Posts Tagged ‘predictive dialer’

Managing inbound and outbound calls efficiently with VCC Live® – a case study

Posted on: July 31st, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

“Reaching 30% more customers is a real game-changer for us, we definitely managed to revolutionize our outbound campaigns with VCC Live.” – Tamás Nyári, Head of IT CEE, Telemarketing International

As one of the largest teleshop companies in the Central and Eastern European region, sending out an average of around 4000 packages per day, exceptional customer experience and smooth processes are an absolute must for Telemarketing.

This is why they decided to leverage VCC Live’s solution.

The Case

Our latest case study describes how, since leveraging VCC Live®, Telemarketing managed to take their operations to a whole new level. Check out our case study to find out:

  • how we offered Telemarketing a solution that can be easily utilized by their remote agents
  • how VCC Live® provided the company with an advanced wallboard, allowing them to see the whole picture in real-time
  • how VCC Live®’s predictive dialer enabled Telemarketing to reach 30% more customers
  • how we allowed the company to manage its logistics in a timely manner with system integrations

Introducing VCC Live®’s solution has truly revolutionized both Telemarketing’s inbound and outbound campaigns, allowing them to better handle their incoming calls and reach 30% more customers while unifying and monitoring their processes in real-time.

Read our case study and learn more about the benefits of VCC Live®’s advanced inbound and outbound features!

Your Call Center Needs a Predictive Dialer. Here’s Why!

Posted on: March 27th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

When it comes to sales, reaching the maximum amount of potential customers is vital for the success of any business.

However, many call centers still rely on manual dialers, with call center agents having to dial numbers themselves. And many of these calls end up lost on answering machines, or with agents waiting too long a time for a customer to pick up.

Under such circumstances, how many productive calls do agents make in a single day? Needless to say, not many…

Luckily, technology, in the form of predictive dialers, is here to help again. Predictive dialers are intelligent outbound call processing and managing systems that use statistical data to help predict how many numbers need to be dialed at any one time, thus making sure that every agent is always in an active call.

Below, we’ve outlined why call centers need to rely on this technology. Make sure to read on!

Increased Talk Time

It’s simple: when it comes to selling, the more you can talk, the more chances you have to make a sale.

Predictive dialers work by dialing numbers while agents are still in a call, often initiating more calls than the number of available free agents. By the time an agent finishes a call, the predictive dialer has already dialed the next number. As a result, agents are able to spend as much time as possible talking to customers.

VCC Live®’s intelligent predictive dialer, for example, can allow your agents to spend up to 40 minutes per hour in active talk with customers, thus enabling you to interact with customers more effectively.

Increased Sales Numbers

Since predictive dialers significantly increase average talk time, agents have the opportunity to go the extra time to make more sales.

Furthermore, a predictive dialer will also allow your agents to get the most of the increased talk time by keeping customer data update.

In particular, predictive dialers can offer the ultimate in efficiency when integrated with other systems, such as a CRM. With CRM integration, an intelligent dialer can determine the best time to call customers by creating call-back lists with preferred calling times. When the time comes, the dialer automatically starts the call, while also supporting the agent with relevant information from the customer’s purchase history.

As a result, agents can reach customers at the right time with the right message, thus increasing overall sales rates.

Increased Agent Efficiency

One major advantage of predictive dialers is that they can greatly enhance agent efficiency.

Firstly, by relying on a predictive dialer, agents save time as they no longer need to manually dial numbers.

Secondly, once an agent finishes their current call, the predictive dialer already has the next call ringing and ready to handle. As such, the average waiting time agents spend between two calls is reduced to only a few seconds.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

These days, customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of any business. And luckily, as well as helping your agents, predictive dialers can also help you keep your customers satisfied.

Using unique algorithms, a predictive dialer can collect and store valuable customer data. And so, as well as your customers being contacted at their preferred time, your agents will also be able to offer them products or services that are actually relevant to the customer.

And as customers highly appreciate a company going the extra mile to keep track of their history and provide them with personalized offers, you can be sure that it will increase their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.

What to consider when choosing a call center software

Posted on: May 29th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, the recipe for success lies in the quality of your customer service: as customers grow more and more demanding, delivering the ultimate customer experience is the game changer for businesses everywhere.

As we all know, it’s in a call center where the majority of customer interactions take place. And as these days call centers are powered by state-of-the-art technology solutions, choosing a call center software is an essential and inevitable step for most businesses.

As technology advances at lightning speed, so do the call center software options available in the market. All you have to do is to find the one that is the most suitable for your business.

So, if you are looking for the perfect call center software for your business, let us help you make the right decision. We compiled a list of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a call center software.

In a nutshell, here are the factors you should consider when choosing a call center software solution for your business. In this article, we’ll discuss each of them in detail, giving you pro tips before you invest your money. Check them out now (and thank us later!).

1. Personal fit

2. Multichannel Communication

3. Security

4. Go Cloud!

5. Improved customer service

6. Training and support

7. Price

 

1. Personal fit

First things first: make sure your call center software is a personal fit for your business (yes, it is so important that we’ve put it in bold!). So, as a first step, you need to define your business’ needs before choosing a call center software.

Start by answering the following questions: what is your business’s core activity? How do you communicate with your customers? Does your call center handle inbound, outbound calls or both? Which communication channels do you rely on?

Many of the call center software options available on the market share some essential features, so you really need to consider which of those features are actually essential for your business. Therefore, always bear in mind that choosing the right call center software depends on the nature of your business.

For example, interactive voice response (IVR) will be one of the most important features for call centers typically handling inbound calls such as customer services and technical support.   

On the other hand, for an outbound call center, increased productivity and efficiency are the most important metrics. A predictive dialer speeds up outbound dialing rates a lot, so outbound call centers should definitely make it a priority to have this feature when choosing their call center software.

Furthermore, these days many call centers work with both inbound and outbound calls, and utilize call blending techniques to help with this. Call blending is a powerful call center software feature, since it allows a single agent to handle both inbound and outbound calls. If you want to read more about the benefits of call blending, just check out our article about it here.

 

2. Multichannel Communication

In our fast-moving world, customers often spend more time connecting via SMS, chat or email, than talking directly on their phones. As a result, it is no surprise that today’s modern call centers rely not only on telephony services, but also on a variety of communication channels, such as web chat, email and SMS. As such, the ability to deal with multiple communication channels has become ever more important for call centers.

Therefore, always consider which channels your call center uses for communication, and how important they are when trying to provide seamless operations at your business. By doing this, you’ll be able to decide between the call center software providers offering different multichannel communication features.

While all of the communication channels mentioned above are essential for the proper functioning of any call center, certain channels, depending on the nature of your business, will be more critical for its basic operation. If you need some help working out which are the most important channels for your business, just check out the pros and cons of different communication channels normally used by call centers here.

 

3. Security

As Cybercrime becomes an increasing danger, modern organizations are facing more security threats than ever before. Although the types of cyberattacks vary, one thing is for sure: organizations storing a huge amount of information – such as call centers – are becoming a major target for cyber criminals.

As if that wasn’t enough, don’t forget that GDPR, the new legislation introduced by the European Union, also came into effect on 25th May (if you’re still unsure whether your call center has prepared for the changes required by GDPR, check out our GDPR checklist for call centers).

So, always make sure the call center software you choose uses the latest security measures to keep your data safe and secure. It’s a prerequisite for any call center that values their customers’ privacy, and I’m sure you would want your customers to trust your business enough to give you their personal data.

Speaking of GDPR, it’s definitely a good idea to look for a call center software provider that is already compliant with the new legislation. In addition to GDPR requirements, there are also several additional data security certificates that will show that their holders take data privacy seriously. If, for example, the provider you are considering holds any ISO certifications, then your data will more than likely be safe with them. As we briefly mentioned in a previous article, VCC Live®’s software complies with some of the strictest ISO certificates around, and is one of only 791 European companies in total who have received these certificates.

 

4. Go Cloud!

Call center software solutions come in a number of forms, and there are many on-premise, hosted and cloud-based solutions available in the market. But, as for the last few years cloud computing has become the biggest thing in the tech world, we can definitely recommend you consider a cloud-based solution when choosing a call center software.

In fact, the latest platforms launched on the market are all cloud-based, and for good reason: with this new technology, physical hardware and telephones are no longer necessary, as cloud-based call center software can connect through the internet, meaning your call center agents can be located pretty much anywhere in the world.

In addition to this, cloud-based call center software solutions are affordable, easy to use and scalable.

On the other hand, on-premises solutions are not only extremely costly but have also proved to be not 100% safe. As we already talked about in a previous article, unexpected events and operational disruptions can occur anytime. For example, in the event of a fire, an on-premise solution may go down for hours, thus paralyzing your business operations, cloud-based software options, on the other hand, can offer a safe backup solution ensuring that your business stays safe from any system-threatening issues.

 

5. Improved customer service

When it comes to your business’ success, one thing is for sure: with great customer service, you can truly fuel growth.

State-of-the-art call center software solutions offer several features that help you improve your customer experience, so always make sure to look for the following features: a user-friendly interface, powerful analytics, call recordings, and surveys.

Software tools have the potential to let agents provide exceptional customer experience, so don’t make it difficult for them by purchasing a software that is not user-friendly. Always bear in mind that a software with a user-friendly interface empowers them to carry out their tasks more efficiently without easily getting frustrated.

Furthermore, as you run a call center, it’s pretty likely you collect a lot of data. But what’s the point of collecting and storing information, if you don’t use it to boost your business’ performance? Always look for a software solution that comes with powerful reporting and analytics features, allowing you to monitor your performance and analyze the data you need in order to constantly improve your services.

In addition, customer calls provide some of the most valuable feedback and consumer information for your call center. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to record your calls and use the information and introduce improvements based on it. Plus, it’s a great way to train your agents.

 

6. Training and support

So, you finally found the ultimate personal fit for your business: it’s 100% secure, cloud-based, and allows you to communicate with your customers on multiple platforms while having powerful features that are suitable for your business. Although your work is almost done, there’s still one further factor you should consider when choosing a call center software: easy-to-understand training materials and training sessions.

In our opinion, it’s better to choose a company that provides on-premise or video training sessions for your business, as this is the fastest way to acquire the knowledge your team needs to become up-and-running.  

As Murphy’s Law says, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, especially in the event of an operational disruption or error, where you’ll have to act quickly. So, be prepared for such events, and always choose a provider that provides effective technical support so that you can quickly get back to normal operations.

In fact, some call center software providers will not only provide you with training sessions and technical support but also act as a consultancy offering you some of the most valuable industry knowledge around. For example, here at VCC Live®, we provide dedicated account managers for our clients.

If you’re still unsure which of the call center software providers you shortlisted offer the best level of support, then go and check out some online reviews. As we already mentioned in a previous article, online reviews are powerful when life is so dominated by the internet.

 

+1: Price

It is no coincidence that price is an extra factor on our list. It’s natural that you’ll want to choose a call center software provider with the highest performance at the most reasonable price. Of course, it’s true that cost is essential for any call center, but don’t let it be the ultimate deciding factor. Thinking in the long-term, it’s better to invest more in a call center software that is the most suitable for your business, empowering you to provide better service for your customers.

 

Wrap up

Choosing the right call center software solution for your business can be a real headache. But we are pretty confident that if you follow our guide, then you can be sure you’ll end up with a reliable software solution that will allow you to grow your business and provide top-notch customer experience.

 

 

 

How to calculate your cost and revenue optimization point

Posted on: April 25th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

How can a predictive dialer really help you with cost and revenue optimization? See for yourself and estimate your own cost and revenue optimization plan with our calculator!

Knowing what your options are when you make a business decision which affects your call center is important. But knowing what the actual results of choosing one of those options could be is even more important. Follows are some actual benefits of one business tool that can potentially transform the way you do business.

 

When time is money, don’t waste yours!

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, a reliable dialer is to an outbound call center what an engine is to a car. But Talk Time – that’s the fuel driving it forward. Put simply, if your agents spend more time talking with customers, they will generate more revenue (click here to find out how you can maximize your Talk Time by using call blending). Of course, there are other factors, such as communication skills, Quality Management, and well-prepared scripts, that can help drive you forward. But if your agents are spending less time talking and more time being idle, they won’t meet their goals and will only start generating costs. The ultimate task for every business owner and manager is to find the golden mean – that happy medium that produces the desired balance between costs and profits. And this is where you need to start to think about cost and revenue optimization.

 

What happens when your contact center wastes precious time?

Running an outgoing contact center is costly. Expenses include the purchase of equipment and services, telephony services, maintenance and other operational costs. And naturally, the employees and agents handling calls are also part of these costs.  But at the same time, they are also responsible for generating the revenue needed to cover the above-mentioned expenses. Here are some simple calculations to illustrate what this means in in terms of numbers.

For example, an agent’s cost per month is 1300 euros for an 8-hour work day, which means that the agent’s cost per hour is 7,74 euros. If this agent uses a manual dialer and has an average Talk Time per hour of 15 minutes, this means a 0,52 euro cost per minute spent on the phone. How many deals does this agent have to close in order to cover these costs and bring revenue?

But, what if the same agent has an average of 40 minutes Talk Time per hour at the same 7,74 euro cost per hour? Their cost per minute spent on the phone will drop down to 0,19 euros per hour! And since they are speaking more than twice as much, chances are they will also sign approximately twice as many deals. This means that with a smaller team of agents who spend more time speaking, you can achieve the same results at a significantly smaller cost. But what about revenue?

 

When talking is money, do it more!

Increased Talk Time per hour can also have a positive effect on the revenue your call center generates. If speaking twice as much decreases costs, it can surely increase revenue as well!

For example, let’s take the agent from our previous case. For every hour of work, which includes 15 minutes of active speaking, the agent generates 10 euros of revenue per hour. Now imagine this agent speaks double the time and sells double the deals. This will in theory bring in double the revenue.

In this example, the agent generates 10 euros worth of Revenue per hour by spending 15 minutes of Talk time per hour. Increase the Talk Time to 40 minutes, and this results in a revenue of around 26,67 euros (more or less) per hour being generated.

Speaking of revenue, with our calculator you can also find out how much you can increase your margin with increased Talk Time. Using the above example, an agent’s cost per month is 1300 euros, and with an average Talk Time per hour of 15 minutes, they generate 10 euros of revenue per hour for your business. This means that your margin per agent is 380 euros. That’s not bad, but let’s see what happens if you increase the average Talk Time per hour to 40 minutes. Your margin increases from 380 euros to 3186 euros. Yes, that’s a 738% growth for your company!

Now, multiply these by the number of agents in your team, and it becomes clear: the longer your agents speak, the more revenue you will get! But how much exactly? Calculate it below!

 

Do the maths!

This is probably not the first time you read an article about the many theoretical benefits of a particular tool or service. But most of the time it is probably also not clear how the tool can actually in practice help you. Your business is not a theory. It’s real and it needs more than an “Imagine if…” kind of article. This is why we would like to show you how a predictive dialer can actually help your cost and revenue optimization plan, in practice as well as in theory.

For this purpose, we have created three calculators that allow you to estimate your cost and revenue optimization needs. Want to know how much you can save on costs and still achieve the same results? Or how to increase your revenue and margin without having to increase your team or costs? Just fill in the required fields and see for yourself! Calculate your current expenses and profits, and discover the best results for your business.

 

Business is all about making the right decisions, and this needs careful planning. Nobody knows your business better than you do. Instead of simply reading about how a predictive dialer can influence your organization, calculate your own estimations today and work out what your business needs to achieve perfect cost and revenue optimization.

How to boost productivity and increase revenue by using call blending

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

To operate a call center seamlessly, it’s crucial to possess a skill set and a handful of techniques that allow you to boost your productivity and increase your revenue. Call blending is one of those techniques.

In a previous blog post we talked about how predictive dialers revolutionized call centers by significantly boosting productivity and increasing revenue. In this article we’ll discuss how call blending can help you go one step further, and achieve even better results.

 

What is call blending?

Before we immerse ourselves in the topic, let’s quickly clarify what call blending is. Call blending is a call center technique that supports both outbound and inbound calls. During the process a predictive dialer monitors the volume of incoming calls and availability of agents, and assigns calls to appropriate agents. When inbound calls are low, the system generates outbound calls. On the other hand, when inbound traffic is at its peak, the number of generated outbound calls is reduced.

In practice, in a blended call center, agents can be assigned to handle both outbound and inbound calls. For instance, if due to a low number of incoming calls agents are idle for a certain amount of time, the predictive dialer switches their activity to outbound calling. Similarly, if you run an outbound campaign, it may be important for your agents to receive inbound calls as well, as it’s quite common that customers don’t answer the phone if they are working or otherwise busy. In such cases, they may call you back and your blended agents can handle those incoming calls.

Perhaps the greatest argument in favor of call blending is that it helps you maximize the utilization of your resources. Using call blending, agents are able to maximize their Talk Time while handling multiple projects. As a result, idle time is reduced and your productivity increases.

 

Boost productivity by maximizing Talk Time!

As our previous blog post on call center efficiency talked about, it’s crucial to measure how much time your agents spend speaking. Therefore, it’s no surprise that increasing Talk Time is one of the most important call center productivity KPIs. And, of course, it also generates revenue: the more time your agents spend talking to your customers, the more revenue they generate (more about that later). But how can you boost your call center productivity by maximizing Talk Time? Well, that’s where call blending comes in.

Using call blending, when your phone lines are quiet, your agents can use this idle time to initiate follow-ups on abandoned calls or reach out to dissatisfied customers. With call blending, you not only utilize the time your agents spend talking to your customers, thus increasing Talk Time, but you also drive your business towards a better customer service by proactively reacting to issues.

Of course, for a successfully-operating blended call center, it is crucial that agents are able to handle both customer-based inbound and sales-based outbound calls in the same project. If you allocate time to properly train your team to deal with blended calls, the chances are good that your call center productivity will increase significantly.

 

So how do you increase your revenue using call blending?

If you want your business to bring in more money, perhaps this is time to start utilizing call blending. Boosting productivity is clearly important, but what if you take things a step further and use call blending to increase your revenue?

If you’re able to effectively manage telesales campaigns and maximize the time your agents spend talking to customers by using call blending, then it is more than likely they will be able to close more deals. Which, of course, equals more sales for your business. In addition, blending telesales and customer service activities will allow you to up-sell or even cross-sell your products during an incoming call.

Lastly, it is worth knowing that call blending will allow your agents to work in 3-4 different projects at the same time. Since the same operators will be working on different projects simultaneously, agent cost will be better distributed among the projects.

If you already blend your calls, calculate your cost and revenue optimization and see for yourself!

 

Blend not only your calls, but also your other activities!

Using call blending opens up many other options. As already mentioned, in blended call centers operators can work simultaneously on a number of projects. In other words, they are able to carry out and switch between different activities.

Just imagine: during an incoming call, your agents also conduct a customer satisfaction survey. Or maybe make an upselling during an inbound support call. In addition, regarding support services, agents often face complex issues that require a lot of background investigation. In such cases, instead of having the customer wait on the line, blended call centers can offer a callback, which significantly increases the customer experience and their trust in your organization.

For outbound call centers, call blending means more deals, while for inbound call centers, using blended calls result in an improved and more complete customer service experience.

 

One major challenge call centers nearly always face is to work out how they can effectively maintain a balance between their call operations, especially when call volumes quickly increase. Finding this balance is the first step on the path to success. With the proper planning and implementation of call blending, great results can be achieved: you can boost your productivity, increase your revenue, and deliver a more holistic customer experience.

Contact database quality

Posted on: January 29th, 2018 by viktorvarga No Comments

Contact database quality, as with everything else, deteriorates with time. The more you use it, the worse it becomes. How many times do you go through your contact database?

There are three ingredients needed for initiating and handling a productive outbound campaign. First, you need experienced agents on your end of the phone line. Then you need a reliable dialing tool or system to connect these agents to customers on the other end of the line. And of course, you need a reliable customer database. Take any of these ingredients out of the recipe and you are left with a guaranteed failure. Last week, we shared an article about the many dialing opportunities call centers have. Today, we would like to share our views on contact database quality, and how it gradually deteriorates over time.

 

Declining contact database quality

For outbound campaigns it is extremely important to reach as many contacts as possible. This is why agents are expected to attempt as many interactions as they can with customers. In order to achieve this, they normally use the same contact database several times. During the first attempt, agents will reach a certain amount of contacts in the database. Depending on the type of dialer used they mark each contact automatically or manually, based on the result of the call.

Based on the outcome of the call, we can define two groups: ongoing and completed. Ongoing calls are records marked as busy, needing callback, and so forth – records needing further attempts to contact. Completed calls, on the other hand, are reached contacts marked as “Successful” (a sale has been done) or “Unsuccessful” (wrong number, resulting in no sale, and so forth).  Based on these call dispositions, a second attempt takes place, with agents trying to call the previously unreached contacts once again. During the second and subsequent attempts, however, contact database quality inevitably deteriorates. Dialing takes more and more time, and reaching customers becomes harder and harder. From the graph below you can see how this looks like in reality.

Imagine you start a project with a completely fresh contact database. In the first attempt, your agents reach and close 26,67% of the records in the database. During the second attempt, they try to reach the remaining records from the previous round, but how big is the chance that reachability will be on a similar level? From our experience, it never is. In our data analysis, during the second attempt reachability fell to around 14.6% from the original database, which means 19.92% from the remaining contacts from the previous round. And in each and every subsequent attempt it gets lower and lower. In this particular project, agents needed to go through four attempts of dialing in order to close half of the contacts in the customer database.

Contact Database Quality - Statistics - VCC LiveThe statistics used in this example are taken from the analysis of real customer contact databases. The analyzed projects have started with a contact database containing 100% of previously unreached contacts.

As contact database quality decreases, the number of dials needed in order to reach a contact becomes higher. With every subsequent attempt, an agent (or the dialer system being used) needs to dial more numbers before they can handle a call. In the above example, during the first attempt every 3.7 dial was reached, while in the second attempt every fifth dial results in a reached customer. With every subsequent attempt, agents (or the dialer they use) need to dial more numbers before they can process a successful call. The graph below (taken from the same project) shows that, by the fifth attempt of dialing numbers in the database, only one in 13.5 calls was being reached and processed.

Contact Database Quality - Figure - VCC LiveResults taken from actual VCC Live client data analysis

 

The traps of bad contact database quality

Often customers don’t answer calls from unknown numbers or are contacted at an inappropriate moment. Sometimes, customers recognize the number calling them, and don’t answer the call on purpose. But why is it unproductive to keep trying to reach the same contacts again and again?

Relying on low-quality data or can bring a negative impact to your business. Imagine how much valuable time your agents spend trying to contact unreachable customers. If agents are using a manual dialer, this means they are spending too much unproductive time dialing and ringing, generating costs but no revenue. While redialing numbers from the same database several times seems logical enough, it can in fact cause multiple problems:

  • chasing unusable leads: instead of working on leads that can generate actual revenue, agents are busy redialing the same numbers, resulting in no business value.
  • poor data costs: time is money, and wasted time means lost money. If agents are not able to generate revenue, they accumulate hourly and daily costs without any revenue to cover them.
  • losing motivation: repeating unproductive tasks, such as redialing hard-to-reach numbers and listening to ringing tones, can have a demotivating effect on your agents and decrease overall morale in your team.

Of course there are ways to easily handle these issues and optimize your processes. Here are a few examples:

  • predictive dialer: a predictive dialer can process unreached numbers in the background and adapt automatically to your reachability ratio, and save agents the demoralizing time spent dialing and listening to ringing tones
  • keep your database updated: if you cannot reach a number after several attempts, don’t transfer this number to a new database. It is better to either try and reach this contact from another number, or remove it from your database for good.
  • rotate outgoing phone numbers: utilize a solution that allows your dialing system to rotate outgoing phone numbers. In case customers don’t take your calls because they recognize the phone number you are calling from, they might reply if you dial from a new and unfamiliar number.

But of course the best solution is knowing when to stop. There are only so many times you should attempt to contact someone. Implement rules for connection attempts and decide how many times your agents should attempt to reach a contact before moving on. Don’t spend time and money pursuing deals that will probably not generate the success you need to be lucrative.

 

To sum up, decreasing contact database quality can affect the overall quality of your work. And, with reference to the three ingredients mentioned above that make up the recipe of any successful outbound campaign, if you reduce your contact database quality, the quality of your dialing tools and experienced agents will, without doubt, also become reduced.

Dialers – the core of productivity

Posted on: October 24th, 2017 by viktorvarga No Comments

Manual dialer, power dialer, predictive dialer – does it matter which type of dialing system you use in your call center? Well, if you want to optimize the amount of time you actually speak with customers, then yes, it does.

A reliable dialer is to an outbound call center what an engine is to a car – it’s what keeps it running. The efficiency of call and contact centers is measured by their productivity and ability to communicate effectively with customers. A few weeks ago we published an article on Measuring call center efficiency, sharing details of actual data and measurements as experienced by some of our most successful clients. One of the key measurements related to efficiency is Talk Time per hour, or how much actual time per work hour agents spend speaking with customers. Time spent on other activities, such as manually dialing numbers and waiting for a ringing tone, can decrease the efficiency of any outbound contact center. This is why our article this week concentrates on the core driver of outbound communication – dialers.

 

Manual dialers

Manual dialers, as the name suggests, are dialers which require agents, once they are ready to make a call, to manually choose and dial phone numbers. This type of dialer gives agents time to prepare for a conversation, and allows them to get acquainted with the customer’s case and details. It’s perfect for complex issues, when agents need to go through scripts and make sure they are fully prepared for a conversation. At the same time, however, it is the most time-consuming dialing method. Apart from having to wait for customers to pick up the phone, manual dialing is also inefficient because of needing to:

  •   dial phone numbers by hand or clicking on a computer screen
  •   listen to voice mail messages or encountering a busy line
  •   register the disposition of the call before moving to the next one

Waiting for customers to pick up a phone can often take around 40 seconds per call, and sometimes even up to a minute. Any calls that end with an unsuccessful disposition mean that the time spent waiting for customers to pick up is unproductive. Furthermore, depending on the contact center’s system, it is often hard to extract reports, and measure agents’ efficiency and Average Handling Time.

Manual dialers can be divided in two types:

 

Hand dialing

Of all the dialing methods available to a call center, manually dialing digits on a phone dial pad is the least efficient and most time-consuming. The reason this dialing mode is so inefficient is simply that it takes a comparatively long time for an agent to process individual calls. Agents need to dial the digits on their dial pad by hand, then wait for the phone to ring and for someone to pick up or for the call to go to voicemail. And repeat this process again and again.

 

List dialing

List dialing means that, rather than dialing the digits on their dial pad by hand, operators simply click or choose the number they want to call from a list in their system. This dialing mode saves some time as there is no need for a dial pad, but agents still spend a lot of time clicking on contacts, as well as waiting for the phone to ring and for the customer to pick up.

 

Automatic dialers

Automatic dialers, as opposed to manual dialers, independently dial numbers from a customer contact database. Using automatic dialers, agents save time spent dialing and can concentrate on speaking with more customers. Automatic dialers are also the preferred option for handling customer contact databases. Customer databases are dialed several times in order to reach the maximum number of customers. During the first round, entries in the database are marked with different dispositions by agents (successful, unreached, and so forth). During the second and subsequent rounds, agents try to contact any valid, but previously-unreached contacts. Automatic dialers allow operators to quickly work their way through a large number of contacts, minimizing the time wasted with unsuccessful calls. If a certain phone number is not reached, then the system, based on its settings, redials it or automatically dials the next one, while remembering to redial the first one later.

 

Power dialer

Power dialers automatically start as many calls as there are free agents on the line. Once an agent finishes a call and becomes available again, the power dialer dials a new contact for them. It uses the same list as a manual list dialer, and is very useful in cases when customers have been promised a call back. The negative aspect is that, as with manual dialing, agents still need to wait for the ringing period and for customers to pick up. To summarize, power dialers help decrease dialing time between two calls, but do not save much time when it comes to database handling.

 

Predictive dialer

Predictive dialers use statistical data to help predict how many numbers need to be dialed so that all agents are always in an active call. Predictive dialers work by dialing numbers while agents are still in a call, often initiating more calls than the number of free agents on the line. By the time an agent finishes their previous call, the predictive dialer has already dialed the next number. Once the operator finishes their current call, the dialer already has the next call ringing and ready to handle. The Average Waiting Time agents spent between two calls is usually only a few seconds. The number of abandoned calls (a call initiated by the predictive dialer and answered by the customer while there are still no agents available to process it) is usually kept at under 3%. If it becomes higher than this, the predictive dialer automatically decreases the number of calls it initiates for agents. Predictive dialers can be divided into two sub-groups:

 

STATIC

A static predictive dialer means that a supervisor, referring to data such as the Ratio of Abandoned Calls and Average Available Time, calculates how many calls need to be initiated at any one moment in order to keep all operators busy. The supervisor can then feed this data to the dialer, for example setting the static predictive dialer to dial five phone numbers per agent. If the supervisor sees that the number of abandoned calls is growing, they can change the dialer’s settings accordingly. However, even though this is still considered a predictive dialer, in reality it is not. It doesn’t predict the needed number of calls itself, but rather operates based on the supervisor’s settings.

 

ADAPTIVE

An adaptive predictive dialer calculates and starts the needed number of calls automatically based on real-time statistics. It calculates the number of calls to be initiated by using many more parameters (and more frequently) than its static equivalent. It uses not only the number of abandoned calls, but also takes into consideration the average handling time, the time of day, and historical data.

 

Measuring dialer efficiency

There are many articles dealing with the pros and cons of manual and predictive dialers, such as this article shared on Callcenter Helper. But choosing the right type of dialer in itself is not enough. It is also highly important to accurately measure its efficiency.

Previously we shared a blog entry dealing with call center efficiency and KPI measurements. Now, let’s revisit this topic again, and share how some of our clients measure the efficiency of the dialer they use.

VCC Live Dialer Activities*waiting for customer to pick up

 

Activity Manual dialer Power dialer Predictive dialer
Dialing 5 min. 0 min. 0 min.
Ringing 30 min. 24 min. 12 min.
Talk time 15 min. 26 min. 38 min.
AUX 10 min. 10 min. 10 min.

Dialers play a key part in the efficiency of every contact center, helping agents contact customers and establish a connection with them. Using the right dialer is important, and not only because it saves time and reduces the amount of cumbersome tasks. If used well, a dialer can also help you reach more customers and grow your business. A dialer is more than just a tool helping you call customers, it’s an indispensable steering wheel in the complicated vehicle that is your contact center. It can drive you towards success.

Telesales with a unified approach: a case study

Posted on: September 14th, 2017 by viktorvarga No Comments

Telesales teams often struggle with handling the large volume of incoming calls that occur immediately after advertising their products or services on TV. Here is how Gigashopping, a company based in Portugal, solved this problem.

“Impulse shopping” – the previously-unplanned decision to purchase a product immediately after customers are exposed to it – is a well-known buyer behaviour characteristic. The number of incoming calls to a company’s telesales team usually rises significantly straight after telesales channels broadcast the company’s advertisements. Due to impulse shopping, it can be hard for telesales agents to physically process all incoming calls, and many customers need to be manually called back, which is a time-consuming task for the contact centres agents. This is what Gigashopping, an international telesales company based in Portugal, had been experiencing before they contacted VCC Live to ask them to help their agents with processing the large amount of incoming calls and callbacks they were receiving. In particular, Gigashopping, which operates in both Portugal and Brazil, was looking for a solution that would allow supervisors to oversee the work of internationally-based agents within a single software environment. Unifying the way Gigashopping handles their operations and introducing a new predictive dialler helped both supervisors and agents meet the challenges raised by the waves of impulse shoppers.

Our latest case study shows how VCC Live’s cloud-based solution for contact centres helped Gigashopping to process more calls, increase their number of successful deals, implement a holistic approach to their international telesales operations in both Portugal and Brazil, and meet their international telesales goals. Read the case study by visiting the Case Study section on our website. In the upcoming months, we are delighted to share many more examples of the benefits our clients experience with our solution. Discover the many possibilities VCC Live has to offer to its clients.