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Phone Banking Tips: Maximize Impact to Ensure Victory

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Published: Apr 16, 2024

Why do you need phone banking tips? It’s just making a few calls, right? In an era where technology continually evolves, and communication channels multiply, setting up a successful phone banking campaign demands more than just dialing numbers randomly. It requires a strategic approach and thoughtful planning – hence phone banking tips to maximize impact.

This article serves as your guide to running a compelling phone banking campaign. From selecting the appropriate software to recruiting and training volunteers, we’ll delve into the key components that can make or break your outreach efforts.

Segmented contact lists

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Segmenting your calling lists based on demographics, previous interactions, interests, or behaviors tailors your message more effectively. This targeted approach increases the likelihood of engaging with the recipients and achieving the desired outcomes.

A sample of this can be found in this Harvard Business Review study, done on the company Hill-Rom, which increased their sales by 11% over two years in 2001-2003, after segmenting marketing calls into regular and ‘prime’ customers. This was among the first to implement such a strategy, and over the years, the returns have been confirmed in many campaigns and companies.  

When you begin a campaign, your contacts will already be sorted by basic metrics like their location. You should then run your purchased or curated contact list against data points (income, location, voting history, etc.) using prominent tools such as L2 Data.

However, this is just the starting point. The goal is to ensure the thousands of names in your ‘master list’ are divided into specific categories so they can be targeted for particular issues. 

You should start by running a phonebanking campaign (ideally your first) to judge your support levels among these contacts. Supporter levels are a separate type of question on CallHub calling campaigns that sync this data point right back to your CRM.

You should further segment this into more specific categories during a second round of calls. Here you can ask more specialized questions to your supporters (for example, which policy they support) and your detractors (for example, what is the biggest reason?)

To ensure you have the right data, make sure you create specific tags for each call, in line with the responses you get, so your contact list is accurately segmented.   

Your tags calls after each campaign enrich your contact lists and sync back to your database or CRM. So, for the next campaign, you can export specific contacts and target their particular concerns. 

Manually choosing the tags you want and exporting that list at the start of every campaign will get tedious. So, make full use of CallHub’s Workflows. Here, you can use tags to ‘trigger’ actions like ‘Add to supporters contact list.’ You can also incorporate emails and texts into your campaign using Workflows. 

For example, if the call is tagged as ‘Will_Attend’, a workflow can automatically trigger a text to be sent to the contact as a reminder a day before the event. 

Run distributed campaigns

A campaign is only as strong as the grassroots volunteers who support it from the bottom up. To ensure that future local leaders are empowered to become stakeholders in your victory, run distributed campaigns, giving them the reins. 

CallHub helps you ensure that aspirants from every region can be given responsibilities through our sub-accounts—an extremely powerful organizational aspect of distributed campaigns. 

Using sub-accounts

Local leaders can begin their careers in organizational politics using sub-accounts on CallHub, created using your main account. Collaborator sub-accounts on CallHub have access to create and manage their own campaigns, agents and contact books. While the main account still holds the authority to manage all campaigns under the sub-accounts, sub-accounts can run them independently. So, you can assign regional phonebanking campaigns to regional managers and distribute your campaign based on location.

From your side, you can measure and control the various sub-accounts by – 

  • Creating and assigning team leaders among the agents by region or campaign. 
  • Allocating funds from the main account to each sub-account, as needed. 
  • Start, stop, or modify campaigns and view detailed results from all distributed campaigns. 
  • Give local organizers access to only the needed data instead of all your campaign data.

Features of CallHub mobile app

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Your agents can log in and use the app to make calls from wherever they prefer, calling contacts from lists you have assigned to them. 

You can also do these tasks from a web browser on a computer. However, most people are more comfortable using their personal phones, so the app may provide a better user experience for remote agents. 

Just like the web browser, the app also allows you to: 

  • Add notes about the calls they make. 
  • Add ‘call disposition’ after each call, helping you choose the next path of action for the contacts 
  • Add survey responses that are attached to the contact history. 

But there are additional advantages as well. The app allows your agents to: 

  • Watch onboarding videos to train new agents.
  • Get notifications when they are assigned new campaigns or when a campaign begins.
  • View the contact’s history with your campaign so agents can instantly customize the conversation.  

Set up the right phone bank

To start with, you need the following to set up a phone bank – 

  • List of contacts (segmented for each region or sub-account) 
  • Agents to make the calls 
  • A script for agents to follow (including survey questions and corresponding tags or call dispositions)

You or your sub-accounts can set up campaigns through your profile on CallHub. However, depending on your goals, you need to choose the right options. 

Many contacts, ample agents: 

The criteria here is to make calls as fast as possible for short conversations like voter identification, event reminders, or GOTV campaigns. You will need ample agents for this. 

CallHub does not charge you for adding any number of agents. Add unlimited agents to campaigns at zero costs.

What is ample? Your answer rates determine whether you have ‘enough’ agents for your phone banking campaign. Let’s say you have an average answer rate of 50%, which you should get once you have a refined list of contacts segmented properly. 

Then, ‘ample’ would need you to have one agent for every two calls made in each dial cycle since a 50% answer rate means one call will be answered each time. Depending on your answer rate, your need can range from one agent for every call (1:1 ratio) to one agent for every three calls (3:1 ratio). 

In CallHub, you should use the Auto Dialer for long contact lists with ample agents to have conversations. You can select the ratio (1:1, 2:1, 3:1) that produces the most results. 

What about dropped (or missed) calls? CallHub gives you the option of simply hanging up the call or playing a recorded message (preferably informing them who is calling and how they can get back to you.) 

Enable Inbound calling so that as soon as this person calls back, they get right back in your phonebanking campaign!

Few agents, ample contacts:

When there are not enough agents, it would be better if each agent was focused on the call at hand and each call took as little time as possible. 

You should use the Predictive Dialer, which calculates your answer rate from one dial cycle and then predicts the right number of calls to make in the next cycle, considering how many active agents are working on this campaign. 

The predictive dialer is perfect for prioritizing volume over personalization or when you are unsure of your answer rates. 

Note: The predictive dialer only connects agents to answered calls. This helps save time, as dial tones, unanswered calls, answering machines, etc., are weeded out. 

Longer conversations: 

CallHub’s Power dialer is necessary for campaigns that require personal, long conversations—like fundraising. Since there are real scripts for live conversations, agents can take time to prepare themselves for the next call and make notes of the conversation for a follow-up. 

With no fixed call duration, the power dialer waits for the agent to be done before dialing the next number – while still giving advantages like ensuring agents are only connected to answered calls, re-routing dropped calls, etc.  

Ideal use cases for power dialers are:

  • Voter persuasion for GOTV 
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • RSVP confirmations 

Note: CallHub dialers are TCPA-compliant. TCPA regulates the use of pre-recorded voice messages and automatic dialing – and keeps consumer consent at the forefront. 

Volunteer training should be practical, frequent, and dynamic

Remember that many of your campaign volunteers will be rookies, unaware of the intricacies of the software or how to carry out a conversation.

You must give presentations on your campaign and the key issues you want to focus on. You also need to provide technical training. Your training should include:

  • How your campaign works (managers, timing, goals, etc.) 
  • How the system you are working in operates (For example, the rules of the city you are campaigning in) 
  • How grassroots targeting works
  • What would a typical campaign call looks like
  • State your goal and explain how they will help you achieve it
  • An in-depth explanation of the rules and themes for your campaign

For CallHub, your volunteers must be trained to join a campaign, either from a web browser or using the CallHub mobile app. Volunteers also need to understand how to: 

  • Navigate the calling screen – where to take the next call, etc.
  • How to add notes, tags, and survey question responses to each call
  • How to load the right script and follow the linear or branching script 
  • How to forward calls to outside contacts (in cases like ‘patch through calls’ campaigns) 
  • How to escalate a call to a manager or report abuse 
  • How to sign out properly after filling in all required details

Let your volunteers practice about half an hour before making calls. This should also include a walkthrough of the scripts they will use. Collect feedback and debrief after their shifts so you understand how the campaign is going.

Training is not a one-time thing, it is an ongoing process and must be consistent. So make sure you train volunteers regularly and keep the sessions dynamic. 

Use relational organizing for initial phone banking campaigns

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Many campaigns will eventually grow to thousands of contacts, most of whom had never heard of your campaign before. But how does one begin? 

Relational organizing is a powerful tool for that. It involves using the personal relationships of your agents and volunteers to kickstart your first batch of supporters and create a network of volunteers. Your first contact list will be all the contacts everyone in your campaign has on their phones. Everyone in your campaign, from the candidate to the volunteer, must begin conversations among peers, family, and friends. 

In CallHub, relational organizing is extremely streamlined through the mobile app. 

Once the agent logs in on the CallHub Mobile App, they see a campaign card for the ‘Relational Organizing Campaign.’ They can tap on the card to proceed.

The app will then scan their contacts, upload them as a contact list, and check if any of their contacts match the campaign’s contacts list. Agents can begin their outreach with these ‘matched’ contacts. 

The CallHub system will use the agent’s device’s native calling and texting app to call and send messages. Hence, Relational Organizing on CallHub is free!

Adopt smart branching scripts

A standard ‘script’ is a series of questions with pointers about where to take the conversation. This is a very limiting way to plan a conversation. 

It takes the agent time to scroll through the entire script, looking for the right response to a question. And if the conversation jumps to other questions or goes off-sequence, then the ‘scroll’ time just gets longer. 

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CallHub’s dynamic Branching Scripts lets you build an entire conversation with multiple options as replies, enabling the agent to jump to the appropriate response instantly. No more fumbling with various pages. 

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This also addresses an issue few campaigns consider – agents losing track of long scripts or surveys mid-way. It would be embarrassing if the agent fumbled a question if they realized they were asking the wrong one. CallHub’s system ensures the agent always only sees the question they need to be asking at one time – based on the replies they get. 

This requires forward planning from your side. You need to hold mock calls, plan the script in advance, and provide as many options as practical. Don’t simply expect a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. That rarely happens. 

Make full use of a branching script by planning for organic replies to address the contact’s concerns, related questions, or even off-beat answers. 

You can also use a branching script in the mobile app so agents can complete conversations, as per the campaign’s plans, from wherever they are working. 

Send follow-up texts after your calls

To increase engagement and keep your campaign in the forefront, make sure you send follow-up texts after a call. Why texts? According to Gartner Digital Markets research, 45% of people tend to respond to a text. 

In CallHub, you can do this: 

During the calling campaign, after each call 

For sending follow up texts immediately after each call, you can set up the process when you create the campaign, using either manual or automated texts. 

Automated texts, which you will create before the campaign begins, are designed to be sent automatically based on the ‘call disposition’ the agent selects at the end of the call. 

When creating the campaign, you must enable ‘Automated Texts’ to add your message and link it with the disposition from the ‘Disposition’ dropdown.

For example, if the disposition is ‘did not answer’, then you can input a ‘Hey! We tried reaching you!’ message template to be sent automatically after the call. 

CallHub also allows sending a customized text if the call did not go according to any of the pre-selected dispositions and the agent wishes to type out a message on the spot. The text message icon can be accessed during a call on the calling screen. 

Note: Sending messages on the spot is not advised, as human error can quickly turn the campaign into a PR nightmare. 

Schedule automated texts through CallHub’s Workflows

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Referring back to the list segmentations we mentioned at the start, you may require certain callers to be added to a new segmented list for messages, others to be dropped out of the contact list, and still others need a nudge after a few days. 

CallHub’s Workflows automates all of these requirements through modules. You can create a new workflow and add ‘modules’ with specific instructions for each call disposition or tag. You can also stack modules or branch them further, assigning multiple actions to the same contact. 

For example, you can choose to send a thank-you message to all those who agreed to attend an event immediately after the call and schedule a follow-up reminder message a few days later, closer to the event.

Make changes during campaigns

No plan survives contact with the real world. Things can go wrong or not work out how you imagined. Here are some general tips to make sure your campaign stays on track.

Be smart about your scripts: 

While a script may seem quite robust to the team, if you are not getting the desired results, the first step would be to re-examine the script. 

In CallHub, you can use our ‘Smart Insights’ analysis to review call transcripts, determine where most of the drop-off occurs, and change that part. 

You can also use it to determine the broad feelings of those being contacted. Smart Insights will automatically group contacts based on your campaign goals as positive, neutral, or negative. 

Both of these help you see patterns before it is too late and make appropriate changes. You can set them up using the ‘AI-powered’ tab when creating a campaign. 

Rotate your volunteers 

As enthusiastic as everyone may seem, making endless calls is draining on all participants—especially unpaid volunteers. Make sure you rotate them into more ‘exciting’ roles like event organizing or outdoor campaigning. 

This also ensures everyone understands every aspect of your campaign and can be ready to take up the slack in any part. 

Use software to sort out slowdowns

Common bottlenecks are issues like calls not being made efficiently, too many calls being dropped, or even bad contacts on a list. You must be prepared to change your software settings to help you overcome these. 

Here are some examples: 

  • If not enough calls are being attended, tweak your dial rate – increasing or decreasing the number of calls made every minute until you meet your targets. 
  • Instead of having your agents read out a scripted message, keep a pre-recorded voice note ready to be played when the dialer detects an answering machine. (Select the option when setting up your campaign)  
  • Play an automatic voice message for everyone who calls back, letting the contact request a callback later if an agent is not free. 
  • If answer rates are low, activate services like ‘inbound calling’ to maximize the chances of a contact speaking to an agent. 

Inbound calling occurs when a contact who initially did not receive your call calls back. CallHub blends both outgoing and inbound calls, so you don’t need dedicated agents for inbound calls. Further, CallHub removes any inbound call attended by an agent from the list, so the contact doesn’t get two calls. 

The calls are assigned to the first available agent but strongly highlighted as ‘inbound call’ so the agent can select the correct script before answering the call. 

Such software solutions will maximize the returns for your campaign. So make sure to explore them all. 

Don’t be labeled as spam

A major reason for your campaign not reaching its calling goals can be the simplest – your calls are being flagged as spam, so no one is answering. 

Make sure you have the Spam Label Shield running. CallHub’s own research has shown that call rates tend to double when the spam label shield is enabled.

  • The spam label shield regularly checks against carrier databases, FTC-complaint databases, and third-party call-blocking app databases. 
  • CallHub automatically replaces any flagged number with a clean number. 
  • CallHub also ensures your chosen number is SHAKEN/STIR compliant. 

Use phone banking software built for your use case

It is absolutely critical that you choose software built to help you maximize your calling campaign, whatever your specific goal. Here are the choices CallHub provides, which you should seek in any software you consider: 

Choice of dialers: Your needs will fluctuate as the campaign progresses, from requiring a super-fast dialer for one-minute reminder calls to long conversations that change minds. 

Two-way sync with your CRM: Data you have captured during each calling campaign, from the disposition of the contacts to new tags assigned to them or their survey responses, must be synced. CallHub offers integrations with all popular CRMs like Nation Builder, NGP Van, and PDI. 

Unlimited free agent seats: You need this option to scale your campaign up and down as needed or as your fortunes flow. You should not have to pay to add 500 agents on a crunch day when you only use 50 agents on most days. 

Workflow automation for follow-ups: Sending follow-up messages is crucial to increasing engagement. However, leaving this critical task to agents, who may miss out is not advisable. Ensure the software offers automatic follow-ups, with branching modules for multiple options.  

Remember, the success of your phone banking campaign hinges not only on the technology you utilize but also on the dedication and passion of your volunteers. So make sure you have the best of both worlds. 

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