Sytel Limited, a leading vendor of contact center software, is providing the technical lead for a working party to improve the detection of answering machines (AMD) by automatic (predictive) dialers.
The working party, comprising many outbound telephony industry stakeholders, will look into setting standards for networks to provide consistent signaling, so that automatic detection can be made 100% reliable.
Detection so far has relied upon automatic dialers making an educated guess as to whether the call has been answered by a live person. If the system incorrectly classifies a live person as an answering machine (known as a ‘false positive’), the call is hung up, creating a ‘silent call’ to the consumer. Ofcom has strict rules governing silent calls, and has issued substantial fines in recent years on companies who breach them.
Digital call answering services, rapidly becoming the norm, present an opportunity for improvement. By using the digital network facilities of ISDN and SIP the network can inform the system making the call that it is being forwarded to one of these systems. If this method is adopted throughout the industry, 100% accurate results become possible without the risk of AMD false positives.
The working party has been set up to design and implement standards that allow it to be used, and to work with Ofcom and telecoms providers to promote their use.
“This initiative has been a long time coming,” commented Michael McKinlay, CEO of Sytel. “Sytel is a founder member of the working party, and have campaigned for many years on issues of responsible outbound dialing. We have always advised against the use of standard AMD because it is inherently unreliable, often causing operators to breach Ofcom rules and annoy consumers while they are doing it. Network AMD, if it is implemented properly, will be a win/ win for both operators and consumers. Sytel is fully behind this initiative and is demonstrating our commitment by seconding Garry Pearson, CTO of Sytel, as technical lead to the project.”
Further details of the Network AMD Working Party can be found at http://networkamd.org.uk/