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Customer Interaction Solutions
October 2006 - Volume 25 / Number 6

IntelliCastTM Turns The Science Of Outbound Notification To Art

A Special Editorial Series Sponsored By West Corporation

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Automated interactive notifications have garnered a lot of interest in the contact center industry as of late — the primary reason is that live outbound agent service is expensive and may cost more per transaction than is gained by the outbound call.

Additionally, in highly competitive markets where customer satisfaction is paramount to minimize customer churn and maximize revenue, interactive notifications are an inexpensive yet effective way for a company to proactively communicate with their customer base. This proactive communication not only helps strengthen the customer relationship, but will also help minimize more expensive calls to the customer contact center. There are many different ways companies can leverage interactive notifications today.

For example, payment reminders or collections work for small balances is often avoided in the live agent environment, as the cost of the call may exceed the potential gain. Imagine that a large company has 100,000 customers with outstanding debt of $20 each. Should 100 percent of that debt be collected, the company would gross $2 million. However, the cost to use outbound live agents might exceed $20 per call, thereby causing the company to abandon the project as unprofitable. An automated campaign can intelligently initiate automated outbound contact to customers with outstanding debt and gently remind them that their payment is due. Because the system is interactive, the customer is also provided with the ability to pay with a credit card at a fraction of the live agent rate per call. This can lead to a very high projected return on a small investment.

In addition to collections, interactive outbound notification is also useful in many other horizontal types of applications such as appointment confirmations and reminders, prescription reminders, benefits confirmations, utility outages, political messages, employee scheduling, security and safety alerts and a host of others for which live outbound service is either not possible, not desirable or not economical. The West IntelliCast product specifically addresses these growing market needs.

Multichannel Support
Just as with inbound customer contact, consumers have preferred methods of receiving notifications. IntelliCast is a multichannel solution and is able to deliver messages via landline and wireless voice, short messaging (SMS) or e-mail to handheld devices including PDAs, wireless phones and two-way pagers, to an e-mail inbox or a fax machine.

The IntelliCast interactive voice platform can deliver over 400,000 customized voice messages per hour. In addition, the notifications platform can also support over 14 million e-mail/pager notifications per day, and over 3,000 fax pages per hour. The power of the IntelliCast solution is that it combines industry feature functionality with robust campaign management and reporting flexibility. This combination provides businesses with the ability to build custom campaigns that reach customers more rapidly, with greater efficiency and at a lower cost than other traditional notification methods.

The “Art” Of Customizable Options
Using IntelliCast, companies with outbound notification needs can customize, manage, create and execute notifications based on their unique objectives and business rules, via a secure and easy graphical user interface (GUI). IntelliCast allows companies to set business rules and create and change notification content and contact strategies. Users can instantly create notification groups and upload call recipient lists via an intuitive, Web-based interface, or through batch or real-time data feeds.

IntelliCast offers custom dialing rules to allow companies to tailor every aspect of a campaign, including delivery priority, response options and escalation configurations to maximize customer contact. The solution offers advanced answering machine detection technology and can deliver different messages based on whether the call is picked up by a live person or an answering machine. Users can manage device preferences, delivery logic and “follow me” rules that specify sequential contact attempts for multiple devices. IntelliCast offers retry logic, which can be specified for network intercepts, busy signals and unanswered numbers, including attempts, intervals and expiration rules. The solution allows users to customize caller I.D. listings with phone number or client name to maximize customer awareness of the calling party.

Two-Way Interactivity
There are many outbound notification solutions on the market designed to merely play a recorded message or send an automated e-mail. While this can be helpful in some cases, it is a very static process. The communication travels one way only, and customers, should they wish to take further action, must be relied upon to make contact with the organization at some future time, lowering the chances for transaction completion.

IntelliCast is fully interactive; customers have the opportunity to complete a transaction or transfer to a live agent for more help or additional information on the spot, raising the likelihood of call resolution within the automated system. Campaigns can be fully automated or integrated with intelligent routing platforms to live agent contact centers or other alternative communication channels, as required.

The solution offers tools to make the notification truly interactive, including:

• Right Party Connect, which authenticates the intended call recipient to improve the customer experience and avoid fraud, and verification methods including capture of unique security codes and/or identity confirmation via biometric voice authentication (speaker verification).

• Advanced Speech Recognition. IntelliCast supports advanced speech technology (in both English and Spanish, with the ability to support another 26 languages if necessary) for voice-to-text conversion to enhance customer interaction and self-service.

• Text-to-Speech Services: IntelliCast offers the capability to convert textual information into speech that closely resembles the natural human voice. Custom dictionaries ensure audibility and proper pronunciation of names, abbreviations and acronyms. The integration of text-to-speech and CRM databases delivers unique customer treatments via personalized messages.

Real-Time Reporting And Analytics
Because in today’s call center reporting and analytics are equally as important as the customer interaction themselves, IntelliCast offers both. Real-time campaign reports allow users to track their progress. Information management tools provide timely online desktop reporting that is organized around business results and presented as executive dashboards. Historical summaries are also available and customized reports can be provided via West Interactive’s secure data warehouse.

Users also have access to detailed campaign analytics for program tuning and insight into customer behavior and preferences. Call disposition reports can check time stamp records for each call delivery; confirm live answers and answering machines reached; review transfer rates, survey results and data collection reports; and verify status of busy/unanswered numbers, SIT and fax tones.

IntelliCast is based on open industry standards and is supported by three geographically dispersed and fully redundant data centers. CIS

For more information, call 800-841-9000 and visit www.west.com.

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