How to import Do Not Call lists

This blog gives step-by-step instructions on how to import Do Not Call lists into Acarda Outbound. 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 Import group of icons, click on the Do Not Call icon. For Acarda Outbound Solo: Click on the Administration tab (rather than the Agent View tab) and then the Manage tab, then in the Import group of icons, click on the Do Not Call icon.

The import Do Not Call file must be a text file such as a csv file. If there is more than one column of data then only the first column will be imported. Formatting of the telephone numbers will be removed during import.

Take the following steps to import the Do Not Cal list:

  1. Select the Import File.
  2. Modify the defaulted “Comment” if you want to. Note the “Source Tag” cannot be changed. This is used to identify the import file source is useful for managing your Do Not Call lists.
  3. Click the Import button.

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Figure 1: The Import Do Not Call Tab.

Once you have imported a file, the Import and Cancel buttons will be disabled to prevent you accidently re-importing the same data. After selecting a new source file name, these buttons will be enabled again.

To view the imported Do Not Call list data you need to open the Do Not Call directory. For Acarda Outbound Team: In Acarda Outbound Manager click on the Manage tab then in the Directories group of icons, click on the Do Not Call icon. For Acarda Outbound Solo: Click on the Administration tab (rather than the Agent View tab) and then the Manage tab, then in the Directories group of icons, click on the Do Not Call icon.

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Figure 2: The Do Not Call directory.

In the grid list on the left side is a list of import sources, the date of import, comment and a count of the number of records imported. As these lists could have millions of numbers in them we do not show the actual list of numbers unless you use the Display All icon at top of the right side panel called Source List Numbers. Usually you would enter in a telephone number to check in the “Search Telephone” box at the top of the gird. You can also delete an individual telephone number from this source’s list by clicking on the Delete icon.

Take care above the left hand side list is a Delete Source icon. Only use that if you want to delete the entire list! If you upload Do Not Call numbers each month then use the Source to identify the imported list. It is helpful to include the Month and Year in the Source tag. e.g. 702 Jan 2016. Then when you come to import a more recent list you can delete the old list by using the Source Delete. If your Do Not Call lists have millions of numbers then you may need to delete the older list prior to importing the replacement list.

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How to dial out with 3CXPhone for Windows

The method for Acarda Outbound to dial out with a v14 3CX phone system requires that the softphone 3CXPhone for Windows is installed. If this is not installed please contact your 3CX integrator for instructions. These instructions apply to both the Team and Solo Editions of Acarda Outbound v7.2.0.2304 and above. To get Acarda Outbound to dial out with a v14 3CX phone system you can take the following steps:

Installing 3CX Plug-in Files

When Acarda Outbound Agent or Solo is installed a folder is created as “C:\Program Files\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\3CX Support Files” (or “C:\Program Files (x86)\…” on 64bit installs) which will contain the two plug-in files “Innovasoft.XDMessaging.dll” & “Innovasoft.S3CX.dll”. Copy the two files to the install folder of the 3CXPhone (3CXWin8Phone.exe) which by default is “C:\ProgramData\3CXPhone for Windows\PhoneApp”.

To activate the plug-in locate the file C:\ProgramData\3CXPhone for Windows\PhoneApp\

3CXWin8Phone.exe.user.config", open and edit adding the reference to "Innovasoft.S3CX" for the key="CRMPlugin", use a comma to separate multiple entries or add the key & value if required.

e.g.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<appSettings>
<add key="version" value="3.0.0" />
<add key="ClientSettingsProvider.ServiceUri" value="" />
<add key="CRMPlugin" value="CallTriggerCmdPlugin,Innovasoft.S3CX"/>
<add key="MakeCallTimeout" value="10000" />
<add key="MakeCallTimeoutCTIUnsupported" value="200000" />
<add key="EnableVCELogging" value="true" />
<add key="MaxLogFileSizeMb" value="5" />
<add key="RequestTimeout" value="60" />
<add key="MaxUploadSizeKb" value="2048" />
</appSettings>

When the 3CXPhone is started the plug-in will now automatically be loaded enabling the dial functionality to be activated from Acarda Outbound.

Connecting Acarda Outbound to the 3CXPhone for Windows Softphone

To set the correct dialing device 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.

To dial out via the 3CXPhone, the softphone must be installed, running and logged in before continuing. In the Acarda Outbound Dialing Device select “3CXPhone for Windows” from the drop down. Click Save to select this option.

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Figure 1: The 3CXPhone for Windows dialing device selection.

When you select the 3CXPhone for the dialing device and you have Acarda Outbound administrator rights you have the option to test dial a number. Click the Test button in the lower left of the window. This will open the Test Dial Settings window.

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Figure 2: The Test Dial Settings window.

Enter a number to dial, click the Dial button to test the dialing via the 3CXPhone. A log will also be shown to indicate success or error in the dial attempt. Click the Hang Up button to end the call.

Once successful close the Test Dial Settings and Dialing Device windows to return to the Agent or Solo dialing screens. The 3CXPhone will now be set as your default dialing device and be used to dial and hang up calls from Acarda Outbound.

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How to dial out with 3CXPhone using 3CX CallTriggerCmd

Acarda Outbound can make use of the 3CX CallTriggerCmd application to dial out with the 3CXPhone for Windows. To begin with open the file:

“C:\ProgramData\3CXPhone for Windows\PhoneApp\3CXWin8Phone.user.config”

in a text editor such as Notepad and check that the “CallTriggerCmdPlugin” dll is referred to in the “CRMPlugin” key:

<add key=”CRMPlugin” value=”CallTriggerCmdPlugin “/>

If you already had the 3CXPhone open please Exit and start it again. Note that the 3CXPhone must remain open if you want to dial out with it. It will not open automatically on dial.

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.

Dialing Device Softphone App

Figure 1: The dialing device configuration.

Once you have selected the dialing device menu from the drop-down, you will be presented with the dialog above. You can then select the “Softphone Application” from the current dialing device drop-down to use this dialing method.

With the 3CXPhone using CallTriggerCmdPlugin only the Dial command can be used and not Hang Up. You need to use the 3CXPhone to hang up the call. Future integrations will allow this feature.

Dial Device Call Trigger

Figure 2: The Software Application configuration.

You can test your setup first using Cmd. Paste the MakeCall command and click enter with an appropriate extension:

“C:\ProgramData\3CXPhone for Windows\PhoneApp\CallTriggerCmd.exe” -cmd makecall:102

Once that works then go into the agent screen and add a test number e.g. click on the Action button then “Add Dial Card”, enter the test extension or number e.g. 102. Click the Next Dial button and it should dial out via the 3CXPhone which will start to ring the number.

To read up more on 3CX’s integration with CallTriggerCmdPlugin please refer to their blog at http://www.3cx.com/blog/docs/3cxphone-for-windows-api/

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How to setup database backup in Acarda Outbound

You should back up your outbound calling database with your calling lists and telemarketing results. This blog explains how to back up your Acarda Outbound calling data. In the team edition of Acarda Outbound the database backup settings are accessed through the Acarda Outbound Server Administrator. Once logged in click on the left sidebar tree item “Database Settings” then “Maintenance” and the screen shown in Figure 1 will be displayed.

The default location for the backup folder is “C:\ProgramData\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\Data\Backup” however you can select another folder for the location if you wish to. It is usually a good idea to have the backup saved on to another physical harddisk to the main one where the original database files are located.

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Figure 1: Database Maintenance Screen

To avoid filling your harddrive with backups you can set a maximum size, e.g. 30GB, for the backup folder and when this limit is reach Acarda Outbound will automatically delete the oldest backup files. You can also have the Acarda Outbound delete backups that are older than a certain number of days by ticking the “Automatically delete database backups” check box and setting the number of days.

In addition to these settings you also must have the Database Task set “Backup Databases (excl. DoNotCall)” and “Backup DoNotCall” if you want that one backed up.

A Database Task is set up by clicking on the “+” symbol to add a new task for the selected task name.

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Figure 2: Add Schedule Task

Next check the “Enable Task” and set up a schedule. For example, figure 3 shows a database back up scheduled for each Sunday at 3am. Be sure to select a time when the computer will be operating. Once set then click OK.

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Figure 3: Backup Task for Sunday 3am

Once a task is set you will see it in the right-hand Task Schedule list.

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Figure 4: Task Schedule List

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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 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 dial out with 3CX IP-PBX phone system

This blog will explain how to connect up Acarda Outbound Agent to dial out with 3CX’s IP-PBX. Acarda Outbound can dial out via phone systems that support RESTful API’s and HTTP URL’s; and so with 3CX’s IP-PBX it dials via their HTTP API.

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.

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Figure 1: The dialing device configuration.

Once you have selected the dialing device menu from the drop-down, you will be presented with the dialog above. You can then select the “HTTP/Web API” from the current dialing device drop-down to use this dialing method.

The HTTP/Web API only supports commands for dialing a telephone number and for hanging up. Not all systems support the ability to end a call via an API. If your system does not support this then leave the hang up address box blank and it will not be used. You will not be able to use our software to hang up – but you should be able to use the phone systems’ phone or proprietary software to hang up.

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Figure 2: The HTTP/Web API configuration.

In the Command URLs you are able to set the URL to be requested as well as the HTTP request method (either GET or POST). Most APIs will use the “Get” verb. The dial setting above also treats the [ph] text in the URL as a placeholder for the telephone number needing to be dialed via Acarda Outbound. Other parameters used in the URL should be set according to the phone system’s documentation. In the case of 3CX’s phone system, the URL would look like the one below:

http://<pbx>:5000/ivr/PbxAPI.aspx?func=make_call&from=<ext>&to=[ph]&pin=<ext_pin>

Where the <pbx> is the IP address of the phone system computer, <ext> is the extension number of the device and <ext pin> is the extensions password. The request verb for this would be GET.

Note: Some phone systems will only accept calls to their respective API’s from the local network. This is for security purposes (and applies to 3cx systems). Often this configuration can be changed but you must understand the potential security risks in doing so.

To read up more on 3CX’s integration with HTTP API please refer to their blog at http://www.3cx.com/blog/docs/3cx-http-api/

For more information on Acarda Outbound go to: Team – http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-team.html or Solo – http://www.acarda.com/telemarketing-software-solo.html  To download a free trial: http://www.acarda.com/downloads.html

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How to send template emails using the Mandrill Add-on

You can send template emails directly from the Acarda Outbound agent screen by using the Mandrill Add-on which can be downloaded via the Acarda Outbound download page on our website. This can be used in both Acarda Outbound Team and Acarda Outbound Solo; however, it is only supported in the advanced edition. You can find more about Acarda Outbound on our website:

• Acarda Outbound Team for more than one agent making outbound calls together: http://www.acarda.com/outbound-call-center.html

• Acarda Outbound Solo for a single agent making outbound calls: http://www.acarda.com/outbound-telemarketing-dialer.html

This blog explains how to use the Mandrill Add-on in Acarda Outbound to send template emails, how to install the Mandrill Add-on and then how to set up a template email in your Mandrill account.

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Once a Dial Card is displayed on screen the agent may select to send a template email by clicking on the Action button then selecting “Send Mandrill Email”. There are two fields in the Dial Card that must be populated in order to send an email out. These are:

1. The email address to send the email to (diaEmail).

2. The Mandrill template name or template slug, for example, you could use diaList10. This could be pre-loaded into the campaign data and hidden to the agent. Alternatively, you could give the agent the option to select from several templates, the template names loaded into the diaList10 field via Support Tables. This field is set with the configure utility.

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In addition to these you would want to also populate any Dial Card fields you wish to use in the template email mail merge.

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Once you click the Send Mandrill Email link the Dial Card data will be sent through to your Mandrill account and the email will be sent using the template you have selected to the Dial Card email address.

Installing and Configuring the Acarda Outbound Mandrill Add-on

The Mandrill Add-on can be installed by running the Mandrill Add-on install disk. First ensure that you have Acarda Outbound installed. The add-on requires the Microsoft .Net4 Framework and the installer should ask permission to install it if it is not detected on your computer.

To configure the add-on run the Acarda Mandrill Add-on Settings utility which you should be able to see as a menu item in either All Programs or under the Acarda Outbound folder in All Programs.

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You will see the following settings dialog open up:

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Your Mandrill API Key must be entered to link up your Mandrill add-on with your Mandrill account. Next check the field names that you wish to use in your Mandrill email template. It is okay to check field names that you do not end up using but if you do not check them, then the data will not be sent to Mandrill. For example, you may want to check the diaFirstName and the diaLastName fields.

Select the Template Name Field. This is the source where the add-on will get the name of the Mandrill email template you wish to use. We suggest using diaList10 but you can use any text field.

In order to test the email template you can check the Test Mode and complete the box next to it with the email address for the test email. This will become the email address the test email is sent to and the one stated in the Dial Card will be ignored. Next click the Save button and click Close.

Setting up your Mandrill account

You can sign up for a Mandrill account at http://www.mandrill.com/ Once signed up login and set up an email template via the Outbound icon in the left sidebar then click on the Templates menu at the top of the page.

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Please refer to Mandrill’s website for details on how to create a template, however, in summary take the following steps:

1. Click on the “Create a Template” button.

2. Choose a name for your template e.g. “New Customer”. This is the name that you will refer to in Acarda Outbound as the template name to use for the email. Click on the “Start Coding” button.

3. The main setup page for the template will now be displayed. Note the Template Slug box under the Name. This is set automatically and cannot be changed. You can refer to this slug in Acarda Outbound as the template to use rather than the template Name if you prefer.

4. You should set the “From Address”, “From Name” and “Subject” defaults for the template.

5. Prepare the text of the email you wish to send out and then add to it the merge fields. Acarda Outbound can send the data fields in the Dial Card to Mandrill. You must use the Acarda Outbound database field names which you will see listed when you configure the Mandrill Add-on. When you add a merge field you must use the format *|{merge field name}|* where {merge field name} is the name of the Dial Card database field name. For example to have the diaFirstName data inserted put *|diaFirstName|*

6. When you create your template you should add the content under both the HTML tab and also the Text tab. Don’t forget to Save and Publish the templates when they are set up.

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How to play messages in Acarda Outbound using a voice modem

When using a voice modem card as the dialing device it is possible to configure Acarda Outbound to play a pre-recorded message when you are using a TAPI compatible voice modem as the dialing device.

The usual setting when dialing out with modems is to have the device auto-hang up a few seconds after it has dialed the telephone number. In that way it simply acts as a speed dialer and you pick up the call with your normal headset/telephone. However, if you want to play voice files through your modem, you need to keep the modem in the call and not auto-hang up until the end. This allows you, if desired, to play a pre-recorded voice message, for example to voicemail, after doing so click the hang up button to disconnect the call. To change the auto-hang up setting follow these 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 should default to the correct location, the Agent Display then Agent Settings. In the Agent Settings panel there are four sub-panels, the last one called Call Automation consist of two check boxes. The first check box is called Automatically Hang up after Dialing. This is the one to uncheck if you want to play voice messages through a modem.

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You need to prepare your voice message. Write out the script ahead of time and practice speaking it. Then record the message in a format that you modem supports. Usually the format will be a wav file of 8000 Hz sampling rate, 16 bits, mono. Any recording tool should be fine as long as you can set the correct format and save as a wav file. You can download our free tool, Acarda WavRecorder, from our website, http://www.acarda.com/email-download.html?product=WARA

At present you can only have one pre-recorded message and it must have the file name and location of: “C:\Program Files\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\message.wav”. Future releases should improve this and give multiple recorded message file options. So take your recorded wav file and rename it to message.wav and copy it into the “C:\Program Files\Acarda\Acarda Outbound\” folder. For the team edition this file should be located on the agent computers.

Now when you have dialed out with through your TAPI voice modem you will be able to click on the Action button and then select Play Message. If you need to stop during the message you can click Stop Message.

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