How to Improve Your Outbound Call Center: Best Practices and Tips

abstract call center agent
Lidia Bertesteanu
Lidia BertesteanuContent Marketing Expert
Content wizard, marketing specialist, research pro.

Outbound calls, especially cold calls, have gained quite the negative reputation lately with all the attention directed to robocalls and increasing fraud attempts. However, the industry as a whole is prospering, the market predicting a steady growth over the next couple of years.

So how can you make sure that your company will be riding this success wave alongside the big players of the industry? In order to answer that you must first take a good look at your company as a whole and see if your outbound call center meets industry standards before attempting to surpass them.

In this article we will be looking at the best practices and metrics to implement and watch while trying to take your call center to the top of the industry.

Change starts from within. In this case, within your sales team. Learn more about the business advantages of having a happy team from Dr. James Diefendorff Ph.D. (Professor of Psychology), Sam Falletta (CEO of Incept), and Christian Montes (NobelBiz Director of Sales). 

Best Practices for Outbound Call Centers

In your search for improving your outbound call center you must first take a moment and take a gander at the best practices of the Outbound Call Center industry. What is the standard recipe for success that you can improve upon? What metrics do they usually keep their eyes on? How do they simplify their customer interactions? How do they empower their agents?

As is best in life in general, we’re going to start with the skeleton of a great outbound call center – its procedures, main metrics, and most important goals. Then we will look at a broader, more philosophical perspective that takes into account the human factor.

Define Performance Metrics

Every business depends on its internal procedures and strategies, and a well-defined outbound strategy tailored to your niche can help you reach a more relevant audience, increase your answer rate, and improve sales.

However, you can’t build a functioning outbound strategy without setting some well-defined goals and KPIs. Key performance indicators help you measure and assess your progress. By keeping a close eye on your goals and KPIs you can adjust your campaign as it progresses, tweaking it until you come to the perfect recipe for your business.

Establishing your company’s KPIs is a long thought process that must take into account:

  • Key company processes that have a direct impact on its success.
  • Measurable goals – you can measure something without setting clear limits.
  • The human factor – always take into account that a team of people will never work 100%. Be it turnover, sick days, burnout, paid vacation days, a team’s maximum output will always be at about 75%.
call center rewards and recognition ideas

Main KPIs Any Successful Outbound Call Center Must Track

For a successful outbound call center, you must measure:

  • Conversion rate – depending on your business model this could be the number of completed surveys, the overall rate of appointments made, etc.
  • Calls per Account/Contract – don’t waste the time of your agents with accounts that keep taking calls but don’t generate any results.
  • First Call Resolution – most conversions happen in the first call. Callbacks rarely generate results.
  • Hit Rate – this is a simple calculation. Just divide the number of calls made by each agent with the number of calls that are answered.
  • Hold Time & Abandoned Calls – keep scrolling, we actually dedicated an entire subchapter to silent calls.
  • Calls per Agent – this is where successful Call Centers take the lead by using smart and compliant dialing systems.
  • Average Call Length – don’t overpitch your products, don’t undersell them either. Don’t punish the agent before revising your scripts.
  • List Closure Percentage – look at the number of closed deals vs the number of potential leads, low rates can signal problems such as: the inclusion of restricted (do not call) numbers, cold leads, bad numbers. Work through these problems with an updated Call Center Software that implements all regulations and is 100% compliant.
  • On-Call Rates – how much time do agents spend actually talking to prospects vs filling out reports? Look for a better reporting and monitoring solution that increases on-call rates and allows your agents to engage with leads on multiple platforms.
  • Peak Hours – adapt your team’s schedule to make the most out of peak hours.

 

Caution is advised when going through this process for the first time. Or the second time if – the first time doesn’t yield the desired results. Which brings us to next point.

Set Realistic KPIs for Your Team

As presented in the previous point, when setting up your KPIs you must associate a measurable, actionable goal to them. When calculated correctly, your KPIs will help you grow your business, expand your horizons, correctly measure your success, and facilitate the creation of monetary incentives for your agents.

However, one can easily fall into the trap of overestimating their team’s capabilities and setting unrealistic goals that don’t do anything else than create a tense work environment that promotes burnout and an overall lack of efficiency. Be moderate with your calculations and estimations. It’s always better to improve upon a KPI by increasing the target, setting a new threshold than to come to the bitter realization that you bit off more than you could chew.

Eliminate Silent Calls

One of the biggest problems in outbound call centers are silent calls. A significant percentage of people are already biased against cold calls, it’s one of the brutal facts of reality when working in an outbound call center, so having to wait for someone to talk to them after answering the phone generates too much frustration and a great deal of them hang up before the agent even has a chance to say something.

You can avoid this by using a smart dialer system. In this case, investing in infrastructure can make the difference, inviting success into your company.

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Empower Your Agents

Even the best agent with the best soft skills and most persuasive nature is limited by their work environment and software. If you want your team to yield the best results, then you have to make sure that you’re offering them the best software to work with.

Take NobelBiz’s OMNI+ for example. Compared to other products on the market today, our software offers your team more time to take calls thanks to its intuitive platform and simplified reporting system. It also allows them to engage with more prospects on multiple platforms, increasing your overall success rates.

Do your homework before choosing the best software for your business and make sure your team has all the necessary tools to truly let your brand shine.

With NobelBiz OMNI+ you can reduce costs while making sure your agents feel safe and valued.

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Outbound Calls Tips

We gathered a bit of wisdom from all the top players of the outbound Call Center space to help you perfect your tactics and improve your sales numbers.

  • Use a good CRM solution to keep track of leads. Go one step forward and rank your prospects to make sure that your best agents handle the more difficult cases.
  • Adapt your scripts. People hate scripted calls in general so allowing your agents to speak freely (to a certain degree) will work wonders for your conversion rates.
  • Incentivize your agents. They’ll put in more effort when they have the prospect of a good reward at the end of the month.
  • Always personalize your pitch. Use your prospect’s name at the very start of the conversation. Center the conversation around themselves and their needs before offering them something.
  • Respect the time of your prospects. Reserve a couple of minutes for your pitch but keep in mind that time is money and busy people don’t have enough patience for scripted pitches.

Implement a feedback loop by monitoring calls and offering regular trainings to your agents. Always improve upon existing procedures.

Find out more efficient approaches to creating a nurturing environment for your Contact Center employees from our exclusive on-demand webinar.

Join Christian Montes (NobelBiz Director of Sales), Sam Falletta (CEO of Incept), and Dr. James Diefendorff Ph.D. (Professor of Psychology) in a revolutionary discussion meant to raise awareness on the state of mental health in the Call Center industry.

Check out the details of their unique study and gain important insight only available in the webinar. Find it here. 

Closing Thoughts

There is, and probably always will be, a stigma around outbound calls. By improving your processes and making sure that you keep your prospects in mind at least as much as you do your own goals will help you create a better customer experience and improve your outbound call center.

If you know any other tactics on how to improve an outbound call center don’t hesitate to contact us.

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