Thursday, November 7, 2013

Indian Cloud based SAAS products - The correlation between Sales and Support models

Cloud ...Cloud ...Cloud ...This has been the buzz word around in the last 3 years and it is to stay. The industry is adopting Cloud based solutions , products like never before. High growth markets like India where technology adoption has just started, there is a good story to crack the market. Also, businesses are looking at new options on the cloud .The question that arises now and is very important for start-ups who offer services on the cloud - What is your Sales Model? How do you reach your target market? How do you sell?
Most often than not, this is also THE QUESTION which investors will ask you. What is your strategy or at-least the plan for scaling up operations and revenues? Having the luck to speak to some of our industry peers , friends and competitors as well in the start-up community , we have seen a mix. of ideas on the strategy for growth. But what we found from experience is quite different.

Couple of ideologies which you will hear mostly are 
  1.  We are a Cloud based company, we will sell online like any e-commerce store and support is via email or phone. No customer visits at all.
  2. We sell online/offline but we support online only and no customer site visits for support.
  3. We are reluctant to support customers at their site but yeah , we do send if it is a large customer.

Here's the catch. Does your Sales model also put pressure on customer support and the way you operate? The answer is Yes, it does and in a significant way than you can imagine. Based on our experience, we have classified into phases the growth of an organization and how your Sales and Support models change.

Phase1 - Online Sales & Support ( just started off with a SAAS model)

If you are selling online only and the only way you generate revenue is by pulling more users to your website, then yes your support model can be completely online. Even if customers insist for a site visit, you can justify and answer their queries online than visiting their office. More importantly, your product should be simple enough to support online.

Phase2 - Online or Offline Sales and only Online Support:(struggling)

This is the worst model you can look at but is the most fancy one. Basically, as an organization you are shouting out that you want to make sales & generate revenue either online or if required, by visiting a customer using a sales team but you will support customers only online or on phone but will never visit their site.

This is the worst model imaginable from a customer support / customer satisfaction perspective and lot of customers will churn easily to competition. You will want to quickly move to the 3rd phase or model- the most popular one in India. Companies which get stuck in this phase (Phase2) quickly move back to Phase1 or die down.

Phase3 - Online or Offline Sales & Support ( product is established and the need is identified, growth phase):

The Sales and Support teams visit the customer based on the size of customer, critical nature of the issue or depending on the partnership maintained.

Especially for the Indian market, it is the most dependable model for scale in revenue since the market dynamics are still mostly offline.


You could be a poster boy startup and technically the most sophisticated product in the market but to survive in the Indian market and do business, you will need to create a support system which is in line with your sales organization and customer expectations.. Also, since most of the startup's will go from phase1 to phase3 to increase the revenues, their support model too has to change as they grow. You could be a high tech. startup but to grow and survive the Indian market, you will need an offline support systems since your customers need not be as high tech. as you, they just need to be able to afford your product :) .

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pre-Sales in a Product company

Pre-Sales is a very widely appreciated team in the IT/ITES Services sector for all the back end help/knowledge they build for winning large scale bids. The Business Analysts talk to the customer and capture the requirements. Both teams function in tandem and contribute significantly to win big deals. In Contrast, when you look at a product company ( We are talking of B2B ) the BA/Pre-Sales is clubbed into the same team and not necessarily separate functions. Especially in early stage firms, when the product is new and you are building a process to sell, Pre-Sales stands to be the most important function to stabilize Product Management, Product Delivery, Training & Product Support with a role in all these functions and much more.

Now coming to the most important role of Pre-Sales - To Support Sales, Here is a quick check on what your Pre-Sales need to know or the skill set they need to have:

  • Can you show and explain any and every feature in your product?
  • Can you explain to the customer in simple terminology how your product works?
  • Can you differentiate between must have requirements and good to have requirements of the customer?
  • Can you explain customer requirements to your product team ( if they are already not available) in the language they understand?
  • Can you listen to the customer requirement and then show how it can be fulfilled using your product?
  • Can you improvise on what the customer wants and show them how to do it in a better fashion using your product?
  • Can you help your sales team win a deal with your strong industry knowledge & product experience?
  • Do you know what goes in the back end to enable a customer?
  • Do you understand the architecture of your product and its limitations it has?
  • Can you estimate how much time is needed to deploy the product based on the requirements?
  • Last but the most important part, are you in line with the company vision on the product roadmap?
If most of your answers are Yes, then you have a very strong pre-sales person else the other way. Quite often, your team will be a mix of people who can cater to only part of these questions - that is when you have to segregate the team into Business Analysts and Pre-Sales ( proposal building,solution document etc).

Most often than not Pre-Sales needs to also get involved in Delivery so that you deliver exactly what is discussed at the time of sale, Also Training which is done mostly by Pre-Sales for a considerable time, Product Management -  so that the road map of your organization is not peddled with the requirements of customers, but at the same time you create a balance where customer / market requirement is given priority and is delivered in the product version releases. Product Support -  If pre-sales is involved in the above 3 functions of delivery,training and management - the number of queries to support will be considerably less and also customers will be more reasonable since they understand the product and also know its limitations.

But till your product becomes a hit, you will need a strong pre-sales who can manage customers, train them, support them ( even if you have a support team, still the personal touch matters a lot in India) and also manage your internal product releases in sync with the market requirements.

Also, with a strong Pre-Sales in place, your delivery & customer support will face a lot less issues / complaints since there is a dedicated person who hand holds the customer from Sale to Go-Live and takes care of any minor changes,configurations etc needed.

As the company grows and you scale up, the following roles can be removed or diluted from Pre-Sales in the order of priority

  1. Support - Support definitely needs to be a dedicated team and multi-tasking is definitely not the way to go when you scale. More on this in our next blog.
  2. Delivery Management - A separate team is needed to manage the huge deliveries you will get when you scale up
  3. Product Management - A dedicated product manager is definitely needed by the time you are ready to scale to manage the large list of product requirements.
  4. Training - This can always be under Pre-Sales but if you can afford, definitely a dedicated team to build and maintain product documentation.

In short, your Pre-Sales will be the "Sun" of your Organizational System and all departments supported and backed by it after you scale up. But unlike the Sun, it will never be a role to be in lime light and will always remain the backbone system. Your customers will Love it and so does your Sales team.

Monday, September 30, 2013

CloudAgent can Increase your Ecommerce Sales. Find out How?

Ecommerce in India is currently overtaken the passion of Information Technology. While Ecommerce companies may allow clients to purchase goods and services online, customers who encounter difficulties may sometimes struggle to receive assistance. There is no substitute to a live operator offering customer support when your clients need it. And with so much talk about identity theft, you need a way for your shoppers to feel secure. Even though most e-commerce transactions are managed online, there is still a need for telephone support. 24/7 customer support is the difference between growing a base of loyal customers and leaving a bad impression of your brand that could hurt your business.

 Online customers expect useful product information, access from any mobile device, intuitive interfaces, full support, a fast checkout process that accepts all payment methods, and a place to rate their experiences. They don’t tolerate screen freezes, transactional snafus or confusing menus. An effective order taking procedure is the backbone of any business that sells directly to customers.

When you advertise a phone number on your website/TV/Radio, your customers will trust in your business more and will be more apt to purchase your products. CloudAgent can help you in converting that trust in increasing your sales.

Elevate your customer experience: Have On-going training for your agents about how to convince their customer to purchase a product. Have them in the loop of the new retention management programs that the company has announced and how does it benefit the customer. Have the Agent talk to the customer from the customer perspective instead of the your company. Redesign your IVR System, Use our platform KooKoo to address usability issues while complying with the complex call routing rules caller.  Once the caller responds by making a missed call, CloudAgent records the input and updates required for your business.

Order Management/Order Processing: Order processing is been the biggest worry for every customer, especially when the consignment doesn't reach him with the time frame. With Cloud Agent you can Integrate your existing sales CRM to CloudAgent. Quickly locate Customers previous information, reduced data entry requirements.

Click to Call Features: This feature of Cloud Agent allows you to run simple inside sales, with end-to-end call tracking and analyses. This feature is very useful to reduce most of your manual work and optimize your agent productivity.

Missed Call Services: This feature can be a very useful feature to customers who are not used to make online purchases. They can give a missed call to the number advertised on the website and talk to the agent and gain credibility of the website. Another method to effectively use the missed call services is to give feedback of the website services once the consignment is delivered to the customer.  Once a consignment is received by the customer, the customer gives a missed call to the given number for feedback and the agent calls back the customer. Once the call is finished, CloudAgent fires SMS to caller requesting for feedback using a MISSED call process.  No cost to the your dashboard. Advantages of Missed call services at CloudAgent are;
  1. Immediate feedback about the website process or about service
  2. Identify top and bottom customers as perceived by the callers
  3. Identify hidden calling patterns and customer grievance patterns
  4. Very important feedback loop established immediately after the delivery of service or Call
For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Monday, September 16, 2013

The economics of Call center business in India - The way forward on Cloud

India, has seen tremendous progress in the last decade and continues the same trend even in these turbulent times of global economy. This has impacted a lot of domestic industries including the Domestic BPO market. Though, the domestic BPO market has been growing at a healthy pace in the past few years ( As shown in the graph - Courtesy NASSCOM ),it has seen turbulent times due to various market factors. Some worth highlighting are:
  • Cost of Agents - which sky rocketed with the international call center outsourcing peaking in the last few years. Domestic BPO's had to pay on par to retain talented employees.With the rupee going down like a rolling stone, International outsourcing centers are laughing their way to good margins and also giving good hikes to their employees. 
  • Real Estate costs - with the economic boom in the first decade of the millennium, Rents / Property costs in Metros & Tier-1 cities have gone up like crazy.
  • Agent Transportation costs - Travel arrangements have hit the margins of BPO's and also the transportation costs. Traffic Jams, roads, long distances to travel - every aspect of a city adds its cost.
  • Attrition - High rates of attrition due to too much competition and high living costs forcing agents to change for higher salary jobs.
Domestic BPO's have to fight their way out of these problems or the local outsourcing market will go flat sooner than later. It has now turned into a phase where - " You Adapt or Die "

The immediate option which every one thinks of is to move to the less costlier cities to run the Voice market. Lets take a look at the key challenges you will face if you move in this direction:

  1. Infrastructure - It could be leased lines for your office, power supply or basic real estate. Finding the right infra & a sustainable one in these tier-2 cities might be a challenge.
  2. Skilled talent -  You will find local talent for hire, who can speak local languages but if you are looking for English speaking population like in the metro, it might be a challenge.
  3. Resource Pool - Unlike a metro, where you will find a large set of resources ( people) with the relevant qualifications, Smaller cities means that you have limited pool of resources. So for expansion plans, you will have to open more centers.
Way Forward:

Imagine you running 20 centers across India and have to get 20 separate reports to track these centers.We at Cloud Agent, have understood these problems a long time back and that is why we have built a multi-tenant , multi location call center product. Now, you can get the reports, tracking etc in a centralized admin. Also, the other centers will act as a backup for the existing center and also increase agent utilization & productivity.

Moving to smaller Tier-3 cities, will help businesses which need - local language support for its customers, regional knowledge of places like a travel company or website, reduce cost of call to customers by giving local numbers or an SBN(Single Board Number) number.

The major advantages of adapting this strategy as observed from the trends in last 1 year : 

1) Get an agent at as low as Rs.4000 per month where as in urban areas you end up paying Rs.10000 to Rs.12000 at the minimum

2) Real Estate cost sky dives to almost 20% of cost in a metro

3) Even if you do not find the resource pool in 1 city, it does not matter. Cloud Agent can route calls to agents in any town/center within the same language group or skill group.

4) Very Low attrition - Employees are happy in their home town and doing a white collar job. With very little competition head hunting in the same location , your risk of attrition is very low.

Using the Cloud, BPO's can leverage the advantages of a multi tenant solution and cater to a larger segment of customers, at a lower cost and at the same quality. Thus, bringing a larger change to the social structure of our country and economy.

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Can Real Estate Companies use to optimize sales

The Real Estate industry is fiercely competitive, especially among the various brands, and apart from the obvious service differentiation, it is forced to differentiate themselves in areas that influence the customer service performance. As the consumer’s primary touch point is a call centre every incoming call is business lead. This makes it absolutely necessary to employ a strategy that provides customers a defined expected treatment every time he/she calls. Customer should be absolutely sure that if he calls up customer call centre he will be able to get his job done with minimum effort and time.

Optimizing the Marketing Activities of Real Estate

v  Instead of using just one number on multiple advertising channels, Cloud Agent can help you in dealing with each telephone number for each channel to measure the effectiveness of a channel and maximize the ROI
v  CloudAgent can also be useful to call back the dropped off customers with new deals/offers to get them be a potential buyer

CRM Integration

v  Using, you can integrate your Inbound and outbound calls to your CRM. This can help you in effectively managing your Lead Management to see which calls what are the total number of calls, which once have not been attended by your sales agent. This practice also help you in single sign-in between your CloudAgent and your CRM.
v  CloudAgent can also be useful to avoid multiple agents calling the same customer. You will have a facility to route your calls for a better call management

Regional Dial-outs

v  Many Real Estate companies advertise in multiple regions across the country, when they have multiple projects running, give the phone number of their Head office where they have their customer care team. This would be a burden for the customer to call from other regions as it would be a STD call.
v   Using the Cloudagent, you can give the regional numbers of each state and still manage all these calls at one location.

Relationship Manager

v  Large Companies, usually after the down payment is done will allocate a Relationship Manager to each individual customer.
v  Many a times these companies give the direct number of the Relationship Managers so that they can be reached without dialing the corporate number.
v  In such cases the company cannot monitor the status of the conversation happening between them.
v  Using Cloud Agent the company can give its customers only one number and the routing of calls to respective Relationship Managers can happen automatically.

Lead Nurturing

v  When there is advertising activity happening over different medium’s. Real Estate companies give their numbers for the agents to reach them. When the reach of the advertisements is high, the number of customer enquiries would increase and it will be difficult for the agent to attend to all these calls. And many of the un-attended calls would not be recorded.
v  CloudAgent gives its customers a facility to record all the unattended calls from the customers and nurture them to be a effective customer.

Agent Rating Customers after attending calls

v  The agent who talks to their customers can judge’s whether he is a prospective customer or not. But, many a times the management wouldn't know about the interaction that happens between the agent and the customer. In the absence of the agent, the company wouldn't know the context of the customer and could lose a potential buyer.
v  In CloudAgent, you can create a structure where, as soon as the customer ends the conversation with your agent, your agent can give a feedback about that customer whether he is a Hot Deal, Worm Deal or a Cold Deal by assigning 1, 2 or 3 numbers respectively.

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Secret Ingredient’s for increasing effectiveness in Call Management

Business communication is handled by the people who talk to the customers directly. Very often we hear about the difference between the top management who makes Policies and the employees who are making conversations with the customers. Many a times these policies that are made by the top management are passed on properly to their junior employees, or monitored by the top management to ensure these policies are in place. Having the Quality Management in place can help the organization ensure quality in their business communication with its customers. Quality management has become an essential monitoring for all business calls.
Few of the differences that arise out of Absence of quality management are;  
v  Lack of Knowledge of purpose for the junior employees
v  Ineffective communication or no complete communication with the customers
v  Absence if Performance evaluation or merit rating in the organization
v  Running the call operations based on internal data rather than quality benchmarking
v  Ineffective resources for call recording.
In order to ensure that the strategies framed by the top management reach its customers, there need to mechanism which ensures continuous improvement with its ground level staff which represents the company to its customers.
CloudAgent’s quality management features allow organizations to constantly monitor the conversations of ground level staff. Some of the secret ingredients for effective call management are;
1.       Adopting a universal philosophy of Sign on. Quality has to be a Central thought: CloudAgent offer’s a universal sign in policy for its employees. The management can see the amount of the time spent by its employees on calls. This can show if the resource allocated to a particular process gets utilized effectively.
2.       Culture Leadership: Organizational leadership is like spokes in a cycle tyre. The top management has to be aware of what is happening in each of their processes. Even if one spoke of the tyre is missing, would affect the productivity or the organization. CloudAgent help the management ge the complete view of the organization. It give 200+ reports which can be scheduled or evaluating the performance.
3.       Training employees: Training employees on new and the existing policies can ensure that every employee in the organization is in the same page. Ongoing weekly or monthly trainings can increase the depth of the conversations they can have with their customers.
4.       Encouraging Team Work: Employees learn quickly from their peers. Creating and encouraging the culture of team work and payoff as many employees would not want to go back to their seniors for every question they want to get clarity on. Many of the small questions can be address at a peer level itself.
5.       Introduce Self Evaluation Criteria: Assign/define performance matrix for employees and ask your employees to take up self evaluation tests. Many companies consider self evaluation as a good learning tool. It can also act as a powerful building blocks to quality improvement

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

3 Strategies to Optimize Your Call Centre Management Effectiveness

Call Centre management has been transforming from what we had yester years. Now, the game is more about Customer Retention, Customer Acquisition and cost optimization and excelling in your competition. Now comes the question of how can you excel in your Customer Service Management? As it has emerged as a key to the success of every businesses.

Cloudagent has been designed keeping in view about each and every vertical and the processes involved in such verticals such that we can deliver a superior customer experience. Cloudagent recommends 3 strategies to optimize your call center operations. 

1)   Adhering to Departmental Key Performance Indicators 

Although fundamental agent-monitoring KPIs such as average handle time (AHT), average speed of answer (ASA) and average talk time (ATT) will continue to be important measures in evaluating contact center performance in the foreseeable future, there is an increasing need to broaden the toolset. Using measurements focused on meeting company goals (such as increased sales) and objectives in the areas of customer satisfaction (“Are my customers happy?”), corporate and brand image (“How are we perceived?”) as well as building customer loyalty become more critical. These goals and objectives must be reviewed and adjusted annually, at minimum, to ensure an ongoing match between corporate mission and objectives and contact center performance. The corporate agility to change measured metrics and management tools to match evolving objectives and changing market conditions will be crucial to the success of the overall customer service effort.

At CloudAgent, “Interactive Analyst” helps you in sticking to your KPI’s. The Interactive Analyst  is contact center analytics tool bundled with CloudAgent. IA enables supervisor and decision makers to get the In-depth knowledge of their contact center . IA lets businesses know SLA performance, Agent Productivity, Overall Contact center productivity and customer satisfaction. You can also schedule the selected report to be delivered as email in your Inbox. The CloudAgent contact center dashboard provides real-time statistics of contact center performance. Supervisor can monitor one or more sites from Anywhere, Anytime over the web. This allows supervisors to easily monitor and manage distributed contact centers across locations. There are over 200 Dashboards that the customers can schedule on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This helps the customers in closely monitoring their KPI’s and achieving them.

2) Building an Integrated Call Centre

Optimizing a customer service implementation requires integration and a complete customer
profile development across front-office and back-office operations, multiple departments and all available access channels. In addition, all operational data gathered from support systems must be unified within an actionable insight framework to drive operational KPIs from efficiency to effectiveness. Until this data integration and system coordination is achieved throughout the technologies, processes and data stores within the enterprise, customer service efforts will be sub-optimized. Building a integrated cloud contact center is a complex proposition, Cloudagent provides it all at just one click away. Using Cloudagent is easy and will just take 30 mins to install. Cloudagent can also be used not just for calls but also for emails and SMS. 

3) Process Optimization

Process optimization has been the key challenge for the senior management of companies. Process optimization if handled End-to-End, can attain desired results for any organization. Integrated quality monitoring tool, allows supervisors to judge and rate the agent performance on various process specific parameters. This helps isolate performance shortfalls and take corrective steps to rectify them, and align training to improve performance. This also provides early insights into customer expectations and behavioral trends, that helps decision makers align business strategies to keep up with business competitiveness.

For enquiries please send us a email to or call us at 1-800-200-0820

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to increase your leads 300% with a single button

For all our products, KooKoo, BizPhone and Cloudagent, we have done almost zero website optimization. We have just blogged about our products and almost all our customers come through word of mouth. Maybe, because our content is good, Google sends a lot of leads our way. In fact, our click through ratios, bounce rates, leads generated etc are more than the average rates. We do not use any of the new age things like A/B testing or run a survey software etc. We are old fashioned that way :)

So recently, we decided to do some experiments and tried to apply some good practices and make some changes to our web site. I will try to share our learnings as we go along on this blog.

The first experiment we did was to add a call to action button. Before we added the button, our website looked like this:

And after adding, it now looks like this:

We just added a button which said, Request Demo.

We analyzed the traffic patterns after one month and were shocked to find the result. The number of leads generated shot up by more than 300%. We did not run any other extra campaigns in this period and our Adword spending was also kept the same. We were also not featured in any media prominently. So I guess, we have to associate the increase in leads to this one small button :)

Give visual feedback to your website visitors with hints about what you want them to do. In our case, being a phone company, we want our visitors to call us. In our experience, once we get to talk to a customer, we have almost always been able to convince them about the advantages of our product. Hence we displayed our toll free number in a couple of places and also provided call to action buttons so that visitors can leave their information. That lead to an increase in our leads.

Next week, I will share a small one liner which helped us to increase our leads by 20%.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Technology powering Cloudagent-Cloud based Call Center Product

We at Ozonetel take great pride in powering the call centers for SMEs/SMBs and Enterprises as well. We know that the call center is generally the first point of contact for a customer with a business and we are proud of the architecture we have created to make this contact as error free as possible.

Some numbers:

Currently Cloudagent handles more than 10 million call center minutes in a single month with more than 30,000 agents logging in. We also manage 10s of terabytes of data(audio, logs etc)

The Cloudagent API is also pretty robust and handles 10s of millions of API requests every month.

Technology Stack:

We have dabbled with all the cool new kids on the block including Redis, Mongo, Nodejs etc, but for our core, we have gone with the tried and tested stack and it has held us in good stead.

1. Mysql: The complete backend is handled in Mysql. Our star DBA, Anupam, has created a set of scripts and procedures which somehow magically handle whatever we throw at it.
2. Java and PHP: For the application layer we went Java and PHP. Though they may not be as sexy as the new programming languages, they have got the job done and we have so far found no reason to try out new things.
3. Beanstalk: For all queuing purposes we use Beanstalk. Once again, we had to add a lot of monitoring stuff on top of this, but its fairly solid.
4. Mongo: We push all our logging to Mongo and manage that centrally.
5. Redis: This is a new addition to the family, we are experimenting with a new analytical engine using Redis. The results are encouraging and we will be rolling out new dashboards next month.

Really sorry, this blog post is not about some flashy new tool which has helped us out :)

But the truth is, the old, tried and tested tools with proper fundamentals and good design patterns have helped us to reach this scale. We will talk about our design patterns in another blog post.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Taking a rural BPO operation live in a day - Just another day in the life of a cloud telephony company

August 14th:
Just another normal day of office. We are all working on our respective jobs( or playing TT :)). At 10:14 am we get a lead on our portal at This was from one of the biggest rural BPO organization in the country. Immediately sales team reaches out to the lead and gets the details.
The Requirement -
  1. Calls from every circle in India, have to be greeted and treated in their local language or atleast identified and tagged for that circle. 
  2. Also, calls should be routed to North, West, East and South based on circle of the caller. 
  3. All calls have to be greeted first, then loaded into the dialer so that heavy loads can be catered to.
This is for a prestigious government project and has to go live immediately after the independence day speech. Some time ago UPA government gives a nod for one of their dream project. Soon, a private BPO provider with agents from rural areas in India bags the contract and reaches out to us, Ozonetel, to help them out in setting up a cloud based call center.

All teams are a go for making this project a success. The telecom team reaches out to our partners in various telcos to get a fancy number. The provisioning team starts the resource provisioning process and the IVR team gets the requirement on the IVR.

5:30 pm:
Requirements are frozen and all systems are kept ready for deployment once the announcement is made.

August 15th

Independence day speech- The Prime Minister Announces about the project to the Nation to keep their promise.

9:00 am: Ozonetel starts work and deploys the contact center solution with the complete requirements in 4 hours. This includes configuring agents, setting up skills, configuring administrators, user management.

Every good thriller story has a twist and even our go live had a twist. Though we were told that the go live date would be August 17th, we were told at 12:00 pm that the advertisements about the service would come the next day itself and hence the go live would be on August 16th. No problems, the wonderful team at Ozonetel has handled much harder twists than this.

4:00 pm: The call center goes live with training to the agents for 15 minutes ( Our Agent UI is that simple to understand and use ). The agents take test calls and are happy with the simplicity of the system.

10:00 pm: Call testing is finished.

12:00 am: Ozonetel team calls it a day and the team break open a few bottles of beer.

August 16th:

The phone number is published in leading dailies and agents start getting live calls.

Now - We have a happy client, UPA breathes comfortably at the successful go live ( just kidding :) ) and our team still working on other such projects...its an every day job at Ozonetel to make live such projects....

More stories coming ....The real ones ...from the Experts in Cloud Telephony.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Top Reasons Indians Call Businesses

We at Ozonetel, handle millions of call center calls in India(more than 700 million so far). Most of the top companies in India use our products to power their communication infrastructure. To support this we have a whole host of monitoring dashboards. Today, we want you to have a peek at a cool Live calls dashboard that we have built using Arborjs and Angular that gives you an insight into what verticals Indians call. This is a live dashboard(but only of a subset of the total calls) of the verticals which are receiving calls on our platform right now. It auto updates every 10 secs.

We will be open sourcing the dashboard code on Github next week.

You can view the live dashboard in a separate screen

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ideas to reduce your Agent talk time in an Inbound Call Center

In this article, we will discuss on how to improve agent productivity by discussing on various ideas with which Agent's Talk Time can be reduced. Call center software solution should look at reducing the agent talk time as much as possible. The premise for this discussion is that the Agent / Call Center Executive is the costliest resource in the system and every thing else works around them to help and maximize the Agent's efficiency.

Some of these are common sense and most common practices across Contact Centers. Some of them are specific to how the agent talks and walks the script with the customer. We have listed them down all here:
  1. Have Cheat sheets -
    • Ready made information like phone numbers of branches , Escalation numbers where you need to transfer etc. Some of this information can be stored in your contact center software itself like transfer number lists, conference numbers etc - This feature is part of our product 
    • Some data will be specific to your process, like if you are a cab operator you will find that having all the operator numbers listed ( easy to search) will shorten your talk time, or like having all numbers of bus operators will help in case you run a call center for a travel operator
  2. Your Contact Center software should be integrated with your CRM ( CTI integration) for giving a POP to the agent with the customer information. It has been observed that POP helps reduce Agent talk time by almost 30% in various processes.
    • Here at Cloud Agent , we ensure that all our customers experience this efficiency by integrating their CRM systems. We have integrated almost 30 different CRM systems till date.
  3. Incoming Number display - Agents will have ready made reference of the customer number and they need not spend time in asking the number.
  4. Script:  Having a script which is related to your process is another way to reduce your agent talk time. The agents can quickly get the problem addressed. Obviously, the script is an evolving phenomena and has to be changed based on feedback received periodically. Script reduces talk time by 10% especially in support contact centers
  5. Skill Based Routing:  Diagnosing the customer problem/ needs in the IVR itself by providing options in the IVR is another way to reduce talk time. The moment call lands on the agent screen, your agent is equipped with information on what the customer wants. This works best in tandem with Screen POP and is the most effective feature.

There are lot of ways to reduce talk time or eliminate the need to talk to an agent in the IVR itself. You can refer to our previous blog for this -

Hope to save some bucks for you ...Cheers

Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 characteristics of a good IVR system in a call center

Browsing on Quora, I came across a question

IVR : everyone hates IVR's , wonder if anyone thought to visulize them instead listening to these long and complicate recordings? We only want to speak with someone ... Not to a machine

That started me thinking about the reason why in general, people hate IVRs.

A good IVR should not make you hate it :)

The main reason why people hate IVRs is because they are not well designed. Unfortunately, not many people

design good IVRs. Just as a badly designed web site will lose a prospective customer, a badly designed IVR also leads to a lot of heartburn. Studies have shown that more than 80% people with a bad IVR experience will stop giving business to the company and more than 70% will spread the bad news through word of mouth. So it is imperative that companies spend time and thought on designing their IVRs. In-spite of this, we have found that most companies provide an IVR as an after thought which does more harm than good.

But a well designed IVR is really useful. Remember, customers are calling your hotline to get some information. The main reason is not to talk to someone as the question above indicates. They want to talk to someone because customers believe that people can solve their problems better. But if they call and find their answer in an IVR, they will be just as happy. If the IVR is intelligent enough to recognize you, do a database dip and and answer your query automatically(like playing the status of your order etc), then you would not need to talk to a person also and you would still be happy.

So, based on our experience with call centers in India, we have come out with the following 5 characteristics that every IVR system should have.

1. Recognize your customer

This is by far the most important one. When a caller calls and you welcome them by name, you show that you care. You start of on a good note and the caller gets a little bit more confidence on the IVR system. Without this, the caller thinks the IVR is just a dumb system and will start looking for the option to connect to an agent.

2. Recognize context

If I have called your IVR earlier and asked a question and you have an answer to my question, the next time I call, the IVR should recognize the state and give the correct contextual answer to me rather than asking me repeat the question.

3. Provide default options

A customer should never be lost in an IVR. He should always be able to go back to previous menu, go to the top menu or talk to an agent directly. These are the bare minimum. Also, you should have fallbacks for touch-tones and allow a caller multiple tries for entering the tones.

4. Route caller to correct agent and pass info to the call center

After collecting caller information, select the proper department/specialist and route the call to that location so that the caller can talk to the corresponding expert immediately. 

5. Support multiple languages

India is a land of many languages.So, provide options to callers to choose their language of choice. More importantly, remember their choice so that the next time they call, they are welcomed in their language of choice.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Maintaining a Toll Free Number for your Inbound Call Center in India

Indian businesses have been on a exploration path in terms of customer communication. Every business running a support process goes through this. What should be the published number ? Should we take a Mobile, a Single Number solution or a Toll Free Number. What are the costs involved? Too many questions to be answered.....

In this article, we will discuss on what it takes to take a Toll Free Number and what are the advantages/disadvantages of choosing it? Some primary reasons when you should definitely go for a Toll Free Number:
  • When you are offering a service for which you need to attract more customers - especially when starting new or against an established player/competitor
  • When you have established a good business and customer base. Now, you want to offer better services to your customer on the phone free of cost
  • When your service should provide incentive's to callers - in scenarios like Grievance cells, Emergency numbers, Complaints etc
  • If you are an NGO and want to give callers a service without the caller paying anything.
Some advantages you get by taking a toll free number:
  1. Your business will have a single number across India by which you can operate on
  2. Branding becomes much easier 
  3. Redundancy is ensured
Some disadvantages you acquire in this process:
  • Operational expenditure of support goes up
  • Lot of nuisance calls might come - since it is a Toll free
  • You have to be conscious of the costs involved and continuously monitor the contact center
Suggestions we can give based on experience:
  1. Ensure that your Average Talk time is kept to a minimum
  2. Pick up times have to be optimal
  3. Nuisance calls should be blocked using your contact center software
  4. Have a very small IVR instead of a very lengthy one 
There are a lot more things you can do using a Toll Free Number. For further information,please contact us on or call us on 1800-200-0820. Visit us at 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Key Performance Metrics for an Outbound Call Center in India

Some time back, we started our discussion with data points for an Inbound call center in India. We highlighted what has been our experience across customers for an Inbound Call Center -

In this article today, we will discuss our experiences with Outbound Call Centers and Key performance Metrics you can look at before deciding on your Outbound Process.We will compare Outbound Dialing between a Manual Process  and an Automated Dialer.

Manual Dialing :An Agent types a customer number and manually dials a call to a customer.

Automated Dialer: Data of customers to be dialed is uploaded via an Excel sheet or with an integration to the dialer API. Dialer automatically dials the customer calls when the agent is free.

Stats for Manual Dialing:

When Agents have dialed Manually, it is found that they are achieving a success rate of 55% connected calls. Also, they are spending almost 20% time wrapping the call which means that the outbound processes need more data inputs than a regular process and hence agents need more time to wrap the calls. Agent Utilization is roughly around 30% excluding the regular process activity.

Stats for Automated Dialing: 

Interestingly, even automated dialer gives almost the same amount of success rate in terms of connected calls. Agent Utilization is significantly higher at 68%. When using a dialer, agents are found to dispose the calls faster thus reducing the Wrap up time duration. ( comparison was made in the same outbound process )


Automated dialer scores significantly higher in terms of agent utilization.

But depending on the Outbound process, customers have often chosen Manual Dialing like when agent has to scrutinize the case before dialing to that customer. Though the above stats give an idea on the agent efficiency you can achieve using a tool , depending on how your process flow is ( which is the superseding factor) the choice can tilt in favor of Manual dialing even though efficiency is lower than automated dialing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Top 5 Must Have / Essential features to start a Call Center

We have been interacting with 1000's of SME's in the industry and quite often the customers are unaware of what features are a must have in a Call Center solution and also what each of it means. This article in our blog post tries to explain the Top 5 Must Have Features in a Call Center solution without which no technology/software can claim that they have a solution for your call center.

Top 5 Must Haves:

  1. ACD (Automatic Call Distribution)/Queue Management: In Simple terms ACD  is a feature which ensures that any Inbound or Outbound call is connected to the Right Idle/Free Agent. It is a very important and basic feature which connects the customer Faster and also ensures that all agents get approximately equal amount of work distribution - Could be number of calls in a sales organization, could be talk time in a support organization. Queue Management allows you to manage your call flow into the contact center efficiently. Click Here for more. 
  2. CTI ( Computer Telephony Integration): CTI connects the ACD to the client CMS/CRM. The primary function of a CTI is to give the screen pop of the caller information ( in case they are an existing customer) or give a Add customer page in case of a unidentified caller number. This saves the agent from wasting time looking up customer information and it acts as a major productivity tool for  the Call Center. Also, it ensures customer is not aggravated from repeating information to the agent since the POP shows this info.
  3. Live Monitoring Systems/Dashboards: The primary/ basic setup in a contact center is there is a team which handles calls and there is a Team Lead/Supervisor who manages & monitors them. Live Monitoring is a basic feature which provides necessary tools to the contact center supervisor in monitoring agents status ( whether they are free, on a break or busy talking to a customer) and if necessary allows the supervisor to use Call Barge in Features like  Snoop the call - To listen to the call without being heard or do a Call Whisper - where you can tell the agent on what to talk or Barge In - where in you get into a conference with the agent and customer.
  4. Dialers/API Integrations: Though the traditional view point is dialer is something which is used in a sales centric Call Center, modern day implementations include auto call backs to Unanswered calls, Auto dialer for converting leads coming from Aggregators like Just Dial etc. Though Dialers are a must, the system is still not so easy to integrate without API's or a strong IVR platform. Though traditional contact center players do provide integrations, Check if your Contact Center technology provider works with API's for IVR and Dialer Integrations ( We at do provide these).
  5. Audio recordings: This is the most sought after feature by almost all Contact Centers. They are a must in many Contact Centers where regulatory norms prescribe 100% recordings and storage of over an year. Based on your Organizational Information Retention Policies, You might need to store longer than this. However, almost 90% of contact centers use audio recordings for agent performance reviews than anything else.
Next time when someone approaches you and says they are providing a call center solution, do check if they provide these basic features. Though a good reporting structure is a good to have ( probably 6th most important feature), you can run ops with out reporting but not without the above 5 features. Hence , this is our choice of the Top 5 Must Haves in a Call Center.

About Us:
We at provide our customers all these features to our customers. If interested ,you can reach us at or call us on our toll free at 1800 200 0820.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cloud Call Center ACD,Queue management and Service Level Efficiency

Now that you have decided that you need a call center for your business -  and also that you have taken care of the basic estimate of number of agents required etc -, it is time to delve into some core features/necessities of the day to day operations of a call center.
Some common questions we come across is what if all my agents are busy at peak load? What if there is no one to take the calls? What is the Call treatment when a customer calls at such an instance?

All these lead to a discussion on Queue Management with ACD (Automatic Call Distribution - we will go in detail on ACD in our next article) and how it helps your business in increasing customer satisfaction or a direct revenue addition. In this article, we will discuss the following:
  • Why is Queue Management required?
  • Call Queuing mechanisms
  • How many queues can a contact center handle?
  • How can the management make use of Queues?
Why is Queue Management required?

To answer this question ,In a recent deployment we did - The customer was using a system which could hunt numbers and connect. It did not have ACD nor queue management system. The effect was the customer thought that they had enough agents to answer the calls. All the extra calls are going to voicemail. Once Ozonetel's Cloud Contact Center - was implemented, there was an immediate turnaround in the answered calls due to queue management as well as 50% increase in customer satisfaction for those who were calling the contact center( Their calls were not disconnected abruptly and they connected faster due to ACD) A graphical representation of this analysis is presented in Figure-1 in a Pie Chart.

The data presented makes it very clear that for any Call Center implemented, Queue management is a must without which you not only make customers unhappy but also lose potential business.

Call Queuing mechanisms

Various call queuing methods can be deployed for your contact center.What should be the call treatment while the customer has gone in queue and is waiting for an agent?. Is he a VIP customer? Is it a payment transaction call waiting in queue ( potential business)?Some advanced implementations include 
  • priority queuing of customer calls ( for VIP customers) based on phone numbers
  • for a particular transaction type 
  • for a particular choice in the IVR 
Though there are various options available in standard contact center implementations, you need to think through the business processes and decide the right methods for maximum impact.

The final step in Queuing is having a limit on the Queue time and size ( Major impact is for Toll Free Numbers - see below). But once you limit the time & size, you need to have the customer call ended in a professional way. This is where Fallback Options come in - Do you want the customer to leave a VoiceMail? Maybe ask him in IVR if he wants a Call Back?Maybe you have free agents in another Skill or another location - Do you want to route the call there?

How many queues can a contact center handle?

Let's get this short and straight - A Call Center can not have unlimited queues. It is limited by the number of E1 lines (PRI lines) if you are running a PSTN contact center or by the bandwidth you have in case you have been able to get VOIP lines from the operator directly. In case some one makes you believe otherwise , Do Not.

So always mix up your queue with a timeout and always have a fallback after a minimal wait time. As discussed above,Potential fall back can be Voicemail, routing to another skill or an IVR option where customer goes through self service or requests a call back.

Also, if you are having Toll Free Number , then queuing does add up to your cost. So be sure about the number of queues ( Queue Sizing) you want to have because every additional customer in queue is adding to your toll free minutes and thus increase your costs. To give an example, one of our customers has intelligently used queue sizing and has put a limit to half the number of agents ( The standard will be 1:1 queuing) and rest of the calls ( after the queue limit) are automatically sent to voicemail.

How can the management make use of Queues? 

Though queuing is not desired by most contact centers either due to stringent SLA norms or due to very good policies on customer user experience management, it is an inevitable event in any contact center. Once you have accepted that, you can utilize the opportunity of wait time by the customers for the following:

  1. Play new offers/discounts thus increasing sales
  2. Move customers to interact online by playing the relevant messages and reduce your contact center costs subsequently
  3. Give the customers right info. on the queue 
  4. Prioritize your VIP customers and get higher transaction values for your business
  5. Reduce costs on Toll Free by managing Queue size


You need to reach the point of Zen, Realize that "You can not avoid queuing" unless you have overloaded the agent roster with more than 250% capacity. There will always be a peak load and being practical, you need to roster agents for the average. You should be ready to accept a certain % of pick rate. If 100% answered rate is required , then be ready to invest in at least 3X of the normal contact center cost in terms of agents and infrastructure.

Using Queues, you can improve your answered rates and also manage the contact center operations with the average number of agents required. So go ahead, prepare your self to have some queues and manage them

About us - Cloud Agent:

Our product – is India’s first of its kind Call Center solution on the cloud. We have taken care of all the above parameters discussed, to ensure that our customers can grow on the same system from a small Contact center to a full blown customer experience management system. To know more, email us at or contact us on our toll free 1800 200 0820.