Although it involves a few additional steps to the usual lead generation process, many contact centers are utilizing “warm call transfers” to qualify leads and garner higher conversions.
Sometimes referred to as a “live” transfer, this type of call can take a few different forms. Often, the lead will fill out an online form and wait for a company representative to follow up. Or the prospective customer may call the company directly from a digital or traditional advertisement. An agent will first gather the lead’s key introductory information and needs. Then, the agent keeps the lead on the line and connects to the intended specialist. The representative explains the prospect’s needs to the specialist and makes the introduction between the two.
It may seem like a lengthy hand-off, but the process is highly strategic and can help further qualify leads along the way. Here are some steps that can help ensure a successful warm call transfer.
- Train agents: The cost per acquisition can be higher for live transfers, so it’s important that agents are able to identify a quality lead. The following can indicate a high interest level:
o The willingness to spend an additional 20 minutes on the call post-transfer.
o Higher education prospects who are looking to either start immediately or within three months. The most common start date is within six months, so anything less than this is considered an expedited timeline and high quality lead.
- Get permission: It’s important for agents to ask prospects if it is okay to transfer them and explain the reasoning behind the transfer. This helps build trust and a positive customer experience. No one likes to feel as though they are being passed off to someone else unexpectedly or for no reason.
- Script small talk: Agent scripting can help guide conversation should there be a wait for a specialist or school representative to become available. Filling these moments with the right “small talk” can support the customer experience and overall lead quality.
- Reiterate contact information: It’s important for agents to confirm the lead’s phone number in case there is a disconnection during transfer.
- Set proper expectations: We have found that asking additional questions such as “Are you willing to spend at least 20 minutes on the line with the enrollment counselor after transfer?” helps better prepare the lead for next steps. It also offers an opportunity to get buy-in from the prospective customer.
- Encourage computer use: It’s helpful to have prospects in front of a computer and connected to the Internet at the time of transfer. This means the prospect can follow along with the school rep regarding school and program details. We’ve found this boosts engagement and conversions.
- Consider the Telephone Consumer Protection Act: TCPA wording must still be read for live transfers. For one, contact centers share in the compliance responsibility for who/where they transfer the lead. It allows the company who receives the transfer to call the prospect back later if needed.
Technology for Better Transfers
Agents often use many dashboards to research and meet the needs of prospects. This is where all-in-one dashboards can make processes easier and more effective. When agents use one dashboard that combines data collection, agent scripting, search results, and advanced voice abilities – like warm call transfer – into one seamless process, it reduces errors and can reduce call handle times by as much as 19 percent.
In addition, tools with an API or pre-ping in place can ensure that the prospect does indeed qualify for the intended product or school. Given the higher price point and higher conversion of transfers, it is even more important to avoid rejects and duplicates prior to connecting the call.
Meeting Audience Expectations in Higher Education
Warm transfers are especially important and effective in the Higher Education vertical. Agents are often communicating with prospective students who also happen to be Millennials and a part of Generation Z. Attention spans are shortened and expectations are heightened. In fact, the incoming class of Generation Z is known to have an “eight-second filter,” or attention span, and it’s important to take this into consideration when discussing schools and programs with them. An efficient, streamlined process is important to this audience. Personalized attention is valued. And warm call transfers help meet these expectations.
In all, these strategic calls offer a great deal of benefits to contact centers, agents and marketing partners. Live transfers ensure highly qualified prospects, leading to higher close rates and enrollments. Processes become more streamlined and, as a result, can increase daily call volumes. And most importantly, they can have a positive impact on overall customer experience.