Outbound Call Center Featured Article
How to Make Allowed Automated Calls Successful: Varolii
“American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year,” said FTC chair Jon Leibowitz (News - Alert) in a press release announcing the ban.
He’s not mistaken. At the end of FY 2007, the FTC’s “do not call” list contained more than 145 million phone numbers. Clearly, many consumers dismiss pre-recorded communications as irritating and an invasion of privacy.
Unfortunately, this means that the other, and allowed, type of automated communications – informative and relevant information from companies consumers trust – has been given a bad rap, points out Robin Rees, director, customer programs at Varolii, a leading hosted outbound voice messaging supplier.
Many Fortune 500 companies have turned to automated communications to relay important information to consumers, such as a flight cancellation notification or a call alerting consumers of suspicious activity on their credit card account, reports Rees. Not only are these types of notifications cost-effective (especially when the volume is beyond what a manual process could handle), but they get information out fast when time is of the essence. For example, utilities companies use automated communications to quickly update customers during a power outage about when to expect power to return.
“Contrary to popular wisdom, anecdotal feedback has shown that customers truly appreciate getting calls such as these,” Rees points out. “However, due to overall negative perceptions of automated calls and the sheer number of messages bombarding consumers today, some recipients hang up before listening to the critical information. And that’s a problem.”
Increasingly, companies are finding that the best way to cut through the message clutter and keep consumers on the line is to provide 1-to-1 automated messages on a large scale. More than just including the consumer’s name, mass personalization involves remembering past message results and consumer preferences to tailor message content and delivery. How the notification communicates with each consumer should vary depending on circumstances, which may be affected by factors like age, location, socioeconomic status, and the media channel utilized.
Varolii, which sends more than 1 billion automated messages every year, offers these seven tips companies can use to help consumers tell the difference between vital, need-to-know communications and annoying robocalls. An automated call with vital information should always be:
--Relationship-based: Recipients will recognize the caller immediately as someone they already do business with, such as their bank, pharmacy, or employer
“It’s all too easy to mistakenly dismiss an automated call as a nuisance,” says Rees. “But for the literally millions of customers and employees of organizations who are careful to follow these guidelines, it can be a valuable service that delivers a better experience for the consumer and creates better results for the company. “
Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard