Whether you’re a contact center, sales team, or customer experience department, the odds are high that a large percentage of your time is spent making outbound calls to potential or existing customers.
There are many skills required for outbound call centers to be successful. Of these skills, the most important are the ones that enable you to create meaningful connections with your clients. While outbound calls are often just delivering information or selling products, the best contact centers learn how to quickly develop relationships that provide value for both parties involved.
Here are our top 10 outbound call tips to help you level up your call performance:
Regularly Track and Report Key Metrics
The best way to see what needs improvement is to track your team’s performance across a variety of KPIs. These metrics will differ based on the purpose of your call center and its goals. For example, a sales team will be interested in metrics that drive qualified leads, while a customer experience center will be more concerned with a metric like first call resolution.
Your metrics should have clearly defined goals that tie directly to your business objectives. As you have your team regularly report their performance, you will become more informed about what areas are in need of the most improvement so you can focus training efforts accordingly.
Provide Regular Training
When you notice that your team is performing more poorly in one area than in others, take advantage of training opportunities like weekly team meetings. Share outbound call tips with your team, and have them regularly practice with their team members.
It’s worth pointing out that the best kind of training is on-the-job training. If you want your team’s skills to translate to success in their calls, spend time with each team member while they are on calls. Provide feedback as they help people in real time. This is an especially effective practice when working with new hires in a call center.
Know Your Audience
This is one of the most useful outbound call tips that applies to so much more than just phone calls. Whatever your industry, understanding who your target audience is and what they care about will improve call performance more than just about anything else. It is especially critical when making outbound calls to new prospects or customers who’ve had no prior contact with your brand.
In addition to understanding who your target audience is, it’s also important to understand who you’re talking to specifically. Use your customer’s name while you interact with them on the phone. Find out what they value, and then do everything you can to serve them. Customers can easily tell when call center agents don’t understand them or their needs.
Listen to Your Customers
If you were to ask a focus group of individuals within your target audience what your business does best, how many of them would say that your agents are fantastic listeners? In an outbound call center, listening is an underutilized skill, but its importance cannot be overstated.
When you are on the phone with a prospect or a customer, ask them questions–then listen. When they have questions, repeat their words back to them to show you were listening and understand what they were saying. If you are a customer service rep, ask plenty of clarifying questions so that the customer feels like you are doing everything you can to see their point of view and help them resolve their concerns.
Avoid Wasting Time
While it does a lot of good for contact center agents to be conversational and genuine, too much small talk can be detrimental to a relationship. At the end of the day, your customers aren’t looking for social interactions, especially from an outbound caller they’ve never met. Be pleasant, but do your best to communicate your message with brevity. Wasting too much time on the phone will potentially irritate your audience.
While looking at metrics like call duration can help you get a snapshot of how well your team is performing in this regard, the easiest way to get a handle on how much time your agents are spending on the line is to go down to the floor and listen. Spend a few minutes every so often listening to a call or two from your agents, and take opportunities to train when appropriate.
Write a Call Script
Call scripts are useful tools for training new employees in any contact center. These scripts don’t have to be a laundry list of platitudes that agents spout out verbatim. Rather, a good call script can be a simple document with bullet points of the most important components of a call.
These scripts will typically vary depending on what kind of contact center you manage. For example, sales calls include information about your product and service and direct prospects towards a call to action. Customer experience calls may take the form of surveys or verbal questionnaires for individuals to answer. Whatever your call formula is, be sure it’s written out so that agents can keep calls on the right subject.
Consider including a list of answers to commonly asked questions in your call script so that even brand new hires are prepared to resolve concerns when they arise.
Develop an Omnichannel Strategy
Calling isn’t the only outbound interaction your customers experience. Prospects can have a variety of touchpoints with your brand before actually talking to an agent on the phone. Make a good first impression by utilizing all of your communication channels to create a positive experience with your brand.
A good omnichannel customer experience will include having regularly updated social media channels and a well-built website. These two channels will likely be your customers’ first interaction with your brand, so make sure it is positive and delivers on your value proposition.
Automate Wherever Possible
There are plenty of mundane tasks contact center employees spend precious time doing. These repetitive actions can drain your team’s energy and resources if you’re not careful. Try to find software solutions that can automate time-sucking tasks like dialing, scheduling, or filtering calls. Doing this will allow your employees to focus more of their attention on serving your customers
Connect Ahead of Time
In many cases, customers are willing to speak with an agent on the phone but are taken by surprise when the call comes out of the blue. Connect ahead of time by sending a message so that the outbound call isn’t unexpected.
In this message, briefly explain the purpose of the call. No matter the industry, customers appreciate transparency from companies, so be sure to always tell the truth. Consider using software like Hiya Connect, which can include an informative reason for your call as part of your caller ID.
Use an Outbound Call Software Platform
Using a call software platform will get you more mileage as you implement the above outbound call tips. It’s important to find the right platform for the kind of work your team does, but there are a few things that are especially important to look for in a caller software, no matter the industry. Try to find a platform with a large distribution, analytics tracking, and a reliable network connection. Additionally, the more your software can automate small tasks and take the burden off of your agents, the better.
There are many skills required for your outbound contact center to be successful in your call performance strategy. Remember that all of these tips should lead to a single result: satisfied customers who feel their needs are being served well. Try implementing these suggestions into your team’s workflow today.
To learn more about how to optimize your call strategy to boost the most important KPIs, Download our Sales Call Center Metrics eBook.