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Running an Effective Outbound Call Centre



Running an Effective Outbound Call Centre

Running an effective outbound call centre can boost sales, help retain customers and ensure timely payment collection. They are a vital cog in the day-to-day running of many different types of businesses, especially those that rely heavily on sales, lead generation or market research. 

Unfortunately, many outbound contact centres run into the same challenges time and time again, from low call connect rates to poor performance and difficulties measuring or handling data. 

Whether you run an in-house or outsourced contact centre, solving some of these issues can boost your bottom line. 

In this guide, we’ll cover some of the common challenges of outbound call centres, the impact they have, and how they can be solved effectively, with straightforward advice to help streamline your operation. 

What is an Outbound Call Centre?

An outbound call centre is a common business operation that handles outgoing phone calls to current or prospective customers, whether it be for sales, telemarketing, surveys and research, appointment setting, or customer notifications and payments. 

Inbound vs Outbound Call Centre 

As the name suggests, the main difference between an inbound and an outbound call centre is the type of call. An inbound call centre deals primarily with incoming phone calls, supporting new and existing customers with queries, complaints, bookings, or sales. Meanwhile, an outbound contact centre focuses on outgoing calls, where agents are proactively reaching out to prospects or clients.

Many contact centres operate on both an inbound and outbound basis, depending on the needs of the business. 

Since outbound call centre operations face a unique set of challenges, we will focus primarily on those for the remainder of this article. Nevertheless, contact centres with diverse and complex requirements can also benefit from the CCaaS solutions mentioned below. 

What are the Challenges of an Outbound Call Centre?

Whether it be cold calling, debt collection, or simply ringing customers to remind them of their upcoming appointments, actually getting through to the desired recipient is one of the main challenges of an outbound call centre. 

Meanwhile, data management and compliance pose a different, although equally important problem. Let’s look at some of the common challenges of outbound call centres in more detail, and see how they can be solved with effective CCaaS solutions.

Challenge #1: Low Call Connect Rates 

A low call connect rate has the capacity to defeat the entire object of an outbound call centre. If you can’t get through to your recipients, you’re unlikely to see a return on the investment of the operation, whether you’re trying to make more sales, raise funds or collect vital market data. 

Problems

  • Incorrect or outdated contact information: With the wrong information, not only do agents fail to reach the recipient, but also waste valuable time on erroneous calls. 
  • Uninterested recipients: We’re all guilty of hanging up quickly or even ignoring unsolicited calls, but large volumes of uninterested recipients can seriously impact results. 
  • Busy signals and voicemails: Reaching live individuals can be challenging depending on the time of day and individual communication preferences.

Solutions 

Predictive Dialling and AMD

Predictive dialling is a powerful tool to boost the number of successful connections, using advanced algorithms to optimise call attempts. The technology works by analysing historical data to predict when agents are more likely to reach the desired recipient. 

Meanwhile, AMD (answering machine detection) screens and bypasses calls that go to voicemail to reduce idle time, with software provided by MaxContact seamlessly integrated with your existing infrastructure. 

Contact Prioritisation

CCaaS software can also identify the most important calls and put them at the top of an agent’s list, using custom data fetching on your leads. This helps you connect more quality calls with customers or prospects who are less likely to hang up. 

Outbound Skills-Based Routing 

This clever functionality supercharges your campaign results by intuitively matching customers with their ideal agents. 

Outbound skills-based routing is a relatively new technology that works across progressive, predictive and preview campaigns to connect customers with agents who have the relevant skills to handle the call. Live-call data is used to assign skill ratings to agents. 

Challenge #2: Inefficient Agent Performance 

While performance is on some level, determined by the individual agent, there are still plenty of things you can do to increase efficiency and motivation. 

Problems

  • High call volume and workload: When there is a high call volume to keep up with, agents can experience stress and burnout, leading to a significant drop in performance.
  • Lack of proper training: Some call centres lack the resources to provide personalised agent training, meaning they don’t have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle a variety of call types and objections effectively. 
  • Inadequate scripting and resources: Poorly designed scripts or a lack of training and support resources are guaranteed to reduce productivity and ultimately, results. 

Solutions 

Automated Scripting and CRM Integration 

An excellent feature of MaxContact CCaaS is the built-in scripting tools, which help agents handle calls efficiently and consistently with confidence in their script. 

Meanwhile, integration with your existing CRM software helps agents easily personalise calls, with all the relevant information at their fingertips. 

Call Recording and Data Insights

Using a CCaaS platform to record calls helps supervisors easily identify areas for improvement and provide tailored training to agents, boosting their skills and effectiveness. 

Data Dashboards and Performance Management 

Most modern CCaaS platforms feature data and performance dashboards which can encourage a more engaging work environment and introduce a dose of healthy competition. They use gamification elements to boost motivation and track progress.

Challenge #3: Difficulty Measuring Success

Collecting information about what works and what doesn’t is one of the only ways to tailor your approach to your unique customer base and operations, improving success exponentially. But collecting and organising that information can be a headache waiting to happen, and is often deprioritised as a result. 

Problems 

  • Multiple success metrics: Many campaigns have more than one goal, and monitoring conversion rates, appointment bookings, or survey responses simultaneously can be challenging. 
  • Attribution challenges: It can be difficult to attribute specific outcomes to outbound calls as a range of other marketing efforts and customer touchpoints can also play a role.
  • Lack of data-driven insights: Without comprehensive, readily available data, it’s difficult to make decisions to optimise call centre performance. 

Solutions 

Automated Analytics 

Using CCaaS software that has automated analytics built-in is a simple way to optimise your campaign strategies. MaxContact provides custom solutions with the capacity to collect and present automated data insights from a range of performance metrics such as call volume, agent utilisation, and call duration. 

Multi-Channel Reporting 

Taking it one step further, CCaaS can also facilitate data analysis across a range of different communication channels when integrated with your existing software. This provides a holistic view of customer interactions across all touchpoints, helping you gain a broader view of campaign performance. 

Challenge #4: Compliance and Security 

Breaches of compliance or security can be incredibly costly to an outbound call centre operation. But staying on top of ever-changing regulations can be just as pricey and time-consuming, without one streamlined solution. 

Problems 

  • Complying with Do Not Call (DNC) lists: Dialling someone on the DNC list can result in hefty fines and penalties if you’re not careful. 
  • Taking payments quickly and securely: If your outbound call centre deals with payments, calls can be vulnerable to security breaches, damaging your reputation and leading to a significant loss of revenue.

Solutions 

Built-in Regulatory Compliance 

Having a CCaaS platform with built-in regulatory features is one way to avoid the compliance nightmare altogether. 

MaxContact software features innovative DNC list scrubbing to automatically remove all names and contact information that appears on the registry from your database, reducing the likelihood of a fine. It also keeps your system up-to-date with call recording compliance and allows you to locate, edit or remove someone’s information on one simple page.

Secure Payment Handling 

Take payments quickly and securely with PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). The MaxContact CCaaS system allows agents to handle payments without viewing or hearing the specific card information of the customer. Instead, they can securely input their details using their keypad. 

Data Encryption 

Implementing robust security features into your CCaaS system is the best way to proactively protect against a potential breach. Depending on your operational needs, you can add a range of special features such as data encryption, access controls, and regular audits to safeguard sensitive customer information. 

Additional Challenges Facing BPO Outbound Call Centres 

Outbound call centre outsourcing is incredibly common, but BPOs often face more challenges than those that operate in-house. These include:

  • Data Security and Privacy: BPOs that deal with sensitive customer data may face heightened concerns about privacy and compliance. This means they often require even more robust security measures and special technology to stay compliant with data protection regulations.
  • Geographical limitations: Outbound call centre outsourcing puts distance between the business and its end customer, which sometimes makes it difficult to maintain performance and service quality. Auto quality assurance (QA) can assist in providing continued support to an outsourced team and connect the dots between the client and their customers. 

Running an Effective Outbound Call Centre: Final Thoughts

While not without its challenges, running an effective call centre can be a lot easier with the right tools, technology and knowledge on your side. 

MaxContact has transformed outbound operations for clients across a number of industries, from insurance comparison platforms to leading debt collection agencies. 

Get in touch today to start running your outbound contact centre more efficiently, or download our guide for more information. 

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