Many companies either aren’t prioritizing proactive outbound customer service, or they aren’t doing it properly. Some are even missing the mark on sending notifications ahead of time about urgent matters like a disruption of service. This is an issue because no one likes surprises – especially surprises that bear bad news. Now more than ever, proper communication is critical. Companies that drop the ball on their customer communication are losing customers and real money. For example, in healthcare the consequences are enormous – "no shows" cost an estimated $150 billion every year – if no shows were reduced by just 5% it would result in $7.5 billion in savings.
The solution goes beyond just evaluating and implementing the right outbound technology to save money and keep more customers. It’s also ensuring the technology is easy-to-use and empowering the people who use it to be successful. After all, technology can only do so much if the people behind it are not enabled to succeed. Let’s explore a few ways you can create an effective outbound strategy fueled by a unified, empowered agent workforce.
Proactive Outreach Made Easy with Powerful Campaign Management Tools
Starting an outbound campaign can be overwhelming for a contact center agent, especially if they’re new to the role. With so many different contacts and customer information in different places, it’s easy for agents to feel like they don’t know where to begin.
To make proactive outreach easy, managers have access to list and campaign management tools so that agents don’t have to worry about who to dial and when. This takes the extra strategy work out of the agents hands so they can focus on what happens during the interaction instead. Make sure agents aren’t overwhelmed with too many calls or lacking in productivity with too little calls by implementing various dial modes that can ensure the dialer hits the sweet spot and isn’t over or under dialing. Answering machine detection capabilities can also help agents so that time isn’t wasted manually handling answering machines, busy tones and no answers. This helps agents focus on the important things: connecting with the customers who answer. As agents make their way through outbound campaign lists, their managers can use automation capabilities to automatically assign target contacts to agents, saving time while increasing the likelihood of connecting with a customer who can increase revenue, collections, or any other metric your organization is looking to drive. Lastly, real-time contact sorting can further streamline the process, so that contacts are dynamically moved up and down a call list based on real-time activity that is happening with the account. This helps your agents strategically and efficiently engage with the right contacts at the right time, reducing any confusion with the customer and increasing your chances of hitting your established KPIs.
Pro Tip: An outbound campaign requires diligent planning to make sure you have the right amount of staffing to conduct the outreach. Utilize specific outbound planning features in Alvaria Workforce™ to more accurately predict the overall staffing required for a successful outbound strategy. Within Alvaria Workforce’s forecasting functionality, input the size of your daily list, how many passes, your historical connect percentage rate OR right party contact percentage rate and the software will determine the number of contacts staff will be needed to handle. Then, you can blend that outbound work with other types of media. If your agents are power dialing, Alvaria Workforce can even model the behavior of routers where agents are reserved for a time (not available for other work while reserved) to ensure compliance with no dead air regulations. These outbound planning solutions help you to more accurately ensure that the right staffing resources are in place which creates a less stressful work environment for agents – since the right agents are scheduled at the right time – and ultimately helps to drive a successful proactive outbound strategy.
Reduce Risk and Set Agents Up to Succeed with Simple, Effective Compliance Tools
Whenever agents are interacting with customers – inbound or outbound – compliance is always of the upmost importance. This is especially the case with outbound campaigns. Although we’ve seen from a recent Gartner survey that “receiving proactive service leads to a 9% increase in a customer’s value enhancement score,” organizations must make sure that their proactive outreach is done in a way that makes it easy for their agents to stay compliant.
With Alvaria Compliant Outreach™, organizations can make it easy for agents to stay within compliance and avoid compliance-related lawsuits and fines or even reports by customers of harassment. Contact center leaders can leverage these compliance tools to set up outbound outreach with compliance regulations in mind – so agents don’t have to worry about these rules and can focus more of their time on connecting with customers. These tools give companies regional/state compliance control, allowing them to follow the rules and regulations that different states or jurisdictions have regarding customer communication. Time zone and jurisdiction mapping helps to identify which rules apply to which customers. Consent flagging features help to ensure customers are only being contacted on certain channels if they have consented, such as filling out a consent form or agreeing to terms and conditions. Companies also have the attempts/message tracker to avoid overwhelming or harassing customers with calls, messages, etc. They can access call time validation through phone and postal codes, so that customers are being contacted within the times that pertain to them. All these compliance-related solutions enable you to avoid costly compliance issues or lawsuits, reduce customer frustration and increase the likelihood of them having a more pleasant, productive connection with your customers.
Ensuring Success for Customers and Agents with Multichannel Options & Preferences
As mentioned earlier, customers want to have multiple channel options to contact you and they also have specific channel preferences when you’re reaching out to them. Did you know that the same applies to agents? Contact center agents care about growth opportunities and many of them believe that being trained on a new channel is a growth opportunity. Agents also have preferences on what channels they’d like to work.
Alvaria Advanced Outreach™ provides organizations with multiple channels for your customers to use and for your agents to be trained and become experts on. Channels such as voice, SMS/text, webchat, email and social are available. Also, with the ability to do preference routing on those channels, customers are being contacted only on the channels that they prefer, eliminating any confusion, missed updates, or potential repeat contacts due to outreach on the wrong channel. Multichannel options mean meeting your customers where they are and giving them the information they need where and when it’s convenient for them, which yields higher satisfaction and customer loyalty in the long run. In turn, multichannel options also mean unique growth opportunities for agents which can fuel their engagement and performance.
Pro Tip: To avoid repeat contacts which can happen with proactive outreach, try to keep your outreach campaigns focused on urgent matters. According to the Alvaria Consumer Index Report 2022, just under two-thirds of the 2022 respondents invite direct contact from a business to help make them more likely to pay an overdue bill. They request the outreach comes via email (37%), voice call (20%) or text (23%). Sticking to more urgent matters and to the most preferred channels when executing your outbound strategy will help reduce repeat contacts, create more pleasant connections with customers for your agents and increase its likelihood of success overall.
Creating an effective outbound strategy takes time but with the right solutions and a unified, empowered team behind them, it can be a powerful way to create greater trust and lifetime value for your customers.
For more information on Alvaria’s Outbound solutions, check out our on-demand webinar, Creating a Winning Outbound Strategy.