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Missouri Company Faces Indiana Attorney General Over Robo-Caller Use

430 Indiana residents that allegedly found themselves on the bad end of some business calls from a Missouri air duct cleaning business may be seeing some relief soon, as Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed suit against the company, saying that the company called several individuals who were on Indiana's Do Not Call list.

The Missouri based company, reportedly doing business as Air Duct Cleaning and headed by Noach Palatnik, was said to have started making calls to Indiana residents in April, offering a duct cleaning service for $59.95, as well as free dryer vent and furnace inspections. The issue here is not the deal itself, but rather that, for the most part, robo-calling is illegal in the state of Indiana. It doesn't particularly matter the individuals targeted for calls are or are not on the Do Not Call list, but rather that the calls happened in the first place.

There are some exemptions, as is commonly the case with many laws, including exemptions provided for businesses that use robo-calling systems to advise employees of work schedules or from school districts calling on school business. Live phone operators can also be used in tandem with robo-calling systems, where the live operator gets permission to play an automated message. Palatnik, meanwhile, allegedly fit none of these exemptions, nor did it use live operators to get permission in advance, so the Attorney General filed suit. The Attorney General's suit is seeking civil penalties, attorney fees and a “permanent injunction against future Do Not Call violations.”

Attorney General Zoeller, meanwhile, offered up some remarks on the case itself: “My office is working hard to identify ways to better trace illegal calls and prosecute violators. This lawsuit is part of that effort and we will continue to use the resources available to protect Indiana’s consumers from unwanted calls.” 

Indeed, unwanted calls are the worst kind of calls, both for the consumer and for the business. Some businesses don't consider this, but likely should; placing an unwanted promotional call to a potential customer is a pretty good way to sour that customer's perception, and disincline that customer to work with the company that placed said calls in the future. That's a waste of valuable marketing for businesses, and a waste of time for the customer as well.

The proper use of robo-calling systems, with the use of predictive dialer methods and the like, can go a long way in giving businesses a way to put out the word about products and services while allowing actual humans to engage in other tasks. But that use needs to be proper—not to mention in accordance with applicable laws—in order to have the fullest effect. That's just what we're seeing in this case, and should provide an excellent object lesson for those looking to use such technologies in current operations.

Edited by Blaise McNamee
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What Are Related Definitions You Should Know?

Related definitions that you should know as you increase your understanding of predictive dialers include:

Dialer: generic term for any computer-driven device that places outbound calls and connects the answered calls to an agent or operator.

Agent: telephone professional to whom a predictive dialer sends the ready call.

Predictive Dialer: Predictive dialing was introduced for the purpose of increasing efficiency within calling centers. They are computer based system that automatically dial groups of telephone numbers, and then passes live calls to available agents. The SpitFire Enterprise dialer utilizes sophisticated algorithms to speed up and slow down the call rate based on, number of available agents, number of available lines, the campaign’s average call time and other statistical information.

Quick Connect: Quick Connect allows your agents to log in one-to-one with a phone line. This option is great for B2B purposes, especially when your agent needs to be on the phone line through the entire call.

Fixed Dialing: Fixed Dialing gives your call center manager the power to manually set the volume of calls. The software will then automatically dial a predetermined number of lines per agent. Fixed dialing is ideal for political campaigns, charity campaigns, and other situations drop call ratios are not a factor.

Auto dialer: makes thousands of calls screening for busy signals, no answers, fax machines while detecting answering machines/voicemail and delivers pre-recorded messages. SpitFireX Auto Dialer is a low cost solution for voice broadcasting.

How Do Predictive Dialers Work?

Predictive dialers use complex mathematical algorithms that calculate, in real time:

  1. the number of available agents
  2. the number of phone lines available
  3. the probability of reaching a human being at a specific number
  4. the time between calls required for optimum agent efficiency
  5. the length of typical agent/customer or
    debtor conversations
  6. the average length of time agents require to wrap up after a call

SpitFire Enterprise Predictive SEP is a fully blended call center solution that supports unlimited lines, agents, and campaigns. Its greatest strength is in its flexibility: multiple campaigns can be set up, viewed, and changed with the click of a button. With easy options for customization, data and dispositions can be catered to each campaign. In addition to our user-friendly interface, SEPhighlights full customer data and combines multiple campaigns on one screen. All the information your agents need is accessible at a glance, freeing their energy to focus on what matters: the calls.

Keep It Simple with SpitFire Fully Integrated Call Center Software

Our greatest priority is making your call center run smoothly, and we do that by developing software that is intuitive and easily integrated with your current systems. SEP works seamlessly with most CRM applications and long distance carriers, making it the simplest and most cost-effective solution for your call center.

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Benefits of Using a Predictive Dialer

  1. Manages the process of dialing tens of thousands of calls or tens of millions of calls in its lifetime.
  2. Detects the result of the call, as an example: no answer, busy, fax, bad number, answering machine without any presence of human expertise. Consequently saving time by only transferring calls which are voice connects to the agents locally or remotely.
  3. Using predictive dialer increases the productivity of the company by drastically increasing the time agents spend on the phone talking to actual customers or prospective clients.
  4. Predictive dialer users get the ability to organize and better manage the client information, no lost notes scribbled on pieces of paper. The database used by the dialer organizes the calling structure.
  5. The most significant task done by the predictive dialer is to predict, which means always making an effort to get a live call to the available agent with the shortest amount of wait time. This is achieved by self learning algorithms within the predictive dialer to increase or decrease the dial ratio per agent, logged into the system.
  6. Inbound call can be better dealt with by allowing the customers to wait on hold in an IVR system, or a way to leave a message they'd like a callback while the agent is busy talking with other customers.
  7. Most important benefit of a predictive dialer is it reduces expenses for your company over a period of time since you do not need to buy and deploy a complex and sometimes extremely expensive PBX system. Your company will experience return of investment (ROI) in a period of six to twelve months.
  8. A predictive dialing system can effortlessly fit into your companies existing infrastructure since it is software controlled.
  9. The call routing logic and the contact management is all included in one software package. Your call routing logic implemented as per your specifications. Since it is a software package it can easily be upgraded even if you are located remotely with the help of internet.
  10. Provides an added cost effective method of managing the client database by giving the user of the predictive system ability to rework your database on previous call results.

    1. only redial records which were busy, no answers and answering machines
    2. Delete records which are bad numbers, disconnected numbers or operator intercepts
  11. Do a real time look up against the do not call database saving the predictive dialer user from accidentally calling people who have enrolled in the do National not call registry. This saves the company from lawsuits and others risks conforming to all legal statutes and FCC complaints.
  12. Provides progressive dialing capabilities like call blending which means handling inbound and outbound call at the same time.
  13. Provides ability to integrate call recording devices and call monitoring interfaces which helps call center supervisors to train agents and users and improve their customer support skills.
  14. Easy to setup and learn the predictive dialer logic and software tools.

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