Outbound Calling Technology: A Comprehensive Guide
Modern businesses rely on technology to thrive in a competitive landscape. Software and other applications not only play a crucial role in day-to-day operations as they can also improve various aspects of your business.
In particular, technology is most useful when they’re applied to marketing efforts, like outbound calling. Gone are the days when sales teams needed a phonebook to find customers. Today, in-house sales teams and dedicated contact centers rely on different types of software to save time and effort when making calls to generate leads, conduct market research, or retain customers.
Ringless voicemail, auto dialer, call recording software and analytics are some of the common outbound calling technologies. Each has its own benefits and role in your outbound call campaign. In addition, newer technologies, such as text messaging, outbound chat, interactive voice response (IVR), cloud-based call center, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and even artificial intelligence can further your outreach efforts.
So, how do you choose which of these outbound calling technologies best fits your business? This definitive guide will walk you through the different types of software and their advantages to help you make a smart decision.
Outbound Calling Technologies
Whether you’re doing an outbound campaign with a dedicated sales team or outsourcing this function to a contact center, here are some of the popular and up-and-coming technologies when it comes to outbound calling.
- Ringless Voicemail
You’re probably familiar with how voicemail works. But, do you know how ringless voicemail works?
This technology delivers a recorded pitch to a voicemail number without ringing their phone. It’s a friendly form of engagement because it allows prospective customers to read your message during their most convenient time. Ringless voicemail comes with a playback feature that allows them to review the message several times to help them understand your message.
What’s good about using this tool for your outbound calling needs? Aside from being a non-intrusive and empathetic communication tool, ringless voicemail is largely automated. You only need one or two people to manage the app and send out messages at the right time.
Ringless voicemail is a great tool for initial contact. Send your prospects a compelling pitch, and once your customers respond, your sales agents can take over.
Apart from the benefits it provides for customers, ringless voicemail is also a practical outbound calling tool. The software and its maintenance cost less compared to hiring additional agents. You can also use it for other purposes, such as creating polls and surveys, for education, etc.
Likewise, ringless voicemail works on both landline and mobile devices, so your agents can call wherever, whenever. Some ringless voicemail systems also have additional features, such as text messaging or customized greetings. They may even have vanity phone numbers that add value to your business.
- Auto Dialers
Aside from sending voicemails to your prospective customer’s inbox, you can also choose an auto dialer to boost your outreach efforts. There are four types of auto dialers you can choose from: predictive, progressive, power, and preview.
Here’s an overview of each.
- Predictive Dialer – A predictive dialer dials several numbers simultaneously until a caller picks up. The dialer then routes this call to an available agent. Predictive dialers are most useful for telemarketing activities, customer service follow-ups, and market research. The software also uses an algorithm based on average call duration (ACD) to help determine the number of calls an agent can handle during a shift.
- Progressive Dialer – A progressive dialer dials a new number once the call ends. It helps eliminate stall time as it can also provide agents with needed information while the call is ongoing. This allows agents to learn more about their customers and respond to their needs in real time. As such, progressive dialers are appropriate for customer retention efforts, such as renewing subscriptions or upselling to current customers.
- Power Dialer – This type of dialer, offered by companies such as Power Dialer, also builds an agent’s call queue by selecting phone numbers then dialing them in sequence. It automatically dials another number after the call ends. In case the customer or the agent drops the call, the power dialer will move on to the next call on the list. Power dialers are useful customer service tools as they ensure customers get a live agent with every call.
- Preview Dialer – A preview dialer is a powerful tool for agents because it allows them to choose whether to take the call or not based on the customer’s profile. This type of dialer is best for complex or sensitive calls as it provides the most context for customer interaction. In return, customers get tailored solutions to their problems.
Dialing software eliminates the hassle of manually dialing phone numbers, and even reduces wait times, so agents are more productive. They also ensure that customers receive the right solution to their issues.
- Call Recording Software
Outbound calls provide a wealth of information you can use to improve your business. Recording software allows you to document audio conversations between your agents and your customers. The app also has a feature to save these into digital files.
Call recording software is a must-have for outbound calling teams and large contact centers because they help improve call performance for agents.
Monitored calls help you assess agent performance in relation to your company’s standards. Likewise, recorded calls service as training material for new agents. Also, listening to calls helps you gauge phone etiquette and communication skills.
In addition, call recording software also helps you uncover customers’ pain points. This, in turn, helps you fine-tune your scripts to address their issues better. Call recording software can also yield insight regarding inefficiencies in your outbound calling teams or contact center as a whole.
Compliance is another reason to install call recording software. Companies need to ensure they are compliant with applicable call recording laws in their state.
- Analytics Software
Analytics software takes your call recording technology to another level as it provides a benchmark for agent performance. Using key performance metrics, analytics helps you determine the ideal handling time of a call, evaluate scripts, and gain insight regarding customer activity during the call.
Basically, analytics software helps you gain insight into audio conversations and tailor improvement plans based on issues you identified. What’s good about analytics software is that you can understand and use data to improve your agents, as well as your call center’s performance.
- Cloud-Based Call Center
Small businesses who desire a scalable outbound calling technology can consider a cloud-based call center as a viable solution. This technology allows easy setup on a business computer or phone, and it works well with a stable Internet connection. It’s a practical choice for businesses who want to leverage outbound calling without spending too much on hardware or software.
- Outbound Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an outbound calling technology that allows you to manage large call volumes. It typically features an interactive menu that directs customers to a database or a live agent depending on their current need.
This automated system allows you to send thousands of outbound calls in a short span of time. It is most useful for delivering urgent messages to customers or for sending out promotional offers. Some outbound IVR systems can even determine if the number you’re calling is connected to a live person or to a fax machine. It can then pursue a course of action to ensure that your outbound calls comply with applicable privacy regulations.
Outbound IVRs do more than dial calls, as they can also perform several other functions. They can also send out automated notifications through text and emails. This crucial tool helps you manage customer engagement on a variety of channels.
- Outbound Text Messaging
Outbound marketing is no longer limited to making calls over the phone. It now includes reaching out to customers via text messaging. You can establish contact with your target audience through text blasts. Once a customer responds to your message, it triggers your sales team or contact center to initiate a follow-up call.
There are several advantages to using text messaging as a supplement to your outbound calls. One, it maintains regular communication with your customers. You can use text blasts to keep them informed of new products or services, or provide them with recent updates. Automated text messages also help manage call volume since these provide an easy way to connect with mobile-savvy customers.
- Outbound Chat And Video Call
Another up-and-coming technology in outbound calls is the use of chats and video calling. As customers spend most of their time online, your outreach strategy should include additional channels to connect with them.
Outbound calls use AI chatbots to set up appointments with customers, and then connect them with live agents who’ll take their calls.
On the same line, your contact center can also include outbound video chat service. Video chat software provides a personalized experience to your prospective customers, and can even compensate for the lack of in-person interaction due to the global pandemic.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM system is also an essential tool for outbound telemarketing. This tool displays customer information during a live call, and it also allows you to view previous customer interactions. Thus, it provides a detailed map of your customer’s journey and allows you to perform actions for successful conversions.
Customer relationship management systems can also include several features, such as call automation, call recording, or auto dialers. In their absence, some CRMs allow easy integration of these technologies to streamline your outbound calling workflow.
- Artificial Intelligence
Software isn’t the only dominant theme in outbound calling technology. Of late, artificial intelligence is also changing the way outbound calls are made. They help agents prepare for their calls by pulling information from a CRM. Conversational AI can read and understand vocal queues and make decisions to pre-qualify leads and route calls to human agents. While the call is ongoing, AI can serve as virtual assistants to ensure customer issues are properly addressed.
AI is also used to improve other outbound calling technologies. Auto dialers, for instance, use AI to screen out busy, inactive, or fraud numbers. With regards to outbound calling analytics, natural language processing can help organize call and text message data. AI can also help reduce negative customer experiences through sentiment analysis.
Choosing Outbound Calling Technology For Your Needs
The list above is an exhaustive compilation of the recent outbound calling technologies. Now comes the question: how do you choose an outbound calling technology for your business?
You can consider the purpose of your outbound calling campaign. Do you want to initiate contact with a wider audience? Ringless voicemail and texts blasts can help you find leads for your business.
Suppose you want to engage prospects who show interest in your products or services. Several types of dialers, outbound chat, and outbound IVR are suitable options.
Do you want to conduct market research for a potential product or introduce a new service? Outbound text software and power dialers can help you gather data. Analytics software powered by AI can help you make sense of this information and help you formulate an outbound calling strategy.
Should you wish to focus on improving customer experience, call recording software and analytics can yield valuable insights on how you can improve your agents’ skills.
Or, maybe, you want software that you can easily install and use? You can choose between cloud-based call center software or a CRM.
At the end of the day, your chosen outbound calling technology can include one or several types of software that complement each other. You can integrate auto dialers or call recording software into larger systems. Likewise, you can use AI to enhance your outbound calling technologies to improve agent performance and ensure better customer experience.
In sum, technology has the power to transform your outbound calling capability. Auto dialers, ringless voicemail, and outbound IVRs can automate your outreach efforts and help you manage large call volumes. In addition, newer technologies, such as text messaging, outbound chat, and video software, provide a personalized experience for prospective and current customers. What’s more, cloud-based contact centers and CRM tools allow a seamless and cost-effective upgrade for your sales and marketing teams.
As demonstrated, software is key to outbound calling technologies. They not only help you save time and effort, but provide you with meaningful insights regarding agent performance and audio conversations. Call recording and analytics become more insightful with the use of artificial intelligence.
As such, outbound calling technologies help enhance your outreach campaigns, whether for lead generation, market research, or customer retention efforts.