This trend article is part of the Convoso series, “Outbound Contact Center Trends,” helping you stay current with issues, technologies, best practices, and strategies that impact your business. Our aim is to provide tools and guidance that will improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability for your sales and lead generation team.
As our connected devices have led us to communicate in ever more diverse ways, it’s become fairly standard for outbound call centers to utilize omnichannel solutions that meet consumers wherever they take their business.
So, with the capability to automate text and email as outreach tools for dialing campaigns, contact rates for sales and lead generation teams should be higher than ever, right?
Unfortunately, many omnichannel approaches are failing to live up to this promise. What’s more, not all call center managers are using the full range of capabilities in their platform’s arsenal.
But to stay competitive (and TCPA compliant) in 2023, it’s time to step back and evaluate the best ways to weave multiple channels into your overall omnichannel strategy.
To help you do so, here’s what we’ll cover in this post:
- What is omnichannel and why should you use it?
- How to achieve speed to lead and automated efficiency across channels
- Navigating compliance and boosting contact rates
- Meeting customers where they communicate best
- Why not all omnichannel solutions are created equally
What Is an Omnichannel Contact Center?
Contact centers of old focused on one channel only: the phone. Omnichannel contact centers offer an update that meets the needs of today’s communications. Whether it’s at centers focused on outbound lead gen and sales, inbound customer care, or blended call centers, an omnichannel contact center is one that uses multiple channels to connect with its customers and prospects. Typically, an omnichannel contact center uses phone, email, and text (SMS). Other potential interactive channels include live chat and social media, though these are of value for only inbound and blended operations.
Why Use Omnichannel Contact Center Solutions?
This question has big ramifications for call center success. Luckily, it comes with a pretty easy answer. In simple terms, contact centers should rely on omnichannel solutions because it’s what consumers expect. NICE research shows that 9 out of 10 consumers want to engage via omnichannel experiences.
Ultimately, omnichannel contact center solutions can deliver much more than met expectations, though. That’s because when businesses give their customers (and potential customers) what they want, the benefits are paid right back to them. Research shows that with additional channels for outreach and engagement, customers simply spend more money.
In turn, those customers don’t just deliver more value—they tend to stick around. According to Aspect Software, businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t.
Implementing Omnichannel Solutions at Your Outbound Call Center
These statistics make clear two things about using omnichannel solutions: One, the potential benefits and growth opportunities are plain to see. And two, without omnichannel in 2023, your business will be left behind.
So, to keep up with (and surpass) your competition, we’ve covered some of the best ways that you can incorporate omnichannel solutions into your outbound operation this year.
Dial Smart (and Fast!) with Omnichannel Strategies and Speed to Lead
The days of dialing leads to death and expecting a result are over. Today’s businesses need to dial smarter, not harder.
If you go by statistics, one of the smartest things you can do is focus on your speed to lead. Also known as lead response time, speed to lead measures the amount of time it takes your business to contact a lead after they’ve raised their hand and expressed interest.
This crucial call center metric is about seconds and minutes, not hours and days. When a lead opts in on your website or elsewhere, your business can waste no time reaching out to them. After just an hour, leads are 100 times less likely to connect—and 21 times less likely to be qualified. Leads who aren’t contacted quickly today simply lose interest—or worse, you lose out on them to your competition.
To fend off your competition and get to leads as fast as possible, you business needs to rely on a dialer technology that provides maximum power alongside intelligent automation—and does so across channels. Does your dialer
If not, you’re likely lagging behind the pack when it comes to omnichannel speed to lead.
The Other Benefits of Dialer Speed and Power
By using a powerful, automated autodialer solution, you’ll also move through your hopper quickly, at the best time of day, and only deliver to your agents those calls that connect. Chris Cantrell, an agent with US Health Advisors, described this capability as “how you put time back in your agents’ pockets—and also produce more sales, at the best times.”
From there, it’s easy to see how your gains might snowball. You create more revenue, more profit for more leads and generate more opportunity.
In addition to best calling times, your automation should incorporate an omnichannel approach as a smarter dialing strategy.
That time that your agents get back thanks to the efficiency of a powerful autodialing solution? That’s all time your team can put toward your other channels, crafting improvements to an omnichanel strategy that includes outbound SMS and email. This way, according to Cantrell, “you’re freeing up time to do the things that matter in the downtime, and you’re staying really hot, and really productive, in the hot time.”
With the right omnichannel solutions, though, your SMS and email channels aren’t just being put to use when your agents have downtime—they’re always working simultaneously in the background, even when your agents are focusing their best efforts elsewhere.
Automating outreach to leads over multiple channels—whether it’s your texts or your email drip campaigns or smart voicemail drops, helps bring the business to you more efficiently.
This kind of automation of tedious tasks is key to building the next-generation call center you need to stay competitive. With streamlined processes and improved efficiencies, you can not only drive growth but support a more successful and satisfying experience for your agents.
Navigating Compliance and Boosting Contact Rates
Meanwhile, though, your dialing strategy that’s the foundation of your omnichannel approach also has to account for compliance. And that means putting outright overdialing behind you. After all, it’s about dialing smarter, not harder.
That’s because, as TCPA regulations tighten, call blocking expands, and consumers become savvier, wild dialing is just no longer an effective, or ultimately profitable, approach to running a lead gen or sales call center. This tactic will just lead to your calls being blocked or marked as spam, potentially without you knowing it.
But if you’re dialing less, you may be wondering how you’re supposed to convert leads. The answer circles back to omnichannel and automation.
Smarter, compliant outreach begins with understanding the quality of the leads that you’re dialing. You can’t just take the same blanket outreach approach with both high-intent and low-intent leads.
Omnichannel for low-intent leads
Low-intent leads call for a little bit of extra caution. Your dialing solution that’s at the heart of your omnichannel approach? It should be able to support dialing that’s responsible—and do so automatically. That means it should utilize tools that automatically rest your leads based on inputs like intent level and prior dispositions, plus offer you to create custom redial/recycle logic. After all, a good way to avoid having your calls blocked is to call less! Instead, build awareness as you rest low-intent leads with emails that grab attention.
Omnichannel for high-intent leads
For those ever-valuable high-intent leads, the newfound efficiencies we discussed above are as crucial as ever: That time saved on the sales floor with smart autodialing can help give your team essential time to fine-tune and strike the right balance between voice, text, and email for costly leads.
This extra time, combined with the right system, provides opportunities to develop smarter call cadences for high-intent leads. And these call cadences you develop can be synchronized with automated omnichannel workflows, including SMS drip campaigns, that do much of the work for your team.
Automation based on events
The best omnichannel solutions rely on event-driven workflow automation to achieve scale and speed. Event-driven means that you can configure an outreach action—whether text, email, callback, or smart voicemail drops—to take place when it’s triggered by one or more specific events.
For example, you send an email and that email gets opened. With event-driven workflow automation, you can automate an action based on this event, ensuring a call is placed, say, 10 minutes after this email is opened.
But the chain reaction doesn’t have to end there. With the right system, you should be able to automate a workflow based on a long list of interlinked events, creating thousands of different outcomes that are tailored to your particular marketing and sales strategy.
In the end, when you automate lead follow-up across voice, text, and email you can dramatically boost contact rates—and, done right, while staying compliant.
Meeting Customers Where They Communicate Best
The reason behind these boosts in contact rates isn’t exactly rocket science. Omnichannel is all about connecting with customers in the way they prefer. Giving customers options and adding a personalized touch—it’s basically Sales 101.
Think about your own preferences as a customer. How do you like to be contacted? Does it depend on who’s reaching out? Or on the time of day? Like you, customers are going to be more easily reached on different communication channels for a variety of reasons.
Speaking about her experience in the solar energy market, industry veteran and call center expert Heather Griffin imparted some words of wisdom for outbound sales teams in all industries: Omnichannel, she says, is critical to dealing with shifting demographics, each of which come with their own biases toward certain channels. As more Millennials and members of Gen Z become eligible customers, it’s on sales teams to adjust, according to Griffin. “Millennials and Gen Z—they don’t like talking on the phone,” Griffin says. “So that’s where SMS and omnichannel come in” and have an important role to play in keeping contact rates up as market demographics change.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to bridge generational gaps, though, the key here is to keep the conversation going. As we pointed out above, the research points to the fact that successful experiences in more channels means more opportunities to drive revenue. That means the prospect’s experience should be easy and consistent across platforms, whether phone, email, or texting.
Agents need to see all the ways a lead has connected with your company and all the relevant information you have on that lead, which requires a system with robust lead management capabilities and actionable data analytics integrations.
Why Not All Omnichannel Solutions Are Created Equally
For many outbound sales teams, omnichannel is apparently easier said than done. Even if some centers think they’re ahead of the curve here, according to Convoso’s Chief Product Officer Bobby Hakimi, “there are centers that don’t have a true omnichannel system.”
Even if they have omnichannel built into their approach, Hakimi says, “many of the channels they use are controlled manually by agents. Or, if it’s automated, they have little to no control over when to automate that channel.”
To deliver higher contact rates and bring success to your sales and lead gen team, omnichannel combined with speed to lead is the way to go – and, it’s just one of the outbound call center trends for 2023 in our series to help contact centers stay competitive. From driving smarter dialing strategies and maintaining compliance, to reaching customers between multiple devices and across generations, the right omnichannel solutions for 2023 and beyond are backed by automation that saves you and your team time, so that you can do more of what you do best.
Tour Convoso’s omnichannel solution and learn about our automation-driven suite of tools that delivers unmatched speed to lead at scale.