Based on feedback from their hosted dialler client base of around 120 companies, Hostcomm have summarised what they feel are the main benefits of using an automatic dialler. The return on investment with an auto dialler is especially quick if the organisation has been dialling numbers manually or using a click-to-dial process.
Increased agent efficiency
The most tangible benefit of an auto dialler is the huge increase in agent talk time per hour when compared to a non-dialler environment. Auto phone diallers work by making calls in a preset ratio of number of phone lines to agents. The dialler makes calls in volume “behind the scenes” and then connects answered calls to available agents.
The net result is that the agents experience a steady flow of connected calls throughout the day with a “talk time” of up to 40 or 50 minutes in the hour. This can be achieved by using the dialler in predictive mode. A predictive dialler starts to dial numbers before the agents are ready and ‘bets’ that a certain number of calls will be answered in a certain time. This achieves the highest possible agent talk time but results in a small percentage of ‘dropped calls’, which are processed according to Ofcom guidelines by the predictive dialler.
Customer service teams that do manual dialling typically achieve around 10-15 minutes talk time per hour. This is due to time wasted doing the following tasks:
- Dialing the phone number
- Manually dispositioning calls
- Listening to voicemails, busy tones and no-answer
- Leaving voicemails
- Scheduling call-backs
The commercial benefit is easy to see: 200-300% more productivity per hour with an auto-dialler (compared to manual dialling). The percentage increase is normally the same, regardless of the quality of data being used.
Increased productivity with blended campaigns
Most call centres deal with inbound calls only but a large number deal with inbound and outbound calls. The ability to deal with inbound and outbound calls simultaneously is the key to even greater agent productivity, the benefit being that the agent is theoretically always able to talk to a client. With an auto dialler, it is possible to do this by using a “blended’ campaign in which the same team of agents handle outbound calls and inbound calls at the same time.
The auto dialler automates the process of switching between inbound and outbound calling, which when done manually can be confusing for the agents and generally results in decreased productivity. The auto dialler is able to regulate the pace of the call flow by balancing outbound and inbound calls using several features like call queuing and variable dial ratios. Multi-tasking also results in more interesting work for the agent, which positively affects morale, especially in high throughput predictive dialling campaigns.
Keeping data fresh
Data is normally uploaded to a dialler manually or by an automatic process, usually a database synchronisation. The data generally needs to be called very quickly, especially when it consists of sales leads. The auto dialler is able to work its way through the data at a very fast pace, ensuring that the leads are kept warm. Furthermore, the dialler automates the process of recycling (calling back) voicemails, busy numbers and calls not answered. The auto dialler ensures that a large percentage of leads are followed up very quickly and professionally in a short space of time, increasing the lead:sale conversion rate substantially.
Professional and consistent brand
It is very difficult to set and stick to service level targets in a non-automated outbound or blended call centre. This is because the individual agents and supervisors have differing levels of capability, motivation and experience. Differing levels of performance can lead to inconsistent service and bad feeling within the agent team, and can increase staff churn. The auto dialler smoothes out these inconsistencies and forces discipline onto the team by automating dialling.
Dealing with a change in product sales strategy
Many companies have to alter their sales strategy quickly following changes in legislation, the economy or even the weather. An auto dialler makes this much easier because it already contains a large percentage of what is required for a successful customer service team. It also gives the supervisors the means to quickly retrain the agent team using live call coaching, call recording and scripting. Rebranding can be implemented quickly and the results monitored in real time.
All automated dialler operators need to perform within Ofcom guidelines or face heavy fines or prosecution. It is therefore risky to operate an automated dialler that does not have inbuilt compliance capability. Most automated diallers do have a minimum set of compliance feature such as:
- A maximum call drop timeout setting.
- The ability to automatically play a message to a dropped caller.
- Prevent dropped calls from being called back within a set period of time.
- Prevent calls from being made outside of certain time parameters.
- A maximum percentage of dropped calls within a 24-hour period.
The ability to react quickly to potential problems or areas of inefficiency is an advantage in terms of tuning a company’s competitive edge. An auto dialler provides statistics in swathes that can be viewed in real time. One of the main benefits of this is when monitoring agent performance. Statistics such as number of calls, average call time, number of sales, time taken in dispositioning, log in / log out times can all be seen via a web browser in real time. This visibility is also important when looking at the quality of data. Good quality data can be expensive and if the quality starts to deteriorate it is important to have the evidence so that the respective supplier can be challenged. Most diallers come with a wall board which displays the most important data in a summarised way for all decision makers to see.
This is a very important issue in a call centre, whether inbound, outbound, sales or debt collection. Despite popular thought, diallers generally improve agent morale. This is because they help agents become more successful, whether the objective is closing sales or collecting debt. Most sales agents are paid commission; the auto dialler simply makes it possible to earn more commission. Furthermore, the dialler strips away mundane, repetitive tasks such as dialling phone numbers, manually dispositioning calls and listening to endless ringing tones. Most agents would not move back to a non-dialler environment once they have worked with one. However, it can be difficult to move a team into an automated environment. It is therefore useful that auto diallers can be slowly changed over time from manual ‘click-to-dial’ mode to predictive mode so that change is not as abrupt.