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Focused Training Helps a Tier One Carrier Provider Achieve Quad Play Sales Success

Competition among mobile telecom operators is at an all-time high, with the added twist that providers are dealing with a saturated market in most developed countries. Mobile penetration in these countries has reached and even exceeded 100 percent, with provider growth coming primarily from subscriber defection from competitors.

This was the situation facing a leader in fixed telephone, cable television and broadband internet services. The company was a much smaller player in the mobile market, though, with less than 4 percent of potential customers signed up. The challenge was to increase penetration in a flat growth, saturated mobile market.

In this type of environment, retention is king. But if retention is king, “bundling” is its queen. An industry rule of thumb is that each service added to a subscriber’s bundle increases retention by 20 percent – so the firm that provides the most effective bundling opportunities will experience the least churn and customer defection, while attracting customers defecting from the competition.

Recognizing this reality, the provider knew its best mobile growth opportunities would come from integrating its mobile services with its “Triple Play” offerings of telephone, cable and internet. In 2011, the company launched an 18-month initiative that featured the cross-sell of mobile services to its wireline subscribers, with the added goal of maintaining consistency in the brand experience. The campaign would rely on direct mail and email to drive customers to inbound call centers, where agents would sign them up for the newly developed “Quad Play” of services.

From plan to execution

The telecom company worked with two external inbound contact center partners, and challenged them to meet new metrics for acquisition, conversion and sales per hour during their “Quad Play” initiative. One of these vendors chose to concentrate on training and improving the skills of middle-box performers.

Although they ultimately focused on moving middle-box performers up to top-box level, the vendor hit the ground running by starting with tenured top-box performers who were already familiar with the provider’s brand message and basic sales techniques.

During a 30-day period, groups of 15 agents, all nominated by a team lead, sales coach or quality agent, received training in advanced sales skills and company-specific programs. These hand-picked agents recognized that their selection and participation offered a real potential for career growth. Once trained, agents were monitored and given additional support or incentives, depending on their performance. At completion, they served as sales SMEs for their teams.

The next step was to introduce middle-box performing agents to the training – a calculated strategy that allowed the vendor to extend the value of the program while testing a hypothesis based on internal research. These studies, performed originally in CSAT-related scenarios, demonstrated there was a significantly higher return on moving mid-tier performers to the top box rather than following the more traditional (and often unsuccessful) path of attempting to convert bottom-box agents to mid-performing agents.

And the results were…

After just one quarter, this approach had already paid off, demonstrating these results:

  • Measurable improvement in mobile acquisition and contract cross-sell
  • Inbound conversion performance exceeded that of the other contact center vendor:
    • 7 percent higher total media acquisition
    • 30 percent higher mobile add conversion from current media subscribers
    • 2 percent total mobile subscriber conversions
  • Revenue improved 10.3 percent from the previous quarter, generating more than $635,000.
  • Average revenue per agent increased by 7.3 percent.
  • Total number of sales improved by 6 percent.

With these results in hand, the vendor believes its strategy of focusing on middle-box performers will build a much larger cadre of high performing sales agents in the long run, with a possible bonus of enhancing agent retention – and that’s a real home run!