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What Is Contact Rate and How Do You Improve It?

Contact centers thrive on data. Without industry metrics, it would be impossible for outbound call centers to find areas of improvement and tactics that are successful. Most contact centers track KPIs like answer rate, call duration, and first call close, but there is a less-common metric that provides a lot of valuable information. Your outbound call center needs to be tracking its contact rate to understand how many customers you are actually reaching.

How Is Contact Rate Measured?

In an outbound call center, contact rate is measured by dividing the number of unique users that answered the phone by the number of users the contact center called.

Number of unique users that answered / Number of users called = Contact rate

Your contact rate will tell you how many customers you are actually able to reach from the list you are calling. With this information, you will be able to determine if the people you’re contacting are people who are actually interested in your business.

How Do You Improve Contact Rate?

Once you’ve started tracking contact rate, the next step is to start improving it. There are a few steps you can take that will also have a positive impact on many of the other metrics you rely on.

Know Your Customers

Before you even start calling people, you need to build a quality list of customers. An unreliable database with missing information will lead to lost time and money in your call center. In addition to calling people who are actually interested in your product, your agents will see more success by understanding some basic facts about your customers. Knowing basic demographic information will help them make their talking points more relevant to that customer.

In addition to calling the right people, your calls should be placed at the right time. Your customers likely have busy work schedules and don’t have time to answer an unexpected call. Find a time that they’ll be more likely to answer your call. This will typically be later in the afternoon.

Adjust Automatic Dialing

If your call center has been manually dialing numbers, you’ve probably seen just how much time that takes. Using an automatic dialing system will enable you to make more calls, and the more calls you make the better the chances that someone will pick up.

Another way you can use automatic dialing to maximize the time your agents spend dialing is to adjust the number of rings before leaving a message or moving on to the next number. Too many rings and you’ll spend time waiting for someone to answer. Too few rings and your customers won’t have time to answer your call. Testing the number of rings will help your call center maximize its time. However, keep in mind that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires at least 4 rings or 15 seconds.

Display the Right Caller ID

The rise of robocalls and spam calls has contributed to the fact that 94% of unknown calls go unanswered. The ideal solution is to display a branded caller ID that shows your name, logo, and reason for calling with Hiya Connect. Not only are your customers more likely to pick up the phone, but they will be more open to forming connections with your agents right from their first interaction with the call.

The most important thing when it comes to caller ID is not calling from numbers that have negative labels attached to them. These numbers will appear with a spam warning and you’ll get through to virtually none of your customers. Manage the reputation of your company’s numbers with Hiya Connect insights and analytics. See how many times a number has been blocked or reported as spam so you can avoid using that number.

Leave a Voicemail

If all else fails and you are unable to speak with a live customer, the next best thing is to leave a voicemail. Your message should be clear and brief and help the customer understand why your product or service is valuable. Although they may not call you back because of your voicemail, they may be more likely to answer the phone the next time you call. Your voicemail message offers a first impression of the brand and is a great step towards making a connection when you aren’t able to reach them live.

Your outbound call center needs to be continually evolving in order to reach your customers. Contact rate is just one of the many metrics your call center should be tracking and continually improving. Download Hiya’s Contact Center Metrics eBook to learn about the types of metrics that can improve your call center’s performance.



Author Laleh Hassibi

Hiya's Director of Content Marketing and Growth