To blend or not to blend
Traditionally, contact centres relied on two different technology systems; one to route inbound calls and another to make outbound calls. As a result, teams tended to be separated into silos based on the skill-sets required to manage the two different types of calls.
Of course this was not very efficient in terms of managing resource, resulting in inbound staff sitting idle between peaks in call volumes or with queues mounting during busier periods. Call blending allows contact centres to bring both inbound and outbound calls together in a single system. The main aspect of this blended operation is the combination of automatic call distribution (the inbound) and predictive dialling (the outbound) in the telephony system.
Blending inbound with outbound
New cloud-based platforms make call blending much easier to achieve by cost effectively and transparently automating the whole process and seamlessly switching agents between inbound and outbound in line with demand.
In addition to allowing contact centre managers to maximise agent resource, blending also allows these managers to take a more holistic approach to customer relationships and empower contact centre agents to expand their skillset and job satisfaction levels. You know you will have times where inbound contacts subside, so make these ebbs in volume a core part of your strategy, to ensure extra time is used more effectively.
If your inbound volume has eased off, then it is possible to configure the system to automatically switch over to outbound communications that satisfy customers or drive sales. For example, carry out a survey, notify customers of your latest offers, activate account renewals or call former customers about reactivating?
But you shouldn’t jump into blending inbound with outbound calls without being ready to manage them well because a large part of this is down to agent skills and training. This is true when it comes to blending inbound, outbound and multiple channels. Where the inbound or outbound agents of old may have possessed the skill-set for one discipline, now they need a range of flexible skills.
That means now you need highly skilled, knowledgeable contact centre workers able to communicate fluidly with customers for different types of calls, and staff that know your products and services well. The technology will do a lot behind the scenes in terms of connecting customers to the right agents, and then prompting with relevant information.
Top three tips:
- Choose a platform capable of automating the entire blending process
- Be sure your predictive dialling capability is fully integrated into the wider contact centre operation
- Include flexible agents in your recruitment strategy
Click here to find out more about how outbound strategies can work for you.