Good and bad technologies impacting the B2B Call Center

Technology has had a significant impact on how B2B Teleprospecting and Call center operations are run. Some technologies however are a positive and some negative.Here is a perspective on how ETI considers some of the primary applications:

Predictive Dialing.

  1. A technology (primarily used in Business to Consumer environments) which programs a PBX to dial ahead of the “operator” because statistically one can anticipate that X number of calls are required to find someone to talk to.
  2. When someone picks up the call is transferred to an available “operator”.

eti does not and will never entertain using such technology. Some reasons …

  • Our Business Developers (BDs) are required to fully prepare themselves prior to initialing a call.  This includes reviewing prior contact history,  notes, results as well as in circumstances doing research to familiarize themselves with the prospect company prior to engaging a prospect in a consultative dialogue.   Preparation is key in our world.
  • 99% of all businesses will answer their phones. But navigating within an organization and getting to the key stakeholder/decision maker is an entirely different matter.
  • If you’re dialing an extension then in all probability the call will be answered … even if only by the person’s voice mail. So “busys” and wrong numbers are usually not a major factor in a B2B environment.
  • Typically there is a pause – anywhere between 2 and 20 seconds while the dialer finds an operator to take the call. When this occurs the poor prospect says … Hello …. Hello … Helloooooo … until someone comes on the line. It's unlikey the prospect will view this positively?
  • Bottom line is we don't see this technology as a way to drive a high quality communications with high level prospects in complex B2B environments.

Preview Dialers.

  1. The prospect record is brought up via a call queue or search result and the prospects' telephone number can then be dialed dynamically when the BD clicks on the number.

eti has used Preview Dialing technology extensively since its inception. It’s quick and efficient and allows for adequate preparation by the BD prior to initiating a call.

Automatic dialers (aka Robo Dialers).

These systems dial numbers (usually sequentially) and deliver a prerecorded message automatically to the recipient when they pick up or on their personal voice mail. It is not used much in B2B environments for many of the same reasons that Predictive Dialers should be avoided.

Targeting consumers or business people in this manner – whether you’re a politician, a charity, credit card or a bank – is (in at least this writers opinion) unprofessional and ineffective. Indeed, it may even be regarded as a relationship-breaker.

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD).

  • This is primarily used by call centers to handle incoming calls and is effective in managing the flow and volume of calls coming in.
  • When used correctly it is very useful and practical for both the caller and the recipient organization.  The problem is that often unsuspecting callers are many times placed in holding “purgatory” for lengthy periods of time. That can be solved of course by providing sufficient levels of staffing. But, many operations don’t because that increases costs significantly.

There is nothing better (and more effective) than having a prospect call and, immediately, there is immediately someone live to talk to.  And when that person is knowledgeable, speaks their language, and relates to them culturally it is worth its weight in gold. So ACD’s in a B2B environment are useful but should be used for limited purposes.

eti does use ACD’s and endeavors to deliver the following average results.

  • 99.9% of all calls are answered by a Business Developer within 1 minute.
  • 80% within 20 seconds.
  • When a queue is backed up we provide the caller with an estimated hold time (or their position in the queue)
  • We always offer the caller the ability to leave a message. Call backs are usually initiated within 4 hours

On Line Live Chat.

  • Chat comes in two flavors: Passive and Active.
    •   Passive involves the placement of a button on a typical web page and requires the prospect to click on the link/button to engage in an interaction.
    •   Active takes a more pro-active approach. Using powerful algorithms one can program the system to pop up an invitation to chat based on the users history (clicks and pages visited) and time on the site.

While the latter can be perceived as intrusive, it is very easy for the prospect to dismiss the offer to chat. Those who do pro-actively engage can be converted to real marketing qualified leads (MQL's) if handled professionally.

eti has an expanded practice that now offers B2B Business Developers to field chat interactions. Our primary role leverages both smarts BD's, phone and chat in order to convert prospects into highly qualified sales opportunities. Please see my recent blog for more about this capability. (Note: We do not undertake technical support efforts.)

To find our more about ETI's capabilities to meet your company's lead generation needs please call 1.800.466.4384 (914.747.03030).

 

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