April 1, 2020

Best Tools and Practices to Increase Your Call Center’s Answer Rates

Today's call centers face a great challenge, overcoming abandonment rates. Ensuring the correct flow of phone traffic is crucial to the success of a call center. The center's efficiency can be one of its most difficult struggles because the minimization of overhead is directly linked. Sudden increases in demand and turnover also complicate things for call center teams. But the very core of a call center's success lies in its answer rates.

Increase Answer Rates

What Causes Poor Connection Rates?

  • Unoptimized dialer usage
  • Dialing from flagged phone numbers
  • Poor call traffic distribution
  • Outdated or inefficient lead lists

How You Can Improve Your Connection Rates

The key? Engagement! The success of your calling strategy is measured, unsurprisingly, by the first actual call. It's crucial that your agents have a calm bedside manner, no matter how sound your prospect list or how clever your script. With a quick Google search, you'll see there's an abundance of information out there to help you ace any kind of call you can make, from cold to warm. Here's a short list of the most important aspects of outbound calling:

You've got to get their attention

How a call begins is of the utmost importance. If your agents don't pique the interest of the prospects, your prospects don't lose anything if they decide to hang up. Some of the best ways to get the attention of your prospects are:

  • Use their first name.
  • Show genuine interest in them. Ask how they're doing or what the weather is like where they are. It might sound silly, but it's a great icebreaker.
  • Show genuine interest in their current situation and illustrate briefly that you're calling to help with that
  • Don't use a cookie-cutter script.
  • Conversations should be customer-centric.

Show you value the prospect

The prospect should immediately feel as though you've called them for a reason, but a bonafide real reason. For instance, if you're calling from a company that offers pressure washing services, mention how exterior mold is not only unsightly, but that it can have health implications and cause customers to go elsewhere. This is why researching your prospects is good business sense. When you work only with leads for whom you have a good amount of information upfront, you're more likely to increase the span of the call.

Show you value the prospect's time

Time is the only currency that can be spent and never gotten back. This is one of the reasons it's so crucial to gain the trust of your prospects. You can do so by showing you honor their privacy and respect their time. Simply ask how much time they have at the moment. Don't just launch right into your sales pitch, that can turn off even the most receptive of prospects.

If you're unsure you can keep a promise, don't make it

If you can make a prospect enthusiastic about your product or service, then your first call has been a success. Especially if you're having a textbook, perfect call, don't give in to the temptation to hurry up and close. There might be more about the prospect or their situation that you haven't uncovered yet. If you make a promise to the prospect and then you're unable to deliver, you'll lose that prospect's trust forever.

Ask to set up a follow-up

If you can get the prospect's interest piqued, now's the time to ask to set up a follow-up call. It gives you the chance to end a call on a positive note and properly prepare for the next time you'll speak. This paints your call center in a more positive, professional light.

Some other best practices to increase answer rates include:

  • Build customer relations and brand reputation.
  • Experiment by dialing with local and toll-free numbers.
  • Optimize your dialing lists for better targeting.
  • Use CRMs to keep notes and manage information for leads.
  • Scan your numbers regularly for flags.
  • Use the proper tools to manage your calls and call center.

Improve Answer Rates with These Call Center Tools

There are a lot of tools available for the modern calling center that can help you build awareness, increase positive engagement, and set your agents up for success.

CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is vital for the modern call center. It provides your agents with efficient and streamlined ways to manage lead information, helps improve productivity, and ensures that no matter how many agents may have contact with a prospect, that all prior information is available to keep the conversation running smooth.

Call Recording

Using call recording tools can help monitor agent interactions with customers and can be useful in training new agents. It also helps protect agents in the event of a harassment claim.

Monitoring Tools

Metrics are key to improving performance in any business. Using call monitoring tools can help identify your key performance indicators (KPIs), conversion rates, first-call closes, and occupancy rates to optimize. Monitoring tools can also help you realize how many calls are going out to mobile numbers and why they may not be answered.

Customizable caller IDs

In many cases, dialing from a local direct inward dialer (DID) to a lead will yield higher connection rates because either the area code or the exchange will be familiar to the prospect. Depending on the nature of your business, you can also experiment with using local or toll-free numbers to reach prospects.

With today's enhanced caller ID software, businesses can now separate their departments and use branded caller IDs for each department, which makes it that much easier for prospects calling you back to get their call to the right department.

You can also take it a step further and assign individual numbers to each of your agents. Instead of just reaching the right department, a prospect can continue speaking with the agent they're comfortable with. This is key in personalizing the customer experience.

Dialer Software

Obviously, dialers are vital to outbound call centers. Having the right dialer type and making sure its configured correctly can make all the difference in the world. In addition, being able to swap out your outbound phone numbers as needed can yield even better results.

Carriers monitor phone activity to flag robocalls since the inception of the SHAKEN/STIR protocol. Swapping out your numbers as necessary ensures you're not dialing too many times a day from the same phone number. Dialing too many times can cause your number to be flagged as "spam" or "scam likely".

Number Monitoring Software

Being able to scan your phone numbers for carrier flags is important. If you are dialing your leads with a number flagged as "nuisance caller", "spam risk" or "scam likely" your potential customers will likely not answer the call. Monitoring your numbers for flags and swapping them out as needed will dramatically improve answer rates for your outbound agents.

The insights you glean from cleaning up your calling act will help you continue to up your game and bring more prospects onto your team.

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