UH's sales students to
receive new call center
Cougar News Services
Students in the Bauer College of Business
won't have to worry about running up their cell phone bills on calls for
the opening of the college's Customer
Call Center. The Program for Excellence in Selling and the UH selling and
management education program
will call the center, located in the AIM
Center for Investment Management, its home.
Students in the program make calls to senior-level
executives in an effort to attract sponsors for recruiting booths at semi-annual
sales mixers and advertisements in Sellebrations
Magazine, the program's publication.
With more than 600 students enrolled in
10 sections of five courses, the program is the largest of its kind in
the United States. It
boasts a 98 percent graduation rate, with
many graduates able to find employment at BMC Software, Northwestern Mutual
Lilly, AIM Management Group, Inc., Frito-Lay
and Ikon Office Solutions.
Prior to the call center, sales students
ran up their cell phone bills or hurried home from class in order to make
their calls, said
Program for Excellence graduate and current
Program Manager Kerry O'Neal.
"When I was in the program, I would rush
out from class at 2:30 p.m., and I would make an average of 20 calls a
day when selling,"
O'Neal said. "It was difficult because
if someone wanted me to send them additional information over e-mail, I
would have to dial up,
send the e-mail and then restart my calls.
I would have to give out my cell phone number, because I wouldn't want
to be interrupted
during my calls and in case I was online.
And sometimes I would get calls on my cell phone while I was in traffic,
so I would have to
pull over so that I could take notes during
The UH Customer Call Center changes that
entire process, O'Neal said. Now students can simultaneously make phone
receive voice mails while they are on
with another caller, e-mail, search the Internet and take notes through
software — all in the 36-station call
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
more than 7.5 million people in the country work in sales. UH is feeding
with graduates who are ready to work.
"Typically, a corporation spends $30,000
a year to train a new individual in sales. Through the program and the
call center, our
students already have one foot in the
door as they are certified for outside and inside sales," said Eli Jones,
director of the Program
for Excellence in Selling.
The Customer Call Center implements the
latest in communication technology: voiceover IP, unified messaging and
conferencing. During the next year, several
other applications are planned — such as video e-mail and the ability to
conversations so students can be critiqued.
"The Program for Excellence in Selling
supplies local businesses with students who have learned customer-centric
and understand the importance of using
technology to increase selling efficiency and improve customer satisfaction,"
Busch, executive professor and technology
"The Customer Call Center will help us
teach our students how to conduct sales presentations by phone," Jones
said. "It will
improve their cold calling
and appointment-setting ability. Through
these opportunities, the program continues to raise the bar by initiating
exciting student learning opportunities
that enhance our students' revenue-producing, communication, sales and
Businesses are hungry for employees with
this skill set, especially in today's
The Program for Excellence in Selling provides
sales force education and information on tools and procedures that enhance
When it began five years ago, 35 students
were enrolled in its introductory class and 14 were registered in an advanced
Upon completion of a five-course sequence
of sales and sales management courses, graduates are awarded certificates.
"The program's mission is to provide new
graduates early job placement and performance excellence," said Donny Ward,
sales vice president for Avaya, a voice
communications systems supplier.
"The program creates a generation of graduates
who are trained to improve customer satisfaction, and increase revenues
immediately. Students gain valuable experience
with the leading call center applications necessary to accomplish these