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If you are thinking about expanding or starting your own call centre—rather than outsourcing—you may be considering using outbound calling. Below, you will find out what outbound calling is and get tips for effective calls.
By discovering the importance of outbound calling, you will be able to determine if it’s the right time to implement it in your business. You will also get tips to optimise your outbound calls and learn how to gauge their effectiveness.
What is an outbound call?
An outbound call is a function within business operations with your customer support agents or sales representatives making calls to third parties. The calls are directed towards customers, prospects, and other businesses. Outbound calls to prospective customers focus on lead generation, telemarketing, and fundraising.
Uses for outbound call centres include:
- Sales cold calls
- Market research
- Fundraising (non-profits)
- Updating customer contact lists
- Customer notifications
- Customer service calls
- Requesting information (business-to-business calls)
What Is the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Call Centres?
When businesses set up call centres, they can exclusively work with one or combine both inbound and outbound calling. But what exactly is the difference between inbound call centres and outbound call centres?
Well, an outbound call originates in the call centre by call centre agents dialling the third party. In an inbound call, the customer is the dialler. The two require different agent strategies and types of technology.
Inbound call centres tend to support existing customers. They require agents to field the incoming calls effectively and have quick access to information. They usually function as a helpdesk or other form of customer support.
Inbound call centres can have interactive voice response (IVR) systems routing calls or providing automated voice messaging when customers call. IVR systems are vital if your company has a large call volume.
Outbound calls are often sales calls targeting potential customers. These calls require a flexible cold calling script for sales reps or telemarketers. Your agents will most likely be using cold calling to communicate with potential customers. They usually support your sales team by carrying out telesales or for the marketing team by carrying out important market research.
Importance of Outbound Calling in a Call Centre
While inbound call centres are important in delivering an excellent customer experience, outbound calling can be an important part of your marketing funnel. It can bring awareness of your brand to potential customers and promote interest in your company. Here are a few other reasons why outbound calling can be invaluable to your business.
1. Ability to gather target audience insights
In terms of marketing and sales, knowledge is power. The better you know your target audience, the more effectively you can market to them, connect with them, and convert them into regular customers.
Outbound calling allows you to have conversations with your target audience to discover insights that you may not have considered otherwise. You can use these insights to improve your marketing and sales message and guide product and service development decisions.
2. Improves brand awareness and recall
Outbound calls allow you to widen the reach of your brand. They give you the ability to reach out to potential customers to introduce yourself. Delivered the right way, outbound calling can foster a conversation that is a positive introduction to your company, brand, or product.
In the age of social media, the power of a phone call gets lost. However, a short phone conversation can give you a direct line to your customers. They are much more likely to remember a phone call than a single ad on a webpage or an email.
3. Ability to maintain a current sales database
Having a current sales database allows your sales team to perform their job effectively. When your sales database is up to date, your sales reps can craft a personalised sales pitch. They can make sure the names associated with the numbers are correct and that their basic information has not changed. At your call centre, you can make sure your team has current call lists.
4. Generates leads
Your business probably uses multiple forms of outreach to communicate with customers. However, unlike those other forms, outbound calling establishes a personal connection with your potential customer. It can facilitate further contact, like appointment setting or directing them to your online website or social media accounts.
It may also be a way to invite them to other marketing or sales events. For example, you can use the outbound call to invite potential customers to a webinar about a topic that may interest them. This is when market research and knowing your target audience is vital for outbound calls. The more you can speak to them. Personally, the better chance you will have in turning them into loyal customers.
Tips for Effective Outbound Calling
Whether you are considering getting an outbound call centre or have one already, there are important things to consider regarding strategy and delivery. From the legal procedures to the customer experience, think about the following things when setting up or changing your outbound calling procedures:
Know what’s required by law
Always be conscious of the laws that you are obliged to follow in your call centres. Especially in a post-GDPR world, you need to be careful with your customer data, including their phone numbers, addresses, and names. A data leak can not only be detrimental to your reputation, but it can also lead to large fines.
Be flexible and natural.
Your customers do not want your call agents to sound canned or over-rehearsed. It makes the interaction feel unnatural. Write your scripts so that your representatives can use them with the freedom to move within the conversation. Please encourage them to pay attention to tone and ensure that they are positive, enthusiastic, and genuine.
While you want your customers to have a personalised experience, make sure your call centre agents have a clear objective. The customers should have a clear takeaway from the interaction. The agent needs to find a way to engage with the customer while staying focused on the reason for their call.
Use predictive dialling
Predictive dialling systems automatically make outgoing calls. It allows your call centre to dial phone numbers and screen out busy signals, voicemail, non-answers, and disconnected numbers. This feature allows your agents to increase the number of calls they make in a day. They only need to be on the phone when a person answers the call.
Analyse and optimise
Use each call as an opportunity to optimise your calling system and analyse individual agent and call centre performance.
Make sure you spread out your contact with your potential customers. Use a schedule and include other outreach methods like social media, email, and SMS.
How to Measure Outbound Call Effectiveness
To analyse and optimise your outbound call centre, your company must have a strategy for measuring your call centre’s effectiveness. You should measure outbound calls in terms of productivity, customer service, and activity. Consider your business’s larger sales or marketing goals when developing your metrics. Also, think about your call centre services and how you want to present your brand to potential customers.
Specify your goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
What are the goals of your outbound call? The only way your representatives will know the purpose of their calls is for you to have specified your goals and KPIs. You may decide that you want to have your representatives increase sales appointments. Or you may be trying to encourage prospects to take a specific action. You can make these your KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your outbound calls.
Another important KPI in outbound calling is the first call close. This measures the number of closes your agents make on their first calls, compared to the total number of calls. High first call close numbers indicate that your agents are doing a superb job of selling efficiently. Other KPIs to consider are:
- Average handle time
- Conversion rate
- Occupancy rate
Use a dashboard to look at your progress
Cloud-based phone systems provide you with a dashboard that allows you to see your outbound contact centre data in real-time. It provides you with the number of calls your agents make every day and the time spent on those calls. Using the number of calls and call duration can assess the productivity of your agents.
Explore RingCentral to Drive Success in Outbound Calling
If you consider using an outbound call centre in your business, explore what RingCentral can do to facilitate your calling success.
Setting up a call centre is now easier than ever and can revolutionise how you communicate with your potential and existing customers. RingCentral can automate tasks and improve connection rates in your contact centre using an intelligent outbound solution.
RingCentral software helps you avoid the silent pause when connecting calls and manages call queues intuitively. It incorporates a dynamic Blended Predictive Dialler to handle fluctuating call volumes. If you have a blended call centre, it can automatically switch outbound agents to inbound queues when volumes spike. It then returns to normal when service levels are being met.
With access to intelligent reporting and analytics and optimised dialling functions, RingCentral may be the perfect outbound calling solution for your business.
Originally published Jun 22, 2021, updated Feb 05, 2023