Call centre automation – the best thing since sliced bread
Call centre automation – the best thing since sliced bread
Where would we be without automation? Just imagine, even getting to work would be a chore. We’d be forever sleeping in (whoops, no alarms) and eating burnt toast rather than it popping up when done. And quite frankly, we’ve all got better things to be doing than washing loads of clothes and dishes by hand. In just the same way, when it comes to managing an outbound team, call centre automation is just as critical. I know your call centre is busy – and if you’re anything like me, you rather your team was doing the things that are the most productive, rather than just keeping busy. Why waste time dialing numbers and manually routing phone calls? Why keep your agents off the phones doing followup paperwork rather than more sales calls? Why rely on your memory to keep track of people you’re supposed to call back? Why waste time on all of these things when call centre automation can do these jobs for you?
Dialing and routing
One of the most important call centre automation features to start with is with an automated dialer. This saves your agents from having to manually dial – and there are a selection of automatic dialers than you can choose from. You can choose from predictive dialing, preview dialing, or multi-dialing based on what you feel will work best for your team and the campaign:
Preview dialer: lets agents check customer details and history before choosing whether or not to place the call – this can help convert an already warm lead
Predictive dialer: reduces idle time between calls by predicting the optimum time to dial the next number in advance so agents are connected to another call as soon as they finish
Power dialer or mult-dialer: dial multiple numbers and connect your agents to the first number that answers – great when managing call volume is a priority
If your team is also handling inbound calls, call routing automatically sends calls to agents based on rules you setup. For instance, you can route calls to the first available agent, to agents with specific skill sets, or to agents based on local proximity to customers, if necessary. This way, agents can go on break in rotation, without requiring the customer to spend any additional time on hold.
Numbers are changed, disconnected, and added to the Do Not Call registry all the time. To ensure you’re compliant, and to keep productivity levels high, it’s important to keep your lists up to date with the right numbers for prospects and customers. Automatic list cleansing can happen at whatever interval you choose, and can happen in the background while agents make and receive calls. Upload new lists of numbers whenever you want, so they can be cleaned immediately, or at the next scheduled time.
In terms of productivity, the older a list is, the less likely it is that a lead will result in a sale. Even if you are reaching potential customers, the time to have captured their interest and convert them is short, so keeping numbers fresh helps keep those conversion rates higher and money rolling in.
Yes, it costs money to clean your calling lists, but the cost of keeping that list fresh and relevant is worth the potential money lost as a result of not keeping lists updated and current.
Call back reminders
From time to time, agents will have customers who are interested in hearing what they have to say, if they are willing to call back at a better time. The best call centre software will include a feature that automates the call back scheduling and reminders, so that the same agent who makes the initial contact can make the follow up contact at the time the customer specifies.
This feature can also be used to help inbound call centres who are worried about customer wait times. This call centre automation feature feature allows customers on hold to schedule a call back when an agent becomes available to take the call. It can even be setup to allow the customer to record their name, so in the event another household member answers the return phone call, they can make sure the intended recipient is on the phone before connecting them to an agent. And? As an added bonus? You can even set callback priorities so your hottest leads stay hot by the time an agent gets to them.
I’m willing to bet there’s at least one agent in your call centre who you’d consider a workaholic. While there’s nothing wrong with working hard, it’s important to remember that working too much decreases productivity. Your agents need to take breaks to keep their minds sharp and focused. The right software will provide automatic reminders on your agent’s screen whenever it is time for them to take their break, so you can prevent them from getting too absorbed in work.
Regardless of business or industry, your call centre will need to record at least some, if not all of the calls coming into and out of the facility. Whether you’re recording for quality assurance and training purposes, or for something else, manually choosing which calls to record can mean important information gets missed.
We know how important record keeping is, and how vital call recording can be to help training new agents, so that’s why our software makes it easy for you to automatically handle call recording. You have the freedom to choose what part of the call, or which calls you record, and also to exclude sensitive information as necessary.
Call recorder software can also take care of the legal hassle associated with recording calls, by generating legally binding voice signatures. And, customers never have to worry about their sensitive information because the recording is suppressed during the transmission of data like credit card and social security numbers. This way, your company automatically maintains PCI compliance, but doesn’t have to sacrifice convenience.
And, for added peace of mind, there’s no need to worry about the security of your recordings. All recordings are protected by public key encryption, meaning you’re the only one who can decrypt the data thus keeping it safe from hackers and prying eyes and ears.
Call centre automation can also help with sales tracking and reporting
We all know that sales is the ultimate metric for most outbound call centres. There are a lot of things you have to do to keep the agents happy and productive, but automating sales tracking and reporting means you can get a bird’s eye view of the centre as a whole, as well as a quick look at any agent working for you, at any time. Features like live reporting and call monitoring let you step in when your team isn’t performing at the level you’d like. This way, you can develop a plan to get them delivering at the level you need.
We’re dedicated to doing our bit to create a stellar call centre environment for employees and managers alike. We know what it’s like to work on both sides of the fence, and how important it is for employees to have the tools they need, at a price employers can afford. Investing in the right call centre automation tools to save time and increase productivity allows even the smallest of call centres to do more with less.
For more hints on how to run an effective outbound sales call centre, download our ebook The psychology of a high performance contact centre today.
Image via Flickr CC/Marceline Smith