November 30, 2022 – Duration 00:26:51

S3 Ep. 8 The endless possibilities for outbound engagement

The days of manual data cleaning and batch processing to load a simple dialer are gone. Today’s outbound campaigns are much more sophisticated. With resilient databases in the cloud, smart CRM systems and advanced technology for reaching customers on the channels they prefer, you can easily build campaigns that deliver timely, personalized engagement. Rian Logan, Senior Strategic Sales Consultant at Genesys, explains how technology innovations have expanded the possibilities for outbound communications. Artificial intelligence can anticipate customers’ needs and engage them proactively with the right information at the right time. And with integrated compliance tools, you can ensure that your outbound campaigns meet regulatory requirements — even as they evolve.


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Rian Logan

Rian Logan

Senior Strategic Sales Consultant, Genesys

Rian Logan began working in outbound contact centers back in 1993 for companies like Sallie Mae, Thomson Consumer Elec., & American Marketing Group. He’s been an agent, a supervisor, a trainer, a quality manager, and director of operations.  In 2012 he joined Interactive Intelligence and became part of the Genesys family in 2016. An Indianapolis native, Rian lives in Carmel IN with his wife and three children and enjoys playing and making board games. 

TTi20 S3E8 Conversation Highlights

Here are conversation highlights from this episode, edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.

Welcome, Rian. Tell us about yourself and your role here at Genesys.

Rian Logan (01:59): 

I’ve been with Genesys for 10 years, but prior to that I’ve worked most of my adult life in outbound contact centers. I spent about nine years with Sally Mae, which did quite a bit of outbound dialing. They were Genesys customer, and that’s how I came here. Prior to that, I ran a company called American Marketing Group. It was all telemarketing, all an outbound contact center.  

All that outbound experience, whether it was sales or collections, had a lot of rules and it’s been an ever-changing landscape with compliance. Technology has changed, compliance has changed. And, obviously, people’s attitudes around answering a phone call has changed.  

Let’s talk about how the technology has changed. Most people tend to think of outbound dialers as marketing calls, when there’s just as much customer service happening via outbound.

Rian Logan (03:47): 

Even the term dialer doesn’t do it justice. We now think of it as proactive outreach. And it’s based on what the customer prefers: text, email, phone call.  

Cloud computing and cloud dialing has changed the game so much, especially for dialers. When I used to do this, we had lists and had to call all those people. In a traditional, premises-based world, you would load up those lists to the dialer, maybe in the middle of the night. It was all a batch process. But everything had to be set and ready; list scrubbing and preparation and prioritization and sorting, and in the morning, you just hit go 

And I remember those days where we would hit go and the dialer wouldn’t launch. One time I ran down flights of stairs into a basement to see that the basement had flooded. Another time all the servers that were running our Sequel jobs had decided to do Microsoft updates. So, none of our lists got imported.  

Cloud does away with all that. I’m not worried about basements flooding or Microsoft updates happening.  

You talk about the sorting and filtering and everything that has to go into a campaign before you set it into motion. What’s changed with that?

Rian Logan (06:27): 

It’s not only our dialers and proactive outreach campaign management tools that have changed. It’s also where the information’s coming from.   

Back in the nineties, we were pulling information from AS 400 systems that were just green screen dummy terminals. There was no intelligence in those systems. So, you had to bring it into your dialer and your dialer had to have the ability to sort and prioritize and filter and do all these crazy things to get what you needed. What’s replaced that are the rise of smart CRMs.  

So, if you’re using Salesforce, no one knows better when to call next than Salesforce does, and Salesforce can make that list. In fact, it’s got great AI tools to provide a list, sort it, and say who to call next. It’s ready to be sent to the dialer within Genesys Cloud via API.  

The same is true for Latitude, our own accounts receivable management system that has a list-builder tool. It knows best when to call debtors and can manage linked accounts.  

It sounds like AI is integral to this new approach to outbound, and it’s important to making sure the experience is much more efficient, as well.

Rian Logan (09:08): 

Absolutely. If you’re talking about digital, and talking about AI, it can’t just be inbound use cases you’re talking about. Talk to any bank, and they’ll tell you they have just as many, if not more, use cases for outbound notifications. Credit and fraud notifications are examples. That’s going to happen on a campaign dialer.  

How does that change how a brand that is doing outbound notifications? What are the implications around the rules for outbound and for compliance?

Rian Logan (10:13): 

The rules are constantly changing. We’ve probably all heard of the “National Do Not Call Registry,” where you opt out of telemarketing calls. There’s also the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and rules around when you can call people who owe you money. There are also rules around calls to mobile phones in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. All of those have impacted how companies are allowed to do outreach to their customers or debtors or patients. They all have to factor in the way they dial and the times they dial to maintain compliance.  

Who does that compliancy fall on: the technology provider or its customers doing the outbound dialing?

Rian Logan (11:35): 

The compliance is always on the operator, the user of the technology and their own compliance team, their own legal counsel and what they feel is the most risk averse approach.  

Any types of compliance that stand out?

Rian Logan (13:03): 

In the last year there were two really big changes. The first is with STIR/SHAKEN, or the TRACED Act. That’s basically dealing with robocalls to cell phones. Unfortunately, that practice paints a bad picture for legitimate dialing companies, so there’s an effort to tamp down on those robo-dialers.  

They’re asking the carriers to use these STIR/SHAKEN protocols to determine where calls are really coming from. So, if a call says it’s coming from Cincinnati, they can look and trace it back to Nigeria. The carrier at that point can make a decision and block the call as spam or mark it spam likely on the receiver’s cell phone. Now she has a more informed choice of whether to answer that call. Trusted caller ID is something that becomes very important. 

A lot of companies have preference centers for marketing interactions but not for proactive outreach for service. Are you seeing that change?

Rian Logan (18:11): 

I often get asked if we have technology that uses AI to determine the best channel to reach a customer. The truth is, there’s no AI that’s going to outperform simply asking, “What channel would you prefer to be reached on?” The point is that customer preference is always going to outdo any guess, I don’t care how good the machine learning algorithm is. I should never be guessing on what channel to reach my customer.  

Also, it’s worth noting that, back to compliance, you have to know what channel a customer has opted into. You can’t send someone emails if they’ve unsubscribed. You can’t send them text messages if they’ve replied with, “Stop.”  

Just ask customers for their preference. And then once you have that, you can engage with them.   

Often, the best time to reach out to customers is when they’re on your website, looking at your product or checking their account balance. And the best way to do that is with predictive engagement. 

How does outbound, proactive outreach integrate with other interaction channels?

Rian Logan (20:15): 

One of the things predictive engagement has always done is help decide how to proactively engage with customers on your website. But one of the choices is to, instead, add this person to a contact list for an outbound campaign and dial or message them later.  

What’s next?

Rian Logan (21;23): 

Trusted caller ID is going to be very important in getting customers to pick up the phone, because it’s going to let people know it’s you versus someone trying to sell, say, an extended car warranty. 

Also, there’s more that we can do with proactive outreach to ensure that we’re honoring our customers’ requests for reaching out to them in their preferred method. It’s becoming easier and easier to orchestrate that.   

As the technology improves, all these things get easier. A dialer from 20 years ago is not going to look anything like the proactive outreach of the future. It’s going to be much more simplified interface — where all the heavy lifting is done under the hood.