How to add new numbers to your dial list

This blog explains how to add a new, one-off, telephone number to your dial list to call. It applies to the team edition of Acarda Outbound and the solo edition when you set the Agent View screen to Card View. In solo the Agent View is set on a per user basis in Administration under the Setup tab then Users.

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Figure 1: Users Settings for Agent View.

When you set up an outbound calling campaign, usually, in Acarda Outbound Manager, you would import a csv file list of numbers and contact details that you intend to make the calls to. This calling data is referred to as a Dial List because it is a list of numbers to dial for a campaign. When the agents whose team is assigned to the campaign log in they would be sent the numbers to call, one at a time and the number with associated data are displayed in the Acarda Outbound Agent screen in an area referred to as the Dial Card. It is called this because it is like a business card view of one record from the Dial List.

In some cases, however, you may not have a calling list to import into Acarda Outbound. There are situations where the agent is building up the calling list on the fly, for example, they could be working through the telephone book to find numbers to call. Acarda Outbound Agent provides the ability for agents to add a new number to your Dial List for the campaign they are working on. Take the following steps to do this:

1. Finish of any Dial Card record displayed currently in the Dial Card panel by clicking the Call End button.

2. Once you have a blank empty screen click on the Action button and select Add Dial Card.

3. An input box will pop up for you to enter the telephone number you wish to add. Enter the number and then click the OK button. After the Acarda Outbound Server checks the Do not Call list database it will add the telephone number and it will be displayed.

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Figure 2: Agent Screen with blank Dial Card and Action Menu open.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to change the Agent View in Acarda Outbound

In the solo edition of Acarda Outbound there are two ways of viewing the data, one is “List View” which shows a list of numbers to call, the other is “Card View” which is one record at a time and how it is in the team edition. This blog I will explain how to switch between the views. Please remember this is only for Acarda Outbound Solo as in the team edition the agent always operates in the “Card View” mode.

Figure 1 shows the main screen in Acarda Outbound Solo with the agent displayed in “List View”. “List View” works slightly different to the team edition and presents the agent with a list of all the records in the Dial List in two groups. The lower group shows those not yet called and the top group shows the call backs (which includes redials for busy and no answer). On the left side is displayed a Dial Card for the selected record.

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Figure 1: Solo edition in List View.

The “Card View” layout, shown in figure 2, shows just one lead at a time. This means that the agent of more focused and doesn’t need to think about call backs as the best lead for them to call for that time is displayed in the Dial Card area when the agent clicks Next Dial. The “Card View” is the only mode in the team edition.

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Figure 2: Solo edition in Card View.

These settings are changed under the User Setup (in Setup Tab). See figure 3 and 4. In Acarda Outbound Solo take the following steps:

  1. Click on the Administration tab (rather than the Agent View tab).
  2. Click on the Setup tab, then in the Setup group of icons, click on the Users icon.
  3. On the right side once you select the user you will see “Agent View” setting.
  4. Select either “List View” or “Card View” from the drop down list then click the Enter key. Now when you return to the agent screen you should see the selected layout type.

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Figure 3: User Setup.

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Figure 4: Agent View Setting.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html  or for the solo edition, http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-solo.html,   You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to get call backs from other campaigns

In Acarda Outbound there are different types of call backs including Busy re-attempts, No Answer re-attempts, Voice Mail re-attempts and Requested call backs. The Requested call backs are the most important because a prospect or customer has asked the agent to call back at a set date and time. These take priority over all other types of call backs.

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Figure 1: The Call Back Menu Dialog.

Call backs are usually confined to the campaign in which they are set in, so if you change to another campaign you will not receive the Requested call backs unless you enable this feature. To do this, take the following steps.

1. Go to the Call Back Settings screen.

a. In Acarda Outbound Team: open Acarda Outbound Manager click on the Setup tab then in the Setup group of icons, click on the Settings icon.

b. In Acarda Outbound Solo: click on the Administration tab (rather than the Agent View tab) and then the Setup tab, then in the Setup group of icons, click on the Settings icon.

2. Now in the left sidebar you will see the Agent Display branch and also a Call Options branch. Under Call Options click on Call Backs and you will see the Call Back Screen like figure 2. In the second panel, “Call Back Settings”, check the “Enable Global Requested Call Backs” to turn on this feature.

3. In the team edition, in order to have Call Back Options change you need to restart Acarda Outbound Service. This is not necessary in the solo edition. In Acarda Outbound Team: open Acarda Outbound Server Administrator click on Stop then wait, once stopped then click on Start.

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Figure 2: The Call Back Screen.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to set call backs quickly in Acarda Outbound

One of the great features in Acarda Outbound is that you can pre-set the time between call backs of different types. So you can have re-attempts for Busy Call Backs say at 30 minutes whereas No Answer Call Back re-attempts could be three hours. In Acarda Outbound Agent you can set a Call Back (during a call) by clicking on the Call Back button then selecting one of the call back type from the Call Back dialog. A quicker way however is to press the F5 key on your keyboard then the short-cut key for the call back type then press Enter.

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Figure 1: The Call Back Menu Dialog.

The short-cut keys are “N” for No Answer, “B” for Busy, “V” for Voice Mail, “R” for Requested, “A” for Any Agent and “T” for Requested Team. You can see these when you pop up the Call Back Menu Dialog by pressing the Alt key once. Using short-cut keys makes selection much faster without using the mouse. For example, to set a Busy Call Back just press F5, then “B” then Enter.

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Figure 2: More Short-Cuts

Other short-cut keys are noted above the Status bar at the bottom of the screen (see Figure 2). These include F3 to open up the Response Menu Dialog, F6 for Next Dial, F7 for Hang Up, F8 for End Dial. There are more hidden under the “more …” link, see figure 2.

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Figure 3: Acarda Outbound Agent screen.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to prevent too many call backs

Acarda Outbound manages your campaign leads and works out which lead to send out to each agent and when to send them. Leads are sent out in an order of priority which starts with those call backs where the agent was requested to call back at a set date or time. After the requested call backs it sends the agent those leads which were previously busy, or not answered, or voice mail and have a call back time which is less than or equal to the current time. These are re-attempts to reach the contact. It is only after all the due call backs are done that never-been-called-before leads are sent to the agent to call. This is intentional to manage the leads in the most effective way. There are a number of settings that affect how the call backs are managed. This blog will touch on a few of these and look at how to prevent too many call backs clogging up the system.

The main call back setting screen is located in the Manager software:

  1. Open Acarda Outbound Manager, click Setup Tab
  2. Click Settings icon
  3. Select Call Backs under Call Options in the left side tree (see Figure 1)

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Figure 1: The Call Backs setting screen.

In this setting screen you can set the number of re-attempts and the time interval between attempts. If you are getting too many call backs then you should consider reducing the number of re-attempts down. Once the limit has been reached then the lead will be set as a Failed Call Back status. At a later time you can reset the Failed Call Back leads and attempt them again. This is done via the List Management area.

You can also set whether or not Requested Call Backs from other campaigns can be given out to an agent while they are working on a different campaign. If you don’t want your agents to be distracted with other campaign Requested Call Backs then you should uncheck the setting “Enable Global Requested Call Backs”. Once this setting has been changed you need to stop/start the Acarda Outbound Server and get everyone to log in again.

It is also possible to set a Team (of Agents) to only get new leads (non-call backs) rather than call backs. Usually you would only do this if you had two Teams working the same campaign and then you would have the best agents doing the non-call backs (never called yet) and the less experienced doing the call backs (and then new leads if there were no call backs). This is setup under Teams. Click on The Team icon, then in the Setup Tab, then change then the Call Type drop down list.

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Figure 2: Setting Call Type under Team Setup.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to change the order of the Dial List

As you import a calling list into a campaign in Acarda Outbound each record has the date and time of the import set as the last updated date for that record. Later as agents are calling new leads are given out on a First-In-First-Out basis. That means the oldest records in the campaign are given out before newer leads. If your imported list originated in a certain order, then the leads will be sent out approximately in that same order based on the last updated date for that record.

This blog will explain how to randomize the order of the list and to also reset the randomized order. These instructions apply to both the Team and Solo Editions of Acarda Outbound. For Acarda Outbound Team: In Acarda Outbound Manager click on the Manage tab then in the List Management group of icons, click on the Dial List Data icon. For Acarda Outbound Solo: Click on the Administration tab (rather than the Agent View tab) and then the Manage tab, then in the List Management group of icons, click on the Dial List Data icon.

On the right-hand-side below the Filter Criteria region you will see a set of tabs in the Changes region. Click on the one called “Order” and you will see the screen shown in figure 1.

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Figure 1: Dial List Data screen.

Now select the Source Campaign on the left-hand-side which holds the leads you wish to randomize. Next, if you want to, on the right-hand-side you will select a filter criteria. For example, you may want to reset only Not Called records or Call Back records.

To randomize the order select “Randomize Order,” then click the “Change Order” button. This can be undone by clicking the “Reset Order”, and then the “Change Order” button

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Figure 2: Dial List Data – Order tab.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to fix a remote agent login problem

In Acarda Outbound, Advanced Edition, you can have outbound callers, remote agents, using Acarda Outbound Agent in a remote location from where the main Acarda Outbound Server is located. This is great for agents working from home or even in another country.

This blog will detail how to go about solving the problem where a remote agent that used to be able to login is no longer able to login. Usually re-installing Acarda Outbound will not help this situation. Take the following steps:

1. Confirm that the agent that is installed on the same computer as the Acarda Outbound Server can log in.

2. If it cannot log in then check that the Acarda Outbound Server has started and also that the username and password are correct. In one case we had no further agents could log in because the hard drive on the server computer was full.

3. Assuming the local agent can log in check that another remote agent can log in from a different computer to the one having problems. If no remote agents can log in then you need to check that the main office router and port forwarding is set up correctly. Also check you are using the correct public static IP address or domain name to reach the office.

4. Check that you have an internet connection by browsing to a website that you know usually works.

5. If one remote agent can log in while another cannot log in then try using the same user name at both locations to ensure it is not a user/password issue. Also check that the server computer name is correct. You can see the server computer name on the login screen at the bottom (see figure 1).

 

 

agent-login-screenFigure 1: Login Screen

6. If the server computer name is correct then re-check you are using the correct user name and password. Also confirm again that an agent at another remote location can login. If everything looks correct then run any windows updates and restart your computer and go through these steps again to re-test.

7. If still no success then please email us your log files which are located in the C:\ProgramData\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\Logs folder. We would like to see log files for recent days from the agent computer that is having problems, an agent computer that works successfully and the server computer.

8. If the server computer name is not correct then enter into the settings screen to update the server name by typing the word “showsettings” into the user name and clicking the OK button. Now re-test to confirm the agent can now log in. If the agent is still not able to log in please send log files.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to show hidden folders

The default location for Acarda Outbound log files, databases, messages, recordings and settings is in the folder C:\ProgramData\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\. For example, databases are located in C:\ProgramData\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\Data\. That folder should be included in your backups. Another example is the log files. These are located, by default, in C:\ProgramData\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\Logs.

If you look for these folders you may find them to be hidden as Windows usually hides C:\ProgramData\ because the files are usually only used by your applications. This blog will explain how to get to these folders and how to show hidden folders.

First of all if you open up a Windows Explorer viewer or just open up Computer (My Computer) where you can see the hard disks drives listed you should be able to just type in (or copy and paste) the folder address e.g. “C:\ProgramData\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\Logs\” and it should open up.

Alternatively to show hidden folders take the following steps:

1. View the C Drive folders and files

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2. Click on Organize then in the menu, click on Folder and Search options.

3. Next in then View tab select “Show hidden files and folders”

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Now when you look at C Drive folders you should see the C:\ProgramData\ folder.

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How to dial out with AltiGen

There are two methods for Acarda Outbound to dial out with the AltiGen phone system. The first is via the AltiGen MaxAgent softphone and the second, is directly with the AltiGen Phone System through AltiGen’s SDK. This blog will explain how to configure Acarda Outbound for each of these two approaches.

These instructions apply to both the Team and Solo Editions of Acarda Outbound. For Acarda Outbound Team: In Acarda Outbound Agent click on the Tools menu up the top right side of the screen and select the Dialing Device submenu. For Acarda Outbound Solo: Click on the Agent View tab and in the top right, click the Tools menu and select the Dialing Device submenu.

AltiGen MaxAgent Softphone

Dialing out via the MaxAgent softphone does not require the AltiGen edition of Acarda Outbound. AltiGen’s MaxAgent must be installed, running and logged in before continuing. Select AltiGen MaxAgent from the drop down list and click the Test Connection button. You should see feedback on screen saying that the connection was successful. Click Save to select this option and close the Dialing Device screen.

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Figure 1: The AltiGen MaxAgent dialing device selection.

AltiGen Phone System through AltiGen’s SDK

Dialing out directly with the AltiGen Phone System is only available in the Acarda Outbound – AltiGen Edition from an authorized AltiGen Reseller Partner. This is a much tighter integration and requires an AltiGen SDK license (Client Application SDK Session License). The advantages of this approach include the ability to dial out with both physical desktop phones connected to the AltiGen Phone System in addition to the MaxAgent softphone, being able to set the outgoing caller ID number, optional do not disturb mode, and a greater level of line status detail. This is our recommended way to dial out with an AltiGen phone system.

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Figure 2: The AltiGen Phone System dialing device selection.

When you select the AltiGen Phone System for the dialing device you need to enter the phone system’s server address. If you want to prevent inbound calls being sent to this extension then check the Do Not Disturb Mode check box. There are three login options: The first, Prompt, will ask you to provide login details every time you start Acarda Outbound Agent, the second, System, will save the extension and password for any Acarda Outbound username, the third, User, will save the extension and password on a per user bases so each user logged into Acarda Outbound can have a different extension and password set. These settings are saved onto the Agent station only – you will need to reconfigure your login if you change Agent computers.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to prefix telephone numbers when dialing

Sometimes your calling list may have telephone numbers in it that require digit prefixes such as area codes place in front of the telephone numbers. Another example is when you have a phone system that requires a 1 or a 9 digit to get an outside line.

To set up a prefix you need to add it into the Digit Translation table which can be found be taking the following steps:

  1. In the solo edition of Acarda Outbound, first click on the Administration tab and then the Setup tab. In the team edition, open Acarda Outbound Manager and click on the Setup tab.
  2. In the Setup group of icons click on the Settings icon.
  3. In the left sidebar you will see the Agent Display branch and also a Call Options branch. Under Call Options click on Telephony.

Now to add, for example, a prefix of 1:

  1. Click on the New button under the Digit Translation table.
  2. Leaving the Pattern box empty click on the OK button and that will add a new line to the Digit Translation table.
  3. Select the new row and tab in the grid twice to get to Prefix column.
  4. Enter a 1 then press enter key.

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Figure 1: The Digit Translation table showing a 1 prefix entry.

You can add more complex rules by using the Pattern to match the telephone numbers that start with a certain pattern and only those numbers will have the rule applied. For example those telephone numbers that start with a 302 could have the 302 removed. This could be for the case where 302 is a local exchange and it may be preferred to dial them with that exchange code. Figure 2 shows how this would look set up in the Digit Translation table.

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Figure 2: The Digit Translation table now also with removing 302 digits.

For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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