Contact centre technologies – Issue six

Hello, from Aculab call central.

In this post, the sixth of several more, I’ll continue delving into the scourge of abandoned calls in more detail, looking at reasons for call abandonment. If you’ve got a question, you’re welcome to post it below, in the comments section.

Effectiveness factors

In the previous post, I took a look at the first of three important factors, which impact on the effectiveness or success of outbound dialling campaigns. Those factors are: i) accuracy in detecting tones; ii) live speaker detection accuracy; and iii) call connection time.

In this post, I’ll look at the second of those factors, namely live speaker detection accuracy, or differentiating between human and non-human responses.

Are we human?

Once a call is answered (other than for fax or modem calls), the dialler needs to determine whether the entity on the other end of the line is a live speaker i.e., a human being or an answering machine or voicemail system (the so-called auto-voice condition).

Live speaker detection (LSD) is often used to screen out voicemail recordings or answering machines. That is very important, considering answering machine use is prevalent in many countries, particularly the United States and Canada.

Typically, campaign calls reach an answering machine as much as 80% of the time, especially during normal, Monday-Friday business hours, when a lot of folks are not at home. That means less than 20% of outbound call attempts actually reach a real person.

Or are we dancer?

Many prominent vendors argue that the main issue arises when the LSD software mistakenly determines that a call is answered by a human, when it should have detected a voicemail greeting. They point to loss of productivity in the time wasted by the agent before being able to release that call.

That lost productivity is an issue, but it’s not the key issue.

The key issue

If the LSD software mistakenly identifies that a call is answered by a machine, when in reality it was answered by a human, the call will be terminated and classed as an abandoned call. Those are the cases that matter. So don’t go barking up the wrong tree.

Those calls are known as ‘false positives’ and have a twofold 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 annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety. That’s the key issue and why abandoned call rates, as a percentage of live calls, are subject to regulatory limits.

Chose well and sleep soundly

So the ability to recognise a live speaker and avoid abandoned calls is a desirable capability from your call progress analysis (CPA) and LSD software.

Stop by next week for more, when I’ll be looking into the third of those three very important factors that have a bearing on abandoned calls, namely call connection time. Auf Wiedersehen!

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  - Joeb Logger

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