Tip 8 – Sytel – Answering Machine Detection

Sytel logoIt’s Sytel’s turn this month.

The received wisdom that answering machine detection should be used on outbound campaigns has come into question recently from a surprising direction.

The predictive dialing guidelines announced by the US Direct Marketing Association in January 1999 are going to lead to a rethink about the use of answering machine detection in outbound campaigns. The reason for this is that dialers may not keep the folk they have called waiting for more than two seconds, without transferring the call to a waiting agent. More than two seconds and they are now obliged to hang up and register an abandoned call.

Forget the claims you hear for high answering machine detection levels in several hundreds of milliseconds only. The fact is that two seconds from the time that the line goes offhook will be tough for some vendors wishing to do answering machine, as opposed to other kinds of call progress detection. But here are four reasons why users may want to forgo answering machine detection anyway.

  1. Predictive dialers are increasingly used for marketing campaigns, away from their traditional homebase of debt collection, where concern for caller reaction was not always high. Today many consumers simply hang up when they know that a dialer is doing call progress analysis on them to determine whether or not they are an answering machine. Or their blood pressure rises if the answering machine detection is slow, and the agent is then in for a difficult call.
  2. The agent misses the first ‘hello’ and maybe the second one as well.
  3. If the speed of detection is increased to avoid these problems, then it is pretty certain that some live calls will be dropped in mistake for answering machines.
  4. And if the agent does the detection, then there is the scope to leave a personalised message on the machine.

For users worried about the impact on productivity measured as minutes of talk time per agent hour, it is probably a lot less than you think. If you are not sure about this, ask for a free trial of Oceanic®Sytel’s outbound planning tool, and we’ll let you figure it out for yourself.

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