How are called records managed in Acarda Outbound?

Unlike paper-based manual dialing processes where you need to keep track of what leads have been called, and which ones need to be called back, Acarda Outbound looks after all this for you automatically. For example, if you had a small campaign of 1,000 leads for California and the first day ten of your sales people only contacted 400 of those leads, what happens the next day when they start calling; do they have to worry about getting some of the already called leads again? The called leads already have been attempted or dealt with yielding results that could be: not interested, sale made, already called, wrong number, call back again, etc.

The good news is that you do not need to worry about the 400 called leads from the day before. Acarda Outbound takes care of it for you. Each lead, or list record, has a Status. The status starts at “Not Called”, usually moves to “Call Back” and then on to “Called”. When a lead is out at an agent it is “In Progress”. When too many call back attempts are made then it changes to “Failed xxx” where xxx is the call back type whose limit was reached e.g. “Failed Busy” or “Failed No Answer”.

All the leads in the campaign start as “Not Called” but once they go to the agent they will usually come back as either “Called” (if they are finished with and you have a final disposition/response) or “Call Back” (if they were busy, no answer or a requested call back was set). If the person reached told the agent not to call them again then the agent clicks the “Do Not Call” button (Figure 1) and the status of “Do Not Call” is set and the number is added to the Do Not call list.

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Figure 1: Toolbar with Response options.

The following day you just carry on with the campaign and Acarda Outbound will first send the agents requested call backs that are due to be called, then reattempts for busy or no answer, and then, if there are no call backs due, it will send a new lead. Once the agent gets hold of someone then they select a disposition (also referred to as a Response), via the Response button (Figure 1) e.g. you could have a response for “Interested”, “Not Interested”, “Appointment Made”, “Send Information”, “Sold To Previously”, “Called Already”, “Incorrect Number”, “Invalid Number”, “Try Next Year” etc. If the agent does not reach anyone they would select a call back type via the Call Back button (See Figure 2 and Figure 3).

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Figure 2: Toolbar with Response and Call Back buttons.

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Figure 3: The Call Back Type.

The dispositions, also referred to as Responses, are set up under Support Tables as follows:

  1. Go to the Setup screen:
    • In Acarda Outbound Team: open Acarda Outbound Manager and click on the Setup tab.
    • In Acarda Outbound Solo: click on the Administration tab (rather than the Agent View tab) and then the Setup tab.
  2. Click on the Support Tables icon in the Setup group of icons.
  3. The Support Tables panel should open up with the Responses table selected in the top row of the list on the left side (Figure 4). On the right side is where you add a new response or edit an existing one.

When you add a disposition to the Response table you can select a Layout and a List Order. If you are not using any specific layout for your agent screens then you are using the [Default] layout and that should also be selected as the Layout that the response belongs to. The List Order determines the order the Reponses will be listed in when you click on the Response button in Acarda Outbound Agent, also the order the response is listed in in the Dial Card drop down list. Note you do not need to have a disposition for the call backs as call backs must be set via the Call Back button, not the Response button. Also do not have a disposition for “Do Not Call” as you must use the Do Not Call button instead.

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Figure 4: The Support Tables screen.

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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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