How to Run an Outbound Call Center: Best Practices + Tips

    Outbound call centers are incredibly important for businesses. They drive quality leads and conversions, and contribute to revenue generation via strong customer experience. And, though our world is increasingly digital, the humble phone call remains a key tool in the salesperson’s arsenal.

    There are countless channels of communication available in today’s omnichannel contact centers, but more than 70% of those working in sales still pick up the phone to connect with prospects and generate meetings.

    However, the reality is that outbound call centers are something of a double-edged sword. Yes, they can be a goldmine for customer acquisition, but if your strategy is wrong, things can quickly turn south for agents and customers alike.

    If you want to unlock the true potential of your outbound contact center, you need to implement best practices. Fine-tuning your approach can dramatically improve return on investment (ROI), boost sales numbers, and leave a lasting positive impression on potential (and existing) customers.

    Today, we’re going to discuss outbound call center best practices for agent performance, call strategy, management, and more, so you can see exactly how to achieve those sales and customer service goals.

    Get your agents performing at their best: 8 tips

    Agents are the fuel of any contact center. Get them performing at their peak—and you get your call center peaking too. Let’s discuss how you can guide them to greatness.

    Hire the right people

    It all starts with hiring. When you hire the right person for the job, every other aspect of running an outbound contact center becomes much easier.

    The best applicants for these roles should have strong soft skills like:

    • Communication
    • Empathy
    • Active listening
    • Problem-solving
    • Conflict resolution

    Without these skills, your hires will struggle to connect with customers, meaning lost sales and more training.

    Ideally, they should also have previous knowledge of your business's industry, your products or services, and some of the software and tools used within your operation. That transferable knowledge helps smoothen onboarding and lets your agents acclimate faster within your contact center.

    Make sure your training is targeted and effective

    Once you’ve hired good candidates, training should be equally targeted to the needs of your business and some outbound call center best practices.

    First impressions are everything, especially in outbound sales. Equipping your agents with the right knowledge from the start is crucial to maximize their effectiveness.

    Compelling and effective outbound contact center training goes beyond just product features. It should cover building rapport with customers, navigating objections and rejections, and effectively handling customer needs.

    ABC: Always be coaching

    Once they’re out of training, your coaches should be working alongside agents for continuous development to ensure they’re performing at their best.

    Creating regular, tailored coaching sessions to help individual agents improve in areas where they may be lacking (such as soft skills, converting sales, or upselling) helps reinforce their training and can make them more confident and successful in the long run.

    Alternatively, instead of a traditional coach-and-agent relationship, you can try implementing a mentoring program alongside regular training. In this scenario, you can pair experienced agents with newer ones to learn with practical examples instead of less engaging training sessions.

    Stick to the script (sometimes)

    While scripts are a great way to ensure that all of your agents offer a similar experience, they don’t work in every scenario. Instead, best practices for outbound call centers should involve a mix of scripted structure and personalization to get the best results. Have your agents use the information they have at hand to personalize the call and connect better with your customers.

    This can even be as simple as asking exploratory questions during the call to better understand them. Even asking 7-10 discovery questions during a call can lead to about a 66% success rate.

    Encourage your agents to flip the script when needed and customize their responses for different situations instead of appearing like a forceful robotic call center.

    Find the right KPIs for your team

    The average contact center collects an overwhelming amount of data, and if you handle it right, this data can be extremely useful.

    Outbound call center best practices show that picking and following the right key performance indicators (KPIs) can lead to better success overall—you just need to know which ones work best for your contact center. Some of these KPIs can include:

    • Conversion rate: This metric reflects the percentage of calls that successfully convert prospects into customers, providing a direct measure of sales effectiveness.
    • Average talk time: This measures the average length of conversation per call, offering insights into how much time agents spend with potential customers, which can impact both customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
    • Leads generated: Tracking the number of new leads generated by each agent during their calls helps you gauge the effectiveness of your lead generation strategies and agent performance.
    • Revenue generated: This key metric measures the total sales revenue generated from calls. It’s crucial to assess the financial contribution of your call center operations to the business.
    • Call conversion rate: Similar to conversion rate, this focuses specifically on the success rate of turning calls into desired outcomes, such as sales or appointments.
    • First call close rate: Indicates the effectiveness of agents in securing a deal from the first interaction, which can lead to higher satisfaction and lower costs.

    Monitor, feedback, repeat

    The data you collect isn’t just for measuring KPIs. Most call center software can monitor and record calls live, enabling your QA teams to observe and evaluate agent performance. They can then use this information to give feedback to agents and reinforce their training sessions.

    Plus, this data can be collected and used to create personalized agent dashboards to show agents how they’re performing and motivate them to improve with realistic goals and real-time data.

    Give credit where it’s due

    Your agents are working hard to reach their goals and meet the KPIs your teams have set—why shouldn’t you reward them? Creating incentives and rewards helps boost morale and employee retention, which can make a dramatic impact on your call center.

    These goals should be appropriate to the work required to achieve them but also personalized to individual agents as well as team-wide. Hitting specific KPIs or highlighting some of the hard work your agents put out shows them you care and makes it a more positive workplace overall. You can even add in financial incentives like commissions or performance bonuses, which can motivate them to excel and convert more leads into sales in the long run.

    Create a positive working environment

    Speaking of positive work environments, these are a crucial part of outbound call center best practices. Without a positive environment, agents can easily become burnt out and begin to churn, which can be a huge problem for your business.

    Focusing on offering a good work-life balance for your agents, as well as offering career development opportunities and holding open and transparent communications, can go a very long way with employees.

    Plus, the addition of fun and creative team-building exercises and celebrations (that aren’t pizza parties) can help your team create strong personal bonds and boost morale across the board.

    Nail your outbound call center best practices

    Your strategy and approach to these outbound call center best practices go a long way—they shape how your organization will perform and how your agents operate. Let’s cover some of the most critical ones that you should be following:

    • Build a high-quality list of leads for your agents by using internal data (like from your CRM and marketing sources) as well as any external data sources (such as industry databases, lead vendors, etc). This data should be analyzed, cleaned, and updated often so your agents have the most information available and the highest chances of success. This can even be as simple as checking for web form submissions—studies show that leads called within the first five minutes of submitting a form are more likely to answer a call.
    • Refine your lead scoring method by keeping up with modern trends and determining what works best for your call center. A robust lead scoring system helps you prioritize high-potential prospects, maximizing your agents' time and effort. Quality assurance (QA) software with call analytics can pinpoint call characteristics that correlate with conversions, empowering you to refine your scoring model for peak efficiency.
    • Put lead nurturing strategies in place instead of bombarding leads with cold calls. Targeted email campaigns, personalized social media interactions, or informative webinars can set them up for a more receptive call.
    • Make sure the (call) timing is right by respecting time zones and avoiding peak times. Research shows that, on average, Wednesdays (followed by Thursdays) are the best days to call—with over a 50% difference between Monday and Wednesday. Generally, calling between 3pm and 5pm is the most effective time to call, followed by between 10am and 12pm.
    • Don’t call too much (or too little) by striking the right balance for your call frequency. Overcalling can lead to frustration and blacklisting, while infrequent contact might turn leads too cold and infrequent. Using data analytics and different types of dialers (like progressive, predictive, or preview) can help keep agents informed and leads hot.
    • And always stay compliant by staying hyper-vigilant with regulations and industry standards. The regulatory landscape around outbound call centers can be complex to navigate. You should invest in training and use features like do-not-call lists that come with some QA software, and keeping everything up-to-date helps ensure you stay compliant.

    How to Run an Outbound Call Center Best Practices Tips

    Use technology to become a better outbound call center manager

    Running a successful outbound call center requires a strategic blend of human expertise and technology. While your agents are the real stars, the right tools can make all the difference.

    Picking the software that works for you

    The call center landscape offers a wide variety of tools to help streamline operations and boost performance. Some of these tools include:

    • Quality assurance (QA) software: Essential for any type of contact center, QA software analyzes call recordings, spots areas for improvement, and provides targeted and personalized feedback for your agents. This empowers your team with consistent messaging, efficient and detailed feedback, and helps your evaluators coach more effectively.
    • Predictive dialers: These tools automatically connect agents to live prospects and leads, maximizing their talk time and boosting productivity.
    • Analytics dashboards: Real-time analytics dashboards help provide accurate, insightful reports on agent performance, customer sentiments, call metrics, and more. This data can empower your teams to identify trends, optimize call strategies, and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.

    It’s also crucially important that the tools you use can integrate with one another, including your customer relationship management (CRM) software. If they don’t have a way to communicate with one another, you’re missing out on critical information and context for the data you’re collecting.

    Find insights with real-time analytics and monitoring

    Your agents no longer need to blindly call leads and work in the dark. Real-time analytics dashboards help your teams get a full picture of your operations so you can continue to steer the business in the right direction.

    They allow you to see what agents are exceeding expectations, what scripts are performing best, and even help identify common customer pain points—all in real-time. That way, you can make adjustments on the fly, course-correct underperforming campaigns, and double down on effective strategies.

    Improve every day

    The hallmark of a successful call center is continuous improvement—there’s always a new goal that can be reached. By enabling ongoing coaching and agent development, you can foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning.

    And by leveraging customer feedback and staying ahead of new tech trends (like AI for call center management), you can get access to tools like conversational AI and virtual agents, QA auto-scoring, and 100% interaction analysis.

    Don’t wait, optimize your outbound operations now

    Outbound call centers remain a powerful tool for building customer relationships and driving sales. By implementing best practices, outbound contact centers can empower agents to deliver exceptional experiences with customers and help your business reach new heights. With personalized call center training sessions, strategic call timing, and using the right technology, you can ensure that your agents flourish—and your KPIs, too.

    Are you ready to transform your outbound call center and unlock its full potential? Scorebuddy’s quality assurance platform offers a comprehensive suite of tools that can elevate agent performance, optimize your call strategies, give you real-time analytics, and much more.

    Sign up for a demo today and see how it can revolutionize your call center operations.


    Table of Contents

      Subscribe to the Blog

      Be the first to get the latest insights on call center quality assurance, customer service, and agent training


      How to increase outbound call center productivity?

      You can boost your outbound call center productivity with targeted training, smart dialing technology, well-timed calls, and the fostering of a positive work-life balance. Additionally, you can leverage data analytics to identify strengths and areas of opportunity to improve.

      How many calls should an outbound agent make?

      There are a lot of variables that should be factored in, making a specific number or range difficult to find. Things like the agent’s skill level and experience, the industry, the type of call (sales, lead generation, etc), script length, and others all need to be considered. 

      In most cases, benchmarks show that a range between 33-40 minutes of talk time per hour can roughly translate to anywhere from 50-60 calls per day. However, it’s crucial to remember that call volume should never be the driver for agent quotas. Instead, focus on the quality of calls that achieve the desired outcome versus a blanket approach.