C is for Career

image by rebecca loose

pictured: my desk at work featuring my cute paperchase calculator, Farhana banana eating a banana, the day I only had 2 customer service calls

I often struggle to explain my job to people, partly because it’s such a love/hate thing. When I do speak about what I do, I’ve noticed that the things I say are only ever extremely positive or extremely negative.

If you would have asked me one year ago what I thought I’d be doing when I graduate, I wouldn’t have thought going back to sales and marketing would have been likely. I worked in sales when I was back in college (age 17-18.) It was outbound calling for a window company who also operate door-to-door sales as well which I have heard is equally as awful. The job was truly vile; the company was real dodgy and many of the numbers being called were registered on the telephone preference service which makes it illegal to attempt a cold call. Both the St Albans and Harpenden branches were closed down resulting in the loss of over 100 jobs.

In June 2014, I returned to the sales sector as an inbound sales agent in a very new environment. Leicester inbound are the top selling sales department for TalkTalk, often converting above 50%. Working in an inbound centre can be very high pressure and fast paced as every call coming through needs to be made into a sale. Every day is different but in every 10 calls there’s usually 2-5 customer service calls, 1-2 easy sales (walk ins as we call them) and 3-6 opportunities to sell. On these calls, you need to ensure you follow the solution sales model in which you identify the customers needs and pitch them a phone, broadband and tv package that’s going to suit them and save them money. Some customers will want to think about it, speak to their partner or sign up through a third party offering a lower price. Finding a solution to the customers concerns and handling these objections results in a sale where we then need to conduct a credit check and set up a direct debit (more chances to lose the sale if the customer fails the credit check or doesn’t have their bank details to hand.)

We get paid a basic salary as well as a high hourly rate for doing as much overtime we want (min 15 hours) and we also earn daily and monthly bonuses. On average we work around 55 hours a week in order to ensure we hit all metrics of the bonus scheme including the minimum of 110 calls. Ultimately we do work very hard but we get paid well for it so it balances fairly well. 

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