Outbound Calls 101: Complete Guide [Definition to Best Practices]

Published on June 4, 2021
Aruna Neervannan
CTO/Founder, Rafiki.ai

Outbound calls may look daunting on the outside. However, once you get a grasp of outbound calling fundamentals and mix it with your intuition, you’ll be on your way to the outbound calls topper list, irrespective of factors such as your customer’s temperament. Whether, you’re new to outbound calling or you are looking to brush up your basics, you’re at the right place. 

What is an outbound call?

Outbound calls are a way of increasing customer service by initiating customer contact. While most believe the meaning of outbound call to be a method of canvassing new products/services to customers, it need not be restricted to just that.

Business representatives make outbound calls to their customers for a number of reasons like reminding them about an unpaid bill, informing the customer of product availability, following up on a problem the customer had, and finding out whether the customer is interested in a new product or service.

Outbound Call vs. Inbound Call

While some call centers handle both outbound and inbound calls, there’s a world of difference between these two concepts. Outbound calls differ from inbound calls in their process, the way contact is initiated, and most notably their intent. 

When the outside world or the customer initiates the contact, it is defined as an inbound call. Conversely, when the call center agent initiates the contact, then it fits perfectly into the outbound call meaning. However, apart from these basic differences, they vary in an array of aspects as displayed in the table below:

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Outbound Calls Inbound Calls
Representatives call from a list of current or potential customers Representative attend the inbound call received on a typical day
Your audience can either be existing customers or potential customers/shoppers Your audience comprises primarily of existing customers
Can focus on anything from customer service to sales and market research Typically comprises customer complaints or queries or suggestions.
Not all customers have a need, so customers aren’t usually receptive Customer’s need for service is high and so customers are highly receptive
Customer satisfaction or happiness with the call may depend on various factors like customer’s need, temperament, and more Keeping the interaction positive and ensuring customer satisfaction is under the agent’s control
Seeks to build interest amidst potential shoppers  Focuses on ensuring customer loyalty and happiness for retention

Outbound Calling Best Practices

While outbound calling best practices may differ from one organization to another, there are a couple of best practices that several leading call centers have adapted over time. Outlined in this image are five best practices that when implemented properly, can significantly lower cost per acquisition (CPA), improve lead conversion rate, and ultimately enhance outbound call center profitability.

Outbound Best Practices

KPIs to Measure Outbound Call Effectiveness

The right outbound call KPI will help businesses evaluate and monitor the efficiency of their outbound call center. These KPIs will not only help businesses keep up-to-speed with their overall business goal but also help them optimize an outbound call’s cost, quality, and AHT. 

Listed below are some most commonly used KPIs used to measure the overall effectiveness of an outbound call.

  1. AHT (Average Handling Time)

Coming up with a proper benchmark for average handling time is difficult because it involves too many variables ranging from customer’s temperament to system capabilities to agent’s performance. 

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While some calls may require talking a bit longer to close a deal, it is critical to look at this parameter to understand whether the large AHT is caused due to poor handling skills or give the much-needed push to convince a customer and close a deal.

  1. Conversion rate

It is the percentage of outbound call contacts that are converted or convinced to make a sale. It measures the efficiency of your representatives to make a convincing argument and make the customer eager enough to bag a deal. A low conversion rate shows that the outbound call efficiency needs improvement. 

  1. BANT Analysis

This is a sales qualification methodology that enables businesses to determine whether a specific outbound call recipient has the potential to become a prospective customer. 

It can be done by analysing the conversation and looking for clues which show whether the customer has available budget, internal influence/ability to buy, a genuine need for the product and has a purchase timeline in mind. Rafiki tracks the time spent by you on BANT and lets you quality check on how your conversations around BANT are compared to your peers. 

  1. First call close

First call close (FCC) refers to the percentage of customer deals closed on the first attempt. If your agents need to re-initiate an outbound call once or multiple times, because the customer is not convinced the first time, then the first call close will decline and the call cost will go up.

  1. Total revenue

Are your outbound calls driving revenue? What is the average revenue per customer per contact? Are your agents maximizing revenue per customer and taking advantage of upselling opportunities available? Finding answers to these questions will give you a clear idea whether or not your outbound calls are growing your business.

Tools to Drive Outbound Call Success

With tools like Rafiki.ai, organizations can slice and dice through the usual drone in an outbound call to measure KPIs and spot improvement opportunities effortlessly. It comes with built-in topic trackers to identify deal risks such as churn risk through customized topic trackers which can be tailored fit around your unique sales process to mitigate sale risks. 

As opposed to platforms that merely analyze customer calls based on predefined parameters, Rafiki has the intelligence to understand your outbound customer conversations and provide businesses with actionable insights which ultimately drive outbound call effectiveness and revenue. 

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What’s more, it doesn’t just track conversational topics but offers advanced topic-level patterns that help sales leaders understand how successful reps talk, and what topics played a significant role in the conversation that helped move the deal through to the next stage, in a matter of minutes. What’s more, Rafiki’s advanced deal risk analysis feature enables businesses to drive predictable growth with advanced outbound call analytics.

Summary

The process of measuring the effectiveness of an outbound call isn’t always clearly defined. But, when sales leaders take a moment to understand their business needs and the nature of outbound call KPIs they need to track, it is easy to spot deal risks, perform BANT analysis, and ultimately train outbound call agents better and ensure an efficient outbound calling process.

Rafiki can help businesses measure the effectiveness of their outbound call, gain actionable insights, mitigate deal risks, and ultimately drive profit. Its intelligent rule engine dissects every outbound call analytically to retrieve customer/market intelligence, opportunity intelligence, and organizational intelligence. 

If you’re looking for ways to improve the quality of your outbound calls without consuming a ton of time or money, then sign up for a free trial of Rafiki and see how effortless outbound call quality control can be. 

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