Engage Voice | Intro to outbound dialing

The Dialing section of the platform deals with any calls leaving the system, whether they’re dialed by an agent or a dialer — or triggered by an API call. Within the platform, agents have the availability to handle outbound calls alongside inbound calls and chats via the integrated agent interface.  
 
Typically, outbound calls are accompanied by a script, which serves as a visual prompt for agents to use when interacting with leads and customers. While scripts can be prepared and assigned via the Script Designer section of the platform, scripts can also be assigned to campaigns via the Dialing configuration settings. 
 
Outbound dialing settings can be found via the Dialing product menu option in the left-hand navigation bar. Here, you can configure and manage outbound campaigns, from choosing the appropriate dialer to selecting campaign start and end dates, to managing schedules, leads, compliance, and more.

Outbound dialing components

Let’s talk about how the outbound dialing system works and get some perspective on how the different parts fit together. One of the first things you’ll do when beginning to set up the system for outbound dialing is to create a dial group to house your campaigns.

About dial groups

Dial groups are configurable groups of (outbound) campaigns that can be differentiated by the type of dialer you are using. When you assign agents to one or more dial groups, those agents will have the ability to dial on all campaigns associated with those dial groups. 
 
Once you’ve created a dial group, you can choose the appropriate dialer to apply to that group (Preview, Predictive, etc.) and configure a few settings that will apply to all the campaigns that get put into that dial group.
 
While you can create multiple dial groups — each of which can use a different dialer — please note that agents can only ever be actively logged into one dial group (and thus only using one outbound dialer) at a time. 
 
You’ll notice that when you configure your agent login screens, you can give agents the option to make multiple concurrent choices from a list of inbound queues, but when it comes to outbound dialing, they will only be able to choose one dial group to dial on at any given time.

About campaigns

Next, let’s talk about campaigns. Campaigns are grouped within dial groups and can be used as a means of segmenting your outbound calls. You can configure campaigns however you like, and you can use them to make both international and domestic calls.
 
Use your campaign settings to create dialing schedules for each campaign, direct the system to record outgoing calls, set up dispositions to record call outcomes, decide on requeuing rules, and even choose area code-based Caller IDs.

About leads

Leads are typically classified as contacts who have expressed some kind of interest in your company. For our purposes, we refer to your outbound contacts — whether they’re ‘end-users’ or existing or prospective customers — as leads. 
 
Leads represent the folks whose phone numbers you’ll want to aggregate and segment according to your own criteria into different campaigns. Once you put together a lead list, you can upload it into the system and assign it to a campaign, activate or disable it, and choose a level of dialing priority for it.
 
The system allows you to upload lead lists that contain additional data beyond the basic lead contact fields like lead first name, last name, address, etc. You can either use auxiliary fields to access the custom data, or you can set up custom lead data fields to load additional lead information into the system. 
 
As you upload a new lead list, you’ll get the opportunity to map the columns of lead data so the system will know where to find your different lead data types. 
 
Once you map a lead list, you can choose to create a mapping template based on the data connections you just made. That way, when you upload a new lead list with similarly structured data, you can save time by applying the mapping template to it so those connections are made automatically.
 
Now that we’ve reviewed the basics on outbound dialing, let’s talk about our dialers.

Choosing the right dialer

We currently offer multiple dialers — predictive, preview, progressive, and manual — each designed to serve a specific function. Let’s learn more about each one.

Predictive

The predictive dialer (also known as an auto dialer) automatically dials leads based on the settings set forth in any campaign that is part of a predictive dial group. The dialer then routes the connected calls to the appropriate available agents. Its goal is to reach the maximum number of leads in the shortest amount of time.
 
In addition to dialing faster than a human can and eliminating dialing mistakes due to human error, the predictive dialer can also maintain a consistent dialing balance based on the ratio of calls it deems likely to be successful and the amount of agents available to take those calls at any given point in time. 
 
The predictive dialer follows an intelligent predictive algorithm that continually learns and adjusts itself according to the patterns it detects. 
 
These predictions can then help the system decide a course of action, such as how many numbers it can simultaneously dial based on how many agents are available at any given time and the targeted abandon rate. As calls and agents fluctuate throughout calling hours, the predictive dialer will also adjust its algorithm continuously to match these changes.

Many of the settings you’ll configure within your campaigns will function as direct input into your dialing algorithm, whether it’s the schedule you choose to dial on or the amount of agents you assign to a campaign. Based on these settings, the system will be able to ensure successful dialing, no matter the complexity of the campaign it’s dialing for.

Preview

The preview dialer, on the other hand, functions on a one-to-one basis. One lead is connected to one agent, and there is never a possibility of any ‘extra’ dialed leads waiting in the wings to speak to a live agent. This dialer is designed to ensure agents have the time to view important information about each lead before a connection is made.
 
When an agent logs in and becomes available, they can use the preview dialer to fetch the campaign’s list of leads (and all the associated data) and review any relevant information before contacting the lead. Once the agent is fully prepared to speak to the lead, they can simply click a button and the system will dial the lead for them. 
 
When the dialer reaches a live person (please note that this dialer can be configured for answering machine detection), it connects the call to the agent and then waits for the agent to wrap up the call and select a new lead before it dials again. 
 
As for any important lead information you want your agents to view, this can include information such as the lead’s full contact record and all related information, including transaction history, past call outcomes, and basic data. This information can also come from different sources, whether from lead lists that contain relevant information (and custom information) agents will need to access before each call, CRMs that you can integrate into the system, or other systems that can allow agents access to even more information about leads before they engage. 
 
The preview dialer offers another option you can use to meet additional dialing needs — the progressive dialer.

Progressive

The progressive dialer functions almost identically to the preview dialer, but with the addition of one feature: instead of the agent pushing a button when they’re ready for the system to dial the next number, you can program the system to pause for a predetermined amount of time between calls and then automatically dial the next lead without any prompt or action from the agent. 
 
This allows you to automate the dialing process and keep call flows moving smoothly, while still giving agents whatever amount of time you think they’ll need to review information about each lead. 

Helpful hint!

While using the progressive dialer, agents must manually initiate the dialer via the Start Dialer button at the start of their offhook session. When the progressive dialer is enabled, the system will fetch and dial leads automatically once the agent is Connected (status) and Available (agent state).
You’ll find the option to set your time delay in your dialer configuration settings; please note that these settings will apply to all calls, regardless of whether or not the call was answered. If utilizing the progressive dialer with blended agents, please note that the blended agents will need to restart the outbound progressive dialer after every inbound call, and the agents will only be marked as Available for inbound calls during the progressive dialer’s programmed delay.

Agents will find that the progressive dialer window cannot, at any time, be closed or minimized to prevent dialing. To exit the progressive dialer, agents can either log out, change dial groups, stop the dialer, or go into an unavailable agent state.

HCI dialing

If you choose to enable HCI dialing on your account, then one designated agent can click a button to dial a phone number, at which point the system immediately routes the call to another active agent. 
 
Please note that the clicker agent should set their agent state to Working so they can avoid receiving calls while they manually dial calls for other agents.
 
If you wish to enable HCI dialing, please contact your CSM.  
 
There are two types of activities a clicker agent can engage in, and they differ based on dialing speed preferences. Let’s review each activity below.

HCI Fetch

One activity a clicker agent can engage in is referred to as HCI Fetch, which allows agents to fetch new leads and click a button to dial those new leads at their own pace.
 
Clicker agents using HCI Fetch will also be responsible for monitoring agent availability and the abandon rate of calls in order to adjust the rate at which they dial leads.

HCI Paced

The second type of clicker agent activity is referred to as HCI Paced. HCI Paced is a compliance-supporting tool that uses a proprietary algorithm to dynamically adjust dialing speed so lead agents can manually click on call opportunities.
 
This version allows agents to dynamically adjust their dialing speed while still maintaining the human dialing component. This can be useful for businesses who wish to ensure they have sufficient live agents available to speak with the leads they’re connecting to.

Manual

Manual outbound calls refer to calls dialed via the dial pad in the agent interface. Agents can use the dial pad to make ad hoc calls, or calls not related to any outbound campaigns. These calls by default will not be associated with any campaign, dial group, or lead, but they will be tagged as manual calls in reporting. 
 
Some businesses, however, may have a need to link manual outbound calls to an existing campaign. This can occur, for example, when an agent calls a lead and is given an alternate phone number for that lead. 

If you want the agent to dial that alternate number right away — but you still want to link that manual dial to a campaign, you can use your inbound Routing settings to link any manual outbound calls to a specific queue — which then gets linked to the campaign of your choice. Some more popular use cases for associating manual outbound calls to a campaign include instances in which businesses wish to leverage scripting tools, dispositions, and Caller ID settings associated with certain campaigns.

Additional outbound dialing products

If an automatic dialing system is not appropriate for your needs and you require human intervention when making outbound calls, we offer another product to address those needs. 
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