For many companies, outbound calls are the primary means through which agents communicate with clients. It’s important, then, to develop a comprehensive outbound call strategy. In this article, we’ll break down what exactly an outbound call strategy is, as well as offer some tips for how to improve your company’s outbound call strategy. Let’s get started.
What is an outbound call?
In the simplest sense, outbound calls are those placed by your agents to your customers. Call centers need to make these types of calls for a variety of reasons, ranging from sales and outreach efforts to calling back customers who requested information that your agent didn’t have on hand during the initial call.
Developing a sound strategy for outbound calling that makes use of all of the available tools at your disposal is crucial to staying ahead of the game. Below we’ll detail several ways you can improve your outbound call strategy.
7 ways to improve your outbound calling strategy
#1 Specify your goals and KPIs
Divide your total number of calls made by the number of successfully converted leads you have for a given period and you’ll get your conversion rate. It’s a simple metric, but one that gives a good general sense of how well your outbound calling strategy is working in ROI terms.
Average handle time
Another simple KPI, average handle time represents the average amount of time your agents spend on the phone with your prospects. As a general rule, you’ll want to keep this metric pretty low. After all, the shorter the average handle time the greater quantity of calls your agents will be able to make per shift. More calls equals more converted leads equals more profit for your company, simple as that.
Answer success rate
Also known as hit rate, this metric measures the percentage of numbers dialed that result in a successful connection between agents and prospects. It’s an especially important KPI to track when developing your outbound calling strategy, because it will inform your decision about which type of automatic dialer to use if you choose to use one. More on that later.
#2 Analyze your strategy
Analysis and evaluation are a crucial step of the outbound calling strategy development process. Once you’ve decided on a preliminary strategy, ask for feedback on it from your colleagues, both in management and on the call center floor. Be receptive to recommendations regardless of from whom they come. The goal here is to develop a sound, workable strategy — so be willing to make adjustments if necessary!
#3 Use a predictive dialer
Managers know all too well that idle time can be a killer for call centers. Those few minutes an agent spends between calls twiddling their thumbs, so to speak, add up, and can lead to a noticeable amount of lost revenue month-to-month.
CloudTalk’s Predictive Dialer feature cuts back idle time significantly. Here’s how it works:
- Agents or their managers select the number of outbound calls they’d like to complete in a given shift.
- They then select the amount of time they’d like to have for completing administrative tasks at the conclusion of a call.
- The agent starts his or her shift. Once they hang up with a client, the timer starts.They complete their administrative tasks and instead of having to search through a catalog of client phone numbers, the next call on their list is automatically initiated by the Predictive Dialer system.
- Note: with predictive dialers, an algorithm is used to dial multiple numbers per agent with the goal of successfully connecting with as many clients as possible. More numbers are dialed and more connections are made, but there is a greater likelihood that your predictive dialing system will leave your customers in the lurch by dialing their number before an agent is available to assist them. This can lead to uncomfortable waiting periods for clients after they pick up the phone, so keep it in mind!
With our Predictive Dialer automating the tedious task of searching for their next number, your agents can save time, stay on task and complete more outbound calls per shift than you ever thought possible.
#4 Use a power dialer
A power dialer is basically a less complex form of a predictive dialer. Where predictive dialers rely on algorithms to dial multiple numbers per agent in search of a connection, power dialers simply dial one number per agent, sequentially until a connection is made.
As a general rule, you should use predictive dialers when your connect ratio is lower than 30 percent and a power dialer when your connect ration is higher than 50 percent. Furthermore, predictive dialers work better for call centers with high call volume (1000+ calls per day) and power dialers work better for call centers with a lower volume (100-900 calls per day).
#5 Click to call
If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use an automatic dialing system, CloudTalk’s click-to-call feature can keep things moving quickly even if your agents are manually initiating their calls.
Instead of having to manually enter phone number digits, click to call lets your agents simply click on phone numbers within CloudTalk’s interface to initiate their outbound calls. In other words, it does exactly what its name suggests. Simple, right? Right.
#6 Use region-specific numbers
Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, odds are you’re more likely to pick up the phone if you recognize the caller’s area code. People are skeptical of foreign phone numbers because one, there’s only a faint chance they’ll know the person on the other end of the line and two, depending on their carrier these kinds of incoming calls can incur heavy fees.
Why deal with any of that in your call center when you don’t have to?
CloudTalk’s Automatic outbound caller ID feature sets your agents up with region-specific phone numbers so your prospects are less likely to ignore your calls. Your outbound caller ID area code will be set automatically based on call destination, but you also have the option of manually setting one up, if necessary.
#7 Measure results and don’t be afraid to switch things up
As with many business strategies, flexibility is an essential aspect of successful outbound call strategies.
High hit rate not translating to a high conversion rate? Switch up your focus and try tracking different KPIs. Your predictive dialing system leading to a frustrating number of dropped calls? Try using a power dialer and see if it brings about better results.
The point is, every call center is different and something that works well for one group may not work as well for another, and vice versa. Solicit feedback from your staff at regular intervals and stay nimble — the perfect strategy for your contact center may be just around the corner.
The Bottom Line
We’ve outlined a number of tips and tricks for helping you improve your outbound calling strategy in this article, but the fact of the matter is none of it will matter unless you’ve got a solid foundation for success in place.
CloudTalk’s cloud-based call center software comes fully loaded with 50+ features guaranteed to help your call center improve its outbound calling strategy. Our easy-to-use interface lets you get creative with your outbound calling strategy, and our features are tailor-made to gel with a variety of call center sales techniques. The best part? CloudTalk can scale up alongside your business. The sky really is the limit!
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