Five Outbound Calling Strategies to Drive More Sales
Call center communication is a winning recipe for businesses that are looking to target new markets to reach potential customers. Most organizations start with an outbound calling strategy to build an effective communication channel and wait for months to reap results as far as growth is concerned.
Prospects and new customers still prefer to buy services from companies that proactively reach out to them through human agents. Outbound calling, with the infusion of newer technologies such as Conversational AI, Automation, and Predictive Intelligence, remains the top sales strategy for various types of businesses involved in:
- Lead generation
- Market research, and so on.
Despite having a team of call agents who make a lot of outbound calls, if your business objectives are unmet, you are lacking key ammunition in your call center arsenal. It’s an outbound sales call strategy to help you pace your sales pipeline with a customer-centric outbound dialer.
According to the State of Contact Center Report 2023, compared to 2021 (46%), outbound calls answered by agents fell to 39% in 2022.
If you are looking to minimize your call drops in 2023 and optimize sales prospecting using an outbound calls strategy, this article will help you establish the importance of an outbound calling strategy.
Building-Blocks of an Effective Outbound Calling Strategy
The first thing in any call center operations management is to decide who your customer is and what is the purpose of calling them at that time! Say you are running a call center for a financial services company XYZ, and you have a contact database with filters to help you optimize your time and resources. Here’s what your outbound call center strategy should look like for the best results.
1. Sequencing Your Actions with Text and Calls for a Better Reach
A call center software could be handling millions of outbound calls (made to customers and prospects) in a week. A majority of these could go unanswered due to one simple reason — agents and customers do not recognize each other.
Businesses that do not answer call-backs from their customers (inbound calls) risk losing revenue due to poor service management denting their brand and reputation.
In 2022, 29% of the callers abandoned calls while waiting in a queue.
So, what should the agents handling the financial service contact center do in such scenarios?
Let’s understand this case using these two live examples.
Call volumes for the financial services industry rose by 80% within the financial year of 2022.
Let’s say you called a customer on their phone number using a verified contact database like a CRM. The call went unanswered. In 10 minutes, your agent received a call from the phone number. This time, the agent was busy attending to another call and therefore, could not answer the callback number. The chances are less that the intended conversation with the first customer will take place in the near future unless the customer reaches back.
The same customer tried to call your agent from a different number. This time your agent picked up the call, but they have no information on the contact person, resulting in poor conversation and experience, thereby degrading customer satisfaction.
Who is at fault here?
No one, actually. But, that’s not how businesses run, is it?
If the call center used a blend of outbound and inbound calling strategies, the conversations would have taken place in both scenarios.
This is where sequencing workflow comes into the outbound calling landscape.
Before calling, let’s say the agent texted or sent a chat message to the customer’s verified mobile number. If the customer replies back the next step is to request a call to connect on that same number. The customer should be given the option to be called on the same number or another alternate contact number based on preference and availability.This series of sequential text messages could improve your call center performance by 30%, saving your agents at least 30 minutes every day!
What CTAs you can opt for:
In sequencing, you need to make inbound digital strategy part of your outbound calling strategy. There are different combinations you can go with. CTA – click to chat—-can have four possibilities on digital medium: Webchat / WhatsApp with bot / WhatsApp without bot/ connect with an agent). ,
Click to voice bot – It can come with call or voice bot option. If you are using a digital medium, then you should ideally continue with the digital medium because voice might not be the best way to start with. If the user is engaged, you can further connect him with an agent. Since it’s an outbound call, the focus point should be to meaningfully engage every prospect & improve the conversion rate.
2. Perform AB Testing for Your Call Center Communications
AB Testing is very common in software development and UI UX services. But, is it relevant to how a call center operates? Call centers that double up as contact centers can benefit immensely from AB testing of their omnichannel communication routes such as text messenger, chat messenger, outbound call, social media DMs, and emails. AB testing-based communication ensures that your outbound calling is always on point and never deviates from the established benchmarks of customer journey mapping.
Ways you can do AB testing for your outbound calling
To do AB testing effectively, outbound agents have to be trained on contact flows. This is a serious activity and requires the assistance of an intelligent solution such as Ozonetel’s blended call center. An agency can create an actionable contact flow for calls, texts, and emails using a CRM database. This allows call center agents to design a conversational roadmap to improve outcomes through better conversions, higher “answer rates” and above all, an empathy-driven customer journey and experience management. Probability of user picking up a call is more when he has a need.
Example: Suppose, a financial services company sends an SMS to a customer regarding a loan offer & informs him that he will receive a call from certain DID. Now, people who are in need will pick up the call. So, lead filtering is already happening here. Now, you should also ensure that the user has read our message. And that’s why AB testing is needed. You can do 50% intimation through SMS & 50% on WhatsApp and observe which channel gives better outbound answer rates & then decide which channel to follow.. When a user doesn’t answer a call then only intimation goes. Your channel for after call text intimation should again be based on the number of responses you receive.
Another benefit of AB testing is call scripting to match the potency of your automated dialers for inbound and outbound answering. AB-tested autodialers make your call centers more effective by enabling agents to craft impactful scripts for calls and chat conversations.
AB testing is also useful in feedback management, putting a customer’s perspectives on an agent’s dashboard and helping them to improve their chats and calls for subsequent engagements. It also allows a manager to distribute calls from customers who give feedback to a better-trained agent for a better customer experience.
3. Get a Verified Business Caller ID Today!
Being labeled a spam contact can jeopardize your future outbound sales calling strategies. How to stay away from spam call lists? Call centers can leverage a combination of AI ML capabilities with their verified business caller IDs to protect their brand from spam hits. Getting a verified business caller ID is a key component in your next-gen outbound calling strategy that focuses on user experience and brand awareness.
Thirty percent of the outbound sales calls that end-users receive today on their devices are out of their phonebook. A majority of these calls could be made by businesses that are already in touch with the customer but have no features on their outbound call software to showcase their identity. With trust, safety, and identity becoming all the more important for brands to build a holistic omnichannel relationship with their customers, ignoring Verified Business Caller ID could spell curtains down for your contact center.
Abhimanyu Khanna, Director of Channel Sales, Truecaller explains here how his company is working with Ozonetel to bridge the gap between users and their trusted brands that they choose to stay connected with in a voice-led world.
4. Redefine Your Call Center KPIs
Ozonetel’s report reveals that, on average, callers waited 56 seconds to get connected to an agent as opposed to 45 seconds in 2021. Similarly, abandonment rate has increased by enarly 200% since 2019 and the average pickup rate has also declined from 46% in 2021 to 39% in 2022.Poor performance across contact center KPIs such as average queue time, abandonment rate, and outbound connection (aka pick-up) rates show that contact centers must blend voice + digital in a cohesive omnichannel strategy to improve performance, enhance customer satisfaction, and deliver higher lifetime value to customers.
Call center agents understand that some calls are more important for their businesses than others and therefore, need an extra span of attention to detail. Therefore, your latest outbound calling strategy should focus less on conversion rates and more on the quality of calls that help close sales or generate high levels of customer satisfaction.
If you are handling a large number of calls daily, conversion rate might still be a good KPI to focus on, but “answering rate” is something that is going to give your business more potent outcomes than any other KPI you could think of in the context of conventional call centers.
5. Focusing on Conversational CX Powered by a Predictive Dialer
Running an exceptional outbound sales call center is a game-changing proposition. A predictive dialer can save millions of dollars for businesses that train their agents on how to use predictive dialers aligned with benchmark conversational CX management tools.
Outbound calling is more effective when your agents are trained to handle CRM and ticketing tools with automated call scheduling, predictive dialing, automated calling, and dialer APIs for messaging platforms. In fact, the next generation of voice call centers is already beginning to bubble to the top of AI-led innovations that bring in the power of AI-based voice bots and one-touch call dialing answered by IVRs.
A solid sales calling strategy can greatly improve what your customers and employees think of you as a brand and service provider. Even during uncertain times, a powerful outbound calling strategy can stand the test and empower your agents to deliver beyond the call of their duty while giving them enough resting idle time to take on the next set of calls during work hours.