Like all areas of business, telemarketing has undergone rapid changes in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Call volumes have increased, contact center managers are looking for better tools, and there is a renewed focus on increasing process efficiency.
A study by the Harvard Business Review highlights how difficult calls saw a 50% uptick during the pandemic.
But with telemarketing reps ill-equipped to cater to the rise in demand, coupled with an absence of advanced technology solutions for automation, there was a 68% increase in escalations. Adding to the challenges was the introduction of a fully remote work setup and unreliable Internet connections.
As the world adapted itself to rapid digitization, telemarketing and contact centers also incorporated similar technologies, helping the sector to develop operational strategies.
But one major change is very apparent in telemarketing– the shift from a people-driven business to a technology-enabled business. Where 100 people used to be employed to make calls and find prospective phone leads, there are now just 10 people doing the same volume of work.
In 2022, traditional telemarketing technologies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and analytical capabilities will continue to be the mainstay. Innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots will add to the tech stack while giving service reps more actionable information at their fingertips.
Going forward, telemarketing will become an important B2B go-to-market strategy. But to optimize the landscape for tangible business benefits, organizations must make use of new and emerging practices, and in the process, deliver personalized customer experience at scale.
The 5 Key Telemarketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2022
1. Higher Expectations Than Ever Before
Companies are collecting more and more data from consumers, and in return, people expect great experiences.
In fact, 71% of respondents in a study feel that businesses already know why they are calling.
Customers not only expect brands to deliver seamless online-to-offline experiences but believe that businesses have the relevant data to do so.
Needless to say, expectations are higher than before.
Most consumers are likely to make a purchase based on experiences alone. So your telemarketing game needs to be in top order.
In this high-stakes landscape, if you don’t route your customers to a live agent within a short timeframe, chances are that they will turn to one of your competitors.
Telemarketing can work in your favor if you utilize data from call tracking solutions and capture each consumer’s digital journey before they place a phone call to your business.
2. New Innovations are at the Forefront Now
It is no wonder that more and more businesses are implementing AI solutions to transform their telemarketing strategies.
AI is not new but it’s witnessing a boom like never before. A study published by Global Industry Analysts projects that the market for AI in call centers will grow to a staggering $3.5 billion by 2026.
AI offers multiple predictive responses which can be used by agents to better assist their customers. This technology also allows full omnichannel support, since AI can collect and analyze data about a customer from various touchpoints, all at once.
Other forms of AI such as chatbots and Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) are transforming how businesses approach telemarketing.
IVAs provide an incredibly realistic customer experience by utilizing machine learning, natural language processing, and advanced search recognition. Such technology draws experience from a decade of data and insight into customer conversations.
3. Boosting Agent Performance with State-of-the-Art Coaching
Coaching, in any sphere, plays a critical role in helping your team identify areas of improvement that otherwise would go unnoticed. The same applies to your telemarketing team.
However, the traditional method of one-on-one coaching is difficult to scale with the rapid growth of contact centers.
As we progress in 2022, coaching in the telemarketing sphere will increasingly turn to virtual coaching methods.
The methodology includes giving managers access to each agent’s transcription for specific evaluation and, if needed, a change in approach.
4. Remote Telemarketing Teams are Becoming the Norm
A 2021 survey by FlexJobs highlights that 58% of respondents are looking at a permanent remote work set-up post-pandemic, while 39% want a hybrid work environment. That’s an astounding percentage of workers who desire some form of remote work.
Businesses must take cognizance and cater to employees who want a more flexible job environment. While building remote telemarketing teams requires planning and preparation, cloud-based tools can make the process easier.
Once your cloud-based infrastructure is up and running, your agents will have the tools necessary to prospect leads and overcome lead generation challenges.
The results: Satisfied employees, lower turnover costs, and a better talent pool.
5. Combining CRM with Telemarketing
Powered by strong analytical engines to derive actionable customer insights, CRMs can go a long way in feeding their inputs into your telemarketing campaigns.
CRM technology can help you track and maintain contact with customers, enabling you to better manage your sales, and marketing activities.
Additionally, CRM software can help you save time as it is customized to complete your tasks with fewer clicks. Telemarketing teams are further assisted by sales prospect demographic maps, allowing more targeted campaigns.
For a Holistic Customer Experience
Businesses that have thrived amid the disruptions have done so because they changed and walked with the trends.
The telemarketing sector has not lost its relevance and offers a unique way to connect with prospects. It continues to hold its own as a vital tool for direct sales.
Employing smarter approaches and newer technologies will enable telemarketers to further align their scripts and customer profiles for a more effective and personalized sales approach.