Distributor Comstor and customer contact centre vendor Braxtel are alerting resellers to changes in legislation which will affect UK contact centres’ outbound activities. The updates to the Communications Act 2003, which came into effect in March this year, call for a reduction of the percentage of ‘silent’ or abandoned telephone calls generated by predictive or ‘power’ diallers used by outbound call centres to three per cent.
Diallers are used to maximise the amount of time a call centre agent is actually talking on the phone by constantly delivering pre-dialled, live callers for the agent to respond to.
A dialler calls ahead to eliminate unanswered and engaged numbers which account for up to two-thirds of all calls. Diallers then use differing algorithms to constantly predict and match the number of available call centre agents to the number of live calls. Issues arise when there are no spare agents in the call centre available to take a live call so that the call receiver hears silence or a ‘dead’ tone when he picks up the receiver.
Earlier this year, the Government’s telecommunications regulator Ofcom tightened up the regulations in Communications Act 2003 concerning persistent misuse of telecoms networks by call centres. This stipulates a maximum abandoned call rate of three per cent of live calls over 24-hours; a two second limit on the time a dialler can hold the caller awaiting agent availability; and requires archiving of call records for at least six months for review purposes. Ofcom can impose a maximum fine of £50,000 per breach of any of these rules.
Comstor, working with Braxtel’s Fluency Predictive Dialler solution, helps call centres achieve full productivity increases, normally in the range of 45 to 50 minutes of agent talk time per hour and simultaneously guarantees compliance with new legislative restrictions of under three per cent abandoned calls by using the Braxtel virtual event engine, which simulates 10,000,000 calls per second and is able to adjust the optimum dial rate more effectively then any other product.
Braxtel has incorporated experience from the USA to adapt its products, where this legislation has applied for the past four years. Older diallers are slower to respond to changes in call centre agent availability. When an agent signs off, a dialler could take 15 to 20 minutes to absorb that information, which could mean hundreds of abandoned calls are created before the system adjusts.
Nick Thwaites, vice president worldwide sales, Braxtel, commented: “Resellers should establish whether their customers are making volumes of outbound calls, and if they are, explore how they are complying with the new Ofcom regulations. From our market research nearly two-thirds of diallers currently being used in the UK are not meeting the target on abandoned calls. A more efficient dialler also has a strong ROI case; we have worked with a retailer who has cut call agent numbers by two-thirds.”
Victoria Reglar, affinity programmes manager, Comstor said: “If a customer is upgrading a dialler, this could also be a buying trigger for other upgrades in a call centre. Braxtel integrates with Cisco, Avaya, Nortel and the majority of modern PBXs or IP switches. We are experiencing strong demand for Braxtel and we can help resellers identify and seize the opportunities in the market.”
A customer who recently deployed the Braxtel Dialler, Jo Lazzari, credit services director, IKANO Financial Services Ltd comments: “To put into perspective how useful Braxtel’s dialler will be, the Service Level Agreement for call collections is 5,000 calls a week with 15/20 agents. Last Thursday (during their first three hours on the Dialler) the first six initial users called 1,100 in just three hours. You can see that the Dialler will allow collections to potentially reach an awful lot more people, thus garnering a lot more arrears and reducing bad debt. I cannot stress how large an impact this will have on our bottom line.”
Rachel Wilde, corporate account manager at Comstor reseller Maintel said “We have worked closely with Braxtel and Comstor on deals that have resulted in dramatically improved performance for our customers. The Braxtel solution enables us to provide what our call centre customers need and the support we get means we can replicate the success with more and more customers”.
Braxtel is a key affinity vendor partner of Comstor and Westcon. Comstor’s affinity vendor programme aims to increase reseller success with the introduction of applications and products comprising powerful and comprehensive business solutions with a unique portfolio of products and resources to draw on. Other affinity vendors include APC, PowerDsine, Quescom, Sony and Westell. Westcon reseller partners benefit from regular workshops, sales and technical training, qualified sales leads, marketing support and dedicated product and account management to help them break into new lucrative markets.