This month we are pleased to host an outside contributor; Richard Dearing, an experienced telecoms manager in the UK who has worked with a number of different predictive dialers for more than 15 years. Over to you Richard.
First, thanks to Sytel for giving me the chance to share my experiences. My subject is simple – predictive dialer performance under compliance.
But some history first. Since the UK regulations on dialers were introduced over a decade ago, I have worked with several enterprise dialers with the task of achieving maximum performance while maintaining compliance with Ofcom rules. For those of you not familiar with these rules, among other things they set a limit of 3% for abandoned calls. And Ofcom enforce their rules rigorously, any call center working outside them lays themselves open to hefty fines.
Naturally, I had to work with what I had; a predictive dialer and some manual control facilities. Some products offered an automatic control so that the compliance was handled without human intervention. However, in my experience, such systems never worked well and were always prone to overdialing, beyond 3%.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself working with the Sytel dialer. Initially, I was pretty apprehensive since I knew that automatic control of dialing didn’t work! And frankly I had enjoyed being part of a team that knew how to control the dialing process by constantly monitoring and changing overdial controls!
But my new employer was adamant; we had to use the Sytel dialer which had no manual controls. So, all we could do was to start a campaign and then just leave it alone! After my initial misgivings I realised that the Sytel approach was working. Just set a target for abandoned calls and the dialer sticks to it.
And even more to my surprise, performance in terms of talk time per hour was well above what I had been used to for equivalent campaigns with other dialers.
I hadn’t expected this, it had seemed to me that despite all the claims that dialer vendors make about their products, dialers are commodities with very little difference in performance between them.
Dialing was just a part of what I was doing but eventually I decided to talk to Sytel to try and understand how they did it. They pointed me at a web article, The Predictive Gain of Predictive Dialers – and the penny dropped!
I couldn’t wait to test the idea out on the Sytel dialer and was again amazed to see that despite the tough 3% limit, we were getting predictive gain in terms of talk time per hour that was well into double figures.
But let me tell you, it was a rude awakening as well. I had never done this test with other dialers, but it made me realise that I had been oversold for many years on their performance under compliance.
Giving up on ideas that are widely shared, no matter how bad, is never easy, but if you get the chance to improve your performance by embracing the way Sytel approaches things then my advice is do yourself a favour and try it out. And if you are not sure about this then please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to comment further.