“Contact rate”, broadly defined as the number of calls made by agents divided by the number of conversations agents have, is one of the most critical metrics in call center management. Sure, managers track hundreds of useful KPIs daily, but an organization’s contact rates provide unparalleled insights into the effectiveness of its outbound telemarketing campaigns.
With ever-changing privacy regulations and ever-growing call lists, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to measure contact rates in a call center. However, the latest technology and calling methods streamline the process, providing call center managers with valuable intelligence into their campaigns.
Here are six tips for improving your call center’s contact rates.
Avoid Any Decreases in Your Contact Rate
Your contact rate tells you whether your telemarketing campaigns (and agents’ sales techniques) are performing as expected. Therefore, call center managers of all stripes strive for a high contact rate, which suggests a campaign works effectively.
A poor contact rate suggests agents are struggling to have genuine conversations with prospects. This could result from ineffective technologies, outdated sales techniques, inaccurate call lists, and software misconfiguration, where agents have access to incorrect information about customers.
Poorly configured dialers are one of the greatest threats to contact rates. This has a detrimental impact on telemarketing campaigns resulting in lost time and money. Agents can also become frustrated with this ineffective technology.
It can be hard for managers to solve the problems associated with poor contact rates. Therefore managers must monitor contact rates regularly and identify trends quickly before the problem becomes worse.
1. Choose the Right Dialer
As mentioned above, ineffective dialers often result in bad contact rates. Many managers still rely on power dialers that dial one phone number after the other with no involvement from agents. This is an outdated technology. Managers should invest in predictive or preview dialers that optimize outbound operations.
What are the Benefits of Predictive Dialers?
Predictive dialers line up calls for agents based on their average call times. As a result, agents make more calls in a shift. These dialers use the latest analytics for more effective outbound marketing. Best used for campaigns where agents provide customers with a similar pitch, predictive dialers have revolutionized call center operations in recent years because they provide managers more scope than power dialers.
What are the Benefits of Preview Dialers?
Preview dialers provide agents with information about prospects before the call, making them a valuable tool for contact rate management. Instead of wasting time starting conversations with specific customers — customers who are not interested in your products or services, for example — agents can decide whether to take or skip each call.
Preview dialers benefit all sectors, but this technology is particularly useful in industries like real estate. Agents can close a sale more effectively because they have information about the prospect before the call.
2. Use Lead Scoring
Lead scoring analytics improves contact rates because you can prioritize the best leads for agents based on a wide range of factors such as behavior, location, income, lifetime value, etc. These metrics help you determine which customers are more likely to answer the phone, make a purchase, or sign up for your service.
The most successful call center managers integrate lead scoring analytics with a modern predictive dialer system. This provides agents with valuable information before every call.
3. Check if Mobile Numbers are Active
You can now check if a mobile phone number is active and remove inactive numbers from your call lists, saving agents’ time. Inactive numbers slow down telemarketing campaigns considerably, so this is an effective way to optimize call center management and, as a result, improve contact rates.
You can also discover whether carriers have reassigned a mobile phone number to another person. Every year in the United States, carriers “recycle” 35 million mobile numbers. Though in its initial stages, the Reassigned Number Database shows whether carriers have passed numbers on your lists to new customers.
4. Choosing the Right Phone Numbers
You should have different outbound dialing numbers depending on whether you are conducting a local or nationwide campaign.
- Use toll-free numbers for nationwide campaigns. (Most organizations do this.)
- Use local numbers for local campaigns, which could improve answer rates.
Local numbers will also encourage local customers to call you back if they miss your call.
5. Use Enhanced Caller ID
Research suggests that people are more likely to answer calls when the number displays on their caller ID. (Eighty-seven percent of people reject or ignore calls from unknown numbers.) Enhanced Caller ID can help you in this situation. When your business name appears on a customer’s display, they might be more willing to answer the call, even if they have never used your products or services in the past.
6. Don’t Dial Customers From “Bad” Numbers
Bad numbers are phone numbers flagged by customers or carriers because of nuisance calls, spam, or scams. Once your number appears on a “block list,” many carriers (using the new STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication protocol) and third-party apps might describe your call as “scam likely” or similar. This can have a devastating impact on your campaigns.
From now on, scan numbers before handing them to agents or swap numbers throughout the day for high-volume outbound campaigns. This could improve contact rates significantly.
With contact rates, early action is critical. Using the right technology like preview dialers and methodologies like lead scoring can improve contact rates substantially. Follow the tips above and strengthen your call center operations as soon as you can.