All Posts By

Convoso

4 Steps of Solar Buyers Journey

4 Steps of the Solar Buyer’s Journey

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Understanding the steps that a consumer goes through to get to the point of buying solar panels is essential for anyone selling solar. Whether you only generate solar leads, or you take the prospect from the beginning to the end of their buyer’s journey, this summary of the basic 4 steps in the process is a valuable reference.

 

4 STEPS of the SOLAR BUYER'S JOURNEY

 

When it comes to solar sales, you may wonder where in the buyer’s journey you should focus to get the best results. Should you concentrate on the people who are ready to buy, or is it better to connect with prospects who are just starting to learn about solar?

 

The short answer? Both!

 

Though you may see more immediate sales from leads who are already far along in the process, you’ll find plenty of pipeline opportunities in developing connections with potential customers who have yet to learn about the value of solar. And, that’s where you come in: building trust by helping a prospect learn what they need to make the best decision for their situation, and showing them the difference it will make in their lives.

 

To successfully market to any lead, you first have to understand their mindset and what kind of information they are looking for. That’s what the solar buyer’s journey is all about.

 

Rather than narrowing your market to customers who are ready to buy, you can use the steps of this journey to give context to your marketing actions. You’ll be able to connect with leads at all stages and increase your chances of making a sale.

 

RELATED CONTENT: How solar-focused call centers can drive lead generation and conversions

 

After a 10-year trend of expanding growth in the solar market, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a recent decline in the solar industry. In a more competitive environment, understanding the solar customer’s decision-making process will open up more opportunities.

 

Why People Go Solar

 

For every solar customer, the journey begins with exposure. They might hear a coworker sharing about their power bill savings or see an ad online. As you can see in this chart, personal experiences are far more prevalent and memorable than most marketing efforts.

As the chart indicates, there are many touchpoints that guide prospective solar customers down the pathway of the buyer’s journey.

Though some people may dismiss solar as little more than an interesting idea, many prospects will quickly see it as a way to fill a need. The most common reasons people to choose to install solar include:

 

  • Lowering current and potential future power costs (the primary reason for 41% of surveyed homeowners)
  • Protecting the environment
  • Minimizing energy dependence on utilities 
  • Increasing home value

 

At this point, this solar customer has now become a potential lead. As they start the buyer’s journey, here’s how you can make every connection count.

 

 

The Solar Buyer’s Journey in 4 Steps

 

Solar Buyer Journey_Step 1 Research and Awareness

Step #1: Research and awareness

Installing solar is a huge investment and no one wants surprises with a project this big. Most customers will start by looking into the average costs, potential benefits, the suitability of their home to installation, estimated sun exposure and legal requirements of solar in their area. They may talk with people they know who have installed panels themselves.

 

One thing is for sure: Internet research will play a part. This is your opportunity to benefit from offering educational resources.

 

HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE

  • The commitment level is extremely low at this point in the journey. These leads are not ready to make a decision, they just want answers. 
  • Since leads are focused on education, you should be too. Create blogs about the benefits of solar and share them on social media. Populate the web with videos, articles, and infographics that answer the questions they may have. Offer success stories to encourage confidence and interest in your products.
  • At this point, you’re creating a connection. You want people to view your company as a trusted source for their solar needs. When they’re ready to move to the next step, you’ll be their top pick.

 

Here’s a good example of a helpful blog article: Top 10 Benefits of Solar Energy

 
 

Solar Buyer Journey_Step 2 Consideration

Step #2: Consideration

Armed with knowledge, the customer is now seriously considering solar as an option for their home. Now, their research focuses on the specifics. They want to know what kind of panels are best for their needs, if they can get any rebates or incentives for going green, and what local ordinances say about installing solar.

This is when customers turn to the experts – you! You are now a potential vendor, not just a source of info. They’ll be looking through your website, reading reviews, and possibly even calling for details and quotes. 

 

But don’t get too excited. These customers are also looking at your competitors, using what they know about general prices and their own budgets to compare multiple options. Here’s how to make sure you stand out.

 

HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE

  • LISTEN! Active listening is your strongest tool at this stage. Ask leads about what they want, what they know, other vendors they’re considering, and, most importantly, their concerns. Stay present in the conversation and use what you hear to understand their viewpoint and build that trusted relationship. 
  • When appropriate, use this discussion to share more about your company, experience, prices, products, and projects. You can offer testimonials and materials that offer further education about your brand and solar in general. Just be sure to avoid pressuring the customer. This is a conversation, not a sales pitch.
  • And don’t forget to follow-up! Many homeowners will make their decision within three days of their first contact, so keep in touch and respond quickly.

 

 

Solar Buyer Journey_Step 3 Decision

Step #3: Decision

Your lead is now solar-educated. They have an idea of what they may want and the benefits they want to see. Since they are ready to buy, you can now focus more on the sale. 

At this stage, customers are now deciding who to hire. Generally, they will get five or more quotes. This ups the competition, but also indicates their level of commitment. The more quotes a consumer gets, the more serious they are about buying.

Offers like free assessments, quotes, and demos are a great way to tip the scales in your favor. This is the make or break moment, so give it all you’ve got.

HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE

  • Use the information you gained in the Consideration stage to determine the prospect’s deciding factor. Once you know what’s holding them back, you can address that specific concern. If price is the problem, for example, you can offer discounts or promos to solidify their interest.
  • At this point, you’re not trying to sell the customer on solar. Instead, focus on the benefits of switching and the reasons to hire your company over others. Discuss financing, warranties, installation processes, and other points that can affect their final decision.
  • If you’ve done it right, this is where the relationship you’ve built can make a difference. Making a purchase is often an emotional decision, so your personal connection is a strong selling point.

 

 

Solar Buyer Journey_Step 4 Sale

Step #4: Sale

You did it! You made the sale.

Before you move on to your next lead, however, remember that your work here isn’t done.

 

HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE

  • Every customer represents the opportunity to gain more business. Half of solar customers get recommendations about solar companies from someone they know. Continue building your personal connections and creating an excellent customer experiences to encourage positive reviews and continued referrals.
  • Case studies are powerful sales tools, so stay in touch with your best customers and ask for testimonials to use in future marketing efforts.
  • Two-thirds of solar customers say they would install solar panels on a new house. If your customers move to a new home in the future, make sure your customers are putting your company at the top of their list for their next solar project.

 

Finding Your Next Customer

Ready to start building connections with your next solar customers? Discover the power of our Solar Dialer, a cloud-based solution built just for you. 

 

How Convoso improves results for solar call centers

Sales Objections Handling BLOG header

5 Keys to Handling Sales Objections

By | Outbound Sales, Guest Blog | One Comment

In this guest post, our Integration Partner, Balto, offers valuable tips to guide sales reps in dealing with their prospects’ objections. Balto’s AI solution, which is integrated with Convoso’s dialer software, coaches sales teams in real-time during the process of a sales call.

Hearing “no” may be a fact of life. But sales reps are among the people who hear it most. For a salesperson, this is what “no” may sound like:

  • “Now isn’t the best time.”
  • “I don’t think I can afford it.”
  • “I’m too busy right now.” 

Responding to these indirect ways of being told “no” —these objections—is the big challenge. A skilled salesperson changes disagreement into understanding. They know that disagreement generally results from holding different points of view. 

Think about it. If you have a phenomenal product/service offering a great return on investment, why wouldn’t an ideal prospect just buy it? 

As the sales rep, your product or service is a no-brainer. But as the buyer, every product/service has a multitude of concerns. Many of these come from just not knowing. 

That’s why at the heart of objection handling is education. Helping buyers understand by educating is the overarching principle to  handling objections. 

So what are the best practices for educating the buyer? Hint: It’s more than just telling them what you think they should know. 

These sales tactics will help you to better educate your prospect and, in the process, better handle objections. If you’re making cold calls, be sure you start with a good sales script that constructs a clear pathway for the sales agent by incorporating these tactics into the conversation.    

 

5 Sales Tactics to Address Buyer Objections

 

1. Discover the Specifics. Educate the Prospect.

Does the best product or service always win? Of course not. 

That’s why there’s not just one car company or one computer company. At the core of any product is the end-user. Some people are looking for a product that just gets the job done.  Other people are looking for super-specific specs. Others are somewhere in the middle. 

You wouldn’t buy a minivan to compete in a Nascar race.  Similarly, you wouldn’t buy a supercomputer if you just needed to send emails. The people buying the supercomputer or the race car are looking for specs. They want to know the horsepower or the RAM. A completely different consumer would buy the minivan or the laptop.  

Understand what level of specificity your prospect wants and teach them about it. This could be a detailed research report or a simple email. If they’re all about the innovative part of your technology, use their language, and go into details. If they just need something simple and user-friendly, educate them on how your product does it the best.

 

2. Actively Listen 

Before you try to help a prospective buyer better understand your side, make sure you understand what THEY are saying. One of the most common mistakes is not actually listening. 

When they talk, give your complete attention. Don’t look at your sales notes. Don’t try to think of a rebuttal immediately. Don’t get distracted by something in the office. Truly listen to what they are saying.

There are two main ways to increase your active listening skills: 

  1. Put yourself completely in the present. Before a sales call, clear your mind of any other worries or thoughts. Your lunch break is coming soon? Forget about it. Place your complete focus on the other person. 
  2. Take an active interest in what they are saying. You’re not here to just close a deal. You’re here to build a relationship and truly provide value. 

 

3. Clarify with Questions

If you’re listening to what the prospect has to say, the next step is to ask clarifying questions about an objection. Clarify everything you can, learning as many details as they’ll give you. 

Here are two key ways to ask better questions. 

  1. Opt for questions that require more than a yes or no answer. 
  2. Limit questions to one at a time. 

 

4. Explain Your Perspective

Once you have a firm understanding of the objections and you’ve clarified any points of confusion, you should better understand your prospect’s viewpoint. The next step is to educate. 

This is really where you can explain your understanding and your point of view. The keyword here is to explain. Do not try to tell the prospect he/she is wrong. Instead, show where you think the root of the disagreement originates. In other words, the question behind the question. Then ask if your description of the issue is accurate. For example:

Prospect: “I just think this might be too expensive.”

Salesperson: “I hear that it’s too expensive. Earlier you said ____ , so it sounds like what you may be saying is that this isn’t the best timing for you. Is that right?“

The key to voicing your opinion on the question behind the question is to bring up what’s been previously said. This will show that you really listen. It also shows a true interest in the prospect’s journey. 

 

5. Clarify Again

The final step is to review what the prospect is really looking for. Do they want your solution or do they really need something else? Ask more clarifying questions to see how you can help. 

If you get this right, the objection/s have turned into a conversation, because there’s a mutual goal to figure it out.

This step is critical as it shows how your company’s sales team views prospects. Does your company see prospects as money signs or as opportunities to provide a good fit for the needs of customers by listening to their concerns and goals, and determining if you can help them. 

 

Summing It Up

  • Actively listen to what the potential buyer wants. 
  • Ask clarifying questions about what you heard. 
  • Educate the prospect on what he/she needs.
  • Don’t oversell or try to just close a deal. 
  • Have a mutual conversation about if and how you can help them. 
  • Clarify again if you understand them correctly. 

 

Helping Sales Agents with Real-time AI Coaching

For experienced salespeople, these sales tactics won’t be new. However, getting reminders during the sales process can really help guide the conversation toward the best result. That’s what Balto was built for—helping salespeople form the best sales habits. 

With A.I. call coaching, those in charge of the sales process can ensure every sales rep is using the best objection handling tactics on every call. By monitoring the quality of every sales agent conversation, Balto helps to drive more growth on every call.

As a Convoso integration partner, Balto is available to Convoso call center customers whether they’re using our predictive dialer, or any of our autodialer capabilities, or our Click-to-Comply™ dialer product. 

 

Learn more about Balto

 

Increase Contact and Conversion Rates_Demo CTA

SMS Best Practices for Outbound Sales

SMS Best Practices for Outbound Call Centers: How to reduce risk of blocking and stay in compliance

By | Outbound Sales, SMS | No Comments

Are you paying to deliver text messages that aren’t going through? Are your numbers getting flagged as spam or blocked? How can you send text messages that are in compliance?


 

Your outbound strategies include multiple outreach channels. You’re not just relying on your predictive dialer to reach leads by phone calls. You’re taking advantage of SMS tools to contact leads via text message.

HOWEVER … you’re not sure how many of your messages are being delivered. Maybe you’re wondering if anybody is even getting your texts. 

In this post, we’re looking at SMS best practices for outbound call centers, and why it’s recommended that you use Toll-Free SMS [text messaging] to improve successful texts and how to reduce the risk of blocking.

 

How is compliance in the SMS Industry monitored?


Cell phone carriers have collectively implemented monitoring software at the entry point of their network in an effort to mitigate potentially fraudulent traffic/messages. This software monitors the volume and content of text messages coming into their network to better determine if messages should be delivered all the way to their end users [for you, the leads you’re targeting]. It has the ability to dynamically read and flag messages if the content/volume being sent is not compliant.


Local SMS vs. Toll-Free SMS 

Local SMS [Person-to-Person (P2P)] 

Local area code numbers you obtain through your software provider are sent on this platform and must adhere to the industry standards/regulations. There is very little tolerance for marketing programs and language on this platform, because it’s designed for personal contacts to communicate back and forth. 

If your traffic is mainly one-way (meaning your inbound messages are drastically lower than your outbound messages), you should be using Toll-Free SMS.

 

Toll-Free SMS [Application-to-Person (A2P)]

This is the platform used for Toll-Free SMS. It was designed with commercial traffic in mind. Content filtering and volume thresholds on the A2P platform are not as strict. You are required to maintain full opt-in records, complete with time-stamps, as well as provide a way for leads to opt-out at any time they see fit. 

With looser restrictions on Application to Person (A2P) platforms, your messages will not be as rigorously monitored as they are on Person to Person (P2P) platforms. 

 

SMS Solutions to drive conversions

 

How do I know if my SMS messages are compliant?

Messages and the number(s) they are being sent from can fall out of compliance and be flagged as SPAM. The following point to the disadvantages and limitations of using local area code numbers (P2P) for your SMS campaigns — some are consequences of noncompliance.

 

  • No delivery receipts
    • Provider can mark the text as delivered, but still flag the message as spam...Your messages look like they are working but they will never reach the lead’s phone due to carrier restrictions.Network delivery receipts are supported, but carriers do not send handset delivery receipts. This means that the provider of a number you are trying to send a text to can mark the text as delivered, but still flag the message as spam. If this happens, your messages will look like they are working but they will never reach the lead’s phone due to these carrier restrictions.
  • Speed restrictions
    • You may send a maximum of 1 SMS per second and per number in the US due to local carriers regulations. If you send messages more quickly, the message(s) will be rejected. If you require higher throughput, you can purchase more numbers and spread your traffic across your numbers. E.g., 10 numbers = 10 SMS per second.
  • Volume restrictions
    • Maximum of roughly 250 messages per day per number. If this is exceeded your number will be blocked and will no longer work
  • Two-way traffic expected
    • Carriers will expect traffic to be bi-directional. Meaning, for each text you send out, you get a response back most of the time. Monitoring software in place in the industry looks for roughly a 1:1 send to receive ratio.
  • Blocked urls and keywords
    • Repetitive URLs [url shorteners like Bitly] and keywords [via content filtering to flag prohibited content] in the SMS body will be blocked by the carriers. 

 

 

Are You Running a “High Risk” Marketing Program?

 

High risk” marketing programs are marketing programs that operate in industry sectors that historically have been prone to higher than average amounts of fraudulent traffic, content filtering, and blocked messages. Traffic is in the wrong place and needs to be moved to a more effective channel. 

Outbound call centers operating these types of programs are most at risk of getting blocked and running into TCPA compliance issues. If you’re unsure if your use-case falls into the category of “High Risk,” check with your software provider. 

The best practice for high risk marketers is to move to A2P, Application to Person, Toll-Free SMS.

 

 

What you can do to mitigate the risk of your messages getting blocked

 

Depending on your use-case, you may want to consider using SMS-enabled Toll-Free numbers. Here are some of the advantages to your outbound SMS campaigns using toll-free texting:

 

Carriers have high SMS blocking to stop spam

  • You will know if your message was sent to the number you paid to send it to, because toll-free number routes support handset delivery receipts
  • No daily restrictions on maximum messages per day. 
  • A2P [application to person] traffic can be sent via toll-free numbers.
  • Marketing programs on SMS enabled toll-free numbers are allowed on a limited basis. Be aware that carriers are running higher blocking mechanisms across traffic to catch and eradicate spamming.  The monitoring is more rigorous than on short codes, so you need to ensure you have bona fide opt-ins with time-stamps associated with the opt-in records.
  • T-Mobile classifies all toll-free traffic as business related traffic or A2P therefore delivery rates may be lower than other networks. Customers have the ability to opt out when they’re signing up to avoid receiving marketing messages. Ultimately the customer needs to contact T-Mobile and make a change to their service plan.

 

 

 

Outbound SMS Solutions

The fact that Toll-Free SMS numbers allow you deeper visibility into your message deliverability make them highly valuable to outbound marketers.

 

ConvosoToll-Free texting supports the volume and speed you need to run your SMS campaigns, while reducing your risks of noncompliance. has a track record of monitoring and moving potentially noncompliant messaging to a channel with the highest possible deliverability. We strongly recommend the switch to Toll-Free SMS [Application-to-Person (A2P)].  Toll-Free texting supports the volume and speed you need to run your SMS campaigns, while reducing your risks of noncompliance.

 

SMS is a powerful outbound tool for more conversations

With open rates of up to 98 percent, text messaging is one of the most effective tools for reaching your audience. Unlike junk mail, spam, or adverts that can be ignored, people tend to read every text they receive. 

 

Increase conversion rates for outbound campaigns

Automated SMS uses smart triggers to automatically send a text based on call count, phone call outcome, or any value populated in the lead record. With dynamic fields you can customize text messages to leads for a more engaging experience.

 

Boost your sales with 2-way SMS

Give your agents the ability to send texts to leads promoting your product or service. Then, receive responses indicating interest. Two-way messaging is also a simple and effective way to schedule callback times. 

 

Motivate Your Millennial Call Center Agents with 7 Surefire Tactics

By | Call Center Agents | No Comments

What makes this generation of workers unique? What motivates them? What are they looking for in a job experience? What can call center managers do to encourage productivity and job satisfaction of millennial agents?  And, what about Gen Z?


 

Millennial cliches - avo toast and participation trophiesThe next time you’re having a water cooler conversation [or a video chat] with someone at your company around 25 to 40 years old, casually mention avocado toast or participation trophies. Just brace yourself for a strong response. If you’re wondering why, these are just a couple of the tiresome cliches targeting this group born between 1981 and 1996: millennials.

 

Millennials, or Gen Y, are now the largest generational segment of working Americans, which translates to an inevitable impact on the way you run your outbound contact center. 

 

Adding millennials to your call center team offers the potential for significant improvements to your ROI. But many employers are unsure how to best motivate and connect with agents in this demographic. What’s more, without understanding how to support their productivity, many of these employees don’t stick around.

 

High turnover rates have plagued the call center industry for years. And low retention amongst millennials has meant an average 33% turnover rate for millennial call center agents. 

 

That’s why we’re bringing you 7 mighty methods to motivate your millennial call center agents. This article will help you:

 

  • Cut recruiting and training costs by retaining more of your millennial workforce
  • Learn how to motivate millennials to be consistently productive
  • Understand the best ways to engage millennials 
  • Build a work environment and company culture that meets millennial needs and expectations
  • Get a heads up on the next generation: Gen Z

 

What Makes Millennials Unique?

 

Working millennials are intrinsically different from previous generations. Their formative years have been shaped by a radical rise in the prevalence of digital technology, development of social media networks, and big data integration. Their lifestyles are entrenched in technology, so it’s no surprise that they have grown accustomed to instant gratification. Seamless responses. Quick transactions. Endless interaction. 

 

At the same time, millennials prioritize meaningful experiences over material things. Your Gen Y agents don’t want to just show up at work, they want to feel like they are doing something that is personally fulfilling. Understanding their perspectives about work will give you a jump start on motivating these call center employees and keeping them engaged for the long term.

 


 

7 Surefire Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Millennial Agents

 

1) Embrace the benefits of new technology

Millennials grew up in the Digital Age alongside much of the technology we rely on today. Innovative technology trends and tools are both familiar and expected. 

 

“Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, millennials won’t put up with poor enterprise technology.” —WIREDWhen choosing a job, for example, 93% of millennials say up-to-date technology is a major factor in their decision. 56% of millennials think that AI-powered automation gives workers more time to focus on value-added tasks, leading to more productivity in the workplace.

 

“Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, millennials won’t put up with poor enterprise technology.” — WIRED

 

Keeping Gen Y agents engaged starts with the call center platform you offer and hinges on its efficiency, ease-of-use, and effectiveness. 

 

If your call center uses outdated software, it will likely contribute to higher turnover. Continually upgrade so your team can take advantage of the latest call center technologies that help to drive efficiency for agents, leads, and managers. You’ll see the payoff in a higher ROI.

 

Many contact center software solutions offer free demos — check out what’s current so you can determine if an overhaul might be needed to improve your agent engagement and productivity.

 

Is my dialer software effective for my millennial agents?

 

2) Practice flexibility. Encourage independence. 

 

Work/Life Balance and Flextime

43% of millennials are willing to leave current positions for jobs with greater flexibility. They value a work/life balance and being able to have more choice about where and when they work. 

 

Call centers should strive to avoid the typical grind and burnout that typically come with working as an agent. Consider how your business can offer flexible hours and scheduling; paid family leave for childbirth and childcare; vacation time; and other smaller breaks that contribute to the work/life balance.

 

Communication & Work Environment

Make sure your employees know that their voice is always heard by establishing good communication with tools [e.g., broadcast chat and video chat] and regular meetings both as a team and one-on-one’s with leadership. Reinforce goals, address issues, and ask for their feedback and ideas about how they might work more effectively.

 

Being flexible means listening to their comments and critique, and being willing to implement changes to achieve a better work environment.

 

Independence

Young workers prefer to have more autonomy, more opportunities to control how they get their work done. Employee independence has the potential to create a sense of ownership. And that’s another step towards a more engaged call center agent.

 

By developing clear goals with your agents, you can support independent decision making AND hold them accountable with agent monitoring. Review your expectations and the goals they set for themselves with actual performance by tracking the right KPIs. Get their buy-in so they are part of the assessment and help them plan ways to improve performance.

 

3) Offer remote work options

Offering work from home options reflects a company’s flexibility. One study cites 86% of millennial job seekers as more likely to accept a position that allows at least some ability to work from home. 

 

For many Gen Y workers, remote jobs answer many of their needs for balance, flexibility, reduced stress, and overall satisfaction. They save time by skipping the commute, and find they can be more productive. 

 

Note that there are drawbacks to the unstructured, unsupervised nature of remote work. The demand for self-regulated, independent, focused work habits is not for every personality. Therefore, care should be taken when hiring at-home agents [preferably they have a successful track record of virtual work], or allowing employees to work from home either full or part time.

 

Remote call center operations are a growing business model that cuts costs, improves scaling, and gives companies access to a wider geographic pool of top talent. Managers can continue to  support and connect with their at-home agents by using a number of remote management tools, including agent performance monitoring and real time reporting.

 

How can I improve remote agent productivity?

 

4) Prioritize ease and speed

Gen Y call center agents respond positively to streamlined processes that simplify and accelerate their job.Gen Y call center agents respond positively to streamlined processes that simplify and accelerate their job. Automating as many tedious tasks as possible will make all of your agents more productive, regardless of their generational characteristics. It will also increase workplace satisfaction because they’ll be more successful at achieving their goals.  

 

Help your millennials maintain a productive calling rhythm by improving manager efficiency.  

  • Optimize the dialing strategies of your predictive dialer to increase contact rates for your team. 
  • Track metrics in real time to make sure your leads and list sources are performing profitably. 
  • Dynamic scripting can speed up and streamline the sales process by allowing agents conversation to naturally flow from talking point to talking point. Offering personalized scripts with an intuitive scripting interface is another important way to empower your millennial call center agents and keep them happy with their jobs. 

 

5) Provide clean and modern user interfaces (UI)

Millennials (and the upcoming Gen Z) used digital technology throughout their educational years and since in their personal lives. They expect their workplace to integrate available tech tools that improve efficiency, speed, and collaboration. 

 

If you’re asking them to use an out-of-date, text-heavy, non-intuitive UI, you’ll likely end up with agents who are uninterested and unmotivated — or, you’ll simply lose them, if you even get them in the first place.

 

Give your team an innovative call center platform with cutting-edge features, a clean intuitive UI, and streamlined automated workflows. When the tech feels familiar to your Gen Y employees, they’ll be more engaged and productive.  

 

Look for customized dashboards which appeal to both millennial agents, who can choose preferred colors and layout, AND millennial managers, who are able to pull the most important KPIs they’re tracking in real time.

 

6) Create a job worth investing in

One of the defining factors of the millennial generation is their desire to achieve meaningful change in both work and everyday life. They want to know how they are connected to a bigger goal. They’re looking for a sense of purpose. Can you step back and discover ways your call center can create a culture that appeals to a younger workforce? What can you offer? It’s not just about the money. 

 

The average millennial is willing to take a substantial pay cut for a job with improved company culture, a healthier work/life balance, more purpose in their work, or better career development. Understanding this creates an outstanding opportunity for call center managers to better accommodate the needs of this demographic and improve both retention and agent productivity.

 

What’s the goal? 

Clearly communicate how your agent’s work connects to their teams’ goals and to your company’s purpose. If all they hear is that they should make or take more calls and convert more leads, their motivation is likely to flag.

 

So help your younger workers become more invested in the company. Onboarding and training should include an overview of company culture and what you’re all working to achieve together. Can management find ways to continue coaching not just based on daily metrics, but connecting to the bigger picture?

 

Employee Development

It’s critical to provide opportunities for your employees to grow professionally. This will encourage millennial agents to pursue greater success within your company rather than looking for it somewhere else. 

 

  • Create a mentorship program
  • Have a clearly outlined path for advancement
  • Provide free workshops and seminars to improve work habits (eg, time management, focusing on completion) and improve skills (how to close, how to negotiate, conflict resolution)
  • Offer leadership training (Millennials should increasingly be stepping into management roles)
  • Review individual goals and metrics and give them support they need to improve performance 
  • Some companies create opportunities to involve employees in community outreach projects, fulfilling an aspiration to contribute to the greater social good, and encourage meaningful bonding with the team

 

7) Get social. Create belonging. 

Get Social

Social media platforms as we think of them today came into being at the end of the last millennium. Sounds like a long time ago! But our young millennials are truly the first generation to have grown up or come of age with the rise of social media. 

 

So what does this mean for outbound call centers wanting to motivate their Gen Y employees?

 

For one, they’re accustomed to acknowledging achievements and receiving acknowledgements from others. Be sure to “like” their successes and make clear shout outs to the team. For another, social media interactions are fast. So make sure those public acknowledgements happen throughout the day, not just saved up for the end of the month.

 

Create Belonging

Young people are looking for a sense of belonging. Sharing stories of challenge and success from leadership and amongst team members helps to engage and connect individuals. Create a forum where agents can interact and reach out to one another.

 

Here are more ways to create a collaborative, team environment as part of your company culture:

  • Hold brief daily meetings—via video chat if remote—to review goals, make announcements, and offer encouragement. Connecting with leadership is a key element of keeping agents engaged.
  • Incorporate games and contests to inspire fun competition.
  • Include incentives to motivate performance and engage connection. 
  • Use broadcast messaging to communicate support to individuals or the team.
  • Identify how the team is achieving its goals and contributing to the greater purpose of the company.

 

Kyle Andersson, Director of Operations, Digital Market MediaKyle Andersson (a millennial) is Director of Operations at Digital Market Media, a highly productive lead generation company that operates remotely. In a webinar about running a next gen 2.0 call center he noted:

“There’s a lot of things that you can do in a remote environment that helps with team bonding, teamwork, competition. We have an internal, almost social media platform, that allows us to run daily, weekly, monthly competitions. We’re always thinking of new ways to get our agents motivated with incentives.”  

 

 

Get Ready for Gen Z

 

While Gen Y represents a big chunk of the current workforce, Gen Z is right on their heels. 

 

This up and coming generation of workers was born into a thriving digital world in the late 1990s to early 2010s. Their mobile devices are like appendages and their innate facility with technology demands a future that keeps up with their expectations. 

 

Gen Z-ers have never known life without the internet and social media, YouTube, apps that do everything, and access to knowledge about anything. They adapt to new innovations in tools and apps as soon as they become available. They’re highly resourceful and naturally seek out solutions on their own. 

 

This will truly be a generational workforce that businesses and employers will need to adapt to or lose out to competition that does. 

 

So, welcome the next generation, the oldest of whom are already job seekers. They’ll be ready to contribute new ideas and be highly valuable for companies that stay abreast of developing technologies, and don’t hesitate to incorporate those innovations to make their operations more productive and efficient

 

A New Generation of Talent

As the largest pool of talent, engaging Gen Z and millennial call center agents requires a shift in thinking. To best understand how to motivate these young workers, psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan identified three innate needs all humans have for psychological well being: Autonomy, Belonging, and Mastery. This diagram offers a perspective on the expectations of your younger employees based on these innate needs.

Managing Productive Agents of All Ages 

 

Your call center team is likely made up of multiple generations. Understanding the general characteristics of the various demographics, how they are motivated, and what they value can make a huge difference when developing training and incentive programs. Your 58 year old agent may work more effectively with an approach that’s not as beneficial for your 21 year old agent, and vice versa. 

 

Consider moderating a team discussion that recognizes these differences to encourage an appreciation for everyone’s needs and the values they bring to the team. How can they help each other while working toward the team’s and company’s goals?

 

Finding Balance

An article in the New York Times about the transformative impact of millennials and Gen Z-ers asks a question, which we’ll leave as a closing thought,

“Today’s young workers have been called lazy and entitled. Could they, instead, be among the first to understand the proper role of work in life — and end up remaking work for everyone else?”

 

To run a next gen outbound call center, consider how your call center software empowers your agents. If you’re not sure, schedule a demo and we’ll show you what you can do to improve.

 

learn more about how to drive efficiencies for my call center operation

Cool Tools to manage and boost remote call center agent productivity

Cool Tools to Boost Agent Productivity for Remote Call Centers

By | Work From Home Agents, Remote Call Centers | No Comments

14 top call center management tools that drive engagement and productivity of at-home agents.

 

You’re running a remote call center, and everyone, from agents to managers, is working from home. Whether this virtual setup is new to you, or you’ve been at it since before COVID-19 hit, you need to know how to effectively manage the productivity of your remote agents.

We’ve put together these 14 “cool” tools that will help you to monitor productivity and improve performance of your remote workforce. By driving agent efficiency, you’ll elevate your agents’ job satisfaction which ultimately reduces turnover and boosts the productivity of your entire virtual team. We’ve divided them into Communication Tools, Accountability Tools, and Agent Support Tools.  See our infographic below following the blog post or download here.

 

Get the Cool Tools infographic for quick reference

Infographic: Cool Tools to Boost Agent Productivity for Remote Call Centers

 

Communication Tools

 

Your agents need more than just computers and headsets to be successful. They require communication tools to stay aligned with business goals and connected with team leaders. Here are four that are well worth having in place: 

  • Video Chat and Meeting Tool – Provide direction and guidance to help keep your agents motivated and engaged. Video communication platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, and Skype, are ideal for team meetings, training sessions, one-on-one discussions, and more. 
  • Broadcast Messaging – Enable managers to quickly and easily send out motivational or educational messages to all or select agents. Broadcast messaging is a great way to promote a positive, connected virtual culture. 
  • Listen and Whisper – Give admins the ability to listen in on calls, whisper to agents, and jump in on conversations when needed. With this behind-the-scenes guidance, agents can be effectively coached and guided as they improve their performance. 
  • Break Time Request – Increase productivity and promote accountability by giving admins the ability to approve or deny break time requests from agents. Auto-approval of breaks, including frequency and duration of breaks, can be preset for convenience. 

"There’s so much great technology out there. It can alert us and catch bad behavior. It can tell us who our top performers are. However, it’s even more powerful to remind ourselves that as leaders, as managers, for ultimately all people, employee engagement is key to a successful remote call center." — Heather Griffin, SVP of Inside Sales, Momentum Solar

 

Accountability Tools

 

Your call center success hinges on maintaining consistent agent productivity. Gain valuable insights into the performance of each agent—by the hour and over time—by tracking metrics in real time with these four accountability tools. 

An agent who’s normally a good performer could be having a bad week for some reason. We’d see those results in the data within 4 hours and we’d be able to address it. Sometimes they just need time off. They need a break. Sometimes the agents burn out.” —John Gallagher, CFO at a solar outbound call center

 

  • Agent Monitor Screen – Keep track of critical campaign data, such as dial level, drop rating, number of dialable leads, and total number of agents that are currently logged in. From a single unified screen, admins gain the capability to monitor every agent’s status and listen to their live calls. 
  • Agent Productivity Logs – Maintain tabs on agent log in and log out time stamps, as well as their availability status with reason codes. Agent productivity logs can be used like a timeclock to keep track of agent hours. 
  • Wrap Up Time Limit – Set the amount of time agents are permitted after a call (wrap up time) before they are timed out with a forced pause and a preset, automatic popup message.
  • Auto Logout – Use logic rules to auto log out agents if they’re on a dead call for too long or are spending too much time on a pause code. Reports can be created from auto logout data to improve agent productivity.

 

Want to learn more about how to effectively manage remote agents? Check out our guide: "Running a Profitable Remote Call Center"

 

Agent Support Tools

 

Streamline agent workflow and build their momentum by automating and minimizing repetitive tasks. Efficient management of dialing strategies and leads will help drive success for your agents by increasing contact rates and guiding conversations to conversions.

You have to find ways that you can automate. When you add up those seconds amongst hundreds of calls, you start seeing a big difference. If the agent’s experience is smooth, then the consumer’s experience is smoother, and they have a better experience across the board. The agent converts more, now the morale goes up, the turnover goes down.” —Nima Hakimi, Co-Founder & CEO of Convoso [speaking on a panel on “The Three Efficiencies That Drive Call Center Performance”

 

  • Customizable Agent Dashboard – Improve agent experience by providing a user-friendly dashboard with customizable colors and layouts. 
  • Lead Follow-up Automation – Create a schedule to automatically decide when to place outbound calls or send non-voice communications, like text, email, or smart voicemail drops. Add personalized details to drive more inbound calls and continue outreach over select channels until conversion or for a set amount of days. 
  • State/Skill Routing – Automatically route leads, using your predictive dialer, to agents using specific criteria, such as state, language, or demographics. 
  • Quick Dispositions – Streamline tasks to one click and cut wrap up time by taking action during the call rather than waiting until the call has ended. Flexible transfer options also save time.
  • Dynamic Scripting– Simplify calls and train agents in record time and enable them to deliver a better experience with increased cross-sell and upsell opportunities. With dynamic scripting, agents follow a natural conversational flow that automatically fills in relevant details to address prospects personally and guide them towards a sale. 
  • Workflow Dialing – Optimize calls for maximum connection rate by staggering them at different times of the day. Schedule a cadence by staggering calls to reach leads at different times of the day for maximum connection rate.

 

It's all about agent happiness. If you are setting up your dialer correctly, and their contact rates are through the roof and they're getting to talk to more people per day and make more sales, they're going to be stoked. The bottom line is you're going to want to [optimize your dialing strategy]. Not only for cost, but for agent efficiency. —Kyle Andersson, Director of Operations at Digital Market Media, on the importance of good dialing strategy [from LeadsCouncil webinar "The 2.0 Call Center"]

 

The Cool Tools for Productive Remote Agents INFOGRAPHIC

 

Cool Tools for Productive Call Center Agents

Make Informed Decisions to Guide Your Success

 

Keeping your remote call center operation on track for growth and profitability requires monitoring the right KPIs with real time reporting. Check out our list of the 16 essential KPIs that are used by the most successful outbound call centers.

When you make decisions based on the right KPIs, you’ll be able to better optimize your predictive dialer software. And that will definitely improve remote agent productivity. 

 

Dialing strategies that improve contact rates while staying compliant

Predictive Dialing Tip: Are you using this important dialing strategy?

By | Call Center Solutions, Outbound Dialing Strategy | No Comments

Is your dialing strategy effective AND compliant?

 

From the Convoso Video Vault

Bobby Hakimi talks about one impactful dialing strategy that increases contact rates for predictive dialers while staying in compliance with TCPA.

At the 2020 Lead Generation World conference in Colorado, the Convoso marketing team stopped CoFounder and Chief Product Officer Bobby Hakimi and asked him to share a tactic for call centers to dial leads more efficiently. 

 

Watch the video [around a minute]. Read the transcript below:

 

“Hi. My name is Bobby Hakimi and I’m the Chief Product Officer with Convoso. I’m here to talk about the different dialing methods that we have, and how predictive dialers nowadays don’t have an efficient way to still accomplish [dialing] without affecting the leads that they’re calling. 

 

Typically, any of the dialers out there now—they dial every half hour, every hour, depending on which status [they have]. They may change that, but ultimately it’s a repetitive thing: calling every hour, every three hours, and it goes on and on and on.

 

And, if you think about it as a consumer, you keep getting a call every hour, it’s very frustrating and you start ignoring that call. 

 

What we have implemented is a system, a cadence, where we may be aggressive at the beginning—the lead gets posted, we call them in real time, and then we may call them 10 minutes later, 30 minutes later, an hour later. And as the call count increases, we increase the time between the calls to maybe 3 hours, 4 hours, 2 days, 5 days—where we still call them as much as we need to, but we’re not affecting the lead we’re calling, we’re not annoying them, and we’re still getting as much as we would by calling them over and over. But, you’re not getting in trouble. 

 

Because if you harass people, that causes lawsuits. And with the TCPA rules nowadays, that [dialing cadence] is a more effective way. 

 

We have the technology to accomplish this without affecting customers.”

 

STIR-SHAKEN & Call Blocking - What lead generation outbound call centers need to know

Webinar on STIR/SHAKEN & Call Blocking – What lead gen call centers need to know

By | Uncategorized, Call Center Solutions, TCPA and Compliance, Webinars & Events | No Comments

STIR/SHAKEN and call blocking are two highly current hot topics on the minds of outbound call center operators. And for good reason.

STIR/SHAKEN is a set of industry regulations designed to limit robocalls. The new rules and procedures will have a huge impact on your lead gen call center due to the increased risks of call blocking. Will you still be able to reach new customers?

To help all of us understand and prepare for STIR/SHAKEN, we hosted a webinar with industry experts Michele Shuster [Founding Partner, Mac Murray & Shuster LLP, Ryan Thurman [Director of Sales & Marketing, Contact Center Compliance], and Nima Hakimi [CoFounder and CEO, Convoso]. During this discussion we learned what STIR/SHAKEN is, what to expect over the coming years, and how businesses can ensure full compliance and success through these changes.*

 

WATCH THE PRESENTATION in this video. You can read a summary below.

Webinar Summary: STIR/SHAKEN & Call Blocking – What lead gen call centers need to know

 

What is STIR/SHAKEN?

STIR/SHAKEN stands for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited/Signature-Based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs. It is a call authentication network that works to limit robocalls and the spoofing of caller IDs to trick consumers. 

To do so, originating carriers assign each call one of three attestation ratings. When the terminating carrier receives the call, they can then use this signature to determine if the call is valid and if it should reach the intended consumer. 

 

Attestation Ratings

 

STIR-SHAKEN 3 Attestation Ratings

The three attestation ratings include:

  • A – Full Attestation, meaning the carrier has confidence in the identity of the caller and the caller’s right to use the caller ID information presented.
  • B – Partial Attestation, meaning the carrier has confidence in the identity of the caller but not the caller’s right to use the caller ID information presented.
  • C – Gateway Attestation, meaning the carrier cannot certify the identity of caller or their right to use the caller ID information presented. The carrier merely acted as a gateway to place the call on the network.

Michele Shuster, founding partner at MacMurray & Shuster, said these ratings are based on two factors. First, the level of confidence the originating carrier has in knowing who is making the call. Second, if the caller has the authority and ability to use the caller ID information associated with the call.

 

What do these attestation ratings mean?

An A rating shows the signing authority is fully confident in your use and authority, Shuster said. A B rating means the carrier knows who you are, but isn’t certain that you should be using the caller ID attached to the call. Getting an unwarranted B rating is a common problem for some callers on the STIR/SHAKEN network and is still being addressed by regulators.

“A really good example of that is call centers or enterprise call enterprise calling that occurs in call centers. The call centers will have various carriers,” Shuster said. “And depending upon whether your carrier that you’re initiating is the same that will be carrying that call will largely affect whether you’ll get a full or a partial attestation.”

C or Gateway Attestations show that carriers know which gateway the call was initiated through, but not the authority or identity of the caller. This rating is common for international calls.

 

 

What is the timeline for STIR/SHAKEN?

 

Deployment for these regulations began in 2019 and all major carriers are currently using some form of the network, Shuster said. 

On March 31, 2020, the FCC also announced a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which involves who is going to be able to sign calls beyond the current limited entities. Originating and terminating carriers now have to deploy, if they haven’t already. 

STIR/SHAKEN has a full deployment deadline of June 21, 2021, though smaller and rural carriers may receive extensions.

 

What are the benefits and limitations?

During the webinar, Shuster outlined four main benefits and limitations to the new regulations.

Legality

One important limitation to recognize, Shuster said, is that the attestations cannot determine if a call is wanted or legal.

“One of the things that I think people are usually surprised to hear is that STIR/SHAKEN is not in any way based on the legality of the call,” she said. “What it does is allow us to be sure who is making the call and whether they have the ability to use caller identification that they’re using.”

Traceback

If calls are receiving large numbers of complaints or being blocked by analytics companies, STIR/SHAKEN helps determine the caller and prevent illegal calls more effectively. Calls with C ratings are treated as suspect, while A and B level callers can be traced and prosecuted more easily.

IP-Based

Shuster noted that STIR/SHAKEN is IP-based, so rural carriers and those using legacy equipment such as TDM or copper lines won’t be affected.

Caller IDs

If caller ID values are obtained from one carrier and used to place calls on another carrier, callers will likely receive a B rating. Call centers often struggle to get A ratings for this reason, a problem the FCC is still working to resolve.

 

 

What can you do to ensure STIR/SHAKEN compliance?

To make sure your calls get through to your leads, there are six main strategies that you can use to maintain compliance. 

 

Inventory your telephone numbers

Before making calls, it’s important to know which numbers you’re using to make calls and if these numbers are going to cause problems. Each carrier uses its own analytics to determine if a call should be blocked, some more aggressive than others. Ryan Thurman, Director of Sales and Marketing at Contact Center Compliance, said this can lead to artificial intelligence falsely labeling calls as spam, which prevents companies from reaching leads. By inventorying your numbers first, you can avoid wasting time on numbers that will be blocked.

Ready your equipment

If you don’t have the right equipment ready, you may not be capable of generating and transmitting attestation tokens. You can ensure your call center has the right equipment by talking to your carrier.

Contact your carriers

Your telecom carrier and some service providers are offering assistance with STIR/SHAKEN implementation. If you have questions

 or concerns, you should connect with your carrier now to get help.

Validate your calling numbers

If you operate a call center, it’s critical to work with them to validate your calling numbers with multiple carriers and their analytics partners to limit call blocking.

Signing authority

For both continued success and compliance, make sure you are using an enterprise caller that has signing authority and will give your calls an A attestation rating.

Contact the FCC

Shuster encourages businesses to urge the FCC to address and allow for a broader group of voice service providers to be able to sign calls.

“In an enterprise setting, it’s difficult to be able to validate that you have the authority to use the caller identification information that you’re using,” she said. “If those voice service providers are able to sign their own calls, then that will go a long way to eliminating that problem without the addition of technology, which is I think what they’re struggling with right now.”

 

 

CALL BLOCKING – What do I need to know?

 

Currently, call deliverability is at an all-time low. Carriers are using their own analytics companies, as well as data from unregulated third-party apps, to determine if a call is spam. These apps allow consumers to mark calls as robocalls, even if they are coming from legitimate businesses, such as debt collectors. These apps also come into play when calls are blocked. Agents might hear a busy signal, a disconnected tone, or may even end up talking to a robot instead of the person they tried to reach. 

 

How does call blocking affect me?

Though carriers will have to let callers know when their call is blocked by the deployment deadline of June 21, 2021, there is not currently a way to tell when your calls are blocked or labeled as spam. This can lead to wasted time and money spent on calls that don’t go through. It can also prevent businesses from validating these numbers to restore their legitimacy.

To avoid this problem, Shuster said, companies need to create call strategies that involve checking to make sure campaigns are going through. You should also, Thurman said, determine how to whitelist or register these numbers, preferably with a calling platform that can help you avoid future blockings.

“For Convoso, we’ve been proactively working on it,” Nima Hakimi, CEO and co-founder of Convoso. “We have certain solutions in place where calls, a certain percentage of them, are already being certified and we’re working towards that being all the way available and ready in time. So talk to your dialer providers, see what they’re doing.”

 

Solutions to call blocking

Call volume and calling patterns can also affect both call blocking and attestation ratings. If an illegal company spoofs your numbers, for example, the rise in call volume can lead to carriers labeling the number as spam and/or blocking its calls. This problem affects all industries and types of calls, including government numbers. To avoid losing calls, Hakimi said, businesses need to start preparing now.

 

Develop a strategy

Businesses should work with partners and vendors to ensure they’ll be ready by the deployment deadline. Old strategies no longer work, so you need to rethink call cadence and the lead follow-up process.

“Things are changing, as we know, and over-dialing your leads is the biggest problem,” Hakimi said. “Your contact rates will just go down. It’s a failing strategy. We really want to make sure everybody truly understands it will no longer work.”

Instead, consider assigning a specific number of caller IDs per agent or adjusting your call cadence. Keep a flexible strategy that allows you to logically adjust to changes and maintain your contact rates.

“We know that obviously in a perfect world, everybody would respond right away, but that doesn’t happen. So you need to have a system in place that can automate that lead follow-up process in a manner that doesn’t abuse the consumer and call them to death,” Hakimi said. “As long as you have systems in place that can automate that process, you won’t be in that position where you’re over-dialing and your calls get blocked.”

 

Implement other channels

Since you can no longer dial leads as often as before, businesses should use other channels to connect with leads. Creating an omnichannel follow-up strategy allows you to most effectively engage leads without risking your call reputation.

 

Validate your numbers

It’s important to make sure numbers aren’t already flagged, Hakimi said. Data providers should hold numbers until they’re clean, so work with your provider to ensure the numbers you receive won’t harm your reputation.

Though some businesses like to use services such as Numeracle or Hiya to whitelist numbers, this is often a short-term solution. Often, these numbers are blocked again in a few months and unusable. It can also be dangerous to share your information with these services, Thurman said.

 

Get reports from dialer platforms

Understanding what is happening with your calls is critical to avoiding blocking. Get transparent reports from providers to see if your calls are being tagged or blocked, then use this information to address the problems. You can also get recommendations from providers on the caller IDs you use and how to best manage your quantity to protect your reputation.

 

Conclusion

The best thing businesses can do today is to stay aware and proactive in your preparations, Shuster said. See what is happening with STIR/SHAKEN regulations and react accordingly to avoid problems at the deployment deadline.

“Don’t wait for these changes to happen. Talk to an attorney. Reach out to us if you have any questions,” she said. “There’s really a lot going on and the more you can educate yourself on it, the more you’ll be prepared to do something about it.”

 

* The materials in this presentation are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt thereof does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Every situation is different, and you should not act or rely on any information contained in this presentation without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

 

The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center Keys to Efficiency and Profitability

By | Call Center Solutions, Lead Generation, AI, Work From Home Agents, TCPA and Compliance, KPIs and Measuring Performance, Webinars & Events | One Comment

The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center

 

LeadsCouncil logoA LeadsCouncil Leadership Series web discussion on how forward-thinking lead generation call center operations increase key efficiencies.

 

Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi joined two lead gen call center ops experts to share insights about “The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center.”

Kyle Andersson, Director of Operations at Digital Market Media, and Michael Velardi, SVP at Resource Marketing Corp have both really pushed the envelope in managing their remote call centers for efficiency and profitability.

Watch the video, hosted by LeadsCouncil Executive Director Rob Seaver, to pick up experience-driven advice on how to maximize your Agent Efficiency, Lead Efficiency, and Manager Efficiency while staying compliant. Be a next gen call center.

The experts discuss managing remote call center agents, staying in compliance, the impact of AI, automation and dialing strategies for lead efficiency, understanding the profitability of your lists and list sources by digging into the right set of KPIs and reports to get the biggest ROI.

 

Discussion Highlight Quotes from “The 2.0 Lead Gen Call Center”

 

Jump to any discussion topic from here:

 

STIR/SHAKEN and TCPA Compliance*

 

LeadsCouncil's Rob Seaver hosts 2.0 Call Center webinar

Rob Seaver

Rob Seaver 
There’s a lot of activity right now that impacts the quality of leads from a compliance standpoint…In the STIR/SHAKEN side of things, we’re now seeing the telco companies being forced by the FCC to block some of these calls.

There are a couple of other things impacting the industry. As it relates to call center fraudulent submissions and forms, there are people who you get on the phone and you hear that dreaded, ‘I did not sign up,’ which is impacting TCPA because if they did not fill out the form, or they were not the owner of the phone number that they submitted the form with, you possibly could be looking at a TCPA violation.

 

Nima Hakimi

With STIR/SHAKEN, Telco carriers are being mandated to implement it by June of 2021. It’s basically Caller ID authentication, which helps the telecom carriers detect the legitimacy of a caller through a token. So you cannot spoof through Caller ID.

When your caller IDs are getting flagged, that will decrease your contact rates. Calling excessively is just a recipe for disaster.

In the big picture, that is actually a good thing, right? Because the bad actors are the ones typically spoofing the Caller IDs and using Caller ID’s that are not valid. So you cannot get back to them. My prediction is that once it goes into place, call volumes will go down considerably, but the businesses that are doing it legitimately will thrive.

There’s a lot of pressure that’s being put on, and the FCC is really going to start regulating these things.

 

Kyle Andersson

A lot of it starts pre-call – we are hyper focused on compliance with data before it even hits the dialer. The ideal lead…has intent for the product or industry that you’re selling…So, for us, it’s all about having high intent users, not just pure volume.

We scrub our leads vigorously. And then within Convoso, there’s a lot of great things such as automatic DID reputation checks. So you’re not having to worry about if your DID is becoming potential spam.

And then regulating your redials, not hammering one number 30 times in a day, maybe eight times back over a course of three weeks…There’s little things that you can do to continuously armor yourself to make sure that you’re of the highest quality.

 

Michael Velardi
I never want to call somebody who goes, ‘Who are you? Why are you calling? Where did you get my number?’ Because that’s the worst thing you ever hear in our business [which is why] my data is source-reliable, opt-in-only, Jornaya lead ID.

 

[*Views expressed for educational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice. Please consult your attorney regarding matters of compliance with current laws.]

 

AI + Quality Monitoring and Coaching

 

Nima
AI in terms of quality control is really going to play a huge role in that regard for better conversations, more compliant conversations, and just ultimately, increased results in the agent performance… For example, there’s an integration we have that will coach and listen to your agents in real time, and let them know if they’re off script or not, or if they’re using the right rebuttals or not… Are they talking too fast?

You need to have AI incorporated in one way or another if you want to go remote and grow it and scale it, in full compliance.

 

Kyle
When you talk about quality assurance—the traditional listening to calls, scoring calls and making sure that they’re compliant, they’re quality, they’re getting through the qualification questions that you need from your clients—this is all streamlined with AI because it’s not a person or managers listening to calls, it’s the systems listening to every call.

And you have statistics on every single call, all of the details, everything that you want to see in calls or don’t want to see. It’s very scalable. So, that’s one huge thing that AI will play into remote or in-house call centers.

It’s all about being proactive instead of reactive, which is what [AI and streamlining] will help with.

 

Lead Efficiency

 

Nima

Convoso CEO NIma Hakimi at 2.0 Call Center webinar

Nima Hakimi

The biggest thing about lead efficiency is you need to look at your reporting to really understand what percentage of those leads pick up. How many of them are transferred, and what is the revenue out of those leads? You need to have real-time reporting that gives you that data, so you can see on an hourly basis, which agents are producing how much revenue? What is the actual ROI on it? Meaning what was the cost to convert those leads?

The agent’s time is a hard cost,… the cost of the dial is a hard cost. And so you need to be able to break that down on a lead source level to tell you specifically what the ROI is on an hourly basis by agent and by lead source. And if you do that, you’ll be able to quickly optimize your call center.

 

READ NIma's blog on Improving Lead Efficiency

 

Dialing Strategies & Effective Lead Management

 

Nima

Sometimes it’s not your quality of leads that will have an impact. What is the dialing strategy? How are they working those leads? How are they recycling those leads?

Most people’s dialers are not set up effectively to convert their leads.

You’ll find that the contact rate does not improve after a certain [number of] call attempts. Now that doesn’t mean that you should stop calling it altogether, but you need to have automation in place that will move that lead into another list and maybe call it back again in 30 days from now, and try it again at that point. And maybe then again, in 60 days from now.

Customers need the understanding, the mentality to stop buying so many leads. [Some call centers] are always thinking, ‘We want to buy more and more and more leads.’ Guess what? You’d hit the wall, you can’t catch up with the new leads. Now those get stuck and you’re just dialing the old ones. I mean, it’s just a big mess….

You really have to shift your mindset if you want to do things right. And leads cost… it’s one of your biggest expenses at the end of the day.

 

Kyle

Redialing strategy is huge, we spend a lot of time finding out the correct redial strategy schedule. By making sure that you have good lead providers as you continue to do these optimizations, you can actually scale back your lead buying because your contact rates are going up so much that you’re able to convert just as many, if not more sales with fewer leads…You can actually spend less money and make more money.

 

Reporting Capabilities

 

Digital Market Media Dir of Ops Kyle Andersson at 2.0 Call Center Webinar

Kyle Andersson

Kyle 
We use a lot of Convoso reports for data. And as long as you organize and separate your lists and your providers, and real time and all that inbound, you have all the reporting that you need. You have the contact rate by list. You can do it by date. You have the conversion and transfer of sale, you have the average duration of the call, abandoned… All of that stuff by list, by date.

We have so many different lead sources coming in everyday. So it’s imperative that we have it set up, or organized, and we use those reports to ensure that we’re not spending money on data that’s not working, or [for example, finding out] we’re re-allocating to one for the past month, and they’re absolutely killing contact rates and conversions.

 

Remote Outbound Call Centers

 

Nima

For companies that don’t consider the value of remote] you’re missing out on a huge opportunity, a huge talent pool to take your call center to the next level.

This pandemic has really forced call centers to look at the metrics, the numbers, the data. You really have to look at all the pieces of your call center in order to optimize it, and manage it in a profitable manner…

When we look at these efficiencies of lead efficiency, agent efficiency, management efficiency, it’s really the combination of all three of them that will make your call center more profitable in a compliant manner. Because, especially now, if you want to go remote, if you don’t have those processes in place across all three efficiencies, it won’t work.

You have to have good accountability in place for the agents [especially as you grow and scale]…Having systems in place that will automatically have checks and balances in terms of productivity is absolutely key. Otherwise, there’s just no way you can manage that process manually.

 

Call Center 1.0 vs 2.0

 

Michael

Michael Velardi at 2.0 Call Center Webinar

Michael Velardi

The 1.0 model was literally to shovel weeds in, beat them to death, call the new leads 12 times. And then give me more. Just, I killed them. They’re dead. Give me more. And it never valued longevity.

Where 2.0 is, you’re measuring the data and your agent’s rest time, your live contact rates. And it’s really allowing you to do more with less because your contact rates increased so much that it becomes a detriment if you buy too much new [data].

The days of too much new data is just as bad as, ‘Oh no. All we have is old data.’ Because, you have to use both, you can’t have one without the other. And I’ve learned a much more manageable approach for the company based on data usage, data costs, and modeling. And we’ve reduced our outbound cost on data by 25%.

What most of these 2.0 things sum up is quick, actionable information…[with] movements such as agent efficiency, manager efficiency, dialer efficiency. I think what the focus and the shift has become is the data is so readily available [with real time metrics] that now I’m able to make a move—where I’m not post-Tuesday looking at what Monday’s results were. So there’s no, ‘Good morning, I couldn’t save the game.’

 

 

Are you using strategies that maximize efficiencies for your lead generation call center?  Find out how you can improve your call center’s profitability with Convoso.

 

Schedule a Demo

[Convoso works best for call centers with 10+ seats]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Win Solar Lead Gen by Contacting More and Converting Faster

By | Lead Generation, Solar Energy Call Centers | One Comment

How solar-focused call centers can drive lead generation and conversions

 

Growing demand for clean energy, solar tax credits, the promise of lower utility bills, and declining hardware costs have contributed to a 10-year boom in the solar industry that’s exploded in a sunburst of growth at nearly 50% annually

 

There’s a lot of potential business out there!  Which means there’s also a lot of competition. And to be competitive, companies in the solar residential market need to corner the best leads. 

 

Jump to tips to increase contact rates and convert leads faster.

 

Lead generation is the make or break for solar sales 

 

Whether your company buys leads or generates them in-house, the primary objective for solar telemarketing agents is to find potential buyers who meet your established criteria [for example, amount of sun exposure, roof suitability, and credit worthiness, etc.]. 

 

Who’s on first

 

Equipment and labor costs are relatively similar across the board for solar companies, which means the real competition comes down to customer acquisition. 

 

When 46% of Americans polled say they’re considering solar panels for their home, you know you’ve got a hungry market. The question is, who’s going to feed it. 

 

The answer is, whoever gets there first. The second answer is whoever gets the most qualified leads on the phone and converts them. 

 

 

To Be COMPETITIVE in Solar, Contact More and Convert Faster

 

It doesn’t matter if your call center is cold calling to generate leads, or calling leads from a qualified list, you have to move through a massive quantity of data, as quickly as you can, and you have to be efficient about it. 

 

To be a player in the game, you need to drive efficiencies for your leads, your agents, and your management team. That’s where your solar dialer comes in. 

 

The success of your telemarketing efforts—of your entire solar business—depends on the power, capabilities, and flexibility of your call center software. The automated power of a predictive dialer will dramatically improve your campaign productivity and effectiveness.

 

To increase your company’s bite out of the solar market, here are 5 ways to convert leads faster: 

 

      • Driving campaign effectiveness with lead management, dial-level scheduling, and recycle/redial logic

      • Automating a scheduled cadence of communication with multiple channels [email, text, ringless voicemail drops, in addition to calling]

      • Employing powerful lead followup automation tools

      • Managing list, lead, and agent performance with insightful real time analytics

      • Streamlining processes to save time and costs

 

How Solar and Energy Businesses Convert Leads Faster

 

Tracking the costs of your leads

 

Don’t focus solely on your cost per lead. You need to look at the entire picture. Your real focus should be on understanding your true CPA, or cost per acquisition. 

 

The trick is to be able to get a quick read on how lists (or lead vendors) are performing. If you can get real-time insight into the CPA being delivered by a list or list vendor, then you can make smart, metric-driven decisions.  If it’s sorely underperforming, you can choose to pull that list and stop wasting more agent time on it.  Or if you’re getting great results, then you’ll be in a position to purchase more leads from the same list/list vendor.  

 

To do this, you’ll need access to real-time analytics. When you know your true CPA and implement smart dialing strategies, your solar call center will improve lead efficiency. This will translate to increased ROI.

 

 

Quality leads save you money

 

Yes, you’ll pay more for quality data. Especially in today’s highly regulated world where compliant data is more expensive.

 

But if you buy higher quality [more expensive] leads for your solar company’s outbound sales, you can make back the extra cost by converting more leads. 

 

The best dialer on the planet won’t help you if your agents are calling from a bad list. Your staffing costs just go up, morale goes down, and the savings on the cheaper lists you bought are void, AND, you don’t have the revenue expected from your list purchase.

Likewise, the best list on the planet won’t help if the script your agents are using isn’t effective. Make sure you have sales scripts that get results and your software gives you the automation of dynamic scripting. Outbound call centers convert more leads when their agents know the right thing to say at the right time.

 

Speaking of agents, outbound solar marketing call center expert Michael Velardi shares the top 5 metrics for improving agent efficiency that he dives into and balances on a daily basis to maximize his team’s dialing effectiveness.

 

Generating leads on the web with inbound marketing

 

With the right persistent efforts, over time solar companies can naturally develop a flow of interested solar prospects reaching out to them directly. The lead just knocked on your door.

 

Rather than only dialing out, fingers crossed you’ll find leads that maybe might be even a little bit interested in PV on their roof, once you develop your inbound flow, your success rate and profitability will dramatically improve.

 

As solar consultant Erik Curren says, “the day may come when you can start to cut back on buying lists and eventually generate all your solar leads in-house. With better leads, your conversion rate will rise and you’ll sell more solar.”

 

The point is, residential solar companies need to take other actions to improve lead generation by leveraging digital marketing that builds an online presence and uses ad campaigns to attract prospective solar panel customers. You need to enhance the SEO of your website, blog posts, and social media to elevate your search engine ranking for solar energy. 

 

 

Let the sun shine in

 

Good Data + Powerful Dialer = Strong Lead Conversion 

 

And that’s the formula for solar lead generation success. Soak up the rays!

 

 

Convoso’s cloud-based dialer dramatically improves contact rates and boosts ROI for telesales contact centers, while supporting TCPA compliance.

 

Solar call center CTA_schedule demo

Should Outbound Call Centers Stay Remote or Return to the Office? Both?

By | Call Center Solutions | No Comments

Resources to help you decide on the best options for your outbound call center, and when it’s time to return to the office after the coronavirus shutdown restrictions are lifted.

Many businesses that have been shut down during the coronavirus pandemic are re-opening. For call centers, you may wonder, is it time for your agents to return to the office?  What are the considerations for making the best decision? What plans should you have in place?

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, many office-based call centers scrambled to transfer their operations to remote, and to get their agents working from home.

Many of our dialer software customers were already running virtual call centers. We helped others to quickly and smoothly transition to a work from home operation. Several newly remote customers told us they were surprised to see an increase in productivity. In fact, some have decided to stay remote, or have decided to adapt a hybrid operation upon return. 

 

POLL About Returning to the Office

In a recent poll of participants at our WFH Webinar series, we asked about plans for their call centers when the shut down orders were lifted.  Here’s the how they responded. 

Communications and Clarity with Employees

If you decide to resume operations from your call center office, be sure to address potential employee concerns upfront by clearly communicating your policies and planned safety measures. You may want to offer objective information resources to educate employees. If possible, consider offering the remote option to employees who don’t feel safe returning to a staffed workplace environment. Our Work From Home page offers a helpful guide for managing the performance of at-home agents, and supporting a highly productive remote workforce.

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines

You’ll find many resources with detailed guidelines for employers of businesses and workplaces regarding COVID-19 on the CDC’s web page.

The CDC also offers the helpful workplace tool below to help you decide whether to re-open your business, in this case, your lead generation or outbound sales call center office. 

The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.

 

OSHA Guidelines for Workplaces

The U.S. Department of Labor: Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put out a 35-page guidebook called  “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.” Among topics covered, of key interest to call center operators may be the chapter, “Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers’ Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2.”

 

Keeping Your Call Center in Legal Compliance

Whether you intend to continue as a remote call center operation or move back to the office, there are numerous legal considerations. In our second Work From Home webinar, compliance experts and attorneys Michele Shuster and Lisa Messner [Mac Murray and Shuster LLP] shared valuable tips for keeping your call center in compliance, and guidelines for developing a remote work plan for your business, as well as points to bear in mind when returning to the office. 

Read the summary and watch the webinar video for Keeping It Compliant: Legal Aspects of Running a Virtual Outbound Call Center

In addition to call center office safety measures, they suggest the following:

  • Implement some sort of screening method
  • Keep in mind the privacy rights of employees
  • Avoid discriminatory practices
  • Document policies and procedures
  • Keep records

Employees who get sick should obviously be sent home. This should be clearly stated in your policies, including criteria for returning to the office. 

 

The Choice to Stay Remote 

If you plan for your outbound call center to stay remote, have a look at the our free guidebook to improve your productivity:  Running a Profitable Remote Call Center: An Indispensable Guide

You’ll learn about:

  • Resources That Drive Remote ROI – Tech Recommendations, Productivity Tools, Essential KPI Reports
  • Tips for Managing Your Virtual Team for Optimal Performance
  • Compliance Guidelines for WFH
  • Future Trends in Virtual Call Center Operations
  • Remote Call Center Checklist

 With the right tools and support you can optimize your cloud-based dialer, and manage your at-home team so they are focused, motivated, and productive.

 

Stay Up-to-date with COVID-19 Developments

The pandemic has thrown the international scientific community for a loop. They’re working diligently along with government and health organizations to stay abreast of the most current statistics and their implications, testing and possible vaccinations, and strategies for balancing economic health. Keep up with changes by consulting trusted news resources: e.g., The New York Times is offering free access to their special coverage of the coronavirus with an FAQ section that may be helpful for your agents. 

Whether your outbound call center plans to head back to an office environment, continue with remote, or move forward with a hybrid, be sure to keep updated on the latest developments so you can protect the health of your employees and the continuity of your business.