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.