Contact centre technologies – Issue five

Hello, from Aculab call central.

In this post, the fifth of a few, 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.

Important factors

Last post, I took a look at the implications of outbound dialling for interactive voice messaging (IVM) or outbound voice broadcast from contact centres. That involved considerations for automated message playback and steps to reduce the impact of abandoned calls, which is often a regulatory requirement.

First up in this post, I’ll mention three very 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.

This post, I’ll focus on the first of those; accuracy in detecting tones.

Before a call is answered, a dialler has to contend with signals provided by the telephone network. The trouble is, with the telephone being designed for people, not computers, diallers need technology to differentiate and interpret signals, which the human ear would do instinctively. Putting a human ear to every call attempt is one answer, but I think we can safely dismiss that idea.

Technology for the bottom line

Technology provides detection accuracy in the analysis of call progress signals (CPA), which occur in four common scenarios:

  1. The phone keeps ringing unanswered;
  2. The line is busy;
  3. A special information tone (SIT) or ‘triple-tone’ is played on the line; or
  4. There is a fax or modem tone on the line.

Incidentally, SIT/triple-tones are usually followed by a recorded message, which states the reason behind the tone. Those can mean the number has been disconnected, denied, or misdialled, or all circuits are busy.

In each of these cases, the integrated CPA firmware you get from an enabling technology solution, whether it’s hardware- or software-based, will provide the dialler application with information it needs to manage the call, via an application programming interface (API).

Meeting your obligations

Look for user configurable options to set the length of time the system ‘listens’ for ringing, before hanging up. Why is that? In some countries that’s subject to regulatory guidelines. In the United Kingdom, for example, Ofcom stipulates that unanswered calls must ring for a minimum of 15 seconds before being terminated.

Managing the call means the dialler application can hang up and make a fresh call attempt, post the number for a later retry, or timeout and move to another call as appropriate and in doing so, remain compliant with your legal obligations.

Next post coming soon – don’t miss it

Check back next week for more, when I’ll be looking into the second of those three very important factors that have a bearing on abandoned calls, namely live speaker detection.  Ciao!

Joeb Logger Avatar
  - Joeb Logger

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