Better Know Your Leads — Outbound Dialing Part 2: Preview Dialing

preview your client informationDo you know who your clients are? Do your agents? In some outbound dialing campaigns, it’s critical for your agents to know to whom they are speaking before they’ve said “Hello.” The leads are distinct enough that the agent needs to familiarize herself with the particulars of this particular contact before clicking “Dial”. In some cases, this may mean a few minutes of study.

Preview dialing is the term used for the least intensive mode of outbound dialing. When the call center software has determined the next lead that should be presented to your agent, it sends it to the agent screen, pops any scripts you may have set for the campaign, and populates all the available data. During this time, your agent is reviewing all the information available, including notes from previous attempts to contact the person in question.

As with all methods of calling, there are advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of preview dialing include:

  • Improved familiarity with the contact. This is the primary reason you use preview dialing. For more complicated campaigns your agent needs to know the particulars of the case in front of them. For situations like collections or loans, a review is going to be critical for success. Sometimes, however, it’s just important to make sure you’re asking for the right person, or verifying details such as office hours or how frequently they want to be contacted.
  • Deciding whether to dial the contact at all. If  a previous note has indicated your client can only deal with you on Tuesdays, there’s no point in your agent dialing the lead on a Thursday. Or maybe a note says they are on vacation. Or they get paid on Mondays and it’s Friday. There are a lot of reasons why it may be that your agent will either have to skip the lead, or reschedule it for a specific time. Preview dialing allows you to do this without the person on the line.

The disadvantages of preview dialing are:

  • It increases the length of time between calls. The time your agents are reviewing leads pre-dial is time that they’re not talking to your clients.
  • The agent has to decide to call. Your agents can take advantage of this method to cherry-pick only the most promising contacts, leaving the others uncalled. In some cases, this may be what you intend, but that’s not normally the case.

You can mitigate the disadvantages with the right call center software and good reporting. Call center administrators should have the ability to set a maximum amount of time for the lead to be called. This allows you to specify enough time to review the contact information, but avoid the worst cases of agent loafing. In Q-Suite, you can set the dispositions to be displayed pre-dial and post-dial, so that your agents can only make appropriate choices before the call was dialed, and this will allow you to see which agents are skipping more calls than others.

Preview dialing is a powerful tool in your arsenal that, in the right situations, can make your call center more productive.