Outbound Call Center Contact Rate vs. Connection Rate

Outbound Call Center Contact Rate vs. Connection Rate

October 11, 2022 | Convoso

[Updated October 2023]

Contact Rate vs. Connection Rate. What’s the difference, and why does it matter for your outbound call center?

Whether you call them contacts or connections, you’re concerned with getting leads and customers on the phone—and adding more to your bottom line.

Of course, a little clarity never hurt anyone. In this guide to connection rates and call center contact rates, we’ll break down how they differ and how to calculate them. 

Most importantly, we’ll dig into 10 different ways you can increase your contact rates and boost connections. Use this guide to boost your contact center knowledge—and your strategic know-how.

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Download our quick guide on Contact Rate vs Connection Rate

Defining Connection Rate vs Contact Rate (and the formulas to calculate both)

Connection rate and contact rate have distinct purposes and are among numerous metrics KPIs for outbound call center profitability.

A connection is when a call is answered, and a contact is when you reach an actual person. So a connection could mean you reached a voicemail or someone hit the green button and immediately hung up, but if you reach a live person who is talking to you, you have a contact.

Of course, both are major factors impacting lead conversion rates. And when it comes down to it, the conversion rate is what matters.

What is Contact Rate?

The contact rate for an outbound call center is a list-level metric and is the key to understanding the quality of the lead list. To determine the rate, we divide the number of live person contacts by the total leads on the list.

For example, using this contact rate formula:  20 people pick up the call / 200 leads = a contact rate of 10%. 

What is Connection Rate?

The connection rate for an outbound call center gives a daily snapshot of the number of calls placed on a given day to leads. To determine the rate, we divide the calls answered [including voicemails] by the total calls placed.

For example, 25 calls answered / 100 calls dialed = a connection rate of 25%.

In a nutshell, the connection rate tells us the efficiency of the leads and is short-term. Contact rate tells us about the quality of the leads. Over time, the connection rate contributes to the contact rate.

10 Ways to Increase Your Contact Rates and Drive More Connections

1. Maintain the Health of Your Caller IDs with Reputation Management

Trying to get in touch with more of your costly leads, you can’t have them thinking that you’re a spammer or scamster. Comprehensive caller ID reputation management is essential to fighting back against the Spam Risk and Scam Likely labels.

Equip your dialer managers with a dashboard like Convoso’s ClearCallerID™. Our proprietary solution lets you see when any of the major carriers either flags or blocks one of your numbers.

With this level of transparency, you can take action—quickly swapping out affected numbers and automatically updating campaigns with new numbers to keep improving your contact rates.

2. Get There in Time with Speed to Lead

While call flagging and blocking are causing issues for many sales and lead gen teams, they’re far from the only factor driving down contact rates and lead efficiency. 

Consider this critical question: Just how fast do you attempt to contact a new, warm lead after they’ve opted in? 

If you don’t have an answer—or your answer isn’t measured in seconds or minutes—then you’ve got a problem with your speed to lead. And if you’ve got a speed-to-lead problem, you’ve probably got a dialer problem.

To achieve speed to lead and improve your contact rate, you need a dialer that can automatically prioritize newer leads with workflow dialing capabilities. With the right solution, you’ll get there before they move on to something else—or, worse, to one of your competitors.

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3. Penetrate Your Lists with Dialer Power and Dial Level Optimization

Prioritizing your freshest leads doesn’t mean the rest of your lists should go out the window, though. 

That’s why you need a state-of-the-art dialer that also has the throughput and predictive dialing power to penetrate through your lists, even when you see one of those huge, sudden increases in lead volume. 

Add dial level scheduling capabilities and you can concentrate your efforts during the times your leads are most likely to answer. Now that is how to improve your contact rates.

4. Focus on the Right Lists with the Help of Detailed Reporting

Dialing with speed and efficiency is important to improving your contact rate. But to take your sales effectiveness to new heights, you also need to dial intelligently.

Even when you’ve really got the strategies above dialed in just right, you’re still going to run into lists that just don’t perform like the others. To keep your contact rates from dropping and, in turn, to continue improving them, dialer managers have to be able to see these trends developing—not after the fact but in real-time.

Using granular reporting and call analytics tools, your leaders on the ground can get the data-driven insights they need to make informed decisions. The kinds of decisions that drive up contact rates. 

Take the List Conversion Report—one of our favorites. This real-time report, available on the Convoso dialer platform, tracks profitability metrics as the action unfolds, giving managers a window onto each list’s true CPA and ROI. Comparing across their campaigns, they can decide which lead streams to turn off and which to leave going, zeroing in on only those leads with whom they’re making contact and moving the needle.

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Find more reporting strategies in our guide to call center analytics.

5. Develop (and Automate) Smarter Cadences Across Channels

In today’s world, sales aren’t only made over the phone. In fact, a landmark study published in the Harvard Business Review found that at least 73% of consumers used multiple channels on their path to purchase. The kicker: that was in 2017. 

Six years on, things have only gotten more digital and more omnichannel-oriented. To drive higher contact rates and revenues, your outbound team needs to approach its leads with the right mix of channels. With automated cadences of calls plus texts and emails, you will ultimately get more customers on the line.

Well-timed texts and well-plotted drip campaigns offer sky-high open rates and engagement. Use them to set up a call or schedule an appointment with a warm lead who’s been made even warmer with effective omnichannel messaging.

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6. Customize Your Outreach Cadences to Suit Your Leads

No two leads are the same and the way you set up your outbound campaigns should reflect that. Scoring your leads and segmenting them by intent will enable you to develop more tailored outreach strategies. 

For instance, with low-intent leads, you may opt for a less aggressive approach with a longer redial cycle and more emails to help nurture and inform the lead in the meantime. 

With high-intent leads, then, you can focus on that ever-important speed to lead: Get to your most important leads more quickly, then set a shorter recycle strategy, send follow-up texts, and leverage smart voicemail drops to drive more callbacks.

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Read our 2024 guide to improving outbound calling strategies

7. Connect Agents to More Prospects with Accurate Answering Machine Detection

When you’re dialing a high volume of leads, your sales and lead gen agents need to be able to stay in a groove. And nothing cuts into that momentum—not to mention your contact rates—quite like leaked voicemails.

To keep agents from talking to voicemail messages and missing out on customers who do pick up the phone, your team needs answering machine detection that’s as agile and accurate as possible.

Also, look for a solution that offers customizability. Based on the type of data you’re dialing, you may wish to prioritize either false negatives or false positives. 

  • With high-intent and more expensive leads, it may be worth allowing more false negatives to occur to ensure as many leads reach an agent as possible
  • Meanwhile, it may be worth prioritizing false positives for lower-value leads. Regardless, a great answering machine detection solution will help you minimize both, even if you want to prioritize one over the other.

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Explore more details about the importance of effective voicemail detection software

8. Look Local with the Right Phone Numbers

This one’s simple, so we’ll keep it short and sweet: leads are much more likely to answer when they receive a call from a number they might recognize. One study found that people were four times more likely(!) to answer calls from a local number vs. a toll-free one. So, to help improve your contact rates, equip your team with local caller IDs.

9. Register Your Identity to Make Sure Carriers Know Your Numbers

In the age of the TRACED Act and STIR/SHAKEN, carriers have more power than ever to block and label your calls. While it’s not an ideal system, each of the major carriers allows businesses to register their numbers, which can help them lessen the likelihood of being labeled spam. 

Make sure that, as you add new numbers, each one gets registered. Or, better yet, partner with dialer software like Convoso who will make sure they get registered for you.

10. Add to Your Capacity (and Efficiency) with Conversational AI

You’ve heard by now about how AI is going to change the world. But how about that it can also help boost your contact rates.

Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) software powered by cutting-edge conversational AI technology can support the work of your sales team, holding natural conversations with leads over voice and text. Empower your agents to spend more time talking to warm, qualified leads as the IVA handles introductions, pre-qualifies leads, and even re-engages aged and rested leads.

A powerful conversational AI solution for sales like Convoso’s IVA ultimately helps your team generate more conversations for less—boosting connections, improving your overall contact rate, and generating more revenue to fuel growth.

Want to learn more about how Convoso—the industry’s fastest and most powerful dialer—can drive 3X improvements in your contact rates? Sign up for a free demo today

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