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Article : Coronavirus and Your Call Center: Don't Panic - Plan and Prepare

#contactcenterworld, @BenchmarkPortal

Author: Bruce Belfiore, Senior Research Executive and CEO BenchmarkPortal

COVID-19, more commonly referred to as the Coronavirus, is spreading rapidly as I write this in February, 2020. As a result, there are contact center managers worldwide who are wondering what to expect and how best to prepare. I am not a public health expert, but I will do my best to interpret what I know for our community of professionals.

First, let’s properly frame the crisis. Tens of thousands have been infected worldwide. Most have mild cases and recover within a week or two. An estimated 1% die* (mostly older people with pre-existing medical issues) – tragic on a human level, but limited. So, even if your area gets hit, the impact from a medical viewpoint may seem pretty much like the flu.

The difference with the flu is the actions civil authorities will take to contain the spread of this virus, and the spillover impact that may have on your center. Let’s break this down.

  1. General impact. The medical consensus is that the unknowns of COVID-19 warrant a massive public response. As we have seen in places like China, entire municipalities can be quarantined by civil authorities and bring daily life to a halt.

    1. Cannot go to work normally
    2. Must stay home with their children if schools are closed
    3. Those who can and do come to work may be relying on their employer to provide as "safe" an environment as is reasonably possible. This may include providing tight-fitting face masks, ready supplies of hand sanitizer, constantly-filled hand soap containers in rest rooms, and possibly other actions to make the worksite as virus-free as possible.

You should put up signs reminding people to wash their hands and post announcements that people who develop symptoms should stay home or, if they develop symptoms during their shift, should make this known to their supervisor / manager.

Depending on how things evolve, a center where someone comes down with the symptoms during the work shift (and subsequently tests positive for COVID-19) may result in everyone in the center being quarantined in one manner or another (most probably sent home for self-quarantine). Even the most prepared center for business continuation does not have isolation rooms. So, handling such a situation must be clarified with local health officials ahead of time. I visited a Florida utility that has overnight facilities designed to allow agents to stay overnight (with their families!) during hurricanes. However, even this exceptional center does not have facilities for quarantined patients.

  1. Center-specific impacts. These can range widely, according to the industry sector:

    1. Community service numbers (211, 311, etc.). If Coronavirus hits your community, the calls will be many and anxiety will be high. As managers, we need to be sure we have the latest information and the best possible scripting and training so that the service we provide is optimal. You may want to set up a separate hotline. Some governments, including Nevada, have already confronted the issue.

    2. Suppliers of related products. Distributors of face masks, protective costumes, anti-bacterial products, test kits, respirators, etc. can expect to be deluged with calls and requests. If a rationing program is required, it should be decided ahead of time, posted clearly on your Website, and included in IVR messages before the customer reaches an agent.

    3. Healthcare / Health insurance. The impact here is obvious. Enough said.

    4. Companies with Supply Chains tied to affected countries. Everything from pharmaceuticals to Ferraris could be affected. Expect some anticipatory purchasing (and possibly some panic buying) to reach your contact center operations. Again, decide ahead of time if you will ration what you have.

    5. The next call to your center may be more likely a cancellation than a reservation. You are in for some grim weeks and need to prepare. Airlines, among others, are going to be hit with very stressed people wanting precise information (even where that’s not possible) and others wanting their money back. I recommend some extra coaching and special attention during this period.

    6. Healthcare workers and other first responders who are working overtime due to an outbreak in your area will undoubtedly miss payments. Be ready to handle these situations in a way consistent with your company mission statement and with an eye toward your next Public Utilities Commission review.

    7. Financial services. Investors, large and small are reacting to dramatic stock market news. If you manage a center in the brokerage industry you will need to coach your reps well on appropriate scripts, and make sure they respond to each client as an individual, and not just the latest in a flood of anxious callers asking the same things. To the extent you use low cost communicators (website, IVR, etc.) to alleviate the load on your reps, just be sure the message is delivered really well and in a way that will enhance your brand, not hurt it.

    8. Mental Health hotlines. Coronavirus will have a mental health impact along with the physical health impact. Mental health hotlines around should discuss response strategies so that they can be a positive force in these troubled times.

    9. Life Insurance. Tragically, Coronavirus will claim lives, including the lives of people with life insurance policies. Reps should be prepared for these calls.

  1. Planning and Budgeting impact. This is a test of your business continuation plan. Review it now in light of the specific challenges presented by Coronavirus. If your plan lacks a "stay in touch with local health department" paragraph (as many do), add this now and get yourself tied in with your local authorities. Hopefully they will be a valuable resource for you.

IVR announcements about hold times or service interruption due to the outbreak should be well-designed and ready to roll in case of need. If you have more than one contact center, pre-test your redundancy capabilities. Have your other centers (or outsourcer) ready to take over quickly and seamlessly.

If you already have some at-home agents, consider what would happen if you had to have all of your agents working at home tomorrow. If your system allows for at-home agents, but you have never used this option, now is the time to do a pilot. If your system does not allow for at-home agents, now may be the time to consider acquiring these capabilities.

Consider impacts on your Customer Experience Journey – from start to finish. Determine where your systems and processes are vulnerable. Give special attention to your IVR and systems efficiency. In addition to expanding at-home capabilities, you may want to consider or expand your automation capabilities, including virtual agents. Virtual agents cannot be created overnight, but you may want to include a virtual agent study in your plans for next year.

One last bit of advice. At work, stay away from the politics. Coronavirus is a human health problem with important managerial impacts. Keep your focus on the health and well-being of your people, while providing superior service to your customers.

And don’t forget to wash your hands.

#contactcenterworld, @BenchmarkPortal




About BenchmarkPortal:
Company LogoBenchmarkPortal is the source for Contact Center best practices with our Benchmarking, Education and Consulting services. Our mission is to help you run your center more efficiently and effectively. We are still continually growing our database, already the world's largest, for call center metrics by conducting data drives twice a year to have the most up to date information in the industry.
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Today's Tip of the Day - The Experience

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

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2022 Buyers Guide Dialer Solutions

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Acqueon Technologies Inc.

Acqueon's AI-driven conversational engagement software enables sales, marketing and service organizations to engage in emotionally connected dialogs with customers via their channel of choice for significantly improved results. The Acqueon suite adds multichannel campaign management, contact center analytics, desktop, and CRM connectors for your contact center software of choice, including Amazon Connect, Cisco, Nice inContact, and Twilio. Acqueon conversational engagement software leverages the Acqueon IQ platform to aggregate data from the various applications, assemble rich customer contexts, and drive next-best-action using powerful statistical and predictive models.

Avyukta Intellicall Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

Dialer CRM VoIP CTI Cloud Solutions
We are a single roofed solution for Dialer / Hosted Dialer / VoIP / CRM and CTI Solutions . With 300+ call center clients in above 9 countries and recent features such as :

Dynamic custom agent crm popup

avatar module

10+ Custom Reports

Cloud Telephony with/out "Host your Trunks" option

and End to End CRM on the cards we are supposed to grow exponentially within the next 6 Months

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:

ComSys S.A.

CList for Outbound Campaigns Management
CList by Comsys is an application that helps contact centers enhance the performance of their outbound campaigns. It accomplishes that by enabling the planning and execution of sophisticated communication strategies. Additionally, the AI-powered module of CList extends the possibilities of outbound campaigns delivering unprecedented results.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with t...
(read more)

Consilium Software

Consilium UniCampaign™
Reaching the right person with the right information on the right channel at the right time is a tall order. That’s the power the new Consilium UniCampaign™ has been adding to Cisco outbound contact centers, easily tripling or quadrupling results, from improving digital customer acquisition to managing post-sale customer relationship. Delivering proactive outbound engagement in a game-changer product, Consilium UniCampaign™ is an omnichannel List and Campaign Management (LCM) solution which complements the strength and robustness of Cisco's Outbound Dialer with the implementation of multichannel (voice, email, and SMS) outbound contact strategies. The new 7th release of UniCampaign™ is des...
(read more)


Dialer software that makes customer contact pain free, so your team aren’t worried about complex technology and can focus on what they do best. Dramatically increase agent productivity using a variety of dialers, combined with AI, leveraging data-driven contact strategies to ensure the right agent is contacting your customers at the right time.

Take control, and ensure your team are on-message by designing the perfect agent interface with a drag-n-drop visual WYSWYG editor.

Rotate CLIDs, and auto-wrap certain calls to ensure maximum agent productivity and performance.


Genesys PureConnect
Genesys PureEngage

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Companies of all sizes rely on the cloud-based call center platform Dialfire and its powerful predictive dialer. Dialfire is ready to use within minutes and easily personalizable. From small ad-hoc to large multi-step campaigns, Dialfire offers high scalability. Adapt customer masks and automate workflows per mouse click. Integrated scripting and APIs ensure a smooth connection with external systems.


With Megadialer you will get a customized call center software. With the creation of personalized questions, surveys and sales script you will have the information you need from your customers quickly and efficiently. Improve the performance of your agents with a 100% online contact center, real-time analytics and predictive dialer to optimize the time between one call and another.

All rates include:
Instant Call Reports
On-Demand Recording
Call Supervisor
Call Layout after Completion
Your Own Caller ID
Call Monitor
Automatic Re-Calls
Automatic sending of Mails
Incoming Call Management
Real-time Activity Panels
Call Lists for Agents
Different Levels of Administration


Advanced outbound solution including predictive dialing, featuring patented technologies such as Live Person Detection (LPD™) and SNoDrop™ using Artificial Intelligence to deliver compliant & effective predictive dialing with 0% abandoned call rates. The solution includes its own CRM system as well as visual campaign creation and management as well as automated data import and export capabilities. The package comes with highly visual and open call scripting technology and an SDK (Software Development Kit) is also available for embedding the dialer into your own user front end.

Nuxiba Technologies

Discover Nuxiba's all-in-one dialer solutions. Either predictive or automatic, our software adapts to your business needs with a powerful and easy-to-use system. We offer TCPA compliance options, so you never have to worry about issues with the law and PCI Data Security so you can protect your cardholder's data information during every call.

Stop worrying about technicalities and focus on the most valuable aspect: giving the best service and customer experience with our intuitive features. All of our features and modules are fully adaptable to any business needs.

Obtain the benefits of using software fully tailored to your business, start saving money, and boosting your productivity.


Reach more contacts, in less time with PhoneBurner. Powering thousands of client and millions of calls, our cloud-based software eliminate repetitive tasks so agents have up to 4x more live conversations. Unlike other dialers, PhoneBurner delivers 100% delay-free connections with no awkward pause. Conversations start off with promise, not hangups.

- Call 60-80 contacts per hour, per agent
- Instantly leave voicemails
- Send 1-touch emails
- Automate workflows and call logging
- Record and transfer calls
- Access reporting and analytics
- Intelligently distribute leads
- Dial from local Caller IDs
- Get free white-glove onboarding

Scales to any size team with no contracts, no setup fees, and no per minute charges. Start a free trial without a credit card.


Predictive Dialler
A predictive dialler is an outbound call system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers. Also known as Power or Auto dialers it will automatically help agents make more calls, generate higher rates of connections, increase conversions, manage voicemail, no-answers and disconnected numbers.

We’ve made it easy to get started, we offer packages to best suit your needs and don't tie you into long term contracts. Don't take our word for it take out a no-commitment free trial!

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
The InterDialog Dialer is an independent & intelligent auto dialer software that controls the outbound calls using various algorithms. This call center dialer works as Predictive Dialer Software, Progressive Dialer Software, Preview Dialer Software or Power Dialer Software based on the requirement of the process. It allows the system to create groups/caller lists and then dials out to multiple calling groups/lists at the same time, thus helping target a wider market segment in a shorter period of time.

The predictive dialer software and automatic dialer algorithms used by the InterDialog Dialer are designed to improve efficiency by lowering the wait time, the number of dropped calls and t...
(read more)

Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Custom Outsourced Solutions
Tru29 Solutions tailor fits a dialer solution that will truly suit your needs.


Voiptime Contact Center
Our contact center solution allows processing the high volume of client requests from different channels (voice, webchat, email, web callbacks), running massive outbound dialing campaigns, and makes all call center operations visible for management. Voiptime Cloud Contact Center is a professional calling solution for outbound and inbound calls. It’s a plug-and-play software that immediately increases the productivity of your call center department. With the help of our solution you are able to:
- Automate lead prospecting and have 4x more live conversations daily;
- Increase the agent occupancy up to 80-90% with the help of the fastest Predictive dialer;
- Smooth out the peaks of calls by...
(read more)

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