This article is dedicated to sharing important performance boosting tips for your Ytel Cloud Contact Center. Keep in mind every system configuration may not be the same as business models vary throughout the call center spectrum, however these are a few helpful items that will dial in your performance.
Number of agents to increase efficiency
The amount of agents logged into the system can believe it or not increase or decrease the effectiveness of the contact center's outbound dialing campaign.
One way to gauge the success of an outbound dialing campaign is the time an agent waits between calls. Lets face it, a company doesn't hit their goals while an agent is waiting for a call. The more time an agent is on the phone the company is one step closer to hitting their goal, sale, etc. The best way to decrease the wait time between calls is to maximize the dialing algorithms programmed in a campaign. The way to do that is have at least 15 agents logged in per outbound campaign. Having this as a campaign agent minimum will do the following:
1. Allows the dialing algorithms to operate efficiently. Effectively taking into account drop percentages, agent wait time averages, etc. for any of the Adapt dialing methods.
2. Allows for efficient line pooling. Line pooling is an important aspect of outbound dialing campaigns and creates a team functionality when distributing calls to agents. It is important to note that the system dials outbound for a campaign and is influenced by the number of agents. It does not dial outbound for the agent(s) specifically. Therefore, when the system dials out and contacts answer the phone the calls will be distributed to the agents typically by the longest agent wait time. (other options exist as well). Basically, line pooling allows for answered calls to be distributed to available agents in a campaign regardless of if the system used that agent in the determination of the number of lines to dial in the first place. Meaning calls will not be lost if their is an available agent in the campaign to take the call.
System Lead and List Limitations
It is important to note that the system runs optimal when there is less than 2 million leads total in the database. Remember Ytel Cloud Contact Center is not a lead storage bank where leads are stored indefinitely. This can lead to an ever increasing database size and will lead to problems at some undetermined time. The reason to have a trim database with under 2 million records is the system relies heavily on the database for everyday instant operation and when certain tables hit maximum threshold it can slow down the database response, creating real time problems for Call Center operations.
The next important limitation is to have less than 150 lists total in the system at any one time. This includes both Active and Inactive lists. The reason for this is there are certain pages and operations that run queries for each list and when their are over 150 lists the number of queries running at that specific moment can reach a maximum threshold and can slow down the system operation.
The last important limitation is having less than 100,000 leads in any single list. Again there are certain queries that run on a list and if the number of records in the list is under 100,000 the query(s) will be more efficient. Also, when exporting data out of the list, you typically wont be able to export and download a record count above 100,000 due to webserver limitations. Last, there are certain reports that will run better when lists are under this threshold. Therefore, it is important to keep lists under this threshold.
If you are already above any of these thresholds please contact Ytel Support and we will be able to assist you with some data management options. Options may include, removing unused lists, removing old data, removing the number of lists, combining lists, consulting on an external archive database, etc.
Again the limitations suggested for optimal data management are:
- Have less than 2 million leads TOTAL in system
- Have less than 150 lists TOTAL in system
- Have less than 100,000 records in a single list
De-Duping New Leads on Upload
It is important to check for duplicates when uploading new leads. Depending on the business strategy it is more efficient to not waste the dialer/agent time on calling leads that have already been spoken to. If there are multiple vertices/companies on one system this can change the strategy. When uploading leads to Cloud Contact Center there are the options to Check for duplicates in List (Recommended to Always use), Check for duplicates in Campaign Lists (Recommended if their are different business vertical in the system), and Check for duplicates system wide (Recommended if same business vertical in whole system). The important take away here is to not waste dialing time and agent time on leads that have already been worked if it can be avoided.
The hopper is a holding queue for leads that are in line to be dialed. Leads are copied from lists and added to the hopper to be dialed. Once a list is dialed it will no longer be in the hopper, then the status is changed and reflected in the appropriate list. NOTE: the rule of thumb for the hopper is the hopper size should be around the same amount of calls your campaign will dial through in a minute.
For example: 20 agents dialing at about a 5:1 ratio. This means about 100 calls every 30 seconds or 200 calls in a minute. The hopper size should be 200.
NOTE: The hopper is set to reload every minute so you don't want the hopper to empty before it is set to reload if the dialing speed ratio is greater than the hopper level.
Setting the appropriate campaign dial time out setting is very important. This is already hard coded in our X5 version but can be modified upon request to support. Dial timeout is the amount of time you want the system to wait on a ringing call before it gives up. This is a delicate setting that can directly influence the Agent wait time. We recommend having the dial timeout set at anywhere from 32 to 36 seconds. The theory is if a customer doesn't answer sooner than 30 seconds the chances of a human answer after 30 seconds greatly depreciates. If the setting is set to high (say 50 seconds) you are in essence wasting dialing time on a call that is most likely going to be a No Answer or Answering Machine. If this setting is set to low (say 20 seconds) you might not be giving contacts enough time to answer the phone. It is a fine line.
High percentage of NA Status = you may want to increase the dial time
High percentage of AA Status = you may want to decrease the dial time
NOTE: Adjusting the dial time can adversly effect the time your agent waits between calls and should only be adjusted in small increments so you can monitor performance.
NOTE: Answering machine detection is an important factor in this setting. If AMD is turned off and the goal is to leave messages on answering machines you may increase this setting to around 60 seconds. Please expect long wait times between calls though for your agents.
Dialable Statuses Review
It is important to fully grasp the concept of dialable statuses in a campaign. When a lead is uploaded to the system it automatically gets the status of NEW. As soon as the system attempts to call a lead it receives a new status. Once either the Agent or the System disposistions the call it receives a new status (ex. AA, Sale, NI, NA). The Dialable Statuses Section in the campaign is the place you select which statuses you would like to authorize the system to dial when a list is reset, or lead recycle rules are set up. Remember, NEW will always be a dialable status because you always want to dial new leads. This is basically for the other statuses you wish to include and based on dialing rules in other sections, dial those leads.
NOTE: We have set up default Dialable Statuses when a new campaign is created. You may however alter or deviate from those statuses, but be cautioned this can have adverse effects on the performance of your system if not managed properly.
If done properly, enabling inbound on a system where the agents answer the calls can increase a company's goal by 30%. Goals meaning: Sales, Transfers, Leads, appointments, applications, etc.
Customers will often call back a missed call or the caller id they see on their voicemail, so it is important to have agents that can field these calls. You have the option to send calls directly to a specific agent(s) via a queue or you can filter the calls to a call menu first then send them to an agent queue. In either case it is important to have an agent script in place for the inbound call so the agent can adequately handle the Inbound call (vs. an outbound call greeting).
Again previous Ytel studies have concluded a 30% increase in hitting the companies goals.
Areacode Caller ID is a very important feature in optimizing performance and can increase the human answer percentage on an outbound dialing campaign dramatically. A DID must be purchased for each areacode in this setting and must route back to the system. (See previous section for Inbound performance increases). The way it works is for a specific areacode you can specify which of your DIDs you wish to display as the caller id. The reason the human answer rate increases is a person is much more likely to answer if they have a phone number of 949-XXX-XXXX and you call them from the same area code or a near by areacode. We offer two packages currently... one DID per state or one DID per area code. Ask your sales rep for details.