If you engage in outbound marketing via telephone, you’re a member of a brave and elite group. While the pitfalls of outbound telemarketing are many – regulation and fear of fines have driven off many outbound telephone marketers – the rewards are high, as many organizations have known for some time.
While nearly every call center engages in measuring metrics, outbound call/sales centers have some different metrics to keep track of: cost per call, and cost per sale. Essentially, it’s a way to determine, based on the cost of your campaign and the number of sales it produces, how much each call cost you as well as how much each sale cost you.
According to a recent TMCnet article, cost per call is determined by dividing the agent’s hourly pay rate by the number of calls an agent handles per hour. For example, if the agent handles 15 calls in one hour, and she makes $12 an hour, her resulting cost per call for that hour is $0.80. Cost per sale involves applying the same general formula to how much an agent sells in that hour.
The best way to improve your cost per call and cost per sale figures is to connect your inside sales personnel or call center agents with customers as quickly as possible. Manual dialing from lists or databases slows the process down – waiting for the call to ring and then hanging up when an answering machine picks up or there is no answer -- and becomes a drag on cost per call and cost per sale metrics. Many sales organizations choose to boost productivity using dialer technology.
While it was a very different creature decades ago, a dialer today is simply software programmed to call a predetermined group of numbers. When a customer picks up a call, the dialer connects the live agent or sales person to the customer. Essentially, a dialer can ensure that all of a sales person or call center agent’s time is spent speaking with customers.
The term “predictive dialer” is used for a more sophisticated type of dialer that uses complex algorithms to determine when an agent or salesperson will be available and how many calls it might take to get a live customer on the line. The goal is to further reduce downtime and match customers with available agents with a minimum of time lost, and a minimum of number of “abandoned calls,” or calls on which a customer has answered the phone, but no agent is available to help him or her.
Predictive dialer solutions, such as the SpitFire Enterprise Predictive (SEP) from OPC Marketing, quickly and automatically place outbound calls and connect the answered calls to available agents or sales personnel. SEP, which can connect to a call center or sales organization’s CRM solution, monitors the call center’s volume and time per call, intelligently adjusting its dial rate to minimize the time agents spend waiting between conversations as well as the hold time for callers.
Sophisticated algorithms will speed up or slow down the call rate based on a number of factors, including the number of available agents, number of available lines, the campaign's average call time and other statistical information.
With a predictive dialer, not only can companies boost the productivity of their outbound campaigns, but they can ensure they are remaining compliant with state and federal regulations and avoid fines, raising the value of outbound telemarketing.
Edited by Blaise McNamee