A manual on the product of a telecom operator

The manual, despite its simple appearance, is the beginning of work and a source of information for an employee in your company. It provides the basic and mandatory amount of product knowledge that allows to be successful.

It is important to understand that for various departments / services / sales channels / directions (sales, technical services, etc.) materials are different. Trying to combine everything into one training manual is wrong. I often come across manuals of 20 or more A4 sheets, where you find «everything about everything», and it is not clear what is important and what is just for general knowledge. Employees simply scroll through these materials or, at best, determine themself what is significant and necessary to know, and what is general information.

The most important qualities are clarity and volume. Reduce sentences to the basic meaning. More does not mean better. The more information you use in the manual, the more time the employee will need to study it. Not just a quick look at the text, but studying it usually learning literally. In addition, the larger the amount of information is, the more mistakes can be made, and, therefore, the employee’s confidence in his knowledge when selling is lower.

A new employee cannot determine what information is the most important and necessary for the first steps, and mastering a large amount of knowledge takes time, which, as a rule (especially in sales areas), is not available: we want the employee to become useful as quickly as possible and bring us profit. I think for many people the necessity to prepare standard materials for personnel training is obvious. Unfortunately, practice shows that this is not clear to everyone; especially what type of materials and how to prepare them.

Usually, the total volume of «necessary text» in a document for an active sales manual — conditions, services, tariffs, and other required information — is no more than 2 sheets of 14 Calibri font with single line spacing. On average, this requires an employee about 8 working hours to fully study and learn the material.

To comprehend what information needs to be reflected, it is crucial to understand perfectly the purpose of the product manual and tasks of the employees, trained by it. Also, it is better to know your target audience and their requirements, wishes for the product. To answer to the question correctly is easier if you know it in advance.

The language of the text of the manual should be concise, simple and understandable, diagrams, tables, figures are allowed — everything that will help to learn the material faster and easier. Teach the employee to immediately communicate on the client’s language: professional slang and terminology are not always useful.

For the manual to be able to give answers to 90% of the questions that the client has during the sale, you need to know and understand your market, subscribers, and product well.

Let us go a little deeper into the problems of generating sentences

A problem is the discomfort that a person experiences in the absence of the opportunity to get rid of it. Pain is a problem of the highest relevance. Therefore, your products, at least, should solve problems, and better — relieve pain. To do it a competitive offer is being considered.

A competitive offer is created for specific people (portrait of a subscriber) based on the competitive environment and problems / pains / requests of the subscriber. Creation of a universal product in a competitive market, for example, one tariff (tariff for all), most often ends up in failure, as well as too precise fragmentation of tariffs and functionality. As a rule, 3 tariffs are enough for one service (for example, mono-Internet). The more accurately you define the target groups of subscribers, the easier it will be to understand what subscribers want (pay attention to your subscriber base) and the simplier it is to prepare a demanded product and conditions.

A good product / offer in a competitive environment needs innovation, it solves the problem of selling competition, and often increases ARPU. A good offer should be functional, emotional, profitable. When analysing your offer in the market, comparison should be made at least with competitors, and if you are a market leader or strive to become one, then also with the expectations of subscribers.

The product can always be made better, the question is in the economic viability of the improvements. Do not forget about the ultimate goal of all events — profit! When making any decisions, you need to constantly analyse their marginality, the profit they generate, as well as profitability. The cost can be made higher if it is in an insensitive (10% -15% of the similar offer on the market) range for the client (the law of elasticity of demand), or if the value of the product is raised.

A simple proposal does not solve the problems and pains of subscribers (you have a couple of people on tariffs like that, pay attention). If the product does not solve the problem, nobody needs it, and nobody wants to pay for it («I already have it», «I don’t need it»). Therefore, it is difficult to sell it.

Back to the product manual

My advice on the sections themselves and the content of the manual may seem insufficient. Many employees of the operator, especially technical specialists, and staff in general — accountant, lawyer, marketer, etc. — may decide to add a ton of information they think is needed (as mentioned earlier). I emphasize that these specific tips / examples relate to the manual of active sales departments, only in rare cases of a competitive and product environment additional information is required.

The minimum and usually sufficient information that should be:

1. Company information — name / brand and a simple short slogan / association with which you want to be associated among your subscribers. If necessary, a brief explanation / confirmation that this is fact / true. If possible, name 3-5 well-known / recognizable organizations in your region that you work with to gain more trust from hesitant subscribers.

This information is needed to represent and position your company on the market for both the subscriber and employees.

Example:

SUMMER.Net is the best ISP since 2015 in Marseille, according to city residents. We are used by: Apple, Google, Microsoft, John from 61st apartment.

2. Information about the conditions of connection — everything important and necessary that an employee and a subscriber should know: terms, types of work, cost, necessary equipment (conditions / options), differences / advantages from competitors at this stage (technology, if it is an advantage and is important), recommendations, etc.

Example:

Connect at any convenient time from 9:00 to 21:00 24/7 within 2 days after submitting the application. The connection can be carried out using the cable available in the apartment (after being checked by the installer for suitability). We will install a new modern cable in case of necessity, connection and configuration of a Wi-Fi router — 20 euro! If you need cable installation around the apartment: clips — 15 euro.

If you do not have your own Wi-Fi router, it is better to purchase a “Green” router that is reliable in working with a large wi-fi coverage area. With delivery and customization, it will cost 20 euros. It can be also rented for 2 euros / month with the option of redemption. 10-year warranty.

Wi-Fi routers of RTK and WINTER.net are not reconfigurable due to their poor quality and problems with working when reconfigured, thus, we cannot guarantee the quality of services.

3. The offer itself is a description of the services, offers and options being sold. List of TV channels, tariff plans, additional services and offers. Do not forget to also indicate the differences and advantages over the competitor at this stage / field if necessary.

The offer must reach the main part of the target audience, but at the same time not to be voluminous. No need to switch to an endless listing of many tariffs; the differences should be significant, and not «a little faster» or «a little cheaper» with 2 euro difference. The more options there are, the more difficult it is to make a choice (3 broadband tariffs and 3 bundled tariffs are enough). There is no need to add promotions and discounts to the manual as those are the tools to work with objections. They should be given / used by an employee after training in sales during an internship or in case of occurring an objection, where this promotion or discount will handle it.

Example:

Tariffs Internet+TVSpeed, MbpsNumber of TV channelsPrice
SUMMER503015 euro/month
SUMMER-light506024 euro/month
SUMMER 24/73014024 euro/month
Tariffs Internet+TVSpeed, MbpsNumber of TV channelsPrice
Fantasy30029 euro/month
Isolation10012 euro/month
SUMMER-2.0507 euro/month

In the time interval from 01:00 to 15:00 the speed is 100 Mbps on all tariffs.

Unlike WINTER.net we provide modern digital TV with more than 200 TV channels (including a 3D format): 35 with films and series, 15 — for kids, 20 with sports, 35 with educational materials, 20 for entertainment, 15 musical, 10 with news, 69 for adults. Channels can be watched not only on TV, but also on a computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, wherever if there is Internet.

To watch channels on TVs without the «Smart» function, as well as to pause, rewind programs, record movies (broadcasts) and option to go online, for example, on YouTube, the Media Center (TV set-top box) is installed with delivery, setup and installation for 70 euro. Warranty: 12 months from the date of purchase. There is an opportunity to take in instalments for 5 euro / month for 12 months and for rent — 2 euro / month with the option of redemption.

We recommend T-RIP v007 Media Centre.

If the subscriber has his own media centre (TV set-top box), we can configure it, but in case of using other media centres we cannot guarantee a high level of quality.

4. Payment methods and financial nuances of interaction, bureaucratic issues of connection.

Example:

Payment is available in any way convenient for you:

  • in the client’s personal bank account
  • on the SUMMER.net website with VISA International, Mastercard Worldwide bank cards
  • in the customer service offices: «GU» LLC: East Road, 7; 5th Avenue, 21.

If you do not have time to pay the subscription fee, you can use the «Promised payment» function:

  • through your personal account user.SUMMER.net for 10 days
  • by calling the company for 2 days

Information needed to complete the application:

  • Full name (of the person for whom the contract will be executed).
  • Connection address: street, house, entrance, floor, apartment.
  • Contact phone number (for a call to determine the exact connection time).

The ability to pay for the first month of use within 3 days after connection or in cash to the master on the day of connection.

5. Contact information — tech. support, website, etc.

Example:

Technical support phone number (working 24/7) 8 (314) -15-92-653 SUMMER.net

An example of a ready manual based on the described earlier:

SUMMER.Net is the best ISP since 2015 in Marseille, according to city residents. We are used by: Apple, Google, Microsoft, John from 61st apartment.

Connect at any convenient time from 9:00 to 21:00 24/7 within 2 days after submitting the application. The connection can be carried out using the cable available in the apartment (after being checked by the installer for suitability). We will install a new modern cable in case of necessity, connection and configuration of a Wi-Fi router — 20 euro! If you need cable installation around the apartment: clips — 15 euro.

If you do not have your own Wi-Fi router, it is better to purchase a “Green” router that is reliable in working with a large wi-fi coverage area. With delivery and customization, it will cost 20 euros. It can be also rented for 2 euros / month with the option of redemption. 10-year warranty.

Wi-Fi routers of RTK and WINTER.net are not reconfigurable due to their poor quality and problems with working when reconfigured, thus, we cannot guarantee the quality of services.

Tariffs Internet+TVSpeed, MbpsNumber of TV channelsPrice
SUMMER503015 euro/month
SUMMER-light506024 euro/month
SUMMER 24/73014024 euro/month
Tariffs Internet+TVSpeed, MbpsNumber of TV channelsPrice
Fantasy30029 euro/month
Isolation10012 euro/month
SUMMER-2.0507 euro/month

In the time interval from 01:00 to 15:00 the speed is 100 Mbps on all tariffs.

Unlike WINTER.net we provide modern digital TV with more than 200 TV channels (including a 3D format): 35 with films and series, 15 — for kids, 20 with sports, 35 with educational materials, 20 for entertainment, 15 musical, 10 with news, 69 for adults. Channels can be watched not only on TV, but also on a computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, wherever if there is Internet.

To watch channels on TVs without the «Smart» function, as well as to pause, rewind programs, record movies (broadcasts) and option to go online, for example, on YouTube, the Media Center (TV set-top box) is installed with delivery, setup and installation for 70 euro. Warranty: 12 months from the date of purchase. There is an opportunity to take in instalments for 5 euro / month for 12 months and for rent — 2 euro / month with the option of redemption.

We recommend T-RIP v007 Media Center.

If the subscriber has his own media centre (TV set-top box), we can configure it, but in case of using other media centres we cannot guarantee a high level of quality.

Payment is available in any way convenient for you:

  • in the client’s personal bank account
  • on the SUMMER.net website with VISA International, Mastercard Worldwide bank cards
  • in the customer service offices: «GU» LLC: East Road, 7; 5th Avenue, 21.

If you do not have time to pay the subscription fee, you can use the «Promised payment» function:

  • through your personal account user.SUMMER.net for 10 days
  • by calling the company for 2 days

Information needed to complete the application:

  • Full name (of the person for whom the contract will be executed).
  • Connection address: street, house, entrance, floor, apartment.
  • Contact phone number (for a call to determine the exact connection time).

The ability to pay for the first month of use within 3 days after connection or in cash to the master on the day of connection.

The creation of a manual is an iterative process, where while performing the first iteration, you need to understand that there will be the second, third, and fourth, etc. Testing is happening throughout the life cycle of the person who uses it. The market, product, demand, conditions, requirements are changing. Continuous improvement and keeping up to date are important. Consequently, it is difficult to assert which sections are needed in the manual, and you need to start from the current market situation.

As a rule, in 97% of cases this example and recommendations are not only sufficient, but even redundant for most operators. It is impractical and too long to analyse all the shortcomings and errors in the creation of manuals. Do not hesitate, write your opinion on the missing sections or on the necessary information in the manual, and we will discuss and sort everything out with a formation of a complete understanding at the end.

Let me emphasize: the more time we have to train an employee, the more useful information we can give.

Example on a door-to-door walk agent:

  • Product training: 1-3 days.
  • Sales script training: 2-5 days.
  • Internship: 5-7 days.

Introductory information: these personnel works on the deal, usually part-time (3-5 hours), combined with other work or study. Long, complex / voluminous, and unpaid training increases staff turnover and overall department costs. Low-quality superficial training does not give the desired result in sales / employee income, which again leads to turnover and increased costs for the department.

NB!

The employee must learn the information. Not just to know, but to learn. Be able to understand and explain easily. The checking of his abilities must be carried out orally (no tests), confuse, do not give him time to think during it. If he made one mistake – he must learn further, the employee must be 300% confident in his knowledge, answer questions about the product without hesitation.

A manual on the product of a telecom operator

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