If you’re running a contact center business, then you know that outbound contact centers are essential for success. One of the biggest components of an effective outbound contact center is making sure that your agents have everything they need to be successful. This includes having the right tools and resources, as well as a comfortable work environment. In this blog post, we will discuss what agents need in an outbound contact center, and how you can make sure they have everything they need to deliver the best results possible.
Table of contents
- What is an outbound contact center?
- What services do outbound call centers provide?
- Outbound contact center tools for agents
- The best software tools and features to enable agents
- Outbound dialing software
- Outbound customer relationship manager (CRM)
- Business intelligence and performance analytics
- Call recording & monitoring
- Speech analytics
- Coaching and eLearning
- Workforce management (WEM)
What is an outbound contact center?
An outbound contact center is a place where outbound sales, account recovery, or telemarketing calls are made. They are essential in the business world today, and they provide many services to outbound callers. Outbound call centers were traditionally an office full of desks, phones, and computers with an entire team of agents present. Now, outbound contact centers can be virtual as well.
What services do outbound call centers provide?
Some of the services that outbound contact centers provide are customer service, technical support, and sales. They also offer other services such as appointment setting, lead generation, market research, and surveys.
Outbound contact center tools for agents
There are many outbound contact center tools for agents, and the most important ones are a comfortable work environment, the right tools and resources, and a positive attitude. Resources and tools include both technology resources in the form of hardware and software as well as physical assets to promote a healthy work environment. Let’s break down both.
There are many outbound contact center tools for agents that can help them be successful. Some of these tools include a dialer, an automatic call distributor (ACD), a computer-telephony integration (CTI) system, and a customer relationship management (CRM) system. We’ll dive into more of these tools later.
The hardware that outbound contact center agents need includes a headset, a telephone, and a computer. The type of headset will depend on the outbound contact center’s phone system. Depending on what type of outbound contact center you have, you’ll provide agents with this hardware for at-home use or you’ll assign it to them in an office.
Physical work environment
Whether your contact center agents work in an office or work from home, there are many ways to enable a healthy work environment. If your contact center agents work in an office, provide them with comfortable chairs, ergonomic keyboards, and noise-canceling headphones.
You should also ensure they have a quiet place to work, so they can focus on their calls. There’s nothing worse than conducting a call with a potential lead or current customer with ample noise in the background. It makes speaking and listening over the phone difficult.
Outbound contact center agents need ample breaks, so they can recharge and come back refreshed. The success of an agent heavily depends on their mindset and mental health. Foster an agent-first environment where agents can receive the support they need most.
Finally, show your contact center agents that you appreciate them, so they know that their hard work is appreciated. On this same note, ensure that you’re hiring contact center managers that empower agents and contribute to a positive work environment.
The best software tools and features to enable agents
There seems to be an endless number of outbound contact center software out in the market today. It’s hard to determine which ones will contribute the most to your contact center’s success. A sure-fire way to know if software is worth the investment is by defining your own business needs and identifying how software helps you reach your specific goals.
Although there is one obvious pattern we’ve seen with outbound contact center software across the board: the most successful tools enable agent productivity and performance. And we’ve compiled this list of the best outbound contact center software tools that do just that.
Outbound dialing software
An outbound dialer is a software or cloud-based solution that allows your contact center to make outgoing calls. Outbound dialing systems help your agents expedite and automate outbound calling, increasing efficiency and output. There are four common types of automated dialers that help agents reach their performance goals and save them time.
When using preview dialing, an agent signals when they’re ready for another call and is presented with the information about the upcoming contact to prepare for the conversation. The agent can review the material and ensure they have all of the necessary information to best address the situation. This type of dialing is often used for more complex cases and sensitive calls. While preview dialing gives the agents the most context to interact with the customer, it is also a much slower pace of outbound calling.
A Preview-All dialer presents a unified view of the upcoming call and gives the agent time to review the content to personalize the conversation. This functionality also lets the contact center optimize the call list to fit with each agent’s strengths.
Progressive dialing is similar to preview dialing in that agents indicate when they are ready for the next call. The difference is that the agents receive information about the customer at the same time the call is being made. This speeds up the outgoing call process but gives less time for the agents to prepare. If a number is called and there is no answer, the system moves on to the next number. No time is wasted in the dialing process.
Progressive dialing is often used if the focus of your contact center is improved customer service and increased loyalty. You will see progressive dialing used for sales teams looking to renew or upsell current customers.
A predictive dialing solution connects agents to live callers as soon as an agent is done with the previous call. Predictive dialer systems algorithmically determine when the next call should take place based on metrics like average call duration. The system dials several numbers at the same time until a caller picks up and then directs the customer to the open agent. This is one of the more productive and speedy outbound calling options. There are risks, however, as it is more likely a live caller could end up on the phone with no one on the other end, leading to abandoned calls.
Predictive dialing is used for customer service follow-up, telemarketing, market research, and outbound sales prospecting. An automated dialer is used for high-volume use cases where your agent’s efficiency and cost-per-contact are a priority.
Power dialing calls the next number on a contact list as soon as an agent is available. If there is no answer, the dialer moves on to the next number. The agent has their next call queued up for them to reduce dialing time. Contact centers use power dialing when looking to enhance customer service as it ensures that no customer gets a call without an agent on the other end of the line.
Outbound customer relationship manager (CRM)
CRM integration allows outbound call center agents and sales teams to consolidate customer information and offer answers or target the right messaging by customer group. In an outbound call center, CRM integration empowers agents with vital information on every occasion and across every outreach channel. CRM integration can also automate call routing and other responsibilities for live agents in an outbound call center.
Business intelligence and performance analytics
Business intelligence (BI) and performance analytics are essential for outbound call centers. BI provides data-driven insights that outbound call center managers can use to improve operations. Performance analytics helps outbound call centers track agent performance, understand customer behavior, and identify issues that impact the customer experience.
BI and performance analytics tools help outbound call center managers make data-driven decisions to improve operations. These tools are essential for outbound call centers to optimize performance and deliver a great customer experience. Call recording and monitoring and speech analytics are two types of performance analytics that we’ll dive into next. The goal of collecting insights from tools like these is to enable agents to grow and improve.
Call recording & monitoring
For greater efficiency in outbound call centers, managers use call recording and monitoring software to report on or reveal learnings and best practices from incoming and outgoing calls.
With call recording and monitoring, supervisors listen to calls and propose adjustments and improvements to agents. Supervisors can enter calls to assist agents in resolving customer queries and troubles in real-time.
Managers can also replay call recordings to identify pain points and train their agents on the appropriate resolutions. Monitoring and recording functions are ideal for both outbound call center operations. These tools are crucial for optimizing agent performance and the overall quality of each call-center customer interaction.
Speech analytics is the process of analyzing recorded customer interactions to identify trends and extract valuable business insights. Outbound call centers use speech analytics to monitor agent performance, understand customer sentiment, and detect issues that impact the customer experience.
Supervisors can use speech analytics to score calls and give feedback to agents. Outbound call centers also use speech analytics to identify training opportunities for agents.
Coaching and eLearning
Outbound contact centers use coaching and eLearning to help agents improve their skill set. Coaching is a process that outbound call center managers use to develop agents and improve performance.
eLearning is a type of training that outbound call centers use to educate agents on product knowledge, company processes, and industry best practices. Coaching and eLearning work together to help outbound call centers deliver a great customer and agent experience.
Workforce management (WEM)
Workforce management (WEM) is the process of increasing contact center agent engagement. WEM tools help outbound call center managers plan, monitor, and optimize their staff’s performance by taking into account factors such as handle time, talk time, after-call work time, average speed of answer (ASA), first-call resolution (FCR), and abandoned calls.
A WEM system analyzes historical call data to help you predict future volume trends and schedule employees accordingly. It also provides real-time visibility into employee performance so you can identify issues early and take corrective action.
When outbound call center managers use WEM tools, they can improve agent productivity, reduce operational costs, and deliver a better customer experience.
Outbound call centers need to have the right mix of agents with the necessary skill sets to meet customer needs. This also encourages learning opportunities within the agent team.
When choosing an outbound contact center solution, make sure it includes a workforce management system. This will help you to optimize your outbound call center operation and improve agent and customer satisfaction.
With a WEM, you can keep your agents happy and high-performing by supporting productivity, quality, and compliance across your entire business.
LiveVox’s WEM provides easy-to-use, easy-to-activate tools to help engage and empower your teams to deliver great customer experiences and establish a culture of ongoing performance improvement.
Power smarter, faster, data-driven business decisions for your contact center with access to comprehensive operational, customer, and performance data when and where you need it. And, understand and respond to what’s happening in your contact center like never before with 100% interaction analytics paired with robust management tools.
LiveVox offers an outbound call center solution that provides a number of features to help agents be successful, including:
- A workforce management system to help optimize your outbound call center operation
- Easy-to-use tools to help engage and empower your teams
- A culture of ongoing performance improvement
- 100% interaction analytics paired with robust management tools
To learn more about how LiveVox can help improve your outbound call center operation, visit our website.