Friday, May 27, 2005

"Thank You For Calling Beachbody"

These are photos from our first "Executive telemarketing summit" for management to experience and improve the way our inbound telemarketing calls work. Beachbody President Jon Congdon (in the foreground of the first photo), SVP of customer service Jorge Molina, super-sales-guy Greg Walker, Director of Telemarketing Joe Camarillo and I took P90X phone calls all morning to experience what our inbound telemarketing agents do when they get calls from our infomercial viewers.

To say the least, it was enlightening, and marked the start of a new era in how we approach this critical piece of our business. THIS is where "the rubber meets the road", as new customers respond to what they saw on TV. It was one of the most exciting mornings I've had at this company since we started -- because for the first time, I got to speak with customers (anonymously) and get a better understanding of opportunities and challenges created by the offers we broadcast.

I kind of feel stupid for not doing this fifteen years ago, or at least six years ago when we started Product Partners. It's like I was a restaurant owner never waiting a table, or a shop owner never walking the floor of his store to hear what customers are saying. Actually, we have intended that every new employee was going to go through customer service training and even take calls for a week a year. But so far that plan has not materialized as rapid growth required us to get people in, trained, and on to the specific task they were being hired for. But now I can see the advantage to this process. And we will certainly revisit that training concept.

For me, something about getting my mind into "sales mode" - which means getting real people excited about what's possible when you really "Bring It" with a fitness program like P90X - got me back into the spirit of what it takes to radically change the trend of obesity. People don't need a little nudge or a new food pyramid, they need true belief in the solutions they are considering and the momentum created by enthusiasm to make the commitment it takes. People don't want to waste their time - and if the program really works, they need to hear that confidence when they call to order.

As I answered calls, I heard people hemming and hawing, questioning the price, questioning the company they're dealing with. And that's when I would really get excited, because I know that if people go for it, if they follow the P90X program as it is outlined, (or one like it... oh, there is nothing else like it) they WILL get into the best shape of their life! The price is just not the point when compared to the cost of being out of shape. And when people consider the short and long term benefits of being lean, strong, and seeing how well their clothes fit, or when they consider what people are spending for big multi-station machines, gym memberships, or even surgery, our systems are the absolute best value offered anywhere to achieve real, healthy body transformation. It's not just about the information or the equipment you need to get results, it's about whether the system you're using supports you through the challenging times when you'll want to give up. That's where we win every time, because we stay there with people to support them at every step. That's where we're unique, and that's what I got to tell people on the phone today.

This was an exciting morning as other Beachbody management and staff visited our mini-test lab to witness the process. And as usual, everyone who stopped by also pitched-in with suggestions for making things better and to cheer on one of us when they could hear us struggling to answer questions on the fly.

And with this effort, Beachbody has once again demonstrated its commitment to improve everything it does at every turn, and to treat its customers with respect throughout the process. So the next time you order from Beachbody, listen close, you may just be talking to headquarters!


Mary Cecy said...

Carl, Jon, team,

It is about time!! Now make a script, have something available to your customer service when questions like the ones you has struggle answering come up. I am so glad you guys did that. I have heard so many comments in chat, and I tell them, send them to chat, there will be someone, like me, who lives in the boards, ready to help. You have provided us with the best tools and we just want to give back what you have given us. SUPPORT. WOOHOO and WTG to all of you. Keep it going cause while you are here, you will find me here also!
Bring it!

J 'slim jim' Paul said...

Carl and John,
You guys along with Tony,Debbie and all the other great trainers and staff involved have taken on one hell of a task.......To fight the battle against the poor health habits of so many people in this country. And as if shouldering that enourmous task alone wasn't enough, to set up the best company I have ever dealt with as far as phone/internet sales. Good thing we've all got this great new level of strength and flexibility because you all deserve to reach around and pat yourselves on the back for a job incredibly well done and improvements still in the works!
Jimmy P. (aka Slim X'd Up Jim)

Rachie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think the biggest mistake you have made was to do away with the option to pay al at once. I will never order a BB product again under this scheme and I have all of them. Going after new customers is great, but I feel like you are abandoning the ones you already have. Why are you making it so hard for people? Why can't they just buy what they want to buy? PLEASE think about this. Just make it simple for loyal, exisiting customers to get new products from you. Don't make them jump through hoops. A lot of people are really upset about this.

Carl Daikeler said...

That's valid. ALthough I think that all our product do offer the option to buy the whole product at one -- at least that's where we're headed. The reason the "try it" concept has become more prominent is that, in the "virtual store" environment, giving people the opportunity to try a product for less money before they commit to the whole thing seems to have more appeal than going for the whole thing. This is a dynamic we're measuring both through TV or the web.

It's interesting that you don't read about people having a problem with long term contracts with health clubs. They'll pull you in with low sign-up offers, as long as you commit to a year or so. And whether you show up or not, you pay. I feel good about our model by comparison, because whether you workout or not, you've got a great product in your hands so that when you do get your motivation, you still have what you paid for, or you could return/cancel anything that you were not satisfied with.

I'm not defending anything here though - just explaining the thought we put into things. I truly appreciate the feedback and ABSOLUTELY take it all into account as we design which offer set will be the prominent drive of our business model.

Anonymous said...

While I'm sure your telemarketing summit was fruitful, trying to reach your customerservice department has not been. May I suggest a few items?
A. Bring in more people so customers do not wait longer that 10 minutes on hold (I waited for 22 on one occassion)
B. Refresh the staff that does answer the phone on proper interpersonal skills and conflict resolution.
C. Remove automatic autoship from your services.

My situation, I hope, was finally resolved today. However, my level of confidense is very low.
Thank you


Philip said...

Re: Margaret...

I strongly disagree. Autoship is a GREAT option that my wife and I really love. We never miss our supplements and this is very, very convenient.

We've been lucky I guess and have never waited more than 7-8 minutes on hold. In this day and age we more or less expect a 10 minute delay no matter where we call.

Carl... keep up the great work!

coolnominy said...

hi, my name is cody and im 13 years old and the reason im doing p90x is because i love sports and i have been playing them for my whole life but ever sence the age 11 i was the best in all three sports baseball, basketball & football but the somtheing happened my confidence went to the bottom so im doing this to redeem myswlf to the top and be the best once again

P.S (sorry for the drimatic speech, i just need some push or enthusiasm. thankyou for listening)