What are the best practices for outbound call centers? What do the top outbound dialing operations rely on to push performance to the next level?
Watch Convoso’s CEO Nima Hakimi and VP of Marketing Lisa Leight in a 20-minute round robin relay quickly trade off sharing the top 10 need-to-know tips and strategies to boost productivity, from compliance to smarter dialing. This presentation on outbound dialer best practices was originally given at Contact.io 2021 in Denver.
The following 10 tips deliver best practices for outbound dialing productivity.
Tip #1 Understand your CPA at a granular level
Many businesses use their Cost per Lead (CPL) to gauge performance at their outbound call center. CPL, however, doesn’t tell the full story. Instead, call centers should look to their true Cost per Acquisition (CPA) for a fuller understanding of their operation’s ROI.
Hakimi says that your reporting should give you a granular view into this important metric: “It’s very important to be able to measure [your true CPA] at a lead-source level, and to be able to do that in real time. If you don’t measure this on a regular basis, you could be having hours and periods of time where your sales are not coming in—and now you’ve lost tens of thousands of dollars.”
Tip #2 Insight into call flagging/blocking
With carriers taking matters into their own hands with call blocking and flagging, call centers everywhere are struggling with the dreaded “spam likely” label—or worse, calls that are blocked entirely. “We serve hundreds of call centers,” says Lisa Leight, “and this is always at the top of the list of the most perplexing frustrations for their outbound dialing.”
When trying to address the issue, ignorance is anything but bliss. “It’s imperative to have insight into which of your numbers are getting flagged, which are getting blocked, which are showing up on the FTC complaints database,” Leight says. Equipped with this information, you can make smarter decisions about your caller ID reputation management, including when to replace unhealthy DIDs that are harming your bottom line.
Tip #3 Dial smarter, not harder
To help avoid getting your caller IDs flagged in the first place, you need to incorporate more intelligent outreach strategies. The days of calling a lead 30, 40, or 50+ times are over, says Hakimi. Instead, he recommends that you implement smarter approaches such as these:
- Intelligent redial/recycle logic: Limit the number of times you call a single lead and automatically rest it for a set period of time to preserve the life of that lead. Breaking up your call cadence and recycle logic can also help improve the health of your caller IDs.
- Omnichannel outreach: Incorporate email and texting into your automated outreach workflows.
- Personalize your messaging: Include personalized info about your lead in your texts, emails, and voicemails to improve your contact rate.
Tip #4 Brand your identity
There are a number of solutions available to verify your identity and let your leads know who is contacting them. Verified Calls by Google is a service where you can present your company, logo, and your reason for calling. This info will be displayed on the recipient’s smartphone screen when they receive a call, increasing the likelihood they’ll answer. Campaign Registry enables you to register your campaigns with carriers to improve deliverability and help ensure texts reach leads.
Tip #5 Manage call volume by DID to protect your reputation
“There’s not one single solution to avoid the flagging and blocking of your calls,” says Hakimi. “You have to manage your caller IDs by understanding your call volume and the geography of where you’re calling, knowing how many calls you should be placing per caller ID, per day.”
A system like Convoso will analyze your call volume by DID and make recommendations on the quantity of caller IDs you should be using. By monitoring this analysis on a regular basis, you can maintain a ratio of caller IDs to total calls that helps protect you from flagging and blocking.
Tip #6 Readiness for STIR/SHAKEN
STIR/SHAKEN, which began to be fully implemented in 2021, has drawn a lot of commentary. Lisa Leight says Convoso are big fans of the framework: “STIR/SHAKEN supports compliance-minded businesses. It’s going to separate the wheat from the chaff and do something to address illegal robocallers.”
Of course, since STIR/SHAKEN is still in its infancy, we’re still waiting for it to have a big impact. Nevertheless, contact centers should be ready. Under STIR/SHAKEN, carriers will provide one of three levels of attestation (A, B, or C) that speak to the level of trust in the caller. To maximize connectivity and ensure calls are delivered, Leight says it’s imperative that you work with a provider that can offer A-level attestation.
Tip #7 Personalize your pitch
Developing a personalized sales pitch is important for a few different reasons. For one, leveraging all available customer info will increase the likelihood customers stay on the phone and ultimately convert. It’s also an important part of supporting compliance. Different states each have their own requirements for special language and disclosures that need to be used on outbound calls.
But how do you ensure your agents can deliver this personalized pitch? Dynamic scripting software adapts to each lead, automatically offering agents the real-time script information they need to stay on message and in compliance.
Plus, this software also reduces training costs and improves agent ramp-up time, which can be crucial in a high-turnover environment. “We know that agents eventually get the hang of how to have successful conversations,” says Hakimi. “But at the very beginning, you want to make it easy for them.”
Tip #8 Maximize agent’s talk to humans, not voicemails
According to Lisa Leight, reaching voicemails instead of humans can be an expensive problem: “If you’re a 100-seat call center, what if I told you that you could be spending up to $2 million per year in payroll to have your agents listen to and disposition answering machines?”
Convoso customer Jesse Daniels of One Health Direct, estimated that, before switching to Convoso, his agents were spending as much as 70% of their time dispositioning answering machines. And his call center is not alone.
Faced with so many voicemail messages, having answering machine detection with maximum accuracy is extremely important to making the most of your call center’s biggest cost: payroll. Leight points to one customer who, in a side-by-side comparison between Convoso and Five9, achieved five times as many conversations and five times as many sales with Convoso’s superior answering machine detection.
But it’s not just critical for your bottom line. By increasing agent talk time, you not only reduce your CPA, but improve agent morale and engagement. Keep your agents in rhythm and working on improving their pitches with a better solution for answering machine detection.
Tip #9 Prioritize leads to beat the competition
When your business is buying or generating a high volume of leads, it can be challenging to keep the best leads in the hopper and keep sales momentum running at a high clip. According to Nima Hakimi, avoiding those slowdowns in conversions comes down to having the right dialer on your side.
For starters, you need a powerful dialer that can consistently dial at a fast pace and avoid dips in productivity. But you also need a system that can shift priorities and dial higher quality, real-time leads as they come in. After all, speed to lead is crucial to staving off competition. If that dialer can also get to your aged leads in a timely manner, Hakimi says, then that’s a recipe for success.
Tip #10 Quickly adapt to changing regulations
Call center regulations are ever-changing. Lisa Leight highlighted recent examples where restrictions changed virtually overnight, forcing call centers to respond. For instance, Hurricane Ida forced call centers to stop calls in Louisiana, while similar situations unfolded in Indiana and New York. Elsewhere, Florida implemented a law known by many as the “mini-TCPA,” which restricted call times, among other things.
In light of these recent examples, it’s as important as ever that you make sure your technology stack includes solutions that are able to quickly adapt and evolve. For the safety and profitability of your business, you need to have confidence in your tools and know they adhere to today’s compliance standards, not yesterday’s.