If you are wondering what phone banking is, think of it as telemarketing for political campaigns.
Candidates running for public office use phone banks to call thousands of people to raise funds, identify potential supporters, urge people to attend campaign rallies, and just generally ask for support and a vote.
You may find it irritating when a telemarketer calls you to sell you something. You may even like it less when some politician calls you to bend your ear about one thing or another. So why do political campaigns use phone banking?
The bottom line is – it works. It works very well.
For example, a major political party in France recently set up a phone bank that called 900,000 people over four months. The result was 800 recruits to help with the campaign. These same kinds of results are routine in any nation in the world, including the United States.
Furthermore, phone banking is a cheaper and faster way to contact more people as opposed to, say, sending out volunteers to walk through neighborhoods to knock on doors. By comparison, it takes five volunteers 12 days to canvas 3,600 homes. That same number is accomplished in just two days with phone banking.
Phone banking has been around for decades, but modern technology has transformed it into high art. For example, phone bank users enjoy such options as:
Virtual Calling – This is when lists of targeted voters are uploaded so that volunteers can be assigned to call them. Volunteers manually dial the numbers of voters from their phones while entering data in an online database platform.
Automated Calling – A robotic system automatically calls voters. When someone answers the phone, that call is routed to a volunteer for a live chat. This makes possible a much larger number of calls per hour. A so-called “power dialer” can call 35 people an hour and a “predictive dialer” can call a robust 110 people per hour.
Patch-Through Calling – This system allows volunteers to call supporters and tutor them about key issues. It then instructs them exactly how to handle a conversation with a representative before patching them through to that representative.
Certainly, some phone banking technologies are controversial, such as robocalling. This is a prerecorded automated message that plays out to people who answer the phone. It delivers fast-hitting facts or “versions of facts” that a campaign wants a lot of people to hear.
Although robocalling is widely despised, it nevertheless produces results.