In our last article titled “Is Outbound Calling Dead?” we discussed the issue of multi-channel communication and its effect on the use of voice. This week we’ll be exploring the business value of combining all channels of contact for an intelligent omnichannel strategy.
Outbound communication, once almost entirely driven by voice and dialer technology, has since evolved to primarily focus on providing value for the business, by any means. With the widespread use of more cost effective channels such as SMS and email, businesses can tailor their outbound strategy to engage each contact via the most optimal channel. The true value of an outbound campaign is only achieved when contact is established with the intended recipient and in the most efficient manner possible to achieve ROI.
What exactly is an omnichannel outbound strategy?
An omnichannel outbound strategy is the combination and use of multiple channels within single campaign. What this does is determines the best channel to reach a contact for a specific purpose. For example, you might have different tiers of customers (silver, gold, platinum, etc.) with different offers being promoted to each. Based on the ROI of each of those offers for your business, you’ll want to reach out via a channel that makes the most sense. For example, a live agent call will always be the most expensive means of contact, but this will be the most effective in closing large transactions. SMS and email on the other hand are far more automated and much less expensive to use, however they do not produce the same level of conversion as a live agent.
So what is the Business Value?
There are two ways ROI will be achieved by employing intelligent omnichannel outbound strategies over “dumb dialing”.
Improved agent efficiency – For businesses operating contact centers with hundreds or thousands of outbound agents, each minute, even second of their shift can be quantified into a hard ROI. By leveraging outbound intelligently, agents will be able to spend a larger percentage of their time connected on the phone with live people, rather than endless ringing phones and voicemails. Depending on the objective of your campaign (sales, collections, notifications, etc.) this will be translated into a hard ROI for agent hours worked. Additionally, by using automated channels such as email and SMS, your campaign will be producing results without any work required from live agents.
Increased revenue – The use of an outbound campaign (whether for proactive customer communication or more traditional uses such as telemarketing and collections) ultimately aims to increase sales and revenue. This may look very different for different verticals, for example:
Healthcare – A hospital sends reminders via SMS to their patients about upcoming appointments. These appointments are not intensive in nature and will not generate a significant amount of revenue. The SMS is allows the patient to confirm or cancel this appointment with a simple reply. Within the same campaign the hospital has patients which are scheduled to undergo major surgery. In this case the hospital will want to reach out to the patient through a live agent to confirm the appointment and ensure any preparatory measures are taken. These simple reminders and confirmations will reduce the number of no shows and allow the practice to more effectively schedule their work days.
B2C sales – The option of choosing from multiple channels to contact customers or prospects, both high value and low, allows businesses to align their contact channels with expected returns. For example: A high value customer with high likelihood of conversion will be best suited to receive a personal call about an offer or promotion. On the other hand, a low value customer with a lower likelihood of conversion will be better suited to receive a less expensive and less personalized contact such as an email or text message.
A softer ROI can be seen in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. By delivering information and value to your customers proactively, this will save them the time and hassle of reaching out to the business. It has been statistically shown that customers are far more likely to continue doing business with brands that provide a positive customer experience.
The key to unlocking the business value of omnichannel outbound is to 1. Invest in outbound technology that makes the most sense for your business. And 2. Having the expertise (in house or outsourced) to leverage that technology effectively. As we had discussed in our previous article “Is Outboud Calling Dead?” consumers are using a multitude of channels and touchpoints. An effective outbound strategy will combine and make proper use of all channels to achieve the desired results of the business.