Outbound Telemarketing Glossary of Terms

Quality Contact Solutions provides outbound telemarketing and call center solutions that achieve sales results. QCS specializes in business to business telemarketing sales. Many companies consider using outsourced telemarketing as a way to increase sales. Not knowing the industry the way that we do, we wanted to provide an Outbound Telemarketing Glossary of Terms so that anyone can learn to speak the speak!

Outbound Telemarketing Glossary of Terms

Abandon (outbound) – This can happen when the outbound dialer places an outbound call and no agent is available to handle the call within 2 seconds. Telemarketing regulations require that no more than 3% of answered calls in a one month period, per campaign result in an abandoned call. In addition, telemarketing regulations require the dialer to play a pre-recorded message prior at the 2 second time to the called party letting them know that it was a telemarketing call, giving them a phone number where the called party can reach the calling party and provide an automated do not call opt-out .

After-call work (ACW) – Many times referred to as wrap time. This is the work immediately following a call after the caller and person called have disconnected. This time is factored into the total handle time of the call and typically includes choosing a disposition code, typing notes regarding the calls, updating a database, etc. The goal is to minimize ACW as much as possible.

Appointment Setting – This is a type of outbound telemarketing campaign in which callers are aiming to set up appointment times for another individual. Learn how to get quality appointments using outbound marketing.

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) – Billing Telephone Number or Account Number associated with a telephone number, trunk or trunk group. In most cases this will match the Caller ID that is presented to the Called party.

Automated Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) – An ATDS is “equipment that has the capacity to (a) store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (b) to dial such numbers.” The key term in this definition is “capacity.” This is the simple definition. Here is the Declaratory Ruling from the FCC.

Average order size (AOS) – Total Sale Amounts divided by number of sales. Example: You have three sales. The first was for $120. The second was for $250. The third was for $50. The total of the 3 sales is $420. $420 divided by 3 sales equals an AOS of $140.

Business to Business (B2B) – This simply means when a business is reaching out to do business or to sell a product to another business.

Business to Consumer (B2C) – This simply means when a business is reaching out to do business or to sell a product to a consumer.

Caller ID – This is the telephone number that displays as the calling party’s telephone number on the recipient’s phone display, before the phone is answered. There are many benefits in outsourced telemarketing to using a Local Caller ID. A Local Caller ID is a Telephone Number used as the Caller ID that matches the area code of the Called party’s number. There are also many best practices for the use of Caller ID and Ensuring Compliance with Regulations.

Caller ID Name Display (CNAM) – Service that displays the caller’s name in addition to the phone number. CNAM is acronym for the “centralized” database used by Telcos to store the Display Name their customers want displayed for each Caller ID telephone number. Not all called parties’ telephone service supports the ability to receive name display. Currently, cell phones only display names that are in the cell phone user’s contact list in their cell phone.

Cold Calling – The practice of making calls to a potential customer, B2B or B2C, with no prior relationship with that potential customer.

Contact – The outbound caller spoke to a decision maker and a Yes or No decision was made.

Contacts per hour (CPH) – Contacts divided by hours.

Contact Conversion – Sales divided by contacts.

Customer – A person or business that buys goods or services from a store or business.

Data – This is the detailed information that encompasses the information on the leads. This can include name, phone number, address, email address, and many other possible data points.

Data Cleansing – This is another type of outbound telemarketing campaign that consists of calling individuals or companies to verify or collect details on the account.

Decision Maker – The prospect within a business or home which has the authority to say Yes or No. This metric is often measured as Decision Maker Contacts (DMCs).

Deduplication (deduping) – This is the process of ensuring that the database of leads does not have multiple entries of the same prospect. This is important to ensure that prospective customers aren’t needlessly called multiple times.

Dials per hour (DPH) – Dials divided by outbound telemarketing hours

Disposition – This is the code that is used at the end of a phone call that labels it with an appropriate status. These are also many times referred to as result codes or termination codes. Examples include sale dispositions as well as refusal dispositions, such as Not Interested.

Finalized Leads – All records which will not be dialed again, including contacts, unworkables, and max attempts. Anything which makes a record no longer “callable”.

Finalized per hour (FPH) – Finalized leads divided by outbound telemarketing hours.

Gatekeeper – The person, typically an administrative assistant, whose job it is to ensure that the true decision maker is not taking unimportant phone calls.

Handle Time – Talk time + Wrap time.

Hours – This is the total sum of outbound telemarketing hours worked or dialed for a campaign. If 10 agents call on a campaign, each for 3 hours, that is 30 hours that were dialed on the campaign.

Idle Time – In outbound telemarketing, this is simply the time in between calls.

Inbound – This relates to calls that originate with the customer calling in to the agents. Learn reasons to blend inbound and outbound telemarketing services.

Lead Generation – This is another type of outsourced telemarketing campaign that requires outbound telemarketing representatives to develop interest and qualify customers that are potentially interested in a product or service. These leads are typically then called by a more experienced sales representative for further action. Here are 5 tips for high quality leads in telemarketing lead generation.

List Conversion – Sales divided by finalized records. Learn how list segmentation can greatly increase your list conversion.

List Penetration – Finalized Records divided by the beginning list size.

List Size – Beginning record count when starting a campaign

Local Caller ID – A Local Caller ID is a telephone number used as the Caller ID, which matches the area code of the Called party’s telephone number. Outbound Telemarketers who use Local Caller ID as a strategy use about 110 unique area code numbers for a nationwide campaign. One way of accomplishing this is to loading a unique matching Caller ID with each record into the calling equipment. Best practices on using Local Caller ID.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – These are the most important metrics that determine the success of a particular campaign. Read about how continuous improvement for telemarketing programs is golden.

Maximum Attempts (Max Attempts) – In outbound telemarketing there is usually a limit set on how many times a record will be dialed before it is finalized. An example would be if max attempts are set at 8, and a record is not finalized before 8 attempts, the record will be finalized after that 8th attempt.

Members – As opposed to “customers”, many organizations and particularly associations have members. Members receive other benefits that go beyond the typical customer transaction and membership in ways signifies a unity with that organization. Learn why conducting telemarketing services for associations is worthwhile work!

Monitoring – This is the act of listening to an outbound telemarketing agent’s telephone calls to determine if they are conducting the calls in a manner that is effective and in accordance to the guidelines that they have been provided. This is typically conducted by a Supervisor or Quality Assurance analyst whose job it is to listen and score calls while providing feedback for improvement. The term is also frequently used as a noun. To hold a monitoring means having a listening session with multiple parties to discuss how the calls are going and what things need to be adjusted to ensure success. Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of Quality Monitoring.

Non-Automated Telephone Dialing System (Non-ATDS) – A Non-ATDS is “equipment that does not have the capacity to (a) store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (b) to dial such numbers.” The key term in this definition is “capacity.” There are many so-called Non-ATDS dialing systems out there but could theoretically have the “capacity” to do so. However, there are solutions out there that can solve this problem.

Occupancy – The percentage of time that an agent is logged in that they are actually participating in active call handling duties (Talking on calls plus wrap time divided by logged in time).

One-Call Close – This is term that refers to calling a prospect and securing a “Yes” on the first call.

Outbound – When a caller dials out to a person, vs. receiving an incoming call. Read here to learn how to fix your outbound marketing program.

Outsourced Telemarketing – This is a method of increasing sales by hiring a specialized call center to do the calls for you. Learn about the considerations for when to use Outsourced Telemarketing.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) – Set of standards created by the PCI Security Standard Council founded in 2006 by American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard and Visa Inc. These standards are required for all entities that store, process or transmit cardholder data. They cover all aspects including security policies, technologies and and ongoing processes that protect payment systems from breaches and theft of cardholder data. pcisecuritystandards.org

Percent of goal – This is an important measurement that perhaps is less common than the other KPI’s that have been covered. Some programs are very easy in determining success and failure. You might have one list and if you hit a certain SPH you were successful. Some campaigns might have many different lists, with each having different criteria and goals. The below chart shows an example of outbound telemarketing campaign lists that have a revenue per hour goal as low and $35 per hour and as high as $170 per hour. There are also 14 different lists that were ran on this day, again all with different goals. That can make it difficult to determine if you are really successful on a given day, especially at a quick glance. On this given day, you can see that some lists were over goal and some weren’t, but I can easily see that the expected revenue for the day was $12,375, and that number was exceeded with almost $15,000 for 120% of goal.

Click here to view Spreadsheet

Pledge – This is a type of sale, common with associations by their members.

Predictive Dialing – A type of dialing system that uses algorithms to determine how many calls need to be dialed to keep an outbound telemarketing agent team busy a high percentage of an hour. The system automatically places calls and when a live voice answer is detected, the call is immediately connected to an agent. This type of system can be set to automatically screen out answering machines, busy signals, etc. to increase agent productivity.

Preview Dialing – A method of dialing that is an alternative to predictive dialing. Typically this method requires the agent to click a button to dial the record but also gives them an opportunity to view the record before making the dial.

Prospect – This is a potentially interested customer that has yet to buy.

Quality Assurance – This is the staff/department and practice of listening to calls with the goal to identify what strategies are working and what is not. Learn more about using the right tool to increase the quality of your outbound marketing calls.

Renewal – This is a type of sale from an existing customer or member. Many times relates to subscription based products or services. Read about how to maximize your membership renewals with outbound marketing.

Revenue per hour (RPH) – Revenue divided by hours

Return on Investment (ROI) – Sales revenue generated by the campaign divided by the cost of the campaign. That is the basic definition, but you should read more about how to measure ROI for Telemarketing Services.

Sales per hour – Sales divided by hours

Script – This is both the actual words and also logic that is to be followed by an agent when talking to a contact to help guide them through the call.

Script Adherence – This is the practice of a calling agent delivering their presentation exactly how the script is written for them. Outbound Telemarketing campaigns are different, some require agents to follow a script verbatim, and for others it is a guide and the agents are encouraged to make the messaging their own.

Talk Time – The amount of time from the greeting to the point that the call is disconnected.

TCPA – The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted in 1991 to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing communications customers received, as they were thought to be an invasion of consumer privacy.

The law restricts making calls or sending text messages using automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) and artificial or prerecorded voice messages, often referred to as robocalls, except with the prior express consent of the called party or for emergency purposes (or other applicable exemptions). 

Telemarketing Services – This is a broad term used to describe any service that uses a calling agent to place outbound telemarketing calls or receive calls to or from potential or existing customers. Learn more about the many types of telemarketing services.

Training – This is the education of the telemarketing staff on how to properly conduct calls for a given campaign. It is sometimes the most overlooked piece of successful outbound telemarketing. Learn how ongoing training is crucial for all telemarketing sales programs.

Unworkables / Unworkable % – A record is unworkable when you are unable to have a chance at a contact. Examples include wrong numbers, disconnected numbers, language barriers, etc. The unworkable percentage is the number of unworkable numbers divided by finalized records.

Virtual Call Center – This is a call center that does not have a traditional brick and mortar building in which callers are doing business. Instead, the call center consists of virtual agents working from their home, and continues to be a growing trend in the industry. Learn some tips for motivating a virtual workforce.

Wrap Time – The time required by an agent after a conversation is over, to complete work that is required for the call that was just completed. Examples might include sending an email to the customer, noting an account, etc.

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