Predictive Dialer Featured Article

Playing It Fair With Predictive Dialers



"Playing fair" is a fundamental element of societal norms taught from the early stages of development. An example is children taught about playing fair with others out on the sports field. And while much changes as we age, playing fair continues to apply.

 
In the call center space, the "playing fair" concept can be the difference between remaining profitable, or not-- between having legal headaches and giant fines, and celebrating the higher road to compliance.
 
While this is sometimes not the easiest, most convenient way around things, fair practices play a significantly important role in professional call center calling practices.
 
OPC Marketing, a company providing predictive dialer solutions, promotes fair practices with the use of predictive dialers and includes on their website an outline of Predictive Dialing Fair Practices.
 
Some of these rules focus on the times at which callers can and should be reached and who does and does not qualify to be called.
 
"When presenting your Call Center Sales opportunity, you must: Call only between 8:00am and 9:00pm. These time restrictions do not apply if they are already a customer of your firm," the outline starts out by advising.
 
Start by asking for a moment of time, instead of jumping straight into the pitch. People will respect the two-way form of respect, since one another's time is valuable. If the person is busy, find out the best time to call, then schedule a call back in your Predictive Dialers software.
 
Also, bet you didn’t know it isn’t fair to pressure callers into buying without giving them some time to explore the opportunity or products. This old form of selling without time to make an intelligent decision is what’s referred to as "boiler room" call center mentality.
 
And it's only "fair"--- if your product is the best, it will outshine all others anyway.
 
Most importantly, OPC recommends in their “fair practices” outline that if those receiving your calls have made themselves aware of whats "fair" and are still getting pestered or annoyed by your cold calling Agent, they are able to retaliate "fairly" by placing them on your companies do not call list and blocking them from future contact.
 
They also have a right to complain to the firm's compliance officer, the FTC, and the states telemarketing regulator. Consumers have rights, and it’s better to respect them and move on to other consumers. After all, business will be booming when you play fair, and there are too many out there to call in one lifetime.
 

Speaking of fair, the moment someone requests to be put on your companies Do Not Call list, this request must be honored. Failing to do so and calling them in the future can result in some pretty heavy fines. To help with this OPC sells tools that clean out "Do Not Call" data from the Federal DNC call lists to ensure this won’t happen. When you import your calling list into the Dialer it “Cleans” the list and will not call--keeping you compliant with the law. This feature alone is worth the cost of the solution, if you’ve seen some of the latest fines that have been levied to non-compliant telemarketers in the news recently. 

Remember your companies Do Not Call List and the Federal Do Not Call List from the FTC are two completely different beasts, one is not the other. If someone asks to be removed from your list it is not the same as being removed from the other. You may need to inform some customers of this. The federal data gets updated every 30 days; you have a certain amount of time to stay compliant within the law for newly added DNC phone numbers. The FTC’s list is subscription based and you’ll need to keep up on those updates.

 
And to stress just how important this is, an article by TMCnet columnist David Sims referred to MSM outlet, The Washington Post as noting that, "Since the DNC Registry's launch in the summer of 2003 the FTC has brought "nine violation cases and four fraud cases related to the registry, including its first 'pure' do-not-call case last year against time-share telemarketers who made more than 300,000 sales calls to registered numbers, a breach that cost them $500,000 in civil penalties."
 
If that’s not a good enough reason to follow the rules and "play fair", what is?
 
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Stefania Viscusi is an established writer and avid reader. To see more of her articles, please visit Stefania Viscusi’s columnist page.
 

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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.

    Example:
    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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