The Basics of Outbound Projects
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes | Target users: New users
When setting up an outbound project, you can define virtually any aspect of how your outbound operations should work.
In this lesson, you will learn:
- What a dialer is, and what the types of dialer available
- What are some pre- and after-work activities
- Which dialer mode to choose
- What basic settings you should consider when configuring your first outbound project
The Basics of Dialers
A dialer is a core feature that automates the process of dialing phone numbers, reducing —or in some cases completely eliminating— the need for human input. Although, of course, manual dialing is also an option, using a dialer allows sophisticated algorithms to be utilized that, taking into consideration the quality of the database and record behavior patterns, execute complex calculations in real time in order to utilize agent effort in the most effective way. And of course, manual dialing can be used as well.
There are 4 different dialing modes available.
Manual mode: Agents select the next record to be called from the list dsplayed on their screens. As such, agents have to manually perform all subsequent call-related activities. Records visible to one agent are not visible to others. This is the least efficient dialing mode, but is recommended for projects that have long pre-call preparation times.
Outbound IVR: Outbound IVR is used to automatically establish connections between customers and the system without involving an agent. The system transfers an answered call to a specific inbound process. As it requires no agent input, it can be considered a fully automatic mode, but it can also be configured to allow your customers to quickly reach agents in just a few steps. This mode may include voice recordings played to clients, reading the client’s balance and payment due date, redirecting to an available agent or answering machine feature, etc.
Tip: Outbound IVR is usually used during the first level of debt collection to inform a customer that their debt due date has passed, giving details of the date and debt amount. You may also use it for educational and political campaigns.
Power mode: In Power mode, the system automatically initiates as many calls as there are number of available agents.
- When the system successfully reaches a customer, it automatically connects the customer to an available agent.
- If a call is unsuccessful (a customer is unavailable), the system automatically dials the next record, and the call is saved as a shared callback, without the agent having to do anything.
- In this mode, agents save the time they would have spent in prework and afterwork states, if the call is not reached.
Predictive mode: In Predictive mode, the system automatically initiates more calls than number of available agents. An advanced algorithm takes into consideration the average talk time, average time spent in afterwork, number of currently available agents and percentage of reached records. It ensures the highest agent utilization, with an average talk time of up to 45 minutes per hour.
Note: When working with automatic dialers, it is important to remain aware of the state of your database, and the workload, so that you can reach the highest efficiency possible.
The dialer is so intelligent that, if there are not enough agents in a project, the dialer automatically switches to Predictive Power mode (even before the algorithms adapt) to avoid an excess of dropped calls due to the sudden change in circumstances. When agents, within a set minimum, become available again, the system starts collecting information about calls and begins to work in Predictive Static mode. When the necessary number of calls for statistics has been collected, the dialer can switch back to its most efficient version, i.e. Predictive Adaptive. It is important to remember that a high fluctuation in agent numbers within a project can result in lower efficiency.
What Are Pre- and After-Work Activities?
Pre- and after-work activities are administrative tasks required of an agent before a call is initiated and after a call has ended. These also represent states in VCC Live® Desk, as follows:
Prework: Takes place after a record is selected but before a call is initiated.
Ringing: Includes both dialing and ringing time. The amount of time spent on this activity depends on the response time from the recipient’s side. On average it takes about 40 seconds, but can also be longer.
In call: If a call is answered by a recipient, the agent’s status changes to In call, until the agent or the recipient hangs up.
Afterwork: Activity that takes place after a call is hung up but before an agent finishes working with the record. For example, they are entering information about a customer and a final call disposition has not yet been saved, or there is some administration work to be completed in relation to the particular record.
How Do I Know Which Dialer Mode to Use?
- No agent involvement is needed and calls can be fully automatized
Predictive mode if:
- It does not matter which agent handles a call
- Maximizing efficiency is the most important factor
- Timing is crucial, and you need to call back clients as quickly as possible
- Your contact center handles more than 200 calls a day
Power mode if:
- Agents are assigned to individual records
- Your contact center handles more than 200 calls a day
What Are The Basic Settings to Consider
Whichever dialing mode you choose, there are some general settings you need to set.
Robinson list: An opt-out list of contacts who, for example, requested that you do not contact them again.
Call routing: Allows you to choose a telco provider for your outgoing calls.
Caller number: Assuming you wish your caller ID to be displayed, you can select a specific phone number to be displayed on your recipient’s device.
Note: Phone numbers are assigned to a specific call routing option, so the list changes whenever you change your routing selection.
Tip: You can also enable automatic number rotation of your chosen numbers.
Caller ID: Allows you to display or hide your numbers.
Click-to-Call: You can enable the Click-to-call function so that you can dial directly via VCC Live® Desk from your external systems. Read more about this function in the Click-2-Call section.
Agent timezone: If your agents work in different time zones.
What Are Some Recommended Efficiency Factors and Values When Using Predictive Mode?
- Average available time should no more than 40 seconds
- When using the Predictive dialer, time spent in call divided by total logged in time (excluding breaks) should be between 30-48 minutes
- Afterwork time should not exceed 5 seconds
- Total daily break time per agent should not exceed 1h 20 mins per shift