About This Webinar
Sean Conners invites Lori Boyer from Hatch to co-host this live webinar with him, as they interview Megan Beattie from Tony Hoty.
Megan will be talking through the ways home improvement companies can lower their call center costs when it comes to the callers themselves, getting to the homeowner’s true intentions, and in looking into how to add the most value to a visit.
- How can hiring remote callers save your company money
- What are the best questions to uncover need, interest, & desire
- How to build the value of the visit and improve set/issue/demo rates
(20 min Read)
Sean Conners: Thank you guys all for joining us here today! This webinar today is all about lowering your call center costs and that can be done in many different ways. So this is kind of a continuation of a series of we’ve been doing all year here, about just creating efficiencies. Marketing costs are increasing and how do you lower your costs that are marketing costs and by creating more efficiencies in that process here. So Megan Beattie with Tony Hoty’s organization has joined us today.
So I’m super excited. Megan, thank you for jumping in. I want to have you introduce yourself in a moment. But first and foremost, I wanted to introduce Lori here. She’s the content marketing director from Hatch. Lori, I’d love for you just to tell us a little bit about your background and a little bit about Hatch.
Lori Boyer: “Yeah, you bet. I have been working with marketing and sales for the last 15 years. I’ve kind of really been dedicated to helping businesses, small businesses, medium sized businesses, large businesses do exactly what we’re talking about, get more sales, lower our costs, and really just be successful. Hatch is an awesome organization for call centers. We are a messaging and kind of communication platform, where we can take. So you’re not just doing phone calls, but you’re also doing text messages, email. We connect to your CRM, to your lead aggregators, and then we’re able to help automate and streamline a lot of those processes for you. So you get to those calls faster, you get to those leads faster, and you’re able to follow up to the sales process. We also have lots of great automation and workflow processes that you can use, to make sure that you’re getting your scripts right, and just a great opportunity for training and tools.”
Sean Conners: “Thank you. Yeah. Thanks, Lori, for joining us here today and Hatch is an amazing partner of ours here. So a little bit about me for you guys who don’t know if you joined us from Hatch’s list here as well, that I’m with Contractor Appointments. We do performance-based marketing, so we were a lead generator. Last month we generated about 80,000 homeowner requests for roofing, windows, baths, walk-in tubs, siding categories and solar.
So we work a little differently. So either on a lead or appointment basis, most of our customers are on a revenue share with us. So we send them the leads and they pay us a percentage, a guaranteed marketing cost, at the end of the day for all the leads that we send them. So if you’re looking for a good marketing partner, you’re looking for really more lead volume. That’s our goal.
So Megan, Megan’s a huge helping optimizing call centers and optimizing this process, and that’s why we do these webinars is because if you optimize the process, it kind of makes everything better for everybody. So, Megan, without further ado, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.”
Megan Beattie: “Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Sean, and nice to meet you as well, Lori. I’m excited to see what kind of questions we get and what kind of content comes out of today. So for those of you out there that that don’t know me or my story, basically, I’m a consultant with Tony Hoty Consulting, and I only became a consultant through many years of building a retail operation here in West Michigan. Built all the lead generation, all the scripting, some of the sales process and training that we use with our one-call-close Team. So I built a windows, siding, and metal roofing company here in Michigan for about 11 years. So I left there in 2021.
But really, you know, my claim to fame there was for the first five/ six years that I was there, we didn’t use any sort of traditional marketing. We didn’t do any TV, we didn’t do any direct mail, we didn’t even have a website, we had a website someone’s cousin made us first for many years, and then the day came where that was no longer effective and we did have to do something different.But the first five to six years,I spent building our lead generation off of old sweepstakes leads, door to door canvasing and special events marketing.And so we took a lot of people that were not your traditional “I’m shopping in the market right now”,and we brought them into the market.
We created and uncovered need that they had. And really, you know, a lot of those types of customers, we competed against apathy. It wasn’t that they didn’t have a project they were going to do. It’s that they were trying to put it off another year or two, right. And we were able to get in with effective scripting and really, you know, persuade the customer to have us out sooner rather than later.And that just created a massive amount of leads we were able to run for our sales team, and so we built our entire lead generation process on those outbound endeavors very early on. So then later on, we diversified more and we started to use lead aggregators.
And, you know, we got a professional website and Google SEO and TV and we diversified. But in the beginning, a lot of times a lot of business owners, you know, don’t have the resources to be able to spend all this money on, you know, big fancy advertising and lead generation campaigns.So you have to kind of work with what you have.And so you know, developing the scripting that was able to take these customers that weren’t in the market and bring them into the market, is really what I do now today, for many companies all over the country.
I’ve worked with over 30 multimillion dollar companies and been a great experience for me.I mean, I love getting in and working with other clients and just seeing you know, the changes in their business when they when they utilize effective conversion techniques, you know, whether it be lead aggregators, like Contractor Appointments, or it be web forms, or whatever the case may be, you know, there’s several steps that we can take in order to maximize our efficiency in those areas.
So, you know, getting into a company that I’ve never met before and working with their numbers and teaching them what good conversion numbers are and how we how we reach those goals, that’s really been a passion of mine. And so now I’m doing consulting full time. My husband and I also offer or we own a retail operation here in West Michigan ,and we own a fence company.So I’m out running leads daily. I’m out dealing with customers daily and as well as my consulting business.So kind of brings us to where we are today. And yeah, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.”
Sean Conners: Well, Megan, I think from the last conversation we had with you and all the things you do on a daily basis, I don’t I’m not sure how you fit it all in. So I appreciate you taking time here today and making this work. So Yeah. Again, the premise of today’s webinar is talking about how we can, how we lower the call center costs overall, but it starts with efficiencies.And I think, you know, Megan,I think from your experience and people on the call are at different stages of their business here too.
So there maybe that small business segment where theres still, you know, obviously the sweepstakes stuff and all that stuff, there’s, there’s still some of that, events that came back, and those leads are starting to come back in the door. But a lot of companies have maybe a lead list that’s been sitting around vacant that they, you know, that dormant that they haven’t done a whole lot with yet. And and that and some companies are heavily used utilizing lead aggregators like ourselves on a consistent basis, need to optimize that process.And there’s everywhere kind of in between companies.
It’s kind of starting off today. So let’s kind of dive in kind of first talking to those companies who already have a call center. You have a call center with multiple people right now, hiring is a big issue when it comes to local call center side of things. How can companies hire successfully hire remote? What are companies doing hiring remote to be able to save time and energy and money and just even from recruiting bandwidth right now to save call center costs? And what have you seen?
Megan Beattie: “That’s what a lot of people are. You know what we saw with when COVID happened, it kind of started there, right? Like before COVID, most call centers were not remote. Most of them had, you know, a room and office, whatever the case may be, where we fielded leads, where we set up leads for our sales team. And they operated heavily off of that model and then COVID hit. And what a lot of companies found out is that they weren’t able to do that anymore, right. And so a lot of companies moved to remote call center, which meant for some companies, they laid off half their call center and then had one or two or three key people working from home, really keeping the ship afloat, keeping the boat going. And we saw a lot of people doing that.
Now, once the COVID scale sort of tipped and people went back to working in-person, a lot of companies went back to their normal call center functionality. And then I also know a lot of them that said “why”, you know, they ended up saying, “but we’re getting results the way that we’re working remotely. So why on earth would we want all of the overhead to go back to a giant call center that we used to have?” And so, you know, one of the things to consider about about that scenario is there are pros and cons. No matter which way we decide to go, you know, if we stay with remote, the challenge normally is getting all of the team motivated and keeping them going and excited when they’re not in a team type of environment.
I’ve seen it done successfully, but again, it boils down ,really boils down to leadership. You know, do we have a good leader that is keeping all of the people working remotely on a daily video call? It’s getting them excited.Are we doing things, you know, first thing in the morning to get everybody on the same page, whether they’re working, you know, 20 miles away or 200 miles away, right. So but I do believe that there area lot of people searching for jobs in the job market right now. That remote is very, very attractive to them, you know, because when COVID did hit, so many people did go to remote and a lot of people got used to that. A lot of people started to build their lives around that, right. So what they do with their kids and their family all revolved around them working remotely. Well, it’s it’s then kind of tough to ask them to change their whole lifestyle again, right. And be able to come in and work in a big office.
So I’ve seen a lot of companies that just said we’re going we’re going to stay remote and it’s working for them.I’ve seen other companies that said we failed miserably going remote and we can’t wait to get back in the office.And part of that depends on your culture.You know, some companies just function better when they have everybody in the same space that they can motivate and get excited at the exact same time.And it’s less right it’s less work than calling five people individually at different homes and trying to get everybody excited at the same time. So there’s really pros and cons there. In terms of hiring, though, we do you know, we are finding a lot of people who want to do remote work now. So with the job market the way it is, which I’m sure everybody on the call probably already understands this, but, you know, right now we’re at a position in the job market that we’ve never been in before, which is there are far more jobs available right now, than there are candidates to fill them. And normally in our society, it’s been the opposite.
So now that we’re seeing that sort of flip, we have to be able to adjust as a business to say “How am I going to make my position attractive to today’s job seeker?” Right. And what a lot of companies mess up is it’s not just about the money and so many companies think it’s just about the pay structure. And well, don’t get me wrong, that’s part of it. And we do have to pay a competitive wage to get good people. What’s your culture like? What is the other opportunities that you offer the people that work for you other than just a paycheck? You know, there’s a lot of questions to ask yourself in terms of the value that you as an employer bring to the table. For the people that want to work for you, there has to be a certain level of value.
It’s something that I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk, who was an entrepreneur. He talks about how the company should always give 51% of the value and the employee should be giving 49% of the value because we should always stay a little bit ahead of the value that we’re giving versus the value the employee is giving. So that’s an important piece. I think that today remote is very attractive so if you do have that, I think that you have a leg up because a lot of people have all wanted to stick with remote after, after everything that happened with COVID.”
Lori Boyer: “I think that’s a great point. I was going to say my son just graduated from college as a software engineer and the same thing, he’s only looking for remote positions. He’s not even applying to non-remote positions, and there are plenty of opportunities. How much do you feel like Megan, the industry’s been hit in terms of trying to hire? How is the “great resignation” impacted all centers?”
Megan Beattie: “It’s definitely impacted it in a big way. But what I’ve seen is that the companies that have a hiring and recruiting process in place, they’re not struggling. It’s the companies that hire reactively, that are having a problem. And that’s never been more true than it is now. You know, one of the things that we always talk about it, Tony Hoty Consulting, is that “there’s never a bad day to find a superstar.”And unfortunately, many companies wait until they are already in sort of a desperation mode to start hiring. “Oh, we don’t have anyone now? We need someone.” You know, when we operate that way, we’re always operating from a position of ‘lack mentality’. We’re always going to be interviewing people in the realm of, “Oh, my man, I need to get someone in here quickly.” And that’s just not a good strategy to be able to fill a call center and keep and retain people.
We have to always be recruiting because again, there’s never a bad day to find the right person. A key person in your organization. But too often the companies that are struggling with this are the ones that don’t have any process. They just say, “Oh man, we should put some ads out”,and they pray for the phone to ring, right? They sit around and cross their fingers and and hope that, you know, the right candidate just stumbles onto their doorstep. And unfortunately, that’s not a process. You know, that is just what I call ‘winging it’, which will workin a certain capacity when the economy, you know, when it’s the opposite. And there are more candidates than jobs available, we can be pickier. We’re able to then, you know, maybe recruit a little bit more passively. But right now, the the companies that are recruiting passively don’t have staff. They just don’t.”
Sean Conners: “And so that’s a great point to bring up too, Lori. Yeah, absolutely. I think that that was I think the interesting thing I’ve heard here, too, is that depending on where you’re at in the country, the cost of living and just, you know, finding call center staff and then jobs like Amazon just moves into your location and offers everybody $15 an hour jobs for unskilled position. You know, like that’s a hard position and every retail outlet spending you know as a $15 wage or greater in major cities now like those those simple facts alone it’s like you either have to raise your ceiling so significantly of what you’re paying your callers to be competitive on price way on and just a wage one of the one of the unique things that we kind ofI’ve seen here too is that when companies are able to market their job position on a remote basis you’re not marketed and limited to Indeed or Zip Recruiter or all these different job boards to your local 30 mile radius of your location. You’re doing it nationally. So to give you an idea, we put a position out for remote works we’re all remote and our company we had 900 applicants to our job across the country. So again when if you want to be still in that pool of being able to go in and be able to really screen through and find the right candidate, the best candidate for your role and and stay at a competitive wage that works for your business, you kind of you have to cast that wider net in today’s market as well. So maybe Megan, kind of to that point as we kind of went into that is when it comes to hiring and it comes to you, one person was asking about just wage and compensation structure for remote contact center versus an in-person contact center, is have you seen companies compensate differently for remote employees than in-person employees, more for in-person because they have all the drive time and all that kind of stuff versus someone who is remote or what have you seen from a compensation, or the same?”
Megan Beattie: “Yeah, I think most of it’s hovering around the same. But I do believe that companies also believe that when someone’s remote, they can probably get away with paying them a little bit less. And I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best plan, but I’ve definitely seen that that is that is the case, unfortunately.But couple of things to think about. You know, compensation when people are remote. I’m a big fan of an hourly plus hourly or salary, whatever way your company wants to do things.
But I’m a big fan of compensating them with incentive-based goals, you know, and bonus structure that really speaks to their performance. And I think when they are remote, that’s even more important than when they’re in person. And that is because we are looking for self-motivated people. And so those people normally respond well to a pay structure that rewards them for their performance, right. And so when we’re able to incentivize people properly, it can help really support the fact that we do have people working remotely if they’re paid based on their performance.Because then we’re always able to monitor their performance and look at what they’re doing, even when they’re not necessarily right under our thumb at the office.And, you know, having that type of pay structure put in place is really powerful to keep everybody motivated when, again, you’re not in the same room every day.”
Sean Conners: “Yeah, I think the compensation and being able to do that and just kind of park there for a second, is that when you’re compensating on that commission base or the bonus or first set or per demo or what that looks like, you know, we talked about this a little bit, and I think this is a common question is just what what should you incentivize? You know, I think when we had a webinar last week with a whole other group, with Marketsharp and Dave Yoho’s organization, talking about how to like increase every single percentage point into how many how can you convert as many leads, raw leads, into set appointments there.
So do you incentivize more sets? Do you incentivize that caller to get someone to a demo if there’s obviously pieces that they control and don’t control over that side of things. But I think one of the biggest issues that most companies are facing is there’s an abundance of leads, but it’s trying to maximize every lead in that. So callers, if there’s a maximum, there’s a ton of leads and they’re compensated. Their compensation is just to get more demos. They go, “well, I’m not going to spend time with this person” and try to convince them into a set because there’s just another person on the, you know, coming on my dialer here. So you still paid for that lead, so like your callers need to be able to be incentivized to make sure to spend quality time with quality people and giving and uncovering that need and that kind of goes back to what you started with in the industry.Like you’re finding you’re trying to find need, interest and desire rather anything, you know, excellence.So how do you incentivize callers to make sure that they’re really, truly working each lead to the full capacity because that creates that efficiency.”
Megan Beattie: “Yeah, that’s a great question. I get that one a lot. And, you know, here’s what we have found at Tony Hoty Consulting. You know, we have to incentivize for pay structure the same thing that we need in results. OK, so really we have to reverse engineer. We have to say, “OK, what’s the result we want?” We know we want sales, right? We know we want sales out of these leads. So I start with the end in mind and so I know I want sales, but the call center person, while they can plant seeds and they do have a certain bearing on whether someone makes a purchase or they don’t, that’s far more on the sales team than it is on the call center setup, right? So we want sales, but what happens as a result of sales? Well before sales comes a demo, right? And ultimately, if I pay on a demo, my budget will most likely not get completely out of control. And as an as a budget-minded call center leader, I had to for many years take that into account every time I would put a pay structure in place.
So what we do is we try and find a good mix of incentivizing effort, which is set and incentivizing efficiency, which is demo, OK, and so really the right answer to your question, Sean, is we kind of have to do both, OK? And so you’re right in the fact that if a call center person, I was just looking at some numbers with one of my clients this week, you know, most of the time the problem we have with manual dial, is that we can’t get the call center to make enough dials right. And then we have the opposite problem with the auto-dialer, which is now they’re making so many that they cherry pick and say,“Oh, this one’s too much effort. I got 50 more calls coming in the next 10 minutes. I’ll just go to the next.” Right. And so then we really have to take into consideration several different metrics to really come up with the magic formula. And one of those metrics is ‘how many dials per hour is optimal if we have a certain percentage of a contact rate’. And then of that contact rate, we have a certain percentage of full phone conversations and then we have a certain percentage of set appointments.
Well, then there’s a whole other metric of OK, of those sets, what’s going to issue to a sales team, what’s going to demo, and then of course, what’s going to sell as a result.So the correct answer is we need to reward effort, which is the set of the appointment but we more importantly need to incentivize efficiency. But just like you said, Sean, if we just incentivize the demo and never to give anyone a pat on the back for the set, you know, a lot of times they can go ahead and burn through something if they believe it’s not going to be an easy set for them, which is a problem. But then if we’re monitoring their dials per hour and we see that we want them dialing 30 to 40 per hour or whatever, the delivery system may have its own set metric on that. But if we have them manually dialing 35 to 40 per hour and we have someone that’s dialing 60 per hour, they’re just burning through and mining for gold and they’re looking for the easy set, and then we have to sort of have a conversation about that with the caller.
But really where it begins, the entire process begins with the culture in the very beginning. Are we setting the precedent of what’s the qualified lead and what’s not?The other problem is if I incentivize too heavily on the set appointment, your call center will throw everything they can find against the wall and hope something sticks. And unfortunately, that will get you upside down in your budget pretty quickly if we’re paying the caller a set amount per set, because I can get anyone on the phone to set an appointment with me, OK,I can force an appointment onto any customer that I would like to. However, if it’s what I call a gross set, which means it never turns into a demo or an issue lead, then I don’t care. That’s just for vanity sake to put another tally mark on the board.Right. And that’s not really what I wantI’m looking for good quality appointments that we can convert into demos.So I want to, I want to incentivize the set to some degree, but if that’s the only metric they’re focused on, we will find ourselves in a world of trouble in terms of how much they care of what they qualify and what they put on the board.
So, you know, the correct answer is we have to sort of do a mix of both, you know, incentivize the set in some way.But truly, I only pay the marketer or the caller on the actual demo, but they do have to have a certain amount of demos per hour’s worked to qualify for that because again, you know, we can’t just hand them all the easy web forms coming in where people are begging to see us because they love us, those aren’t at the level of difficulty as maybe some of the lead aggregator leads that are being called by a couple of different companies. You know, we have to have a different strategy there because we do have a different lead type.”
Sean Conners: “No I think that’s great. So kind of what I’m hearing you say in that, is that you still would compensate on the demo, but having kind of a baseline. So let’s for an example, you’re paying caller $15 an hour and you’re acquiring them one demo an hour for every hour that they work. And above and beyond that, you pay them ___ number of dollars per demo.
But you have to hold their accountability too for again, your expectations are you’re going to have that, you know, say 36 dials, you should have two sets and one demo or obviously those numbers can be a little bit hard because, you know, boiling everything down to an hour because you might have, you know, two sets and 1.75 demos over the course of the week.But so are do you actually put a dollar amount of bonus on the set as well and on the demo and just set the kind of kind of par thereto kind of quota and then above and beyond that?”
Megan Beattie: “That’s a great question. So normally what I do is I like to use their pay structure. I only incentivize on demos with their pay structure. And then I do spiffs and incentives to create urgency for the sets. So, for instance, you know, if we don’t need any same day or next day appointments or our calendar is full for the next 72 hours, why would I incentivize sets wouldn’t be any reason to.We don’t need them, right. But I like to have set incentives so that, you know, if I need a same day or a next day, my call center is really invested in saying, “Wow, you know, they’re going to throw us some ten bucks cash at the end of the day for any sets that I get on the board for tomorrow.” So, you know, I’ll throw out a light incentive here and there for sets that I can control.
But ultimately,I want them to build their pay structure on the results, which is the demo. Because the result is really what I’m after. The set just helps me get to the result, right? But I definitely like to have the availability of offering an incentive on the set when it is appropriate. That’s definitely a big part of creating urgency and filling the calendar because that’s really our call center’s entire job is to fill the calendar.”
Founder & CEO of Contractor Appointments
Sean Conners is the Founder, and CEO of Contractor Appointments, a performance-based lead generator providing predictable growth for top home service brands. Pay Per Lead or Pay Per Sale.
Sean geeks out on building systems, structure, and automation that empower better customer experiences. The past 14 years of his career have been spent in technology and lead generation for Home Services brands. He’s a father of 8 amazing kids, has been married almost 14 years, and resides in the beautiful state of Minnesota. He loves to snowboard with his kids in the winter and spend every minute they can on a lake in the summer.
Consultant at Tony Hoty
Megan is an experienced Marketing Director with a history of working in the construction industry, with an emphasis on aggressive outbound marketing. Megan focuses on the psychology behind buyer resistance and processes that create trust regarding the consumer mindset. She is also skilled in demonstrating and teaching the one call close 10 step selling system and has high level recruiting experience in all areas of the home improvement industry including sales, marketing, and installation.
As a consultant with Tony Hoty Training & Consulting, Megan helps home improvement companies to build and become more efficient with their marketing, call center, leadership, recruiting and sales processes.
Director of Content Marketing at Hatch
For nearly 15 years, Lori has been passionate about ensuring small-to-medium sized businesses have the tools they need to be successful through sales, marketing, and education. She was thrilled to become Director of Content Marketing at Hatch in 2022.
She loves crisp fall mornings, exploring cool historical sites, and doing anything that might embarrass one of her seven children.