The Balto Real-Time Index


The Balto Real-Time Index provides an industry-level view of call trends and in-depth analysis from Balto’s in-house research team, the Conversation Excellence Lab. The Balto Real-Time Index is based on data from Balto’s 150m+ calls.


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Overview & Methodology
B2B Technology
Collections
Financial Services
Health Insurance
Home Improvement
Property & Casualty Ins
Retail

3.99%

Percent of Sales Calls Where Agents Overcome the “Stop Calling Me” Objection

43.97%

Percent of Sales Calls That Contained the “I Need a Quote” Objection

0.12

Avg. Times Per Sales Call That Agents Built Rapport

Home Improvement

“Do it myself” (DIY) has come up 43.78% more as an objection this quarter than it did last quarter, joining the ranks of the most common objections. Considering the inflation rate, it is not surprising that consumers are looking towards taking on their own home improvement projects. This objection is not the end of the conversation, however: use this as an opportunity to establish urgency through questions like:

  • “How long would it take you to do something like that yourself?”
  • “Is it important to you to have that done by a certain date or for an upcoming event?” 
  • “What happens if you don’t get it done by that date or time?” 

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Objections and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Objections to Overcome in Home Improvement

Objection % of Successful Calls After Objection (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Need Decision Makers 5% +0.00%
Not Interested 5.18% +3.6%
Cost Concerns 6.25% -21.88%
Busy 6.41% +6.83%
Do Not Call 6.44% NEW
Call Me Back 7.84% +12.00%
I Need a Quote 10.70% +33.75%
Think About It 12.74% +6.17%
Do It Myself 12.94% +43.78%

A smaller percentage indicates an agent was less likely to overcome the objection

Figure 2: Top Objections in Home Improvement

Objection % of Calls Where Objection Occurred (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Not Interested 13.92% -44.32%
I Need a Quote 13.03% -53.46%
Cost Concerns 7.95% NEW
Why Are You Calling? 7.35% -59.17%
Busy 6.98% -36.55%
Do Not Call 5.96% -33.78%
Shopping Around 4.59% -34.43%
Need Decision Makers 4.06% -32.33
Call Me Back 3.45% -56.88%

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in Home Improvement

Soft Skill Average Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Respect 2.24 -56.92%
Justification 1.54 NEW
Proactivity 0.88 -58.10%
Credibility 0.58 NEW
Empathy 0.52 NEW

A higher number indicates a soft skill was used more often during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in Home Improvement

Soft Skill Average Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Interest 0.05 NEW
Rapport 0.06 -45.45%
Positive Tone 0.08 NEW
Active Listening 0.15 NEW
Urgency 0.26 -55.93%

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

34.63%

Percent of Sales Calls That Contained the “Need Decision Makers” Objection

6.39

Avg. Times Per Sales Call That Agents Displayed Respect

0.01

Avg. Times Per Sales Call That Agents Recapped Customer Issues

Healthcare Insurance

As the economy faces uncertainty, cost concerns have gone up exponentially. Last quarter, the win rate for calls that featured consumer cost concerns was 33%. This quarter, it was 3.17% — that’s a 90% change. When consumers worry out loud about affordability this quarter, they mean it. Here are some ideas:

  • Identify their pain, and put a cost on it. What is the ultimate cost to the consumer of not going with your product or service?
  • Go deeper with questions like: What benefits would you need to see to make this price reasonable? 
  • See how you can adjust the cost of your offerings to assuage these concerns, and save the upsells for a later call. 

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Objections and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Objections to Overcome in Health Insurance

Objection % of Successful Calls After Objection (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Cost Concerns 3.17$ -90.39%
Send Info 3.53% NEW
Shopping Around 26.26% -17.93%
Cancellation Request 29.33% -2.20%
Uncomfortable/Felt Misled 30.76% +2.50%
Need Decision Makers 32.10% +0.30%
Think About It 34.35% +1.03%

A smaller percentage indicates an agent was less likely to overcome the objection

Figure 2: Top Objections in Health Insurance

Objection % of Calls Where Objection Occurred (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Not Interested 5.81% –37.69%
Cost Concerns 3.78% -24.40%
Need Decision Makers 3.58% -10.50%
Looking at Competition 2.78% -7.33%
Think About It 2.54% -15.33%

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in Health Insurance

Soft Skill Average Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Justification 2.37 -5.20%
Respect 2.12 +78.15%
Proactivity 1.08 NEW
Empathy 0.62 -6.06%
Credibility 0.60 NEW

A higher number indicates a soft skill was more likely to be used during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in Health Insurance

Soft Skill Average Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Urgency 0.12 -70.00%
Active Listening 0.21 -4.54%
Agreeability 0.36 -2.70%

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

22.91%

Percent of Sales Calls Where Agents Overcome the “Bad Reviews” Objection

58.79%

Percent of Sales Calls That Contained the “Cost Concerns” Objection

0.18

Avg. Times Per Sales Call That Agents Built Rapport

B2B Technology

According to our data, a mention of bad reviews was the most difficult objection for agents to overcome. Strong online reviews are integral for a company’s growth, but only 39.6% of agents regularly ask for them on the phone. Here are some statistics about online reviews from a recent report:  

  • 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Consumers expect businesses to have a minimum average Google rating of 3.84 across at least 20 reviews
  • Customers will spend 31% more money on your product or service if you have strong reviews

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Objections and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Objections to Overcome in B2B Technology

Objection % of Successful Calls After Objection (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Bad Reviews 22.91% +43.19%
Shopping Around 23.17% 54.47%
Cost Concerns 28.80% +2.86%
Not A Priority 29.69% +2.38%
Think About It 31.77% NEW
Satisfied with Current Solution 32.28% NEW

A smaller percentage indicates an agent was less likely to overcome the objection

Figure 2: Most Common Objections in B2B Technology

Objection % of Calls Where Objection Occurred (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Cost Concerns 23.55% +30.83%
Shopping Around 10.52% -12.33%
Rescheduling 8.85% -1.67%
Think About It 6.73% -3.86%
Not Interested 5.22% -56.5%
Need Decision Maker 4.11% -54.33%
Why Are You Calling 3.46% -68.6%
Scam Concern 2.97% NEW
Busy 2.81% -59.9%

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in B2B Technology

Soft Skill Average Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Respect 5.60 +24.72%
Proactivity 4.15 +27.30%
Justification 2.57 -3.02%
Urgency 0.80 NEW
Credibility 0.58 NEW

A higher number indicates a soft skill was used more often during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in B2B Technology

Soft Skill Average Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Authority 0.0014 NEW
Recap 0.0031 NEW
Rapport 0.08 -27.27%
Active Listening 0.22 +4.76%
Empathy 0.50 -26.47%

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

33.69%

Percent of Customer Service Calls That Contained the “Cost Concerns” Objection

10.43

Avg. Times Per Sales Call That Agents Displayed Respect

0.01

Avg. Times Per Customer Service Call That Agents Recapped Customer Issues

Property & Casualty Insurance

Three of the most common objections for sale this quarter were “Call Me Back”, “Busy”, and “Email Me” — which are all ways of getting off the phone as soon as possible. When faced with a customer who isn’t interested in hearing you out, you have to be efficient with how you present value. Some of our time-tested strategies for overcoming “Busy” objections include:

  • Go deeper: “To make sure I include the most important information in my email to you, can I clarify…”
  • Find a better time: “I bet you are busy, I hear that response a lot from people in your industry! Let’s reschedule this call for tomorrow at 3 PM. Would that work for you?” 
  • Determine interest: “I can absolutely send you more information if it’s not a good time. Before I do that, let’s take a couple minutes now to make sure that ____ is up your alley in the first place.” 

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Objections and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Objections to Overcome in Property & Casualty Insurance

Objection % of Successful Calls After Objection (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Busy 0.63% -93.00%
Why Are You Calling? 2.60% -13.33%
Call Me Back 5.59% -6.83%
Shopping Around 6.09% -13.00%
Need Decision Makers 6.53% -6.70%
Think About It 7.90% -1.25%
Cost Concerns 8.25% +3.13%

A smaller percentage indicates an agent was less likely to overcome the objection

Figure 2: Top Objections in Property & Casualty Insurance

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in Property & Casualty Insurance

Soft Skill Avg. Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Respect 10.10 +45.33%
Proactivity 9.31 +41.06%
Justification 5.53 NEW
Empathy 1.50 NEW
Credibility 1.35 NEW

A higher number indicates a soft skill was used more often during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in Property & Casualty Insurance

Soft Skill Avg. Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Recap 0.0011 NEW
Authority 0.0014 NEW
Interest 0.03 NEW
Rapport 0.22 +37.50%
Active Listening 0.45 +40.63%

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

20.44%

Percent of Customer Service Calls That Contained the “I Need a Quote” Objection

3.70

Avg. Times Per Customer Service Calls That Agents Displayed Respect

0.004

Avg. Times Per Customer Service Calls That Agents Displayed Authority

Retail

“Recap” and “Active Listening” were among the most underutilized — and therefore most coachable — soft skills in retail this quarter. Without active listening, agents can’t properly recap a problem to a consumer, and recapping goes a long way: it ensures you’re not only solving the problem at hand but building or rebuilding trust with the consumer by letting them know that you were listening to them and you are there to help. Read more about active listening and try incorporating these phrases into your next call:

  • “It sounds like you’re saying that…” 
  • “To confirm, your main concern is…”
  • “It seems like ___ would solve your problem. Is that right?”

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Objections and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Objections to Overcome in Retail

Objection % of Successful Calls After Objection (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Think About It 1.92% -82.55%
Cost Concerns 3.17% -92.27%
Shopping Around 3.30% NEW
Need Decision Makers 8.69% -48.88%

A smaller percentage indicates an agent was less likely to overcome the objection

Figure 2: Top Objections in Retail

Objection % of Calls Where Objection Occurred (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
I Need A Quote 4.28% -14.40%
Call Me Back 3.83% -65.18%
Busy 3.74% -76.63%
Need Decision Makers 2.89% -3.67%
Send Info 2.30% -54.00%
Cost Concerns 2.23% -55.40%
Cancellation Request 1.12% NEW

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in Retail

Soft Skill Avg. Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Respect 0.77 -79.84%
Justification 0.62 -61.01%
Proactivity 0.48 -82.48%
Agreeability 0.22 NEW

A higher number indicates a soft skill was used more often during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in Retail

Soft Skill Avg. Occurrences Per Call (All Use Cases) % Change from Q2 ’22
Authority 0.001 NEW
Rapport 0.002 -98.33%
Recap 0.003 NEW
Credibility 0.06 -88.46%
Active Listening 0.07 -50.00%

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

1.13%

Percent of Sales Calls Where Agents Overcame the “Not Interested” Objection

14.47%

Percent of Customer Service Calls That Contained the “Need Decision Makers” Objection

0.03

Avg. Times Per Customer Service Calls That Agents Built Rapport

Financial Services

“Not Interested” was both the hardest objection to overcome this quarter and the third most common objection in the industry overall. The key to overcoming this objection is not to overcome it per se, but to acknowledge it and ask further questions using the AIOA model:

  • Agree: “I didn’t expect you to be interested, you don’t know enough about what we do yet” 
  • Isolate: “I called because it seems like ___ may be a priority for your business. Is that the case?” 
  • Overcome: “Our product has seen a lot of success with companies like yours because we…”
  • Ask: “Do you want set up time to learn more?” 

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Objections and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Objections to Overcome in Financial Services

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 2: Top Objections in Financial Services

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in Financial Services

A higher number indicates a soft skill was used more often during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in Financial Services

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

2.39%

Percent of Calls Where Agents Overcame the “COVID” Stall

5.38%

Percent of Calls That Contained the “Can’t Pay” Objection

0.04

Avg. Times Per Call Where Agents Displayed Proactivity

Collections

Proactivity was one of the most underutilized soft skills in collections this quarter. Our language models measure proactivity as instances where an agent takes initiative in proposing a next step; whether that’s suggesting a payment plan or supporting a dispute process, proactivity means that agents are putting themselves in the customer’s shoes and anticipating what they’ll need before they ask for it. Here are some proactivity tips from our experts:

  • Operate from an empathetic mindset and put yourself in the debtor’s shoes so you can find a solution together. 
  • Take the time to familiarize yourself with their file and become an expert on their financial situation and debt history.
  • Meet in the middle. Be proactive about suggesting a solution for them that comes as close to a win-win as possible.  

Reference our Glossary of Terms to define the Stalls and Soft Skills below.

Figure 1: Hardest Stalls to Overcome in Collections

Objection % of Successful Calls After Objection % Change from Q2 ’22
Bankruptcy 0.56% -44.00%
Covered by Financial Assistance 2.11% -64.83%
Who Is This? 2.31% -23.00%
COVID 2.39% -70.13%
Unemployed 2.63% -12.33%
Worker’s Compensation 2.75% -31.25%
I Need to Call My Lawyer 3.40% -57.50%
Refusal to Provide Info 4.28% NEW
More Important Bills to Pay 4.84% -3.20%

A smaller percentage indicates an agent was less likely to overcome the objection

Figure 2: Top Stalls in Collections

Objection % of Calls Where Objection Occurred % Change from Q2 ’22
Can’t Pay 5.36% +7.20%
Already Paid 5.09% +27.25%
Won’t Pay 4.48% +12.00%
Amount Dispute 2.22% +122.00%
Insurance Will Pay 1.28% +28.00%

A higher percentage indicates an objection was more likely to occur during a call

Figure 3: Top Soft Skills in Collections

Soft Skill Avg. Occurrences Per Call % Change from Q2 ’22
Justification 1.02 +3.03%
Credibility 0.59 +7.27%
Empathy 0.47 -2.08%
Urgency 0.31 NEW
Rapport 0.30 -6.25%

A higher number indicates a soft skill was used more often during a call

Figure 4: Most Underutilized Soft Skills in Collections

Soft Skill Avg. Occurrences Per Call % Change from Q2 ’22
Interest 0.03 NEW
Proactivity 0.04 +33.33%
Active Listening 0.10 +0%
Respect 0.12 -14.29%
Agreeability 0.22 NEW

A lower number indicates a soft skill was used less often during a call

Overview

This edition of The Balto Real-Time Index focuses on four main areas:

  • The most common consumer objections
  • The most difficult objections to overcome
  • The soft skills that agents use the most
  • The soft skills that agents us the least

We’ve built on our previous data by providing additional granularity by use case as well as through change over time

New Features

Within most industries, you’ll now see buttons on each graph that allow you to toggle between “Sales” and “Customer Service” use cases. This additional layer of filtering allows us to provide more targeted insights about what consumers and agents are saying, feeling, and thinking. 

Click on the “View Table” button on each graph for a glance at change over time — with another release under our belt, we are able to compare this edition’s data with the data from Q2 and tell a story about changes in consumer behavior and sentiment. 

New Industry

We’ve also added Financial Services onto our roster of industries, as well as a glossary of terms linked at the top of each industry so you can find quick definitions of our language models and better interpret the data in front of you. 

Future Updates

In our next release, look forward to more in-depth change over time trends as well as real-time graphs that update automatically as Balto continues to guide more and more calls. In future editions of the Index, we also plan to display sentiment data, additional use cases, objections by call stage, and more. 

Bookmark this page for future updates. If you have any questions about our insights or would like to cite The Balto Real-Time Index, please reach out to our research team at cel@baltosoftware.com. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Methodology

The Balto Real-Time Index is updated once per quarter by Balto’s research and data analysis department, the Conversation Excellence Lab. The raw data for the index is derived from the over 150m+ calls conducted using Balto’s software. The data is processed through machine learning and natural language processing models trained to identify call events, like soft skills and objections. We then aggregate the data into industry-specific categories to deliver trends and insights via the Index. The data subset for this edition of The Balto Real-Time Index is representative of trends between August – October 2022.

Limitations 

Balto’s Real-Time Index is based on language models with a 83% recall and 82% precision. Our team is continuously improving these models so that we can provide the most accurate data possible. We are also focused on expanding our data sets so we can provide more complete data and fill in missing graphs where they occur.

While this edition of the Index provides data aggregated by use case (i.e. sales, customer service, collections) in addition to industry, we hope to use later editions to incorporate whether a call is inbound or outbound, as well as hyper-specific use cases within industries, such as outbound lead generation within sales. 

Please note that the values presented in the Balto Real-Time Index are averages and represent a subset of our data. If you’d like to hear more about our methodology or limitations, reach out to us at cel@baltosoftware.com.

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