For many businesses, the ability to communicate proactively is key to success. Automated outbound calling campaigns provide a powerful tool for streamlining business processes and give organisations the chance to strengthen customer relationships and uncover sales opportunities – enabling them to make the most of opportunities to win new business and drive customer engagement.
It’s all about being proactive, empowering customers and prospects with a wide range of options throughout the engagement process. This is the bedrock of good customer service and that’s critically important to businesses – because good service drives purchasing decisions.
In recent research we carried out into the views of more than 2,000 UK adults, 42% said they usually or always based their decision to buy solely on the organisation’s reputation for customer service, rising to more than half (52%) of 16-24 year-olds.
Good service is often the key differentiator when making purchases from a business – and proactive outbound communication is one way in which companies improve the service they provide. That is why so many businesses focus on rolling out effective outbound campaigns. But how do they ensure they make a success of these? What are the pitfalls to avoid? Here we outline some top tips of what not to do with your outbound communication.
1. Don’t ignore Data Quality – One of the worst mistakes companies make when working on outbound dialling campaigns is to start off with poor quality data. Misspelt or just plain incorrect contact names will almost certainly irritate, or even aggravate, your customers or prospects and paint your brand in a poor light. Failure to de-dupe your data may lead to calling customers multiple times about the same issues, a mistake that may alienate them and even result in them never doing business with you again. And it is also likely to severely impact on the productivity of your agents and, by extension, the profitability of your whole organisation.
Good data management is critical here. Always ensure your data is continuously refreshed and is as clean and accurate as possible, always de-dupe it thoroughly. Critically too, always validate lists prior to dialling. Remove bad contacts, or research and replace them. Don't dial until you’re confident you can work through all the names quickly and efficiently.
2. Don’t Get Your Timings Wrong – Being guilty of poor timing can be detrimental to the chances for success of any outbound dialling campaign. Evidence suggests that if you ring somebody at 10.30 in the morning or in the early afternoon you are unlikely to get hold of them. Worse, call them at 7 p.m. when they’ve just got home, and you may well alienate them. So, ring them instead in the early morning, on the hour, at lunch, or in the late afternoon, and they are much more likely to be ready to engage.
3. Don’t Neglect Staff Training - The use of speech analytics, recording and listening software can play a key role in outbound campaigns but too few businesses are using the solutions proactively to train staff. Recordings can be taken and reused to enhance sales techniques, for example, or improve call quality. So, consider employing the latest software to listen into both sides of a conversation, understand when a client or customer is getting agitated or stressed, and take proactive action where necessary to intervene and calm the situation down.
4. Don’t Forget to be Compliant - Many businesses live to regret infringing rules and regulations as a result of poor outbound dialling practices and/or a failure to use compliant technology. These kinds of breaches can lead to large fines and significant disruption to the business. That’s why it is so important that you select outbound dialling technology that provides compliance with all national and international regulatory rules - and monitoring tools that enable supervisors to flag up potential issues in real-time and if necessary intervene on calls before agents overstep the mark.
5. Don’t Work in Silos – In today’s complex customer interaction environment, you need to fully connect your enterprise in order to deliver the service that meets the diverse needs of customers across multiple channels and the sales effort that helps you win new ones. This is the key support that any outbound campaign needs to succeed. In building the connected enterprise, implementing unified communications platforms like Microsoft Lync have a critical role but businesses also need to take advantage of opportunities presented by technologies like the latest breed of integrated customer interaction management platforms.
Today, many businesses continue to run inefficient and ineffective outbound campaigns. They rely on data that is of poor quality calls that are not compliant and campaigns that are disjointed in nature. However, putting in place a combination of best practice and high-quality communications technology, enables them to address these issues and build an approach that drives sales and enhanced customer engagement.