By Nathan Teahon, Vice President of Operations
It’s hard to believe that in a world with ever expanding technology that there are still many organizations that conduct both inbound and outbound telemarketing services but keep inbound and outbound calls segregated. Now, this can be for several reasons. Perhaps the agent pools require drastically different levels of skill. It could be technology limitations.
However, many times there is just a feeling within leadership that inbound and outbound calls should be segregated. Each circumstance is going to dictate what is best for each given situation. There are many advantages to blending your inbound and outbound calls, and here are the Top Five.
1 – Efficiency
This is the no-brainer, right? In the magical world of taking inbound calls, we aren’t usually so fortunate as to set a clock to when the calls are going to arrive. Of course, forecasting helps, but there are always ebbs and flows. There is nothing that makes an outsourced telemarketing call center manager cringe more than seeing a bunch of idle screens! Instead of looking at those idle screens, why not put them to work and maximize the efficiency of your employees? The warning here is to know your utilization percent. There is a fine line between efficiency and burning employees out. If you are understaffed and employees are taking back to back inbound calls with no breather, you have another problem entirely.
2 – Productivity
With increased efficiency also comes increased productivity, right? I think you’d be hard pressed to come across a client that would say that’s a bad thing. When you are able to integrate your telemarketing services into a blended environment, it opens up many doors. From an inbound perspective, you are able to staff heavier. If you are managing a segregated inbound campaign, an outsourced telemarketing manager is going to be constantly managing the queues like a hawk to ensure that you aren’t overstaffed. Typically this leads to increased abandon rates and missed SLA’s. Blending allows for more coverage to withstand those ebbs and flows. From an outbound perspective you will also be able to make more dials with those employees that might be sitting idle when inbound calls slow down.
3 – Flexibility
One thing that has been expressed to me by several clients that they appreciate about outsourced telemarketing is the increased flexibility a 3rd party can provide. When you have the capability of blending agents, it is much easier to ramp up (or down) for unexpected inbound volume surges (or plummets). I have witnessed many inbound teams experience both ends of this spectrum. All of the forecasting indicates you need 10 agents to handle a number of calls. Due to one unexpected development, the volume is 50% higher or lower than expected. Now what? Your team is either drowning in calls and you burn out your employees, or you are stuck with double the staff and you may be at risk of sending people home. In many cases this can be avoided.
4 – Employee Engagement
It’s a fact that the more diversity an employee is able to experience in a given day, the more satisfied and engaged they are going to be. The myth is that people enjoy covering an inbound queue that is slow and essentially get paid for sitting there. My experience is that is not the case. I’ve found that employees enjoy new challenges, like to be busy and also like diversity in their day.
5 – Improved KPI’s
This was alluded to earlier, but if managed appropriately blending your inbound and your outbound calls is going to have a positive effect on KPI’s. It’s certainly going to allow for more calls to be handled and made. Additionally, you should see positive movement in Average Speed of Answer, Service Level %, and Abandon Rates.
Every situation is different and there are many factors to be weighed. Technology, agent skill levels, training output, and more. Blending inbound and outbound calls may not always be an appropriate option, but there are many advantages when you are able to do so.
Nathan Teahon is the Vice President of Operations for Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. As a highly competitive person, Nathan brings his “A” game to work every day, ensuring that each of his clients wins on a daily basis. Nathan carefully balances the operations resources and client goals to ensure his clients receive the highest possible results at the lowest cost. Nathan is a true, born and bred telemarketer. He grew up in the business and intimately knows (and has played) every position on the field, including supervisor, quality assurance, call center manager, program management, account management, and call center psychologist. Nathan can be reached at [email protected] or 516-656-5133.