Money Moves

Answering the call for quality

by Charles Mak

(left to right)
Kennese Leung, assistant project manager
Grace Liang, director; and Sammi Leung, team manager
central sales and service
CIGNA Worldwide Life Insurance Company Limited
Photo: Lewis Wong

The influx of insurance products has led to an explosion of sales channels over the years. While some sales agents now offer high-tech hassle-free online purchase services, one key player in the field promises high-touch, convenience and quality in both its products and services, and is looking for telemarketers (TMs) to fill some 20 additional seats at its new call centre.

The working environment of a call centre can be stressful at times, but Grace Liang, director, CIGNA Worldwide Life Insurance Company Limited, says all staff are well equipped to handle taxing situations.

"From day one, staff are informed of their job requirements, our business goals, operation objectives, sales and quality control mechanisms as well as their career development plans," she says. "We motivate them to outperform themselves and develop a long-term career with CIGNA."

CIGNA HK won the grand award and the gold award for the outbound contact centre of the year (in-house, over 50 seats) at the Hong Kong Call Centre Association (HKCCA)'s annual call centre awards last year. To build a professional team, the company offers all necessary training and bears the cost for the requisite exams and licence renewal plus 10 hours of CIGNA's own CPD (continuing professional development) training.

In fact, the majority of CIGNA TMs have been with the company for at least five years. Sammi Leung, currently a CIGNA central sales and service team manager, and gold award winner of last year's HKCCA outbound contact centre team leader of the year, started her career as a TM 10 years ago. "We have in place a clear five-rank career system. This gives you something to look forward to," she says.

Last year, CIGNA benchmarked its staff remuneration packages against the market trends so as to stay above the competition. "Staff realise that with increased responsibility comes a bigger pay check. It also reflects the individuals' seniority, contribution and competence," Ms Liang remarks.

Kennese Leung, a CIGNA central sales and service assistant project manager, was initially attracted by CIGNA's generous and fair salary and commission structure. "The company's reputation also guarantees career growth," affirms Ms Leung, who won the gold award for the HKCCA outbound contact centre supervisor of the year last year.

In addition, the company's training department works closely with the sales and QE (quality enhancement) teams to reinforce training in specific areas so as to continuously enhance the overall operational quality and ensure staff that help is always at hand. "We aim to achieve zero quality defects and zero complaints because quality has always been our priority," Ms Liang states.

Unique products along with a portfolio of exclusive benefits add value for all the company's stakeholders including the staff. "Our range of products has such flexibility that it meets every insurance need across all age groups, helping to increase business prospects and attract and retain quality sales staff," she says.

In lieu of face-to-face interaction, CIGNA's TM model offers customers a high level of convenience. "It can be a challenge selling on the phone," Ms Liang adds. "For this reason, we look for self-motivation, a willingness to learn and the drive to succeed when recruiting."

A stable five-day work schedule gives TMs ample time for further studies and a life after work. "What's unique about us is that we operate an affinity marketing business model in which we identity our target customer segments from in-depth customer analyses," Ms Liang emphasises. "All of our staff are licensed professionals and they never have to make any cold calls."

Career choice

  • Industry reputation a career guarantee
  • Clear promotion system encourages performance
  • Remuneration packages benchmarked against market trends
  • Unique product portfolio increases business prospects
  • Stable work schedule balances life and work

Taken from Career Times 13 February 2009, p. A4
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