Call Progress Detection

We have written various articles regarding this topic. This one is updated to reflect changes in the user interface and specifically to address the cloud solution.

What is Call Progress Detection

The key to any automated dialer system or software is the ability to tell whether a call is answered by a live human or a machine. For predictive dialer, live answers are transferred immediately to agents and machine answered are either skipped or a voice mail message left after the beep. Unfortunately, there is no standard signal or indicator from the telephone service that dialer can use for this purpose.

The process to detect live answer vs. machine answer is called call progress detection. It basically analyzes the initial phone audio and makes a decision based on some criteria. Earlier dialers use some simple and not so smart detection algorithms, largely because computers are not that fast to analyze the data in real time, some systems use hardware for this purpose. Modern dialers like Voicent dialers, mostly use software algorithm for detection.

Can Detection Algorithm Achieve 100% Accuracy?

No. Technically it is impossible to achieve 100% accuracy because the lack of standard signal and the detection must be made in the first few seconds in real time. In addition, the way people answer the phone, the timing, and way people’s machine messages are all different. No system today (probably in the future) can be 100% accurate. The best system for prediction is probably the human perception system. But even humans make mistakes from time to time.

Just imaging you make a call and you can only hear the audio in the first second. You may hear someone says “hello” and the audio cut off. By just analyzing this short audio clip alone, it is not easy to tell whether it is a live answer or a machine message starts with hello. Obviously the algorithm needs to take other things into consideration to make a better decision, but the difficulty remains.

When the detection algorithm makes a mistake, it can cause problems like these: there is a delay before the audio message is played; the system does not leave a message on answering machine; the message on answering machine is being cutoff; no popup screen for live answer for some predictive calls; machine answer is connected to agent.

We believe Voicent have the best algorithm

Voicent has spent a lot of development time to improve the accuracy. Our detection algorithm is based on intelligently analyzing the incoming audio and apply the best fit statistical patterns based on a large amount of data collected. Since our products has been on the market for more than fifteen years, Voicent software is battle tested in real world and the accuracy is second to none.

You Can Control the Algorithm

The longer the software analyzes the audio (delay), the more accurate it gets. So if you can tolerate more machines be treated as live answer (agents can just hang up the call), you can shorten the delay. In special situations (such as only calling businesses), you can turn off the detection algorithm – no delays but all calls are treated as live answer. To control the settings, go to Setup, Account, Call Control page.

call progress detection settings

Balanced Default settings. Recommended for general usage.
More Aggressive Use less time to detect. More machine answer will be treated as live answer.
Most Aggressive Use least time to detect. Almost all machine answer will be treated as live answer.
No Detection No time to detect. Treat every call as live answer as soon as the call is answered.

Recommendations for Agents

When a detection is made, the system connects the call to agent right away. The connection is happening in computer time, which means it does not create discernible delay unless the computer is really slow and the network has some extra delays. Below are some recommendations for agents:

  • Try to talk as soon as audio is established. Do not wait for the whole CRM page is displayed.
  • Do not run other software in the background, especially those use audio.
  • do not use a wireless headset, use a USB based one.
  • When your computer gets sluggish, reboot.

Posted in Call Center Software, Predictive Dialer |

Mass delete contact in CRM

I have a question regarding Mass deleting – We have uploaded several listing into the database and now want to start deleting several of the old listings. What is the easiest way to MASS delete a group of listing as opposed to just deleting each on individually which seems to take a lot longer? Please advise.

As you mentioned, you can delete a list and its members by clicking the x button on the right of the list.

For mass delete option, it is applied to search result and advanced search result. For example, if you search all contacts with first name “Mike” and resides in California, the search result can be deleted all together. You can also search for contact records created before certain date, then delete all of them using mass delete.

Posted in Call Center Software, Tips & Tricks |

What Is Predictive Dialing? [An In-Depth Look]

What is Predictive Dialing Software?

Predictive dialer software uses advanced automatic dialing technology and intricate algorithms to match the number of agents available with the number of dialed calls being answered. Before this innovative software hit the scene, basic automatic dialing methods were used to make rapid, widespread calls without considering the number of live agents available to actually speak with the recipient if and when they answered the call. Not only was this a waste of resources for businesses using automated dialing for marketing purposes, but it often resulted in a poor customer experience due to the impersonal and slightly invasive nature these calls had.

With the ability to do everything from skipping busy and unanswered phone lines to avoiding disconnected lines and leaving voicemails, predictive dialing software can significantly help boost agent productivity. By only involving your agents when a live person answered the phone, you’ll no longer have to worry about wasting valuable agent time and risking the success of your company’s bottom line.

How Does Predictive Dialer Software Work?

The most time-consuming part of outbound dialing for agents is answering machines, either to skip it or leave the same message again and again. On average, agents reach machines more than half the time or even worse, depending on the time of day. This means half or more of your agents’ day is wasted!

A predictive dialer solves this problem by making more calls than the number of available agents, usually in 1 to 2 ratio. In the simple case, one agent uses two lines to call, if one line is answered by a machine, the dialer either skips it or automatically leaves a message – all without human intervention. If a call is answered by a live human, the dialer connects the call to an agent right away. So basically while the agent is talking to customers, the dialer is handling machines automatically in the background.

If both lines are answered by a live human and there is only one agent available, one of the calls is dropped (dropped calls). A predictive dialer will try to predict whether a call will be dropped or not and automatically adjust the dialing speed. By the nature of the algorithm, dropped calls cannot be completely eliminated.

Normally, when you have more than one agent, the dropped call happens less. In addition, the dialer automatically pauses when all agents are busy; it resumes automatically when an agent becomes available.

This allows agents to maximize their time, broaden their target audience, and capitalize on the effectiveness of predictive dialing technology. This software has proven to be a valuable resource for companies looking to create an exceptional business experience.

Who Uses Predictive Dialer Software?

Predictive software technology is commonly used by businesses for purposes such as telemarketing, market research, requesting customer feedback, and identifying weaknesses or strengths in the customer experience. Additionally, depending on the business’s area of expertise, predictive dialing software can be used as a means of debt collection or important notifications. This makes predictive dialing a critical tool for marketing agents, sales reps, and call centers.

It’s important to note, however, that predictive dialing software isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every business. Distributors of fine art, for example, might find that the automatic nature of predictive dialing doesn’t allow the time needed to research their target clients or do the groundwork needed to make the call as effective as possible. If your business is thinking about integrating predictive dialing software, consider doing a risk-free trial first, to make sure it works best for your wants and needs.

How Effective are Predictive Dialers?

Because predictive dialing isn’t the right fit for everyone, the reported effectiveness of the software is variable and inconsistent. Though it may have little to no effect on some businesses, others report that predictive dialing has increased their agents’ productivity by 200 to 300%, instead of wasting valuable time dialing phone numbers (which takes about 30-seconds per call—time that adds up quickly), manually arranging calls, listening to answering machines, busy tones, and no-answers, leaving voicemails and scheduling call-back times.

Voicent Predictive Dialer is particularly great for:

  • Call center outbound campaigns with many agents
  • Business marketing campaigns by a single user
  • Political campaigns to reach more voters
  • Nonprofit fundraising campaigns
  • Campaigns to deliver consistent marketing messages by agents
  • Debt collection

    All in all, while the effectiveness of predictive dialers isn’t the same for every business, for those it works for, it really works.

    How Much Does Predictive Dialing Software Cost?

    Before purchasing a predictive dialer software (on-premise), consider using Voicent’s cloud service. It is much easier to use and you have no software and hardware to manage and maintain. The price starts from $19 per user per month.

    The cost of predictive dialing software can vary a lot depending on what features you want, and how many users you’ll have. When requesting a quote find out if there is a yearly or monthly fee, and a per call or per minute fee, and whether the dialer can be used internationally. Some systems may be relatively inexpensive with monthly, yearly, and per call fees, while others may be more expensive with no fees. Voicent’s systems cost a flat fee, and include free upgrades if you buy a maintenance contract.

    Think about the size of your calling list as well. If you make fewer than 20 or 30,000 calls a month, a small system dialing up to 120 calls per hour might meet your needs quite well. At Voicent, we’re aware that every business has its own unique marketing needs. So instead of offering one predictive dialing software package, we offer several. Our packages come in the form of channeling systems, with each channel opening a line to make a call. One-time payment packages include:

  • 1 Agent | 2 Channels | Up to 120 calls/hour
  • 3 Agents | 8 Channels | Up to 480 calls/hour
  • 8 Agents | 16 Channels | Up to 960 calls/hour
  • 10 Agents | 20 Channels | Up to 1200 calls/hour
  • 12 Agents | 24 Channels | Up to 1440 calls/hour
  • 16 Agents | 32 Channels | Up to 1920 calls/hour
  • 20 Agents | 40 Channels | Up to 2400 calls/hour
  • 24 Agents | 48 Channels | Up to 2880 calls/hour

    In addition to no monthly, yearly, or per call/per minute fees, Voicent predictive dialing software can be used internationally.

    4 Types of Dialing Software from Voicent

    In an effort to make our software as accessible as possible, Voicent has developed four types of dialing modes:

    1. Progressive: Dials the next call automatically as the agent finishes a call. Increases efficiency but can make it difficult to take a break between calls.
    2. Preview: Shows the next call in line. Agent clicks the call when ready. Useful if the agent has to read notes or do some research on the client before calling.
    3. Manual (click-to-call): Useful if the prospect refers you to another phone number.
    4. Predictive: If you’ve answered the phone and waited a few seconds for a reply your call was likely made by a predictive dialer dialing more numbers than there are agents available. The dialer’s algorithm predicts a certain percentage of calls will not be answered and over dials accordingly, but there’s not always an agent to reply when a call is answered, so some calls are abandoned. One drawback is that both the FTC and the UK’s Ofcom have stringent rules about abandoned calls, and penalties can be stringent.

    With easy management tools like Live Connect, automatic time zone adjustment, advanced OptPace volume pacing algorithm, detailed campaign reports, and more, you can have the ability to make hundreds of calls per minute which will ultimately help you boost your bottom line.

    Posted in Predictive Dialer |