Outbound diallers can achieve far more than just increasing the throughput of calls. The latest features in cloud-based solutions can help to create a far more efficient, economic and compliant contact centre environment, while ensuring customer experience is not compromised.
This may not just mean actually increasing volume, but instead, a better quality of call for both the recipient and the agent. For instance, recent technology developments have made answering machine detection (AMD) a far more exact science than the hit-or-miss cadence solutions that contact centres have been using for years.
AMD is very topical in 2016, since Ofcom’s recent consultation on its ‘persistent misuse’ policy has put the spotlight back on nuisance or abandoned calls and how contact centres can best manage outbound dialling without infringing Ofcom guidelines. This has led to a re-focus on the effectiveness of AMD solutions, which were originally introduced as a means to improve efficiency, although ironically this has not necessarily been the case and can make Ofcom compliance an administrative headache.
On one hand, automatically connecting agents to more customers helps to streamline the whole outbound process; on the other hand, the more calls an operator makes, the greater the chance they will connect to answer machines when using traditional cadence AMD systems. The resulting impact on call abandonment is something Ofcom has been watching closely in order to protect end consumers. Their recent consultation on silent and abandoned calls invited comment from the industry and the results of the consultation are eagerly awaited.
Cadence-based AMD has always been limited by the inherent inaccuracies of a machine assessing whether or not a call has been answered by a human within Ofcom’s two-second permitted window. This, together with the testing, monitoring and reporting required by Ofcom outweighed any potential productivity gains, thus leading many organisations to cease using AMD altogether.
While it may be difficult to predict any future regulatory requirements, the fact is that AMD technology has developed considerably in recent times, meaning that contact centres can have the best of both worlds: an increase in outbound calls reaching real recipients, while at the same time, staying well within Ofcom’s guidelines, without onerous testing and reporting procedures too.
With much higher accuracy rates (99.9%), new algorithm-based technology (developed by Ultracomms) can enable an uplift in staff productivity of over 10 per cent, since agents reach fewer answering machines and have more valuable conversations with customers. The call connection delay and false positives associated with cadence AMD can also be avoided with the right technology.
The net effect is that abandoned calls from false positives are almost entirely eradicated, making it easier for contact centres to comply with Ofcom guidelines whilst still filtering out a considerable proportion of wasted agent calls.
Call blending comes into its own
Another area of innovation in outbound dialling is the evolution of call blending. While not new, this technique has really come into its own since the advent of cloud-based solutions, by removing the challenges of sharing workloads between diverse departments and different locations. With cloud based call blending solutions, the geographical limitations of remote management are removed while complete control of customer experience and advisor activity is retained.
Call blending gives contact centres the flexibility to deliver both inbound and outbound calls seamlessly to appropriately skilled agents, based on call traffic at any time. When inbound call volumes are lower, the dialler will generate more outbound calls depending on the number of available agents, and when inbound traffic increases, the dialler will automatically reduce the number of outbound calls in order to ensure agents are available to take inbound calls.
Using the dialler’s complexed algorithms to adjust to the flow of call traffic dynamically enables contact centres to increase agent productivity by using the same teams to handle both inbound and outbound calls. This can help to improve customer service by reducing call queuing, provide a more varied and challenging experience for the agent, as well as ultimately reducing operating costs for the organisation.
With developments in AMD, call blending and other areas of outbound technology, call centre organisations are in a strong position to improve the way they work, have more meaningful conversations with customers, improve the agent experience and reduce unnecessary costs. Outbound diallers have become a de facto tool in the contact centre and it is easy to take them for granted: so for anyone who has not taken a fresh look at what their outbound dialler is able to achieve, 2016 could the time to do so.