New Staff

So far, we’ve talked about the importance salespeople play in your retail environment, and how you can set them up for success. But there is one aspect we haven’t touched on yet - hiring.

Two people sitting across from each other at a table.

Making the Right Hire

As we’ve seen, salespeople have an immeasurable impact on your customer experience. So, selecting a new hire is a big decision.

Young, less-experienced workers are prominent in retail-based industries. According to the National Retail Federation, for 32% of Americans, a retail job was their first introduction to the workplace.

Chances are that your candidates will lack sales experience. Instead, telcos should recruit based on soft skills. Look for candidates who:

  • Love to learn and are quick to pick up new skills.
  • Have shown emotional intelligence and have worked with the public.
  • Are observant and detail oriented.
  • Have shown patience in challenging circumstances.

Two people using a mobile phone in a retail store.

The Cost of a Wrong Hire

Retail-based jobs have an extremely high turnover rate (60% according to the National Retail Federation), and hiring someone can cost up to 30% of the job’s salary. The cost of hiring the wrong candidate is astronomical.

To be successful, telcos need to hire the right people who will excel in a retail environment and deliver positive customer experiences.

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