Contact center leaders have come up against a host of challenges recently. They’ve had to keep the lights on during the crisis and adapt to remote or hybrid ways of working. They’ve also had to deal with a growing skills gap, known globally as the ‘Great Resignation’. During December 2021, for example, there were 4.6 million more job openings than unemployed workers in the US.
All these obstacles make it more difficult than ever to design and deliver a successful outbound calling strategy. Adding complexity is the fact that corporate goalposts keep shifting. Beyond maximizing efficiency and profitability, today’s executives have other strategic priorities. When PwC surveyed global CEOs about their long-term corporate strategies, they also highlighted customer satisfaction (71%), employee engagement (62%), and automation/digitization (54%).
In this article, we discuss how AI-driven voice activity detection (VAD) technology can help contact centers deliver on all these objectives.
How to Improve Outbound Call Center Performance
As companies embrace automation, more contact centers have introduced auto dialer or predictive dialer software. A well-chosen solution can certainly help to increase efficiency. But how can contact center leaders be sure that they have chosen the right technology and outbound dialer strategy to drive peak productivity?
A predictive dialer is a tool that automatically dials telephone numbers pulled from a list and connects either to a live agent or a pre-recorded message. This software saves time by eliminating the need for agents to manually dial phone numbers and then wait for prospects, or their answering machines, to pick up the call.
With auto dialers managing all these repetitive tasks, contact centers can put their resources to optimum use. Depending on the desired outcome, they can either give agents more time to engage with customers on live calls, or ensure their pre-recorded messages are delivered at the right time, in full. To achieve these objectives, however, their auto dialer software must be able to accurately detect the difference between busy signals, no-answers, dropped calls, answering machines and live humans.
This is where voice activity detection (VAD) capabilities come in. With the right type of VAD built into their predictive dialer software, contact centers can address one key issue that impacts customer experience, agent performance, overall employee satisfaction and profitability. That issue? Delay.
When any phone number is dialed, there is a high likelihood (over 60%) that the call will not be answered. Therefore, the time spent waiting for it is wasted, if/ when performed by a human operator or agent.
Even when calls are answered, they are not answered immediately. On average, there can be 15 to 20 seconds of delay before the phone is picked up. Predictive dialers with high-performance VAD capabilities enable agents to circumnavigate delay, so they can focus more time on the work that matters most: engaging with prospects and building customer relationships.
Building Competitive Advantage with an AI-driven Outbound Contact Strategy
AI-enabled voice activity detection (VAD) allows contact centers to transcend the limitations of traditional approaches. Conventional predictive dialers typically only use audio energy levels and timing cues to determine whether the call has been answered by a live prospect or a machine. In this scenario, static on the line or background noises can easily confuse the software, with a negative impact on accuracy, timing and the customer experience. A lack of precision could see a call being dropped just as the prospect picks up, or an incomplete messaging being delivered.
VAD technology, on the other hand, uses advanced speech recognition and machine learning capabilities to understand exactly what is happening on the other end of the line. Through a quick outbound call analysis, it can quickly and accurately detect whether a call has connected to a busy/SIT/fax machine tone, an answering machine or voicemail service, or a live prospect. That way, calls can be correctly classified, and the entire outbound call flow is optimized.
Any contact center with any number of agents working can reap the benefits. When agents have live calls routed to them as opposed to waiting for someone to pick up, this increases the number of calls they can handle per hour, with a positive impact on cost per call and conversion KPIs. Agents also have more time for skills development, training and sharing outbound phone sales tips.
We Can Help You Innovate Your Outbound Contact Strategy
As a company focused on helping contact centers achieve optimal performance and considerable cost savings, LumenVox uses AI-enabled voice activity detection capabilities in our Call Process Analysis (CPA) software. To learn more, contact a member of our team or, click here.