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Article : So You Want a Cheap Dialler?

#contactcenterworld, @nixxis

Luc Francis Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer at Nixxis, has decided to open the discussion concerning the real savings done by going for a cheap dialler for connecting with your customers while the overall return on investment of such a move is under question.

"It’s so easy to communicate about a price today, that people tend to go for the cheap stuff while they think the main costs in an outbound campaign sit in the technology and telecoms", says Luc Francis Jacobs, Nixxis Chief Executive Officer. "I am surprised to see that so many people making the same short term calculation on costs while in the end, they do not realize that working with qualitative tools when you have qualitative agents, always pays back."

Everybody in the contact centre business has already received an email claiming that a cheap dialler is available just a click-to-a-website away. So for anything between 20 and 50 euros per month per agent, you can connect to a beautiful website, import your precious data and start calling all your customers in one go. If only life would be that simple.

First of all, it is important to understand that behind 99% of the dialler’s websites you will find an open source dialling engine coming from or GoAutoDial or ViciDial. These simple diallers made by the open source community are available free of charge on the internet and require no or little knowledge of the contact centre world in order to be implemented. So, smart web developers have simply added some kind of nice web interface to it (most of the time in JSON or JavaScript, the technology for intelligent and sexy websites) and eventually some logical code in PHP (another open source development language) in order to allow automatic provisioning of the service.

This all seems fine and with a minimum investment, your web based dialler business can be up and running in a matter of months rather than years.

Still, the heart of the system is based on an open source solution that has been developed "as is" and quasi has never been reengineered by those service providers in order to move from a nice online best effort initiative to a real professional solution.

Most contact centre veterans understand that contacting a customer is not that easy. First of all, people do not pick up the phone as they used to years ago. These days, calling a customer with a hidden number is a very tedious task. Then, there are all those automatic operator based answering machines switched in with messages that few people listen to before calling back. Without talking about a good answering machine detection generating an automatic call back and even leaving a message in order for your agents to avoid listening until the end of the announcement.

Finally, there are those customers that you can get on the phone but who do not have the time to speak, to whom you need to propose a call back hours or days later and keep your promises.

So, after some time of operations of those nice campaigns on these expensive leads of yours, you will realize that each of your campaigns and databases will all be at different stages of contact ratio and with each different quality of execution.

Now the question is: How to glue all these bits and pieces of those campaigns together in order to keep your agents busy and get the maximum out of it?

As one can see, it is normal after some time of operations on outbound campaigns to have to blend your agents on various little bits and pieces of older campaigns while adding new and fresh prospects on top of it.

Now the question is: How to blend my agents intelligently?

This is where the technology makes a difference. You see, this open source stuff used behind those "cheap dialler’s websites" have not been foreseen de-facto from day one for outbound campaign blending. And even if they have been upgraded by their web developers, most of them can only blend campaigns from different databases in a way that is only splitting the work between these two or three sources of data. Actually, the secret in blending is managing the quality of the database in an intelligent way. That is what we do.

Also, the open source solution offers some kind of predictive algorithm for dialling. Everybody understands the strength of predictive dialling when you want to reach a specific number of leads or prospects in a minimum of time. But there also, there is predictive and predictive…

Predictive dialling means you need to really predict on a per agent basis, per campaign and according to the database quality, what are the best chances for one of your agents to be available in the next twenty seconds. This requires complex matrix calculation that can only be done on heavy computers and certainly when you have hundreds of agents in the run.

Actually, talking about scaling, this is another weak spot that we can pinpoint for cheap diallers. The open source diallers have been developed by the open source community taking into account a maximum of 5 to 10 agents connected at the same time. The problem is that everybody understands that the larger a contact centre becomes, the more productive it automatically gets (thanks to the Erlang law not to be discussed here). So, you will soon realize that, as your activities are getting better and you increase the staffing of your contact centre managing more contacts per hours, the Open source based solution you are using is going to slow down gradually, simply because it was not created to manage more than 10 to 20 agents in the first place. This is what we call the scalability barrier.

Now, next to using technology, we would like to speak also about the service.

Of course, all these nice and sexy websites take your 50 euros per month and look like they are going to go on forever and fulfil all of your crazy dreams. But one day, you might have a question, or the systems will get stuck or you simply cannot export all of those nice results that have been typed in by your agents. Then, you will be so happy to have seasoned professionals on the phone, able to help you and get you out of misery in order to let your business grow and flourish.

"We believe that good professional service has a value and yes, it also has a price. The small fee that is required when you setup the system allows having an engineer working for you and making sure all the potential problems are ironed out when you need to get into production. Extra training and support has to be paid for because people do not work for free and professional quality has a price. In the end, you will realize that if you can only improve your agent productivity by 2% or avoid the risk of getting fined by authorities because of an uncontrolled abandon rate on your predictive dialler, this will be highly worth the price difference between a best effort open source initiative and a real professional solution", concludes Luc Francis Jacobs.

#contactcenterworld, @nixxis

About Nixxis:
Company LogoNixxis is a European publisher of Nixxis Contact Suite, an all-in-one Contact Centre software solution. We ensure the ultimate customer experience to millions of clients. Thanks to our partnership with the company INTUATE in South Africa, come and join the exclusive club of more than 1000 companies benefiting from the down-to-earth Professional Services.
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Published: Friday, February 10, 2017

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