At Throttle Media we deal with hundreds of call centers from all over the world, and like people, every call center is different; each has its own personality, its own goals, its own netcentric, its own expectations, and its own brand of how they do things. A good outbound call center is usually good at what it does, which is creating sales, but one thing that remains consistent across a lot of call centers is that they don’t understand the dynamics of the data world. So many call centers that I deal with that need data for a project all ask for a sample; now before I go on we need to define what the word “Sample” means. To data providers it means two or three records so that the potential buyer can eyeball what the data is going to look like, what fields of information are included, etc. To many call centers the word “Sample” means several hundred records that they can call so that they can see if the data is any good, so they can measure the conversion and determine whether they want to buy or not. It’s unrealistic. Most data suppliers are not going to provide you with this, especially if they have quality data, because three or four hundred records sent out several times a day as a sample equates to hundreds of dollars a week. Plus you cannot adequately determine if data is good by calling two hundred or so numbers, it’s not enough. Most good data suppliers require a minimum sale of usually around 5,000 records and that is what they consider a “sample” and they expect you to purchase it. The general consensus in the data world is if a call center cannot afford to spend $1000 on a sample file to call, the expectation that they are ever going to spend several thousand is nonexistent, because $1000 should not be a big expenditure for an organization with several hundred agents.
Today I had a client ask me what the conversion on some data that we quoted them was, meaning they wanted to know what percentage of sales they could expect from this data. I replied to them that I had no idea, there is no way for me to know that, because that is not dependant solely on the data, it is largely dependent on the product, the skill set of the agents that are calling, the price being charged, the script being used and more.
While I understand that call centers are not in the data business, I feel that they should understand how the data business works, because they are dependent on data in order to exist, and I am of the opinion that if you are going to have to purchase something on a regular basis as part of an operational expense that is mandatory for success than you should completely understand the dynamics of that product.