Question

Topic: Research/Metrics

Telephone Interviews To Gauge Customer Satisfactio

Posted by christine on 250 Points
I have been approaced by a well known insurance group to handle their telephonic interviews, which are roughly 1000 interviews per month. The interviewer will call after the customer has bought a policy or a claim, to find out how satisfied they were with the service, no more than 10 questions, and to get to a NPS.
What would you charge per interview? We have the software for the actual platform, but not the people, so I would need to employ 2-3 people for this job, and manage the process. Is there a per interview cost, or a daily rate, or a monthly rate with a management fee? I would really appreciated your help
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RESPONSES

  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    I did some of this kind of work, and I charged per conversation.

    Unfortunately, getting paid for the work you do on the telephone can be quite a hassle. And it really is a shame, since the information you collect from customer surveys can be incredibly valuable.

    (By the way, my personal preference was to ask open-ended questions and to let people talk. I tried to be more interested in their perspective rather than trying to fit them into some predetermined list of potential opinions. However, your client most likely will expect close ended questions with some sort of numerical ranking.)

    (I have some experience supervising telephone surveyors, but I was not involved in the business side of that. )

    It seems to me your best strategy will depend upon your relationship with this insurance carrier. Are you the preferred vendor? Do you have some sort of a leg up on the competition? Or are you primarily competing with others on price?

    Will these calls be placed to home numbers? If so, do you have predictive dialing equipment?

    I'm sorry I can't provide more help for relevant information. My efforts focused on business-to-business calls, calling on targeted accounts, nurturing leads over time.

    And people do not like my rates, and did not like my billing structure. Ninety-five percent of my prospects refused to pay my rates under my terms. And that was okay with me, because I was plenty busy. Don't be afraid to walk away from this opportunity. There are dozens of telemarketing firms who specialize in this kind of work, who already have the staff in the building structure and the software and the ability to monitor calls. maybe you could partner with one of them.

    Again, I'm not sure how much I can help, but I'd be more than happy to talk to you by phone if you like. No charge. Click on my username and send me an email.

    Good luck, and take care.
  • Posted by christine on Author
    Thank you so much for your input. I am waiting now to get an appointment with the Procurement department of this Insurance company, then I can gauge what it is they want. Thanks for the offer to call you which I may do once I have more info. What were your rates by the way per conversation? This client says he needs 1000 telephone interviews per month, and he reckons two people could do this?
    What do you think?
  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    Ten years ago, the market rate for business-to-business telephone work was somewhere in the twenty-five dollars an hour to thirty-five dollars per hour range. I charge forty dollars an hour, in advance. Most people didn't like that. That was okay with me.

    Companies will use their payment schedules and policies as a form of control. Most people who work on the telephone are not naturally pushy or aggressive or intrusive, but far too often very incentivized and trained to be that way. My niche was to provide "prospect centered marketing" where I tried to make this sort of phone call that I would want to receive myself.

    I believe you can still see my old website, www.persist.biz , via the wayback machine. there are a great many things I would do differently today. But my old rates are there, you want to take a look.

    Regarding being paid in advance, many people (including the majority on this forum) will say that you should never pay in advance. But here's a little dose of reality, at least, reality as it was ten years ago. A service oriented company such as a telemarketing company would often charge three times the rate of the person on the phone. And so, if you are paid twenty-five dollars an hour, the person on the phone was probably making about eight dollars an hour. If you pay one third upfront, you have paid one hundred percent of the direct cost of the project in advance. I would typically work between one and a half and two and a half hours for every hour billed, and so my "true" billing rate was in fact lower.

    And I was working on a number of small long-term projects, 10 to 20 hours per month, and so relatively larger percentage of my time per billable hour was needed for overhead administration and Reporting and so forth.

    My difference was, I was personally making the calls myself, and I had a bit more experience than your typical eight dollars per hour telemarketer.

    And so my experience doesn't really match up to this project. I only did one business to consumer project, and that was last century, when I was just getting started. But I'm trying to be as helpful as I can.

    Personally, if I'm presented with this opportunity, I would walk away. But the good news is that these are survey calls rather than sales calls. The good news is that you are calling existing customers.

    Somebody is going to have to take some form of a risk. We might think and hope and guess how much it will cost to hire and train people, how long it will take to conduct one thousand surveys, and so forth. Personally, I am risk-averse. If I were bidding on this project, it would be the insurance company risking their money, rather than me risking my house and business and marriage.

    If I were a marketing guru, I would try to position myself less as a person providing raw information, and more as a person evaluating and responding to the information. For example, any customer complaints should be addressed by things like additional sales force training. Any misunderstandings about terms and conditions should be addressed by better marketing collateral. Personally, since I don't have personal experience hiring and managing business to consumer telemarketers, I would partner with an existing telemarketing company (Preferably in a different state than my insurance company client) And I'll focus my efforts on schmoozing the insurance agency sales and marketing departments.

    Also, I would be very careful regulatory issues. I used to get a lot of inquiries from financial service companies, and I turned them all down, because I don't enjoy making those sort of phone calls, and I don't think anybody enjoys receiving that sort of phone call. But I did learn that there are very stringent regulations regarding communication about financial instruments. Does this also applies to the insurance industry? Are there limits to what a person can say on the phone if they are not a registered insurance agent? I don't know, but I would certainly want to look into that a bit more before I started doing any work in the industry.

    Again, I wish I could be more help. Good luck.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    The bottom line is that you charge what the market will bear. That means you have 2 things to figure out: 1) how much the competition charges and 2) what is the value of the information is for the client.

    To find out how much the competition charges, start by looking online for your competition. For example: http://www.stewartkirkresearch.co.uk/PDF/approximatecosts.pdf (different market) and http://www.surveypractice.org/article/3168-the-changing-costs-of-random-dig... (survey).

    The value for the client isn't in the number of hours you put in, but the number of completed calls. Only a percentage of the calls you make will produce the data (what's in it for the person to spend their time helping you?). So, you need to determine your likely rate of success, and then work backwards to figure out your costs (including overhead, reporting, billing). Then determine a minimum profit. That's your bottom line, and negotiate up from there.
  • Posted by christine on Author
    Dear Telemoxie and Jay Hamilton-Roth, thank you both enormously for your help. It really has given me so much to work with, and a better understanding of how to go about this project, when I eventually get the appointment!
    Have a great day - I am in South Africa, so no doubt you are sleeping or just waking up :)
  • Posted by christine on Author
    I eventually got the budget from this insurance company, which is less than what it would cost me to employ two tele-marketers to do the work. I wont be taking on this business, unless they increase their budget by quite a substantial amount.

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