Outbound campaign calling is a practice widely used by commercial organisations and charities alike. One of the challenges of the practice, however, is that the called party is rarely excited to receive the cold call.
More often than not, they’re pretty cheesed off instead about the uninvited intrusion into their life, which may have come just at an inconvenient time, or worse.
Now, it’s of course impossible for the teleselling caller to have any insight into the circumstances of an individual target, but, in the US at least, help is now at hand enabling outbound callers to ascertain when it might not be a good time to call larger groups of potential customers.
ContactRelief – the answer to poorly-timed sales calls
In the US, ContactRelief has devised a means of advising contact centres when it would be highly unwise to call consumers in areas that might be affected by natural disasters, or other adverse conditions.
ContactRelief, a start-up based in Houston Texas, has launched what it claims to be the first disaster decision service for contact centres. ContactRelief monitors for adverse events such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other man-made and natural disasters. Then, using a set of “specially designed rules”, it recommends when and to what areas contact centres should suspend – and ultimately restart– contact with consumers.
ContactRelief CEO Mike Chandler claims that companies using the product will simultaneously:
- Demonstrate their compassion to customers in times of disaster, enhancing brand image
- Optimise calling efficiency and results
- Avoid compliance risk concerns
The company claims to have invested thousands of hours in design and programming, and says its software “recommends proactive ways for you to help consumers in need before and after the disaster.”
It says it has “brought together a group of industry experts to define how we evaluate disaster conditions and make the appropriate recommendations,” and is “always on top of things because [we monitor] not just the weather but disaster declarations, recovery efforts, and many other information sources.”
The company should certainly know a thing or two about the problems of making unwelcome calls. Its senior staff are the owners of a company whose calls would never be welcome: United Recovery Systems is “one of the largest privately held account receivables management companies in the United States.”
That’s a polite way of saying ‘debt collection’. Co-founder and chairman Doug Shultz is claimed to have “led the development of one of the first call suspension programs in the debt collection industry,” back in 1992.
What does this mean for Australian outbound telesales call control?
Unfortunately for Australia, however, the business model is not that easily exportable: it would require considerable investment to build up a database of a country or region and to interface to every source of information about disasters.
So for the foreseeable future, Australian organisations will just have to rely on keeping up with the news and using common sense.
When news breaks of a disaster, what Australian Contact Centres can do is use Premier Contact Point’s advanced features to manage agent activity as follows:
- Control outbound dialling permissions: Administrators can customise the dial plan to control which numbers can be dialled. For example, they could limit all calls to the disaster regions.
- Customise the message: The easy scripting feature can be updated in real time, so relevant and up-to-date sympathy messages can be added to the regular script, for any agents who may connect through to a disaster victim.