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 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 import your calling list into Acarda Outbound

calling list dataEach campaign in Acarda Outbound has an associated calling list which we call the Dial List. Your calling list will likely come as an Excel spread sheet or it may already be in a csv file format. It is easy to take your Excel format and use Save As a csv file.

In Acarda Outbound, to import your calling list take the following steps:
1. Under the Manager tab click on the Dial List icon in the Import Group. This will bring up the Import Dial List screen.
2. Select the campaign from the drop down list that you want to import to. If you campaign is not yet set up then prior to importing you need to click on the Setup tab and then the Campaigns icon and add your campaign name.
3. Once you have selected the campaign then select the Import File by clicking on the ellipsis button (…)

import calling list screen

4. If you have a header in the top of the import file that states the name of the columns but does not contain real data then check the Ignore Header check box.
5. It is a good idea to click the Reset button on the lower left side of the screen to clear out past File Column Positions. Of course if the data is the same format as the last import then there is no need to do this. Please note during import if you get an error message about the input array being longer than the number of columns in the table the nit probably means you have a number in the File Column Position that is too high.
6. Now match the File Column Positions of you data (as shown in the Import File Preview window) to each Database Field Name that you want to import to. You could try the Auto Detect feature if you have checked the “Ignore Header” check box.
7. Then when ready click the Import button.

We have a YouTube video on how to import your data into Acarda Outbound. Please take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivm4mT45Yf0

In the Advanced Edition there is a really useful feature to allow you to save the import settings that link the calling list data to the File Column Position. This means if you work with several different list formats you can save each format to a template and then the next time you go to import that sort of file you imagecan just click on the File Definitions Templates drop down list to find the one you used last time.

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