How to increase your contact and conversion rates by 30%

“Balto helps me understand where my rep is losing the customer. Are they losing it in the pitch? Are they losing it in the intro? Are they losing it at the end? I can see some of those analytics, which makes a huge difference. I could never get to the amount of data I wanted to with a QA team. It is just so valuable, and it can tell me right away how to change my business decisions. – Heather Griffin, CRO and Call Center Consultant at Dvinci

Contact and conversation rates are two levers that any sales or appointment setting operations are closely monitoring and trying to improve. In this webinar, Marc Bernstein, Bobby Hakimi, and Heather Griffin share best practices for reaching customers, avoiding call blocking, and converting leads. We call it 30 by 30.

Marc Bernstein:

Hi folks, we are just three minutes in, let’s get this thing kicked off. To reintroduce me and then we’ll introduce of course Heather and Bobby in just a second. I’m Marc Bernstein, I’m the CEO at Balto. We are real-time guidance for sales and service teams. Most folks in the contact center environment, trying to increase conversions, trying to do a better job, and deliver a great customer experience. That is what Balto is all about. And boy, do we have a cool topic for you all today? It’s what we’re calling 30 by 30. And that is how can you increase your contact rate by 30%? And how can you increase your conversion rate by 30%? Two huge levers that any sales operation or appointment setting operation is thinking about. Well, those are the things that we’re specifically gonna touch on today. Bobby, I can turn it over to you first. You’re on the far left here. If you wanna give a quick intro and your background.

Bobby Hakimi:

Yes. my name is Bobby Hakimi. I’m the Chief Product Officer at Convoso. We are a contact center platform. We primarily focus on lead gen. As Marc said, we are here to show you guys how to convert, connect better, and put in the right tools to ensure that we don’t get blocked and the contact rates stay up.

Marc Bernstein:

Beautiful, Heather, over to you.

Heather Griffin:

Well, I’ve had the luxury of using both of your guys’ software but I’m a 22-year call center veteran. 22 years in call centers. I’ve done sales, lead gen, collections, and customer service. If it’s had a call center, I’ve done it. But most recently, about 11 years in solar lead generation. I’ve been an owner, a consultant, and an employee in hundreds of call center over those 22 years. I’ve had quite a technology and switch in technology as I’ve been part of those 22 years of call center experience. I’m currently the Chief Revenue Officer at Dvinci, which is a solar SaaS software and lead generation company.

Marc Bernstein:

Thank you so much, Heather. Today, so many solar operations and home improvement operations were looking previously at their door-knocking programs and saying, “Oof, did COVID deal us a little bit of a blow there?” So the telephone operation, the call center, has never been more important and we are so excited to have this partnership with Convoso, Balto, and Dvinci together to explain to everyone a little bit about how you can increase your contact rates and conversion rates.

Marc Bernstein:

But first a poll. We’re gonna launch this poll for you guys. One question at a time. The question is what are your biggest frustrations with your current dialer? And you can check all that apply. We’ll give it around 30 to 45 seconds for folks to answer that poll. So everyone wants to take a second answer to the poll. What are your biggest frustrations around your current dialer?

Marc Bernstein:

One of the really cool things about this poll is that we’re ultimately very, very soon gonna have data on how all of your peers view their dialers. So not just are you having your frustrations, but you’re able to see what your peers are saying, what they like, and what they don’t like. So you can figure out how your operation stacks up to others in the industry. Just another second for the poll here.

Marc Bernstein:

All right. Poll is closed. Looks like the number one frustration is the low contact rate. Maybe that’s because we incepted everyone with that thought at the beginning of the webinar today. Hopefully, that’s what you were thinking going into it. But the low contact rate does seem like the clear winner or loser here, so to speak. And then it looks like we have a second place for dropped calls and long wait times and that’s tied with limited insight into performance. Very interesting. It looks like caller ID reputation and call flagging are perhaps a little bit lagging behind. So that’s something that as regulations change and all the different shake and stir things to change, we will see exactly how we deal with that. If you wanna launch the second poll, please.

Marc Bernstein:

The second poll is what are your most common reasons that agents lose calls? So we’re thinking in an appointment context or sales context, or even just lose a customer and generate a frustrated customer. What’s the most common reason that your agents lose calls. I’ll take another few seconds there and let everyone answer what your perspective is.

Marc Bernstein:

Just another few seconds before we close the poll.

Marc Bernstein:

All right. And the answer is… Wow! Number one – 82% of people said poor or lack of objection handling. Whoa! So that really does seem to be the call killer. And then the second one, very interesting, was poor agent engagement slash active listening. And the not confirming the prospect’s details, like qualifying the prospect properly, or a lack of confidence fell pretty far behind the other options. So thank you all for that poll. We’re gonna talk today about how we can address that. And this is a perfect time to kick it over to Bobby and Convoso to talk a little bit about how you can understand the causes of call flagging and blocking. Then Balto will take a quick stand on best practices for converting your leads and then Heather will help us tie it all together. How do the systems work together and how do you have a smart, cohesive operation for using a powerful dialer and real-time functionality to drive home services and solar sales. With that over to you, Bobby.

Bobby Hakimi:

Thanks. Thanks, Marc. To better understand why it is happening, and why the contact rate is low, it’s not just one area that’s affecting this. There are many errors, as you guys know we all get these calls now from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, spam, scam fraud. So there’s a lot of labeling that’s not happening by the carriers. That’s one of the biggest reasons or bigger reasons why today the contract rate is low and the algorithms and the companies that they’re working with are just not working. They haven’t figured it out, so they kind of have this blanket algorithm that flags calls. There are also other areas that are causing a low contact rate, which is apps as you guys know, Robokiller and Nomorobo. And then these three entities that work with the telcos have also their own apps that they have users install to flag or block calls.

Bobby Hakimi:

Then there are consumers. Many of you guys know there’s a lot of reports happening to the FTC. There’s an FTC database that consumers have now the ability to report numbers to, and then that database is used by various platforms, carriers, call blocking apps, and a lot of other platforms. They’re using that data to prevent spam or fraud calls from happening. Then last but not least STIR/SHAKEN. I’m sure you guys heard a lot about it. What’s been happening in the past is anybody really out there could just sign up with a voice carrier, put in a call ID, and place a call. They could pretend to be me. They could pretend to be the police station. So that was a big problem because a lot of fraud was happening and nobody was able to trace down the calls after a lot of years of frustrations and trying different things out the government proposed the KIP telcos come up with a solution, which is STIR/ SHAKEN.

Bobby Hakimi:

And what STIR/ SHAKEN is that carriers like us or service prize like us, they are responsible to sign the call. So moving forward as every call is placed, no matter what the caller ID is, there will be actually a certificate attached to the call. And so if anything happens such as fraud or illegal calls where there’s no opt-in, we now don’t rely on a caller ID anymore. The end-user will have that certificate and then telco will then be able to trace back and figure out who it is and who will be accountable. And that’s the purpose and reason for STIR/ SHAKEN. It also is providing the telco’s the ability to block calls say, there’s no call that’s signed at some point. They mentioned June 30th. We’re not so sure if it’s gonna happen by that time, but at some point in the near future, they will start blocking calls if they’re not signed. Furthermore, at some point you guys will also on your phone see A, B, C, or a checkbox that says verified for B it might be something not verified but we know it’s good or we know the source is valid and then C it’s not confirmed. And if you don’t have any of these three, if it’s not signed at all, there’s a high likelihood that the carriers are gonna start blocking those calls. So…

Heather Griffin:

If I can jump in real quick, I consult a lot for a lot of call centers. I can tell you that we all noticed this drop in connectivity drastically in October. I think of 2019, we felt it happen day and night when the law changed and it steadily started dropping down further and further. I think most people are afraid of call blocking when really the bigger challenge is the spam likely, the teleMarketing, the fraud, all that stuff showing up. So carriers, aren’t crazy out there just blocking all of our calls, arbitrarily with no reason or rhyme. There are a couple of rules of why and how they do it, mostly they think you’re a fraud because you’re high volume dialing. But for the most part, what killed it for us was all this teleMarketing spam stuff suddenly on our phones and you know, good news, bad news.

Heather Griffin:

The good news is there are softwares, there are processes, and there are best practices that can resolve this issue. If you’re a legitimate business, the bad news is it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. The laws aren’t fully in place, they’re making it more challenging. You can see this as two sides of the same coin on the good side and on the flip side all those bad actors out there who are truly the true definition of fraudulently, Robo dialing, it’s gonna be really hard for them. That’s good news for us, right? For those of us who are legitimately dialing, the bad news is the good guys are getting caught up in it. We’re having to jump through a lot of hoops. We’re having to do a lot of best practices and we’re being blocked or flagged or having some of the same issues that the bad adapters are. So I do know, I hear a lot of my clients very concerned about this and I have experienced it myself as an owner and as a consultant. And how drastic this has really, really affected us over the last you know, 12 to 16 months since the law started.

Bobby Hakimi:

Thank you, Heather. So talking about the different solutions. Again, it’s not one area that you guys need to really focus on improving. You know, it all depends. So look at your data first. Is it high intent data? Is it low intent data, right? If it’s, if it’s low intent data, you probably don’t want to leave them with a lot of voicemails or start blasting with text messages because that’s not really correct. You want to be easy about leaving a lot of text messages and voicemails, and also not harassing them because if they’re low intent data, you probably are not the only person calling them. On the flip side on high intent data, you want to be strategic. You want to think of calling them, leaving a personalized voicemail, or maybe texting them after the third call, if you haven’t gotten hold of them and really get creative about having a multi-channel outreach to them. So they understand that this is a real company and this is the company that I reach out to. You want to think about those types of strategies in terms of outreach.

Bobby Hakimi:

The other thing is, like Heather said, the caller IDs getting blocked. So until there is a really good solution out there, you guys want to use call ID rotation. So with us, for example, we have a report that looks at your call volume and suggests, okay, get these many numbers in this area code based on call volume. So you guys don’t get caught up with all the bad actors out there. It’s a bandaid. It’s not really a solution long term, but until they all get their acts together and figure out how to solve this and the carriers and the government come together with the solution that works for everybody, we’re forced to use a lot of numbers to ensure that we don’t get blocked. Running a report like that, that looks at that volume and suggests how many numbers to buy and what error code and constantly monitoring that has helped tremendously with our customers.

Heather Griffin:

Bobby too, I’d like to add to that. One thing that’s been challenging for my large enterprise clients that I’ve consulted with is they don’t always know where they’re dialing the most data, right? So if you’re purchasing leads, you’re either purchasing a list or you give all your area codes or you give all your zips, our states, and leads kind of flow in how they flow in. Right? Cause you can’t really guess who’s gonna opt in the US at what time. Right? So say for example all of a sudden they get a lot of opt-ins in Houston. Maybe there was a flood and so everyone’s home and they’re taking calls and they’re interested in solar now. And so all these calls start coming in. They don’t necessarily always know that suddenly they’re dying this 214 area code a lot.

Heather Griffin:

So a lot of people, when I go in there, go “Don’t worry, I have my DID thing covered. I have a hundred DIDs. Well, if you’re calling 10 or maybe 100 thousand people in that 214 area code and you have a thousand caller IDs, it doesn’t matter. So it’s really important that you have a system or software that in real time, in a strategic consistent way can say – you need to release these 50 caller IDs and buy 3000 more in this zip code because that’s where you’re actually dialing. People will say to me, “Why am I getting marked spam lengthy so quickly. I have a thousand caller IDs.” Well, the answer is they’re in the wrong areas. That multiple caller ID effects only actually works for you if you’re calling that area that much. So there are a lot of softwares like Convoso out there that will show you where you’re dialing by DID and that’s so important. The trick here guys is getting around. The way I visualize it is Verizon’s carrying a phone call. It’s about to hand it off to AT&T and AT&T is looking at this DID saying – wait a second, you’ve called 42,000 people today. You can’t possibly be a real person. You’re either a fraud, Robo dialer. I don’t like you. I don’t wanna take this call or sometimes more often than not. It still takes the call, but then it goes and puts it spam likely, teleMarketer, fraud. Right? So think about this happening on every single call. You’re dialing hundreds of people. Every time these carriers are looking at this number saying “Hmm, are you a robot?”, “Are you not a robot?”, “Are you AI?”, “What’s happening here?”.

Heather Griffin:

So what Bobby’s saying is the solution is when they go look at that Verizon is handing off to AT&T or whatever carrier it is, and they see, you’ve only made 82 calls on that line, they’re gonna connect it. And you’re way less likely for them to think it’s fraud or telemarketing. They just think it’s someone at an office who’s calling you. So how do you do that? You have to have enough DIDs in the right area codes, that if you call a hundred thousand people when they see that it still only looks like you called 82. So it’s kind of the workaround to it, but where I’ve seen other competitors and other companies try to say they fixed it, is not an understanding of where the variation needs to be. It needs to be where you’re actually dialing that day to keep yourself from getting spam likely.

Bobby Hakimi:

Absolutely. That was a perfect explanation. Thank you so much for that. Having said that, again it’s your reputation, right? Phone number is your reputation. So there are a lot of platforms coming out there now that are helping with that reputation. One of them being Google Call Verified. So that’s a platform that we’ve also recently integrated and allows you to register your number with Google. It allows you to put in the call reason and a logo. So when your customers get your calls, they actually see an image of you. They see your company name and a reason for why you calling and your contact rate at that point will skyrocket. Cause they really know – all right, this is the entity reaching out to me that I’m interested in talking about. So that’s a one really important tool that you guys would definitely want to implement.

Heather Griffin:

Can I jump in there too? Because as an owner, I think that like half the people listening to this are and be like, that’s so cool – I can say my company’s name. And the other half are like – crap, I do not want to say it because I’m cold calling people essentially, I’m legally cold calling but I don’t wanna put my name. So the good option is that you have opportunities with these registries to test and try different set sentences or different things. You have a certain number of characters. I don’t remember the amount, but you might want to say energy reduction, right? As the what’s calling, you can register and test what’s working for you. You can try different DBAs. So I think half of you hear that and think that’s so awesome. And again, it depends on your data. If they went to my dvinci.com and then they see DVinci is calling me, that’s gonna do great things, right?

Heather Griffin:

But if they went to win a Target gift card and they accidentally opted in for me to call them it, it might be off-putting. So the feature is gonna help you either way. If you’re one of those companies out there thinking – crap, I have low intent data. You can try different sentences that are compliant and legal that give you the best result. You can also A/B test what works better. Does it work better if I use the word sales, does it work better if I say energy or bill reduce or electricity. You can test, what’s gonna work better for you and not be as concerned about it, looking like a sale, just a cold call.

Bobby Hakimi:

Exactly. That’s exactly correct. Because again, it depends on high intent/low intent, but regardless of what intent data is there’s also now a tool or a website where you can go and register your numbers and that registers it with the three entities that are working with Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. And so by law, they have to allow you guys to register your numbers so they don’t get flagged. Now what that does is it will prevent your calls from getting flagged as fraud, which are blocked, or any type of status that’s blocked. However, that does not protect you from spam. So there are two different areas that we need to need to differentiate and be cautious about because blocking and flagging on two separate things, the blocking will actually solve itself with STIR/ SHAKEN.

Bobby Hakimi:

But the flagging that’s still gonna happen just like emails. Are we getting tons and tons of emails? And we get a little thing on top of Google’s inbox that says potential spam, that will continue happening. And so to solve that, as Heather said, you have to make sure you have the right amount of numbers and the right area code and have a report that continuously monitors that and suggests –okay, you know what? This is the area where I need to purchase numbers on. And you know, in the past I’ve seen people be hesitant because they don’t want to spend the money to buy their numbers, but ultimately what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna spend more minutes and more manpower talking to people that aren’t interested or just answering machines. And at the end of the day, that affects your contact rates. So get the right amount of numbers, monitor them weekly, ensure that you’re getting the right area codes, get rid of the ones that you aren’t getting traffic on anymore, and continuously monitor that because that’s really going to make a difference.

Heather Griffin:

Yeah, Bobby, I would like to jump into cost because this is kind of my single biggest challenge when I’m consulting. And I consult for a lot of different solar and home services companies. And I always get this like, “Ugh, I have to pay extra just for DIDs” or “I have to pay extra for, we’ll talk about Balto, these extra costs.” And it’s always just such a simple math equation. Like in solar worlds, our net costs per acquisition is high. So if I just go through and say, if you spoke to 30% more people, same marketing budget, same amount employees, which we all know the truth is you need less employees when you get more effective, but we won’t even go there you talk, you have the same fixed cost. I’m paying a million dollars a month to make 5 million.

Heather Griffin:

If I said, now you’re speaking to 30% more people. What is that output number? And it’s always massive. It’s always like you’re gonna make another 2.3 million by paying this $10,000 a month bill. And you’ll be more compliant. So less likely to get lawsuits. You’ll have better retention because your employees will stick longer because they’re not calling the same person over and over and they’re not being screamed at. The cyclical effects of this $10,000 investment that’s gonna get you. And then 10 thousand is an arbitrary number. It’s not the price of anything. But the ratio is always dramatic.

Heather Griffin:

You think about this. If those of you who are owners or decision makers, 30% more contact means 30% more net revenue. And that net revenue is actually not even net revenue because your cost doesn’t increase 30%. So talking to30% more people does not cost you the 10,000 or whatever thousand dollars you’re gonna use to get the software. So employee retention, better service, less lawsuits, less TCPA class actions, less government interference. Like it’s always a known brainer to invest in something that’s gonna increase your contact rates by 30%.

Marc Bernstein:

Heather, I think that’s such a good point. And I remember when I was on the sales floor and the sales folks used to talk about it all the time. There’s definitely the retention piece of, you know, do you feel like you’re spamming your customers? If so, it’s harder to be in that job versus if you’re connecting with real qualified prospects to that you’re excited to introduce your services to. But the second piece to it is when you’re on the sales floor and you have a high contact rate, things are humming. Like that’s how you get in a groove. That’s how you get energy up. And we always notice that productivity would go way up when contact rate went up versus when you have one of those like slow days and low contact rate days and you’re sitting back and then one of the calls connects and you jump up and say, “oh Hey!”, and then you already lost them. So the question I may pose for our listeners is when you have a high contact rate, what other benefits does that give your business aside from the contact rate in being able to actually deliver what you want to deliver to your customers?

Heather Griffin:

Yeah, Marc, I would add to that too. Like I had this one client consulting, very large call center. And their new hires coming out of training, they only got a chance to pitch about 7 to 12 customers a day, but they made 400 to 500 calls. So you know how long it took them to get good at their pitch because you have to pitch 200 times to get your pitch down. It would take them two weeks because they just weren’t speaking to any actual live people. So there is that cyclical effect. Also when you have win after win, after a win, it’s psychological that people start performing better. And then again, having been a call center owner myself, and having spent millions on marketing, there’s something, it just eats at me. It eats at my soul. I think about it when I lay asleep at night, I spend a hundred dollars for a hundred leads and I only speak to 19 of them. I think about it’s like 71 customers, I spend a hundred dollars and I never get them on the phone and it’s not because they’re not interested it’s because I’m blocked or it says spam or they don’t know it’s me. It is such a huge cost. So to get that 30% more is just, it’s so dramatic and it does right by everyone. It’s always worth the investment.

Marc Bernstein:

Totally. It’s a lever. It’s not like a little improvement here, a little improvement there, it’s like a lever you can pull that moves your business to a different stage.

Heather Griffin:

Yep.

Marc Bernstein:

Fantastic. so Bobby, you wanna take us back with looking inside Convoso

Bobby Hakimi:

Yeah. So when we first built this and it’s been about over three, four months we’ve been working on getting data between all the carriers, and I was shocked at first. I wasn’t sure if it was real. So we kept looking at it and digging into it. Looking at these numbers, what we did is we compared all the numbers that are flagged and blocked and compared those calls to the calls that were placed with not flag numbers. We saw a decrease in contact rate, and success rate. So in our world success rate means sales. We were not able to figure out if your numbers are getting blocked or not. So that percentage of blocked calls and then also an increase in answer machines.

Bobby Hakimi:

Now what’s really interesting is that AT&T by far is the most aggressive person. I thought it was  first T-Mobile because we’ve all seen that scam likely. But it turns out that AT&T is really aggressive when it comes to blocking and as their phones are getting updated and more releases happening to phones, that’s getting rolled out more and more. Now what’s interesting on T-Mobile’s box, you’ll see increased answer machines is less, meaning on the block calls we actually have less answer machines. Well, the reason for it is that they end up blocking a lot more calls versus others. Their blocking mechanism isn’t affecting the answer machine. So in this scenario where AT&T blocks a call, it goes straight to voicemail. Where T-Mobile blocks calls, it goes to busy and other statuses. And so we’ve figured out that when you have a higher block rate at T-Mobile, you end up getting less answering machines and you would assume, well if we’re getting flagged, our answering machine messages for the numbers that are getting flagged or blocked are higher.

Bobby Hakimi:

Well with T-Mobile, that’s not the case because they’re doing a lot more blocking where the call doesn’t even hit the answer machine versus others just send them straight to answer machine. So these statistics were really great to look at. In the commercials platform, you can click show numbers, you can look at the numbers and then decide to put them to rest, replace whatever you want to do with them. But this was a really eye-opening tool to see why these calls are getting blocked and what’s happening.

Bobby Hakimi:

So here is an example for one of our error code-based caller ID lists where you have X numbers per area code. In this report, they don’t have that many missing, but you can see on the right side where it suggests – okay, in a 210 area code, you are missing two numbers. And so this report, if had the bigger picture, you’d see there’s a little box that states, how many calls do I want to place per number? We typically by default put a hundred, if you want to get really good at it, 50 in my opinion the best, but that also means you need to buy tons more numbers. So once you run that report, it looks at your call volume for that period of time that you selected and it suggests – okay, you need this many numbers. And at the bottom of the page is a little button that says, make order. And that’s it. You’re done. You get those numbers in there and that’s more or less how we can show you guys based on our call volume what area codes you’re missing.

Heather Griffin:

Yeah. And Bobby, you can set that to auto-check itself as well. So it’s not this manual thing that you have to do. What happens, like I was saying, you might start calling one area more than the other. So there’s an opportunity for you to check that on a consistent basis. The challenge is people always say, “Why am I going spam likely so fast?” The answer is always well, you’re heavily dialing in one area. So this report, we’ll show you, you can also automate how often to check it as well. So it doesn’t become this manual process, but the cost of going spam is likely. This is again, just one of those having spoken from an owner seat in a call center, I can tell you the cost of going spam likely is so much more expensive.

Heather Griffin:

Remember a hundred dollars a lead. I’m not getting a hold of 30%. Suddenly that DID, I’m getting a hold of no one. God forbid it’s in California or Hawaii where solar’s really a lot of money. I start getting that block that cost of going spam likely of my DID turning spam likely versus the dollar or two of buying a new caller ID. I mean, it’s just a no-brainer again, like it just makes no sense. If I go spam likely for one day and I’ve bought, you know, a hundred thousand dollars worth of marketing or $10,000 worth of marketing that $1.50 cents or whatever it is, $2, to get another caller ID would’ve saved me thousands of dollars of customers who didn’t pick up. So it’s all, it always makes sense to invest in the area codes.

Bobby Hakimi:

Absolutely.

Marc Bernstein:

Bobbi. Thank you so much. Super cool overview of Convoso and Heather, your expertise just shows through so much. So thank you for your thoughts on that too. Folks, I’ll jump here to the relationship that we’re all very aware of lost opportunities is lost revenue. And it’s funny because we often look about revenue on the macro level and we’re looking at our monthly revenue and sales and you look at it for month to month and you look at the line graph go up, but we don’t usually take it down to the agent level and say – when you have the conversations that your customers are having on the phone with your agents, where can you increase conversions and where can you increase revenue there? So a couple of the problems that different sales and appointment setting operations are experiencing of course first is NoShow’s.

Marc Bernstein:

There’s actually a whole bunch of causes behind NoShow’s including not confirming the right information. Maybe you got the house wrong. Maybe you didn’t confirm the time and they thought it was one time and you thought it was another. Maybe you didn’t confirm the day. But we all know that feeling of what happens when you send a rep out to the home and they knock and there’s no one there. To what Heather mentioned earlier not only is that a problem in efficiency and wasted costs, but that’s how you get attrition with your folks who are out in the field. So and then just imagine there are contractors, which is the case for a lot of operations. Very simply there may be a day where they say – that’s it. How can you make sure that your star sales reps don’t leave and go somewhere else?

Marc Bernstein:

The second is in your contact center operation, when they’re setting up appointments one of the biggest problems they experience is retaining their learning. Back in the late 18 hundreds, there was the scientist Herman Ebbinghaus and he pioneered something called the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. And what it basically said is that when you have any information that you learn if that information is not consistently reinforced, you forget more and more more of it over time. And he mapped out the pace at which you forget information over time. And what he found is that let’s say you’re trained in the right way to do a sales call. Well, after one week, your agents are going to forget 59% of what they learned. 59% over half in a single week.

Marc Bernstein:

So what’s left. It means that agents end up spending a whole bunch of time, just like cowboying it and trying out this and trying out that rather than using the best practices that you wish everyone would use on all of their calls. The bigger your operation gets, the more painful this is because the more cowboys you have on the floor and the less consistency you have. But you have all of this data in your operation where if everyone were using the same strategies to try to set that appointment or close that deal, if everyone uses the same strategies, you could test it and you could say – huh, when someone calls in and uses this opening question or gives this value proposition or asks the appointment this way, how effective is that? What percent of the time do they win the appointment? Versus if they use another option, what percent of the time do they win the appointment?

Marc Bernstein:

You can’t do that when everyone’s just cowboying it on their own. You can only do that when your entire sales or appointment setting team is acting in unison using the same best practices that you wish everyone would use. That results in a whole bunch of preventable mistakes. And we actually surveyed over a thousand contact center agents at Balto, one of the largest surveys to our knowledge of any contact center agent population ever done. And agents said that approximately 1/3 of the calls they’re on, it was 35% of the calls they’re on, they lose for completely preventable reasons. That’s crazy. Think about that operation Heather mentioned that had seven to nine pits a day and take two of them and throw them in the garbage can. That’s what’s happening in your contact center at scale. And then of course we try to apply QA to this and we have, you know, managers try to listen to call recordings or QA list to call recordings or training listen to call recordings.

Marc Bernstein:

And all of those functions are very helpful, but we know that they’re limited in how much they can do. You know, most operations are doing something like 2-3, 2-4, calls per agent per month. Some of them are lucky enough to do 2-3 per week, but very few folks are doing more than 2-3 calls per week. When you think about all the different opportunities, your agents have less than 5% of calls are actually being analyzed, scored, and coached on. And that’s 95% of calls that aren’t. So how do we capture that 95% opportunity?

Heather Griffin:

I’d also add to that Marc. I think that was exactly a great description of the problem, but I’d also add like the other problem with QAs, that they are randomly pulling calls. And I have so many arguments with my reps always because like you’re only listening to my bad calls because we’re listening to ones that don’t turn into sales, or you’re only listening to my good calls, which means we’re not finding any coaching opportunities. So it’s so right. It’s so hard to listen to manpower in a call center that size 1000 – 2000 agents, it’s almost impossible to give relevant feedback. And the second thing I would add is that turnover is something that’s gigantic. And because of that reps are coming in, they’re getting on the phones for a while and turning over so fast. You never even get a chance to coach or fix or teach, so they would’ve been more successful. Those are two huge issues when it comes to large-scale call centers trying to get where they’re going,

Marc Bernstein:

Heather, that’s such a good point. I’ve joked with Balto customers that I call it the QA ultimatum and that is you have three options. You either listen to your good calls because you’re trying to check that they’re qualified appointments. You listen to your bad calls because you’re trying to say what’s happening and uncover problems. Or you’re listening to a random sample of calls so you can try to assign a score to every agent and allow folks to benchmark. No operation has the bandwidth to do all three. So if you don’t apply some sort of tool at scale in order to be able to analyze everything you’re missing out on 2 out of those 3 categories. Pick your poison, if you’re only doing 1 out of 3, that’s a tough way to go.

Heather Griffin:

Mm-Hmm.

Marc Bernstein:

The solution that Balto invented we call Real-Time Guidance. What it does is it analyzes everything that the sales rep is saying, as they’re saying it, everything the customer’s saying, as the customer says, it on that call and in real time is giving the agent recommendations for how they can be as effective as possible. So some of the most common use cases are conducting effective discovery, not just jumping to the appointment. I was talking to someone at this the other day, and they were saying that agents, especially early on get nervous and they know that their managers drilled in, so you must ask for the appointment. So they just skip over discovery. They skip over building value and they just jump right to the appointment. And of course, that’s gonna have a really low conversion rate.

Marc Bernstein:

Then of course you need to make sure that you are capturing the right information to set your outside sales representative up for success. You know, what is the roof like? What is the square footage? Is there shade? What is the address? And have you absolutely 100 double percent confirmed that both spouses will be home if it’s someone in their spouse? Those are the stuff that is make or break on the sales call. No one wants a one-legged close where you get to the home and someone says – oh great, well actually my spouse wasn’t here, but I’ll take the first appointment. That’s a tough place for a sales rep to be. And then of course when you’re setting these appointments, you’re gonna get objections. That’s naturally the part of any sort of business conversation is there’s some productive tension can be healthy. If your agent is prepared to empathetically understand the prospect’s concern and overcome the objection by providing some sort of new information or a good question, they could use to advance the call. We’ve all heard the folks who respond to objections by just trying to pretend it didn’t happen or just plow over the objection. I think we’d all be a little bit scared if we listened and said – how many times a day do we think that’s happening in our operations? Probably more than any of us would like.

Marc Bernstein:

Heather, you got a thought there?

Heather Griffin:

Yeah. You know, I think that all of those things are true and scary and it actually takes you a long time to find them out. So there’s some analytics that can help you find some of those things out. But I would say based on our survey too, I’m glad that everyone has kind of the same opinion as I, is that where you’re really losing the customer is the rep just not trying, they’re not rebutting or I listen to reps all the time and think how’s their average top time 11 seconds. Right. And you know what it is, there are 400 calls. Everyone’s like –hi, no, I’m not interested. Ok, I’m not interested. Ok, right. And here I am counting $100 a lead, $200, 300, right. They’re throwing away my money. So the challenge I think one of the great things is that this is gonna alert me, let me know quickly that they’re not rebuttaling.

Heather Griffin:

I can also see a kind of at a macro level or micro level where I’m losing things, like you said, there’s certain lead types that you really do have to build rapport and there are other lead types where you can’t build rapport because they’ve been cold called by 16 different companies. You just need to jump straight to the ask. And so this kind of knowledge and analytics gives me a really good purview of how to change and scale. Then again, bringing it back into Convoso it can tell at the list level at the data source level and pop a new script for me. So I can have it say –oh, that’s a California lead and a high intent and now a new script pops up that tells me exactly what I want your system to do, which is engaged with the customer. Have warm, engaging conversations versus low intent data that pops in.

Heather Griffin:

So I do think that where we lose the most of our money, I think as an owner and with the call center background, it’s actually in the human error or the lack of human interest. And it’s hard to find it. There are stats I can look at to try to find it. It also another really great thing here with Balto is that it helps me understand where my rep is losing the customer. Are they losing it in the pitch? Are they losing it in the intro? Are they losing it at the end? I can see some of those analytics, which makes a big, huge difference. So I could never get to the amount of data I wanted to with a QA team. So it is just so valuable and it can tell me right away how to change my business decisions.

Marc Bernstein:

Heather, thank you so much. It’s funny in that survey that we conducted over a thousand agents, we asked them what is the number one reason that you lose a call? And 66% of agents said it was either nervousness, boredom, or forgetting the right thing to say. 66% said their biggest problem is nervousness boredom, or just forgetting the right thing to say. 24% said it was forgetting the right thing to say or 22%. And that was actually about twice as much as folks that said that they weren’t trained, only 12% blame their training. So we gave agents the option to say, I wasn’t trained on this. My manager did a bad job, but they said – Nah, it’s on me. I just got nervous and forgot. So how can we help them in the moment, and make sure that they’re doing the right stuff? And then how can we give managers data and information on how agents are performing?

Marc Bernstein:

So everything that happens on the agent side, we create a parallel, a mirror experience on the manager side. So every rebuttal that we’ll suggest for your agent, and I’ll show you all that in a sec, we show managers. Here’s the rebuttals that were recommended and here’s the percent of the time that your agent took that. So you’re able to gain insight into 100% of your calls without having to listen to a 100% of call recordings, which is impossible or impossible for most operations. You’re able to identify agent by agent, team by team, or even call by call what was working and what wasn’t. And then you’re able to recommend the most effective rebuttals because you’re able to test when they use rebuttal A, 27% of the time it’s effective, versus rebuttal B, 30% of the time it’s affected.

Marc Bernstein:

And I’ll actually give a quick stat. There was one solar operation we were working with and their most common objection was not interested. I imagine that might be true for a lot of folks here. They had two different rebuttals that they were testing. One of them essentially responded with – why aren’t you interested? And the other one responded with education, like telling the prospect something new. The one where they responded with education, telling the prospect something new, was literally 10 times more effective than the one they said, why aren’t they interested? So if I could make one recommendation to folks, if you hear your agents say, why aren’t you interested? Cut that one out right away because you’re losing 90% of your conversions that way.

Heather Griffin:

Yep. Marc, I had a similar experience with one rebuttal. I remember thinking – this is horrible. Someone said this to me, I hang up on them, but it was something to the extent of when they said not interested. They said, “Oh, that means you already looked into it. So what didn’t you like when you researched it?” Right. And I was like –Ooh, that’s pretty tough. It worked just statistically, as I could see in the testing A/B testing. I would take a softer approach to more customer service, but it was a real kind of like a bold statement. It’s like –oh, so you’ve already looked into solar. What didn’t you like about it? And I was surprised to see that. So as a decision-maker, 22 years of experience, I would have vetoed that rebuttal. Cause I wasn’t sure about it, but it actually worked out better. So again, the truth is in the numbers.

Marc Bernstein:

Yeah. How interesting is it that like nowadays it’s harder than ever to know like what intuition. It’s harder than ever to follow your intuition and assume you understand how customers react because the landscape is changing so quickly. How we all built our intuitions years ago might not be quite in line with the times and what customers expect in 2021.

Heather Griffin:

A hundred percent. Yes.

Marc Bernstein:

All right. So I think from here I’ll show everyone a super quick and speedy, but effective live demo. So I’m going to share my screen. Give me just one second here.

Marc Bernstein:

All right. So I think we can see this little dashboard over on the left and then Balto over on the right. I show this full screen first to set the stage. We though will go in the dashboard in a second, but your agent on the left is going to have whatever their main screen is up today. That’s the dialer, that’s the CRM. You know, hopefully, that’s Convoso, and then on the right, Balto is gonna kind of nestle in over here and ride along with the agent. You can think of it like a manager, a coach on the agent’s shoulder, helping them out on every call. When the agent places a call outbound and connects, or if the call comes in inbound, Balto will automatically sync with Convoso and kick in. And the checklist just went green to let the agent know that Balto is listening and on it.

Marc Bernstein:

I’ll show you all three things today. The first is the checklist section. These are the points that you wish your agents would hit on every call. It’s a good opening question. It’s active listening. Like we talked about in the survey poll. It is good closing question’s confirming the appointment. The stuff and the steps that you want agents to do every time with don’t care who it is.

Marc Bernstein:

So when I say “Hey, so tell me what got you thinking about updating your windows?” Balto heard that even though I stumbled and automatically checked off, I got that done. So this is like a window customer as an example. “Interesting. It sounds like you’re saying you’ve been considering home renovations during COVID. Is that right?” “All right. Well, thank you. Let me connect collect a little bit more information from you and then we’ll set up your appointment. How does that sound?” And then I’ll show you all the last checklist item. “Hey, so great speaking to you today. Our consultant looks forward to their visit with you on the fifth, have a great day!” And our shoot a little bit of confetti, because we all know an agent who’s engaged and excited and gets that quick reward right when they set the appointment is going to be a happier agent.

Marc Bernstein:

So that’s the checklist, hit your key points. Then what everyone mentioned in the poll earlier is objections are huge. What happens when a customer says – thanks so much, but I’m gonna need to talk to my wife about this before I make any sort of decision. Balto heard that and automatically popped up the rebuttals right there. So there’s no flipping through scripts. There’s no just winging it. There’s no going off memory. It’s right there. An agent says, ” Hey, I understand, you know, it’s so important to talk to your spouse that any sort of decision most couples are together in the evening, by the time that both get home from work. Is that the case for you too?” So Balto just heard me give that rebuttal, gave the agent a couple of options that they can use recommended that rebuttal, and boom in the back end is testing, which rebuttal was used and did it ultimately seal the appointment.

Marc Bernstein:

Now the third thing that I think I built into the demo, is the killer. When the agent says, “Oh no problem. Let’s just set a tentative appointment for some time next week.” Balto will hear that and say – oh, I actually should clarify. You’re receiving a firm appointment. You know, we’re gonna make sure that we’re gonna be there and you should be prepared. But if you need to cancel, you can give me a callback. Here’s my direct line. So no more tentative appointments, no more placeholders. No more canceling if you feel like it. Let’s get those firm appointments on the book so you don’t have a rep get to a home and get a no-show. That’s the real-time experience. And actually what it’ll do throughout the day is this little trophy icon will populate. And let’s see if I have any data I might not because I just made my first call. Yep. Not enough calls so far, but it’ll populate and show the agent where they rank on a leader board. So every agent knows I’m number one, I’m number four and they can see the agent in front of them and the agent behind them. Talk about a little friendly competition.

Marc Bernstein:

The last thing I’ll show y’all is this dashboard suite over here on the left and very simply this is the mirror experience. So let’s say you want to make sure that your folks are saying that opening question, this is a different demo account. And in this account, they say, ” What got you interested in our solution to start with?” Well, you can see across your organization or any team, what percent of the time are they actually doing that? So on the 15th, awesome, we got a hundred percent of the time, but it dipped a little bit. And on the 22nd, we’re down to 50% might want to talk to folks about that. Well, then you can dig in a layer deeper and say, agent by agent, who’s doing the right stuff and who’s not. You have this quick visual to see that Brad is at a 100% on two of his calls. David is it 88% on 27 calls. So he has a lot of calls under his belt and is still pretty consistent way to go. And of course, you can make that into a little table and sort by any of the different items that your users might hit. You can even click this button on the left to make it full screen, and automatically refresh every 10 minutes, And when your agents are all back in the contact center, that’s a cool thing that you can have up as this big display so everyone can see where they rank in hitting the items that they need to hit.

Marc Bernstein:

The last thing is the call-by-call view. So down here below, I can see Vincent Clark on the 23rd, 4:34 PM at a call 24 minutes long and he did hit it. Let me see if I can zoom out just a second and toggle all the other items on. So now I’m able to see a picture, a map of which items he’s hitting on his calls and which he isn’t. So this one was three minutes long. Vince, my friend looks like you might have missed some of your items. Let’s talk about that. But you did hit this last one here, “How did you hear about us?” And right over there takes you right to where it happened in the transcript. So you got the real-time experience coaching the agent, the dashboard experience helping guide managers and together we call that Real-Time Guidance. That’s the demo I got for y’all and I’m happy to move back to the slides to finish this up.

Marc Bernstein:

All right. So today we talked about 30 by 30. Bobby, do you want to talk a little bit about the results that folks are seeing on the Convoso side and contact rate and Heather, I know you have a lot of texture there too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Bobby Hakimi:

Yeah, so interestingly, you know time after time, we see them. Well, it’s not interesting, it’s an obvious thing, but we see them changing the numbers, and boom, the contact rate goes up but again, it’s a bandaid. So the thing that we see really helps is making sure your calling strategies are right. Don’t bombard and don’t call them every hour. Get some time, and come up with a strategy. Where you rest the leads for a little bit, continue monitoring your numbers, run the report that we have, let it notify you that there’s numbers that are missing in certain areas, and continuously check your reputation. So those three things really are hand in hand and play a big role because if you harass people, nobody’s gonna be happy and FTC is going be right behind your back. So you want to make sure you come up with good calling strategies. Creating the most of their availability of saying call them now, maybe on a second call count and wait X amount, the third call count and wait a certain amount. And depending on the intent data you have, if it’s high intent, maybe drop a voicemail, you can get strategic with the voicemail. The first voicemail left is this, the third voicemail left is maybe something like, “Hey, I’ve already left your voicemail.” These can be all automated. And they get that personalized touch, which makes them feel like –okay, this is not a robot. It’s just somebody that really is in contact with me and looking to provide me some service. Doing things like that in combination with getting the right amount of numbers and monitoring your DIDs and also trying to understand why are they getting flagging. Why is this number? What happened? Why did it get flagged so quick? And then going back into the logs, you can search for that number in our platform and see – alright, in one day I called, I don’t know, maybe 2000 or 20,000 people with this number. That explains why you bring your number so quick. So the combination of that has made a huge difference for our customers, and they’ve really seen a tremendous increase in contact rate.

Heather Griffin:

Yeah. And I’ll add to that, Bobby. I think that the number one thing I get when I’m talking to a new potential consultant client in a call center, it is usually overwhelmed I guess is the word I would say. It is so granular now, though Bobby and I have an interesting friendship, I would say he’s a genius. He’s, he’s got a brain that is unlike any I’ve ever seen and he can understand and he actually gets excited, like he’s happy to look into data. And that’s his background and I’ve done this for 22 years. So to us, this is something exciting to talk about –oh my gosh, did you hear STIR/SHAKEN did this? But to the average client who is a roofer or solar installer, this is overwhelming. It’s technology. It’s legal. It’s scary. It’s not interesting to most people. And I get this, this general feeling of how are we gonna make this work? It’s super overwhelming. I know that my sales are down. It’s usually kind of, this is how I usually end up in the business. I know my sales are down and I don’t understand what’s happening. So I wanna simplify this kind of in a more broad approach. There are software and experts out there who can resolve these issues for you. In fact, I do it every single day. I’ve had a client who had a 5%, I’m sorry, 500% increase in connectivity by switching software. They were on a click-to-call. They should have been on a dialer. Before they switched over their reps were averaging 1-2. They switched to they’re averaging 5-6 sales a day now, right?

Heather Griffin:

Literally by switching technology and why spam likely, bad connectivity, and wrong dialing platform, and wrong methodology, they were using a click-to-call. They should have been using a dialer. This is very common in my world. So to kind of simplify the complexities, I think the more you learn the better, right? This is really interesting stuff, but you can resolve your connectivity by having the right technology and having a company that cares about these kinds of things. You can resolve your connectivity issues. If you’ve seen that same October drop in connectivity, if you suspect your spam likely, there’s software out there, 100% worth every penny you’ll spend, because you’ll get that extra 30% rise. The first question in getting a sale is can I talk to a person? Right. Actually, the first question is, can I get legal data? The second question is, can I get that legal data on the phone, which is what Convoso is going to do.

Heather Griffin:

When you flip to the other side. Now I’ve got these people on the phone. Can I close the deal? Right? And that’s where Balto comes in. I think that you’ll have to Marc’s point, you’re never gonna be able to listen to, if you have a hundred seat center, the 1 million outbound dials they can do, you’re just not gonna do that. But this technology can guide you in the right direction and help you make smart choices. So I think that the two of those if you can imagine talking to 30% more people and closing 34% more sales with no additional costs, and actually what you’ll find is you’ll need less reps to do those two things. You actually have lower payroll and you’ll have increased sales and better compliance. So it’s a win, win, win.

Heather Griffin:

The other thing that we tried to shy off of, or stay off of in this particular conversation is the added benefits of compliance. I have had learned through the hard ways of having lawsuits and the FTC and a number of different experiences throughout my career. And what I can tell you is that no one’s factoring the fact that if you dial too many times with too low of a contact rate, or you say something’s free, or will save you a 100% on your electricity bill. You’re also not factoring the cost of legal and government agencies who begin to regulate as well. In addition to speaking to more people, and closing more sales, you’re also cutting your legal costs and you’re cutting payroll. So I know it sounds complicated, a lot of information, but there are softwares and tools out there, like these two companies that can make it a lot simpler for you and you’ll see those results.

Marc Bernstein:

Boom. Fantastic. Thank you all so much. This was wonderful. Please reach out to us. We have a demo request for giving away $50 gift cards. I can’t believe that we had almost every single attendee stay on the entire hour. So thank you all so much. And if you wanna sign up for Balto demo, we put a link in the chat. Wanna sign up for a Convoso demo? There’s a link in the chat and you will get a $50 Amazon gift card. I swear. Just come to the demo, and see what you think. There’s no downside, but we’re really excited to have you, and thank you all for your time today.

Marc Bernstein:

Thanks, everyone.

Heather Griffin:

Thank you.

Bobby Hakimi:

Bye folks.

Marc Bernstein:

Bye.