An outbound call center is where agents make calls to customers and prospects, usually to make sales or offer services.
I recently did six weeks of temping in an outbound call center… and it was better than I expected! Yes, I got yelled at a few times. No, it isn’t the kind of job that turns out a lot of millionaires.
But I like dealing with people, I wanted to try something new and, well – it as a pretty easy to job to get.
If you’ve ever thought about working in an outbound call center, here are a few things for you to bear in mind.
What Does an Outbound Call Center Agent Do?
The duties of outbound call agents are generally sales-focused. I was working for an eCommerce platform, and my responsibilities included:
- Calling prospects to tell them about the company’s products and services
- Lead generation
- Customer surveys
- Updating calls contact list
- Conducted market research
- After-sales service
Things I Learned in My Experience as an Outbound Call Center Agent
My first day was quite challenging; I had a spreadsheet with some quotas that I had to meet daily to have a successful month.
I was pretty overwhelmed, but I soon realized that you don’t need much work experience if you want to start a career or switch careers and become a call center agent.
You’re already qualified if you are good with people and know how to handle a phone and a computer.
Nevertheless, there were other things that I needed to learn to become successful in it, as highlighted below.
How Do I Make a Successful Outbound Call?
Thinking about it, I learned that preparation was vital for making successful outbound calls, and I am not talking about reading from a script while speaking with customers.
Yes, you need the training to speak persuasively on the phone and get familiar with the call center CRM software the company is using. But having good knowledge of the company’s products and services helped.
Auto Dialers Save So Much Time!
Oh, yes, they do.
On my first day, I had a call list of 200 customers to call on behalf of our client.
By the end of the first hour I’d barely reached 5 people. They hadn’t set me up on the auto dialer yet, and I was manually keying in dozens of phone numbers. Most of them didn’t connect, and it was pretty exhausting!
The auto dialer boosted my productivity; I went from making a couple of dozen calls a day to making 100.
There Are a Lot of People Who Want Someone to Talk To.
According to research as reported by HubSpot, as much as 90% of people still favor speaking live to customer service agents.
My experience in an outbound call center proved this to me. Despite other means of communicating with our company, many customers still prefer to speak to us (agents) on the phone.
What Should You Never Say in a Call Center?
Research shows that after a single bad experience, 25% of clients stop dealing with a company.
I recall a time I had to deal with a dissatisfied customer. Thankfully, I had learned how to avoid saying certain words.
Here are some words I learned to never say in a call center
- That’s not something I can help you with
- If you keep shouting, I’ll hang up/terminate this call
- Calm down
- I don’t know
- I’ll just put you on hold (70% of customers say it makes them very frustrated)
The Mute Button Is a Life Saver!
One time, a customer asked me a question, and I did not have the answer. I was glad phones came with the mute button. I muted the phone, asked a senior colleague, and returned to the conversation with a solution that satisfied the customer.
I admit it! It does take a certain kind of person to become an outbound agent, and my six weeks working as one proved this. You’ll need to be highly motivated to handle the challenges you face, as any workday is typically fast-paced.
You will develop new skills in an outbound call center, which are transferable and enable you to function in many other fields such as a Business Developer, Human resource manager, Relationship manager, Project manager, etc.
Working in an outbound call center can be challenging but also very gratifying.