Many contact centers are currently enhancing their traditional call center experiences by adopting social media, chatbots, and even virtual reality. However, research conducted in 2023 by Call Centre Helper and ContactBabel indicates that, despite these new omnichannel contact methods and changing customer expectations, customers still tend to consider voice calls as the most important contact channel for important and time sensitive conversations. This importance holds true, and is even more so important when it comes to outbound calling.
So, how can organizations ensure that they always maintain high-quality voice channels and calls to deliver a positive customer experience (CX)? The answer lies in outbound call testing.
What is outbound testing?
An outbound call is a call that a call center agent or sales representative typically makes to generate interest in a company’s product or service offering. In the case of a prospect, outbound calling may even be used to close the sale. Outbound calls may also include proactive customer service, delivery updates or even appointment reminders.
Organizations that manage their own infrastructure find outbound call testing critical to ensure that their outbound call paths function correctly and remain unaffected by issues. It empowers organizations to identify, troubleshoot, and rectify problems before they can negatively impact customers or the organization’s reputation.
Such issues could include:
.Incorrect presentation of caller line identification (CLI)
.Automatic call rejection
.Call routing problems
Reasons to test Call Center
Problems arising from poor visibility of issues in outbound calling will result in poor CX, a negative impact on brand reputation, and, most importantly, significant lost business opportunities and revenues.
Call center testing strategies should therefore encompass outbound call testing whenever outbound calling is utilized. Regular and proactive testing of these outbound calls can yield a wide array of advantages, and generate far-reaching positive effects for the organization.
Enhanced brand image and reputation: Consistently delivering high-quality outbound calls enables an organization to build a stronger brand image and reputation. These not only foster increased trust, but also lead to greater repeat business and spend. By investing in outbound call testing and ensuring optimal service at all times, organizations demonstrate their continued commitment to achieving clear and reliable communication with customers.
Effective communication: Clear call quality is a necessity to allow call center agents to convey information accurately and effectively to customers and prospects. Reductions in audio quality are likely to lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and potentially inaccurate understanding. Effective communication will also contribute to a more positive CX and increased satisfaction. Studies show that when a call has high quality audio, customers are more likely to engage in productive conversations, resulting in successful outcomes, such as a sale.
Legal requirements: In certain cases, for example, 24/7 helplines, there may be a legal requirement for organizations to provide high-quality calls. This mandate could be rooted in public safety considerations or even in ensuring accurate understanding of call recordings. When legal obligations are at play, maintaining robust outbound call performance becomes indispensable to ensure compliance and prevent potentially detrimental and costly legal complications.
Increased sales and revenues: Call centers predominantly utilize outbound calls for sales and marketing efforts, which often involves cold-calling. When these calls experience unstable connections or reduced audio quality, the likelihood of achieving a successful sale or establishing positive brand awareness significantly diminishes.
Reduced call handling times: Reliable and strong outbound calls are instrumental in reducing call handling times and ensuring that agents can more efficiently interact with the call recipient. This also contributes to overall agent productivity and reduces call center costs.
Technical troubleshooting: Proactively testing outbound call connections and quality assists in the earlier detection of problems within an organization’s communication infrastructure, removing the need to rely solely on complaints from frustrated agents or customers. This timely detection empowers infrastructure teams to more swiftly and accurately troubleshoot and resolve issues.
Performance metrics: Monitoring connection and call quality metrics provides organizations with large volumes of valuable performance data. This assists call centers in monitoring their key metrics, recognizing trends, and making more-informed business decisions. Additionally, it can be utilized to verify whether carriers and service providers are adhering to their service level agreements (SLAs). In the case of a SLA breach, organizations can easily provide evidence of the failure to their suppliers, increasing the likelihood of prompt issue resolution.
Automating outbound testing
Automating outbound call connection and audio quality testing offers several advantages that can significantly enhance efficiency, accuracy, and overall call center operations.
Automated testing ensures that each outbound test call is subjected to the same benchmarks and scoring system, eliminating human subjectivity, bias, human error and variability, resulting in outcomes that are more accurate and dependable. Realtime monitoring allows for immediate detection of issues, enabling more prompt corrective actions and minimizing any disruptions to agents and call recipients alike.
Additionally, automation accelerates the testing process for organizations. It allows for the testing of greater volumes of test calls within a shorter time frame, when compared to manual testing. This helps to reduce the burden on often already over-stretched teams. Automation also allows these teams to concentrate on other critical areas of responsibilities. Automation’s ease of scalability is of particular importance when call centers suddenly need to expand their testing capacity, for example during peak times such as Open Enrollment.
Automated testing systems are also capable of analyzing a wide range of parameters simultaneously, for example, call quality, connection stability, audio clarity, audio sharpness and background noise. This comprehensive testing therefore shows a more holistic view of call performance. The generated results provide teams with a wealth of data and insights that can be analyzed to identify trends, patterns, and areas for potential improvements.
Finally, while an initial investment is required to establish automated testing systems, the long-term cost savings and return on investment for organizations can be substantial. Reduced labor expenses, greater operational efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction all contribute to these overarching cost reductions.
In summary, the testing of outbound calls plays a pivotal role in ensuring visibility, achieving or maintaining a strong CX and brand reputation, enabling more effective communications, ensuring regulatory compliance and much more. It also has a clear and demonstrable impact on customer interactions, agent performance, and overall business growth.
For most contact centers, monitoring the performance of outgoing routes should be just as important as monitoring the performance of their inbound call paths. Unfortunately, if organizations neglect to monitor their outbound number performance, it is highly likely that they are blind to numerous ongoing call connection and quality issues.
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