Phone calls are arguably one of the most common means of communication for businesses. They’ve existed for longer than any other means of communication. In fact, they're the earliest form of communication other than emails.
However, the communication landscape is changing. New technology, such as messaging, has been introduced. Further, this technology and even those that existed before have also been advanced.
Nowadays, businesses don’t have to make live calls. Instead, they can leave ringless voicemails. Even better, businesses can outsource such services to companies like Drop Cowboy, which manages corporate communication. Moreover, calling and messaging have been further dissected into inbound and outbound.
This article will help you understand what outbound calling and outbound messaging are. You’ll also learn the advantages of outbound messaging and outbound calling to help you decide which is better for your business. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Outbound Calling?
Outbound calling is where the business, through a call center, sales representatives, or support agents, makes calls to third parties. The third parties could be existing customers, prospective customers, or other competing businesses.
Outbound calls are mostly used to generate telemarketing leads or to fundraise for the business, especially non-profit organizations. You can also use outbound calls for the following:
- Making follow-ups
- Cold sales calls
- Customer service calls
- Customer notification
- Market research
- Business-to-business calls to request information
- Updating customer contact list
Inbound calls, on the other hand, are when customers or prospects call your business. Usually, it’s the third party that initiates contact. As a business, you’re expected to offer support to a third party.
Hence, you should have access to the necessary information quickly and be able to relay it to the customers. Nevertheless, these calls are usually handled at a help desk or the customer support desk.
Meanwhile, both inbound and outbound calls can be quite time-consuming. This is why experts recommend that this job is outsourced to a call center. Alternatively, if your business is small and you’re still managing your communications, consider using time management tools, such as Power Dialer, that can help you manage your phone calls.
The Advantage Of Outbound Calling
- Helps Avoid Miscommunication
First, outbound calling is good when you want to reduce the chances of miscommunication. Since the call is live, the third party has the chance to ask questions in case the message isn’t clear.
Likewise, hearing the person’s tone relaying the information helps avoid misinterpreting their intentions. For example, suppose the outbound call was for telemarketing purposes. In that case, the sales agent’s tone and intonation can be dissected by the prospective customer, so they won’t take the message with hostility.
Disadvantages Of Outbound Calling
- Outbound Calls Are Disruptive
When you call someone for a survey, cold call, or even follow-up, it’s expected that you don’t know what they’re doing. They could be in the middle of work or more pressing issues. Hence, the call from your business becomes disruptive. This isn’t only annoying and can also reflect poorly on your company.
Nevertheless, since the call is disruptive, it’s possible that the prospective customer won’t take any action. Therefore, you won’t fulfill the intentions of the call.
- Outbound Calls Are Time-Consuming
Outbound calls aren’t only disruptive but are also time-consuming. For example, when a third party picks up the call, they may feel trapped while waiting for the sales agent to finish talking. In the process, they use their time on a call that wasn’t on their schedule.
In addition, conducting a phone call is a very delicate issue. You must be careful not to end it abruptly, especially if the third party is still speaking. If this happens, even inadvertently, it can be viewed as rudeness. Significantly, your company’s reputation could be tarnished as a result.
- Outbound Calls Can Cause Stress
Some people experience social anxiety when they get an unexpected call. Such people would rather not talk on the phone, and when they’re forced to, they experience stress. Hence, if you happen to reach one of these customers, you run the risk of upsetting them.
What Is Outbound Messaging?
Like outbound calling, outbound messaging is the process of creating content for your company to send to your customers or potential customers. However, in this case, the communication is done by messaging.
Outbound messaging aims to keep regular customers informed. It’s also used to reach out to new customers. It’s also possible to utilize it to promote discounts and special offers. Meanwhile, outbound messaging can be done through SMS, emailing, and sending direct messages on social media.
On the other hand, inbound messaging is where the customer initiates contact with your business through messaging. Inbound messaging allows communication between a third party and your internal business.
Advantages Of Outbound Messaging
- Higher Open Rate
Open rate is a metric that’s used to quantify how frequently a message is opened by its recipients. According to a report by ZipWhip, at least 80% of consumers open the message they receive. This is against 97% of consumers who don’t answer calls or reject them.
Therefore, when marketing your products, using outbound messaging is more likely to generate leads than using outbound calls.
- Messages Do Not Waste time
An outbound message should always be brief and succinct enough to capture the third party’s attention while achieving its aim. Since excellent outbound messages follow this rule, it has been shown that sending them is faster and doesn’t waste time.
In addition, creating messages is less complicated than making a call. Therefore, this leaves the business and the third party to focus on other, more critical tasks.
- Outbound Messaging Allows Mass Communication
With a message either in the form of SMS, private message, or any other form, you can send one message to more than one customer. Therefore, outbound messaging allows you to reach a wider audience simultaneously. This makes communication efficient since you have the resources and effort that would have otherwise been used to reach individual customers.
Disadvantages Of Outbound Messaging
- Ideally, messages should be brief. Hence, if you have more to say, outbound messaging might constrain the message you want to transmit.
- Messages could easily be misinterpreted since the customer or potential customer doesn’t have a chance to listen to the tone or intonation of the business agent. This can lead to miscommunication.
Outbound Calling Or Outbound Messaging: Which Is Better?
As seen from the discussion above, these two types of communication are initiated by the business to the third parties. The third parties could be customers, potential customers, or other companies. Nevertheless, when deciding which option is better, it all comes down to your company’s specific needs.
On the other hand, it’s clear that outbound calling and messaging both serve the same purpose. However, one of them does it better, and that’s outbound messaging. Although messaging is a newer technology than calling, it’s more advanced and has more benefits.
Here’s how outbound messaging is a better channel of communication for your business than outbound calling:
- More Efficient
Efficiency is measured using several metrics, including speed of delivery and communication. It’s much easier for the client to read a text than to pick up a call, especially if it’s not scheduled. With a text, the customer can read it even on a locked screen. Only after they have read the message can they decide whether or not to reply.
On the other hand, phone calls are time-consuming both for the business and the third party. For example, suppose the company has set a standard requirement of 50 outbound calls per agent daily. This means that the sales agent will talk to 50 different people while trying to sell the same concept.
Furthermore, if one person takes five minutes for a routine outbound call, this means they’ve spent 250 minutes a day on the phone. In the long run, this is a waste of time that could be put to better use in other tasks that would help the company grow.
Nevertheless, outbound calls are very demanding. One way or the other, they demand your attention. When a phone rings, it immediately disrupts what you were doing, and then you have to decide if you’ll pick it up or not. But one thing’s for sure, it has already disrupted you.
Versatility allows your business to choose what works best. Hence, outbound messages can take different forms like:
- Text messages
- Direct messages on social media platforms
For instance, suppose you’re keen on tapping into a rural market. You can use text messaging because it doesn’t need an internet connection to reach the intended audience. However, for outbound calling, if the area has no network, you won’t be able to communicate effectively. Besides, sometimes language barriers can be a problem, especially when tapping into rural areas.
Meanwhile, you can also use outbound messaging to communicate different things. For example, it can be used to announce new products, announce special discounts and coupons, send reminders for appointments, send wishes during holidays, and many other things.
On the other hand, outbound calls can be a bit of a stretch when calling existing customers to wish them happy holidays. The customers might be busy with the festivities. Chances are, they won’t pick up the call. However, for outbound messaging, they can always read the text when they have the time.
- Allows Integration
Corporate communication is more than merely passing along information. It’s a process that has an end goal.
For example, if the purpose of outbound messaging is to sell a new product to existing customers, you'll need data about the customers. The data will help you design the message in a personalized way to meet the target audience. This data can be found in the customer relationship management (CRM) database.
In general, it requires more than one platform or several software, like CRM and other resources, for communication to happen. This may also require customer service platforms like Help Scout and other communication platforms like Slack. Moreover, this can only work well if all these systems are integrated.
Luckily, messaging allows integration through connecting via an application programming interface (API). Hence, the agent can easily use data from the CRM database to design a message. In addition, they can also consult with the marketing team via Slack. Also, they can take into consideration issues raised via Help Scout.
On the other hand, this isn’t possible with outbound calling, especially for traditional phone lines. The phone lines can’t integrate with other software or platforms since they don’t have advanced technology. Your only luck is in using modern phone systems.
- Allows Easier Employee Collaboration
During an outbound call, it’s possible that customers will ask questions that the specific agent may not be familiar with. In this case, it would help if the agent could consult with other team members. Alternatively, they can also conduct a quick search on the company’s website for an accurate response.
Unfortunately, the agent can’t do this during the call. This gives the impression that they’re inept in their work. Meanwhile, the customer may also feel their time is wasted waiting for responses. As a result, the customer would feel dissatisfied with the service. Your company’s reputation may suffer as a result of this.
Essentially, outbound calls require undivided attention. Even if your business has a modern phone system that allows integration, the employee can only do so much collaborating without hurting the company’s brand image.
Because of this, it’s safe to assume that messaging is the most effective kind of communication. It allows easier collaboration without appearing like the customer is being neglected.
The business initiates both outbound calling and outbound messaging to third parties. Although each of them is effective, the benefits of outbound messaging outweigh those of outbound calling. Therefore, if you’ve been thinking of scaling communications in your company, it would be best to use outbound messaging.