Outbound contact centers function on the principle of placing as many outbound calls as possible in a given amount of time. However, if customers or prospects do not answer the phone, outbound contact centers simply cannot do their job—whether it be offering service, pursuing leads, or doing debt collections. For all these reasons, it’s absolutely essential that these contact centers make sure their outbound calls are answered. In short, they must improve call pickup rates.
The call pickup rate is a critical KPI that measures the proportion of outbound calls placed by agents that are answered by customers, or the number of calls answered/number of calls placed x100. For example, if an agent calls 100 customers and 75 of these customers answer the call, the call pickup rate would be 75%. A high percentage indicates that the contact center has an efficient strategy that leads to customers answering these outbound calls in high numbers. It may be attributed to using phone numbers that are recognizable but still desirable (instead of numbers that turn off customers), calling at optimal times, and having a generally favorable reputation with customers who are happy to answer. The call pickup rate is also an ideal KPI to analyze for determining the ROI of an outbound call campaign.
There are many ways to improve call pickup rates. One of the most important ways to do so is by optimizing your outbound call dialing strategy. In the past, outbound contact centers relied on calling as many numbers as possible at once. The idea was that the more agents called contacts, the greater the chance of a connection and greater sales. However, contact centers came to realize that this was not the most efficient method. It no longer works to simply dial a number, wait for someone to pick up, and sell more.
Today, outbound contact centers typically embrace an intelligent, more efficient manner of dialing.
Outbound contact centers may also vary their approach to contacting customers. Rather than calling customers directly, outbound contact center agents may first try to reach customers and prospects on other channels such as email or instant messaging. This allows the agent to initiate a dialogue with the contact and arrive at a mutual decision to talk on the phone at a certain time. It is important to note that outbound calls to mobile phone numbers is highly regulated and generally not advised. Customers may be upset to find out that contact centers are calling their personal phone numbers. Be steady in your approach but be careful not to disturb your customers’ privacy.
Another strategy for outbound call campaigns is making sure that calls are placed at the best times. It is critical to never harass your customers or prospects—no one wants to be contacted multiple times by the same company. Generally speaking, it is never a good idea to call early in the morning or late in the evening as people are at their busiest or need their quiet time. Customers should be called when it’s a good for them, depending on their profile. This may mean that one customer should be called around noon, while another is more accessible in the afternoon.
Lastly, outbound calls can always be planned in advance. An agent may plan to call a customer for an initial contact, and then he or she may schedule a specific time to call back the customer to close the deal. This ensures that the customer knows when to expect to hear from the agent. A CRM solution is ideal for collecting, updating, and using customer data to plan these callbacks. Agents can easily determine important information about the customer’s profile and details about any purchases in progress. A powerful automated predictive dialer, such as the Vocalcom predictive dialer, gives agents the tools for excellent call and callback strategies. Such a tool enables higher customer reachability rates and reduces agent wait time, according to factors such as the type of phone number used, whether answering machines are detected, the number of callbacks placed, and the agents’ working hours. An automated predictive dialer can lead to three times greater contact with customers as it determines the best strategy for making both outbound calls and callbacks thanks to a call blending function.
When it comes to increasing call pickup rates, there are a few simple rules to remember.
And when keeping these tips in mind, remember that you should always avoid contacting customers without a clear strategy. Calling too often, at the wrong times, or on personal mobile numbers can make customers and prospects lose trust and abandon your brand. With a smart and efficient strategy, your contact center can boost call pickup rates, sales, and customer satisfaction.
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