CONNECTION RATE VS CONTACT RATE – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER FOR YOUR OUTBOUND CALL CENTER?
Whether you’re a call center manager, owner, admin, or analyst, you may be using the terms “Contact Rate” and “Connection Rate” interchangeably. Many people do. However, they are different metrics impacting ROI. So, let’s go over how they differ, and why it matters.
In a nutshell, 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, Connection Rate contributes to Contact Rate.
Connection Rate and Contact Rate have distinct purposes, and are among numerous metrics for measuring the performance of your outbound call center. Keep in mind that both are major factors impacting Lead Conversion Rate. And when it comes down to it, Conversion Rate is what matters.
In this article, we’ll talk about 4 key ways to improve Connection and Contact Rates:
- Dial Time-out Adjustment
- Dial Level Scheduling
- Carrier Quality Monitoring and Management
- Recycle Logic Tools
Defining Connection Rate vs Contact Rate
Connection Rate. Gives a daily snapshot. Here we look at 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%.
Contact Rate. List level metric. This 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, 20 people pick up the call / 200 leads = a Contact Rate of 10%.
With the goal of achieving a higher Lead Conversion Rate, let’s look at some strategies for improving both Connection and Contact Rates.
Dial Time-Out Adjustment
What is the ideal number of rings to allow before moving on to the next call? As any call center admin or manager knows, finding this sweet spot is the trick of trial and error. The FCC requires a minimum of 4 rings or 15 seconds. From this threshold, if you set the time-out too high, you get too many voicemails (money wasted on telco minutes!). Of course, if you set the dial time-out too low, you may lose the call, because you haven’t given the recipient enough time to answer.
Tweaking the number of rings in smaller increments is often the key. If your dialer doesn’t let you adjust the dial time-out by a half ring, you are at a disadvantage.
Convoso Senior Customer Success Manager Jen Knight says, “Sometimes half a ring makes all the difference. Our customers control the dial time-out with one simple setting. They sometimes go back and forth until they land on the ultimate number, say 5.5 rings, and that turns out to completely change the Connection Rate.”
Dial Level Scheduling
The most effective scheduling tools positively impact both Connection and Contact Rate. They should automatically adapt hour-by-hour throughout the day, raising and lowering dial levels tailored to contacts’ schedules. Dial level scheduling sets a specific number of dial levels (aka lines) based on a pre-defined schedule. So, for example, at 10am it will use 3 dial levels, or at 5pm it will use 4 dial levels.
An additional scheduling tool is a follow-the-sun system that selects each lead at the time of day when they’ll be most responsive. The result will be more successful connections and a lower dropped call rate.
Carrier Quality Monitoring and Management
Call centers that don’t continuously monitor their Connection Rate are at risk of trying to run their business with broken dialers… without even knowing it.
Nima Hakimi, CEO of Convoso, explains, “The fastest way to tell if your dialer is broken is to check the Connection Rate. If you see a sudden dip, you can tell within an hour or less that there’s a problem with the dialer. That’s why we’re proactive, and have a team monitoring each carrier’s connection rates, so if it goes down, we immediately take them out of the route until the issues are resolved. This way everything continues to function as normal, and the impact on our customers is minimized. We also only use solid, top quality telecom carriers.”
If a call center has downtime due to a carrier issue, that’s costly. You’re not converting leads if no one is connecting.
Recycle Logic Tools
With intuitive management tools, call centers can immediately improve Connection Rates. Convoso predictive dialers incorporate proprietary algorithms that respond in real time during the calling process, and help to strategize, implement, and adapt a calling plan. Three recycle logic tools work together to maximize connectivity, lower unanswered calls, and boost Contact Rates.
- Caller ID Rotation – Multiple local numbers should be rotated to avoid overdialing from a single number. When a customer registers new phone numbers with Convoso, we determine if it was previously flagged as Scam Likely so that they can avoid purchasing a bad number. This protects a company’s positive reputation and increases Connection Rates.
- Workflow Dialing – Call center admins and managers can break up calling patterns with customizable delays between calls. Staggering calls with different intervals improves Connection Rate. Workflow Dialing targets and schedules redials for individual leads with custom triggers, based on call history and CRM data. The result is increased list penetration that boosts Contact Rates.
- Lead Follow-up Automations – These tools use strategic methods of reaching leads through multiple connection opportunities. Dynamic workflows employ a customized approach to leads with behavior-based rules, well-timed text messages, emails, calls, and other methods to communicate with prospects. These tools combine outreach into one system that’s automatically orchestrated to respond intelligently to customer reactions. By advancing the customer journey, Lead Conversions soar.
List Conversion Reports – Beyond Connection and Contact Rates
Improving Connection Rate and Contact Rate are essential for call center agents to convert leads. However, we need to drill deeper if we want a true picture of ROI and profitability. The next step in this process is to analyze list conversion for efficiency.
A call center’s biggest expenses are payroll and data. Managing opportunity costs poses a perpetual challenge. You may have a great Contact Rate. However, if your agents have a high talk time on a list but they aren’t selling, then the profitability of those leads just took a nosedive.
Integrating data in real time with a List Conversion Report gives you the ability to determine what lists are creating true revenue. Convoso customers tell us these reports have been a gamechanger in maximizing lead efficiency. They note increased profitability, better resource management with a decreased need for staff, increased productivity, and cost savings. As one call center owner described, “Better quality leads for reps means better efficiency.”
We will go into more depth about the critical function and benefits of an integrated, real time List Conversion Report in a future article.
Call centers need to evolve with continual changes in the industry. Innovative technologies are available to help call center owners, managers, and admins meet and exceed their goals for lead conversion.
Learn more about how Convoso’s omnichannel contact center software can dramatically improve your Connection Rate and Contact Rate, and what List Conversion Reports can do for you.