Friday, January 30, 2015

Handling Priority Calling in the Call Center ACD

If you are running inbound campaigns in your Asterisk based contact center ACD, it is quite possible that you may have tiers of callers or subscribers that you wish to handle differently based on the packages that these callers have purchased. In most instances, you would want to attempt to prioritize higher paying customers, so that they will continue being higher paying customers. Using the Q-Suite's Priority Calling features can help you accomplish this.

Let's describe two ways that we can these features to help customize your call flow:
  1. Priority Callers - Use the Administrator portal to add the phone numbers of customers you deem to be of higher importance. In your campaign dialplan, use the Check Priority Callers component, which cross references the list of phone numbers to see if the current caller is on the list, and then routes the call accordingly.
  2. Queue Priority - Each inbound ACD queue can be assigned a priority, which will determine the order in which queue calls are handed to agents. If you do not wish to explicitly set phone numbers and simply want a queue to have a higher priority over another queue, such as new sales versus cancellations, you can arrange this by using the queue.
Whether you decide to use phone numbers specifically to identify the caller that you deem to be more important or you decide to use queues, it is fairly simple to ensure that your highly valued clients get handled in a more efficient fashion. We all want to keep our clients, lucrative ones especially, in a great mood and taking the time to configure your ACD to achieve this goal will go a long way to keeping them happy.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Transfer Types in the Call Center ACD

In a previous post, I talked about call transfers in the contact center. I am going to expand on this topic, and am going to discuss the types of transfers that can be done in the Q-Suite. These types are a little different than the other ones and describe a bit more about the destination target of the transfer.

When setting up your transfer targets, you can choose from the following types:
  • Outside Number - Here you will need hardcode the external phone number and select the desired trunk that you wish to use to handle this external transfer.
  • Queue - With this option selected, you are presented with a dropdown containing the list of available contact center queues that you can designate as the target for this transfer.
  • PBX Extension/DID - Choosing this option will open up a dropdown of all relevant DIDs and PBX extensions for you to select.
  • Agent Specified Number - As this type will require the agent to type in the phone number manually, the only other configuration option you have will be the trunk you wish the transfer to use.
  • Play Sound File - Perhaps you need a transfer destination that will play a desired audio file and then will terminate the call. You can choose this option which then allows you to pick a previously uploaded audio file from a dropdown.
It is important to note that these options can all be configured to be one of the 3 types mentioned in the previous post, ie. Blind, Conference, or Consultative.

With the vast multitude of transfer options available, your center should have no issues implementing a desired structure for transferring calls.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Automated Queue Callbacks in the Call Center ACD

When making a call into a call center ACD, it's almost inevitable that you will end up waiting in a queue, while some form of hold music and/or periodic message plays until you eventually get connected to a live agent. With wait times being unpredictable at the best of times, being able to signal to the ACD that 'Hey I'd actually like you to call me back when an agent is available instead of waiting for who knows how long here in this queue' is a very solid option for people who do not want to sit around on hold. The ability for a caller to trigger this type of event is a standard, out-of-the-box feature of the Q-Suite.

As an administrator, enabling the feature is accomplished by clicking a checkbox. That's it! Audio files, queue periodic messages, and DTMF options will then need to be arranged in order for the feature to be easily managed by the caller. As a caller, DTMF responses at the proper times are all that is required, letting the background handle all of the actual logic.

Being able to maintain your position in an inbound queue in an Asterisk based ACD while not actually being tied down to being physically on the phone is a marvelous option to have for any caller. Configuring the option as an administrator and navigating the queue callback menu as a caller are a breeze. Simple operations and convenient options can help to keep callers happy.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Call Transfers in the Call Center ACD

The need to transfer calls is an inevitable use case in the workflows of almost every contact center ACD. Whether it's a transfer to an external entity, a different internal department, or to a supervisor, transfers do not necessarily follow the same pattern given the scenario. Let's talk about the 3 major types of transfers that can be configured in the Q-Suite.
  1. Blind Transfer - Blind transfers are typically used when the agent needs to sent the caller to an external source that has no direct affiliation with the center. Perhaps you call into a local Home Depot and your question or concern needs to be directed to someone on a more corporate level. The agent can simply make the transfer and it's as though you had dialed the number yourself in the first place; the initial agent is long gone at this point.
  2. Conference Transfer - We should all be fairly familiar with these given how frequently they are used in the world of business these days. In our case, an agent can transfer themselves and the caller into a predesignated conference room and any other interested parties can dial the conference room's extension and join as they wish.
  3. Consultative Transfer - These types of transfers usually happen when the initial agent needs to send the caller to a different department or queue, or if they need to escalate to a supervisor. In a consultative transfer, the agent triggers the transfer to the 3rd party while the caller is placed on hold. The agent then relays the caller's information or problem to the 3rd party. When the 3rd party is prepared to take over, the agent then starts talking to the caller, the 3rd party is placed on hold, and the agent finalizes the transfer which bridges the caller and the 3rd party together, while the agent departs the conversation.
Transfers are fantastic tools. When configured and used properly, they can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your Asterisk based call center.

With 2014 wrapped up, I would like to point out that the Q-Suite has celebrated its 10th year of being a leading provider for call center software for Asterisk. Onward into 2015!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Wrapup Post!

I'm going to end 2014 here on Contact Center ACD Software by listing the 5 most popular posts of the year. You may have already read or skimmed through the posts I'm going to list, but please feel free to read again or share as desired.
  1. Smooth and Flexible Script Building for Call Center ACD using TinyMCE
  2. Impact of Cloud Contact Center Services on Inbound Call Routing
  3. Audio Files in the Call Center ACD
  4. Inbound Campaign Scheduling in the Call Center ACD
  5. From Call Center to Contact Center
I hope you enjoyed reading these posts and I truly hope that you continue coming back for more in 2015. Enjoy the rest of 2014 and we will see you in the new year.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Using Dispositions to Further Elevate the Effectiveness of Your Call Center ACD

Dispositions in the contact center ACD can accomplish two things:
  1. They can describe the reason that the call ended, like Renewed Internet Service or Cancelled Landline.
  2. They signify to the system itself that the agent has completed their work on the call and is ready to accept a new call.
In the case of the first reason, it is important for the administrators of the center to configure and customize their dispositions to meet the needs of their particular campaigns. The Q-Suite has some standard out-of-the-box dispositions, but these serve mainly as examples. For instance, the disposition No Answer could definitely be used, but it is entirely possible that a certain campaign may have different types and classifications for non-answered calls, and therefore new dispositions should be created and based off of the parameters of the No Answer.

Call reporting is a crucial aspect of any contact center. Taking advantage of the ability to create and customize the reasons as to why your agents have ended their calls is paramount to generating accurate reports for internal use and can help supervisors and managers track the performance of their teams.

The second reason mainly refers to the backend of the multi-tenant ACD. Without getting too much into the gritty details, when agents disposition their calls, the system registers the events and processes the necessary operations in order to get the agents back into a state where they may receive the next call.

The bottom line is that using well-named and well-configured dispositions can aid in the efficiency of your center.

Switching gears a bit here, but it is quite possible that this may be the last pre-Christmas post here, so here's a very traditional carol to close out the week. Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blog Roundup

Here's a few blog posts that might have interest to readers:

Christmas is just a touch over a week away. Here's one of my favourite non-traditional Christmas songs. Enjoy!