Political Call Centers 101

By Shauna Geraghty

0 min read

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It’s an election year, which means that the political circus has come to town all across America. Politicians have been reaching out to voters for quite a while now, but the outreach has hit a fever pitch as the primaries narrow the field. One of the essential tools in every campaign’s toolbox is the call center.

Call centers are an age-old tradition among political hopefuls. Candidates may utilize a variety of tactics to get out the word about themselves, including canvassing, emails, social media and snail mailing campaigns. All of these methods have their merit, but call centers play a central role in candidates overall strategies.

In this post, we’ll be exploring the basics of political call centers.

What are political call centers?

Political call centers are principally outbound call centers designed to promote a certain candidate, political action committee (PAC) or party’s goals. The three primary responsibilities of political call centers are getting out the vote, volunteer recruitment fundraising and conducting research.


How do political call centers work?

Political call centers can be outsourced to companies that specialize in this service or they can be created and run by the campaigns themselves, usually being staffed by volunteers.


Political call centers make it their business to have curated lists of contacts so that their outbound calling efforts don’t follow a “buckshot approach.” Call centers cull data from telephone directories, electoral roll and census data, as well as party information collected over decades from things like petitions, canvassing and email lists.


Are political call centers effective?

Given the amount of money hopeful politicians dump into them, you better believe it! Consider this: In the first six months of President Obama’s re-election effort, his campaign spent $3.3 million on telemarketing services alone. During that same election season, Political Call Center LLC, a phone and mail communication firm, raked in $8.5 million from conservative political action committees. All three PACs spent upwards of 65% of their money simply on phone solicitations.


What kind of call center functionalities are needed for a political call center?

Political call centers receive large sums of funding in the hopes that their work will be effective. In order to do so, they must be equipped with call center software that is more than adequate. Here’s a rundown of a few essential features and functionalities for political call centers:


1. Easy scaling

The nature of the election calendar dictates that political call centers have the ability to ramp up and ramp down very quickly. Sometimes, in the case of a candidate that commits a serious gaff, the call center needs to be able to shrink to nothing in a matter of days. The best way to allow for wild swings in staffing is to utilize a cloud-based call center software that enables you to work, literally, with no strings attached.


2. Comprehensive Caller Information

Volunteers need to know exactly who it is that they’re speaking to so that they can target their information to the recipient. A call center solution lacking comprehensive caller information, put simply, wastes a gigantic amount of time. Candidates shouldn’t lose elections because their call center software has volunteers reaching out to the wrong people. This problem is easily solved either with a business tool integration or note-taking and contact history within the call center software.


3. Call Disposition Codes

This call center software feature goes hand-in-hand with comprehensive caller information. After volunteers finish calls, call disposition codes enable them to record how it went. So if the recipient yelled into the phone that they hate your candidate, you’ll know not to try that number again.


4. Automatic Outbound Caller ID

People prefer to receive calls from within their own area code. This goes for all calls, but particularly for political ones. In fact, people are less likely to even pick up the phone from an unfamiliar area code. Increase pickup rates with the automatic outbound caller ID feature. This feature automatically selects the most appropriate phone number to display on recipients phones.


5. Call Recording

Political call center volunteers serve as representatives for campaigns. It’s absolutely essential that their presentation is high quality. Call recording functionality enables organizers and managers to be certain that their volunteers are meeting standards by tuning into past calls.


BONUS: Gamification

Some political call centers use gamification as a way to motivate volunteers. Gamification entails using call center reporting and metrics to post leaderboards. Volunteers can see who has made the most calls, who has had the most successful call dispositions and a variety of other metrics. Gamification requires advanced call center software with real-time reporting.

Call centers form the backbone of many political campaigns. The most effective political call centers leverage cutting-edge call center software. But this advanced technology isn’t only available to political big wigs. Companies large and small can benefit from utilizing a powerful call center solution.

Request a demo of the Talkdesk Enterprise Contact Center Platform.

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Shauna Geraghty

As the first U.S. employee, Shauna helped to scale Talkdesk to over 1,000 employees in 7 offices globally. During her tenure, she has built Talkdesk's Marketing, Talent and HR functions from the ground up. Shauna has a doctorate in clinical psychology and has applied foundational knowledge from the field of psychology to help propel Talkdesk along its hyper-growth trajectory.