How to make the most out of your omnichannel outbound strategy
There was a time when outbound communication was primarily driven by voice and dialler technology. Today, outbound communication has evolved to take place in the digital space via a broader array of channels, including SMS, mobile apps, and email. The availability of powerful multi-channel customer engagement tools today means that a broad array of sectors, from education to transport and utilities to telco, are now able to communicate with their customers more flexibly and effectively than ever before.
However, generally-speaking, an outbound campaign will only truly be effective (to the point of achieving ROI) when the intended recipient is contacted via their preferred channel, and is therefore as likely as possible to be well-received and result in a positive outcome for the business.
Defining an omnichannel outbound strategy
An outbound omnichannel strategy is an essential part of a business’ arsenal, and increasingly important in today’s crowded marketplace, where businesses often struggle to stand out. To have an impact on a consumer base that is constantly bombarded with marketing messages, a business must offer its customers a personalised, unified customer experience via the most appropriate channel. For instance, if your campaign targets different tiers of customers for different offers, each tier should be targeted with the appropriate messages, via the appropriate channel, when and where they have the highest chance of seeing the offer.
For example, although using a live agent for a call is the most expensive means of contact, it is likely to be the most effective way to close a large deal with a high-spender. A live agent will generally provide a much better level of conversion than outreach via SMS or email. However, depending on the objectives of the outreach, a business must weigh this against the fact that automated outreach will usually be far less expensive and may offer broader reach.
How does this strategy generate business value?
An intelligent omnichannel outbound strategy can improve ROI in three principle ways:
By improving agent efficiency: The very nature of call centres means that time can be quantified into a hard ROI; if outbound agents are spending lots of time calling customer phones only to be put through to voicemail this may not be a financially sustainable method of outreach. If outbound contact is planned and scheduled intelligently, however, allowing agents to reach customers rather than hitting voicemail, this is more likely to result in a positive ROI. However, the use of automated channels such as SMS and email can also produce results more cost-effectively, without placing any major burden on call centre staff.
By helping to drive revenue or preventing lost revenue: An effective omnichannel strategy has the power to increase or protect revenue. However, this will look very different depending on the vertical that implements it. On the one hand, a B2B sales organisation can align its method of contact with the expected likelihood of returns from that contact, in order to drive revenue directly. A business might choose to place a personal call to a ‘high likelihood’ conversion prospect but send a broader spread of automated contact to lower-value prospects. On the other hand, a hospital might send SMS reminders to their patients about upcoming appointments. The patient can then confirm or cancel the appointment by replying; in this example, outreach will help to reduce waste (missed appointments cost the NHS almost £1 billion in 2017). Alternatively, a hospital could use a live agent to talk a patient through necessary measures prior to surgery in order to reduce the number of costly appointment slots that are wasted by missed appointments or through lack of appropriate preparation.
Through increased customer satisfaction and loyalty: Delivering information or value to a customer proactively saves the customer time, increases customer satisfaction, and has been shown to improve customer loyalty and willingness to engage with businesses that offer a positive customer experience. In the case of a retail outlet, this might take the form of proactive notifications of package delivery status so that individuals can ensure that they are home when required. Alternatively, a gym might notify its customers when it is due to close for refurbishment to avoid its customers wasting a journey. In each of these cases, the ROI is realised in improved brand equity, and a reduction in the likelihood the customer will become disgruntled and go elsewhere.
Overall an effective outbound strategy will make use of all channels to achieve a business’ goals. In order to achieve ROI from their omnichannel outbound strategy, businesses must ensure they integrate the outbound technology that best serves their business objectives, and then ensure they have the right skills available to use that technology effectively.
Ashish Koul, President, Acqueon
Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.