Cloud Communications Architect and Tech Guru, John Romeo, shares how outbound dialing can really benefit your customers’ businesses, especially at a time when many organizations are looking to improve efficiency and better manage headcount.
Outbound dialing is more than just the stigma of a robo-call anymore - it can be as adaptive and advance as any inbound IVR treatment but in reverse. The advantage to calling your customer vs. waiting for them to call you is the ability to control the volume and staff appropriately, instead of attempting to guess your busy hour and falling short, creating a poor customer experience. Plus, having multi-skilled agents handling both inbound calls and participating in an outbound campaign maximizes your workforce efficiency.
More Customizable and Effective Campaigning
Start utilizing available features like adaptative outbound campaigning, which enables the campaign to modify its behavior and respond according to the exchange, drastically improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. An example of this is the ability for the campaign to detect if a caller who answered an outbound call disconnected before the entire message was played or within 20 seconds of the live agent talking. The campaign can be designed to instantly send an email saying, “We tried to reach you at [phone number] but were cutoff for some reason, here is why we were calling.” The email can contain a very specific phone number which if selected bypasses your inbound IVR and routes directly to a live agent in the same skill group that was part of the outbound campaign. The same design can be applied to a SMS message. Both email and SMS can also transmit a hyperlink the customer can select and instantly be taken to a screen with common customer requests such as making an appointment, processing a payment, or updating a record.
A digital agent can setup the customer’s preferred form of contact, for example, SMS over email or voice. The next time the customer is contacted by SMS, with a high likelihood of a response. An adaptive campaign can also determine not to contact a customer. For example, if a customer’s account balance status becomes current just prior to being contacted, an automated system database check can verify and decide that the customer should not be contact for the campaign.
Examples of Use Cases
Healthcare – Campaigns are commonly used to remind patients to take or refill prescriptions. This can be instrumental in ensuring positive patient outcomes and improve healthcare experiences. Doctor’s offices also use adaptive campaigning when calling insurance firms to submit or check on claims.
Automotive repair service – Body shops and dealerships employ campaigns to easily provide service updates, notify customers that their car is ready, and even process payments.
Education – Schools use these types of campaigns to contact parents with important and timely notifications or information. Another common use is to quickly contact substitute teachers when an administrator calls in sick.
Finance – Professional and financial institutions use these campaigns to notify customers of suspicious activities on their account or an overdrawn balance.
Utility companies – Campaigns can be used to inform customers of power or service outages. This can prevent the company from receiving an influx of calls and also provide customers with ongoing updates as service is being restored.
Best Practices for Outbound Campaigns
- Consider having an outside firm scrub contacts to verify time zones, confirm cell phone numbers, scan for people on the do not call list, etc. – this will improve customer satisfaction score (CSAT) and avoid any potential legal complications.
- Note: Area codes do not necessarily indicate the correct time zone.
- Study the FCC guidelines and state laws closely; they are frequently updated and state and federal laws can differ.
- When in doubt, always have a person manually dial the customer as a preview dial. If necessary, consider having a “dialer” role who easily places the calls by selecting numbers in the campaign with a single click.
- If you use SMS in an outbound campaign, ensure that the customer can respond via SMS to the same number that is contacting them. In addition, layer in a chatbot to handle simple questions and a live agent to be engaged as needed.
- Avoid mixing different vendors, such as having one for outbound voice, one for email, one for SMS, one doing outbound surveys over SMS and then a different one for outbound appointment reminders. There is no way to reconcile all that data easily into a single report, even though to the end customer all of these touch points are coming from the same firm. Also, it is impossible to perform an adaptive campaign with such a mixed technology stack with applications not speaking to one another.
So as a partner, how can you evangelize this technology? Help your contact center customer know outbound is not just for a niche of companies; outbound dialing can benefit any firm looking to expand and improve the quality of their customer interactions and overall customer journey. Determine why their customers are trying to reach them and help them understand what outbound methods using this technology could improve the overall dynamic of these interactions. Do call volumes spike after a marketing campaign is launched? If so, determine what role outbound technology can have to improve the campaign reach and soften the inbound impact, while also providing targeted messaging to each account. Customers reward proactive businesses and are critical of those who are not easily accessible or fail to meet their expectations. Identify what aspects of customer satisfaction your customer wants to focus on and determine a strategy around how outbound methods can help drive this objective.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Romeo brings 25 years of experience and has worked with fortune 100 companies to provide Unified Communications and Contact Center solutions that allow them to establish business continuity and improve business processes. He’s an accomplished Solution Architect, US Patent holder and his experience involves many years of Product Management, technical sales and design. You can reach John at email@example.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.