When most customers think of “outbound calling,” they assume telemarketing; the epitome of brute-forced, automated voice interactions that more often than not lead to nothing but frustrated and annoyed customers. Robo-dialers simply call as many numbers as quickly as possible. This impersonal approach to outbound dialing left a bad taste in many customer’s mouths and had them running for the “Do Not Contact” lists. In reality, outbound calling can be an incredibly valuable AND valued part of the customer experience. What matters the most is WHY that customer is being called–are you actively trying to help them or just help your bottom line?
In a recent survey, Ovum asked US customers how they would like to be contacted by a business in different circumstances. Certain types of outbound calls, NOT sales calls, are not only appreciated by customers but actually expected! In fact, the more urgent the problem, the higher the likelihood that customers want to speak with a live agent.
Companies can still find ways to use outbound callers to improve business without sacrificing the customer experience. For instance, if a customer wanted to order a product that was initially unavailable, an outbound call could make that customer aware that the product is back in-stock, or that certain updates are available, or a new system is ready and so forth. Since a customer can opt-in to that outbound calling rolodex they aren’t annoyed when the call comes in; they’ve been expecting it! Outbound calls can also be used to preemptively address post-sale questions and concerns. For instance, rather than waiting for your customers to get lost in the new software they’ve installed, you can set up scheduled outbound calls around milestones that connect your customers with the right agents when they need them the most. If there is any way to remotely monitor your system, your outbound dialer can be trigged to place a call when it recognizes your customer is having trouble. Calling your customers when they need you? Now that’s customer service!
You can also schedule outbound calls just before an agreement is about to end, ensuring there are no lapses in billing. By reminding your customers a payment is due BEFORE you actually charge them, you can be sure the credit card you have on file is still accurate and they are aware their account is being re-billed. You could even schedule outbound calls AFTER you bill them, letting your customers know their payment has been successfully processed. I have my credit card company text me a confirmation notice when my payment goes through, for instance, so that way I know I never miss my deadline!
Automated outbound dialing solutions help companies comply easier with changing regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and multiple “Do Not Call” lists, but putting the power in the hands of your consumer. They can choose what kind of calls they want to receive from your company, adding a level of urgency to your call. Instead of getting dozens of calls at random hours for a multitude of deals, they know you are reaching out to them to HELP them, enhancing the overall customer experience and making your company more valuable to your customers.