Contact centre technologies – issue eleven

Hello, from Aculab call central.

In this post, an eleventh even, I’ll look again at the benefits of diallers. You’re welcome to post any questions in the comments section below.

In the last post, which you can view here, I looked at how the benefits of diallers and customer interaction solutions are viewed in relation to lost agent time. This post continues that theme by taking a look at the second of two areas in which the benefits of using call progress analysis (CPA) in conjunction with diallers are often judged. That is connection accuracy.

Wait time

As you read in the last post, the real culprit in terms of lost agent time is wait time. That isn’t time spent waiting for post-connect detection of an answering machine, which must be less than two seconds to comply with regulations, but is insignificant in terms of a time cost. It is waiting time between wrap-up and the next live connect, which is the concern of a dialler system, rather than an aspect of CPA.

CPA accuracy

With the accuracy of detecting human speech versus answering machines varying widely, call centre software developers need to be careful about their selection of CPA technology. There is a view that 80-85 percent represents the industry average for accurate determination between machines and the human voice. Some vendors would have you believe that the number of falsely detected voice connects would cost ’000s of dollars in lost agent time per year (see the previous post for more on that aspect).

What they are trying to say is that, 15-20 percent of the time, CPA software can be hoodwinked into determining that a call is answered by a human, when in fact it was answered by a machine i.e., the machine’s rendition of speech is so ‘human like’ it’s going to fool the detector.

In truth, the state of the art in CPA software means that if a call is answered by a machine with a typical greeting along the lines of, “Hello, this is Mr. Smith. I am sorry I am unable to take your call right now, etc.” the detection rate will be at or near 100 percent.

The important issues

In reality, the important error rate in CPA technology typically comes from falsely detecting an answering machine or voicemail greeting on calls that are really answered by a human. That is exactly the reverse of the commonly promulgated line and is why ‘false positives’ are an important metric (see an earlier post for more on that).

False negatives (it’s a machine, but CPA decided it was a human) aren’t really an issue (as indicated in the previous post), but false positives have a twofold negative affect. Yes, productivity can be impacted, but the loss of a sales opportunity through failure to connect with the called party can impact a collection agency’s bottom line far more than the short time needed for the agent to wrap up a call in the converse scenario ever could. Secondly, for the individual on the receiving end of an abandoned call, it can be a major cause of inconvenience or anxiety. That latter is a key issue and why abandoned call rates, as a percentage of live calls, are subject to regulatory limits.

The perverse view is that regardless of false positives resulting in dropping calls that should’ve been connected, the dialler will automatically continue to dial and connect further calls. If there’s no waiting time, agents are productive and, if it is a person on the line, there’s a revenue generation or collection opportunity.

Make the right choice

The ultimate advice is to choose your CPA provider well. If you do: i) your agents become more productive; ii) agents speak to humans more often than not, consequently, they get more revenue opportunities; and iii) you maintain or enhance customer satisfaction, because you avoid false positives and abandoned calls. That’s got to be good for business.

Check back next week for another thrilling instalment in this sequence of posts. Arrivaderci!

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  - Joeb Logger

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