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Hostcomm 3 Ways to ensure your Clients are Aware of Abandoned Call Rate Best Practice
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3 Ways to ensure your Clients are Aware of Abandoned Call Rate Best Practice

Over enthusiasm from call centres and bad dialler management are just two of the most common factors when it comes increasing abandoned call rates (ACRs); thus contributing to the outbound call centre’s poor reputation.

In fact, consumers receive 200 million abandoned calls and 1.5 billion silent calls a year – estimates Ofcom – despite the strict steps and enforcement policies the body imposes.

It seems that there is still a level of uncertainty from some, or perhaps an apprehension, towards understanding and complying with Ofcom’s regulations when it comes to the specifics behind the percentage of calls which are deemed harmful and can cause a nuisance to people.

Is it just the contact centres that are to blame?

It would be unfair to claim that call centres comprise the biggest source of culprits exceeding ACRs and falling short in their understanding of best practice, however. Hostcomm has found it is becoming commonplace, now more than ever, for start-up businesses with small sales outfits to use a hosted dialer; businesses who are driven to the use of it because of its ability to drive productivity.

Without appointed dialler managers or call centre representatives, the understanding of what their business needs to do to comply often lacks ownership and can fall through the cracks.

This presents a great opportunity for today’s resellers.

Resellers interested in increasing their recurring revenue by introducing hosted dialers to their portfolio are in prime position to help their clients to mitigate the chance of falling foul of Ofcom’s regulations. 

In light of last year’s consultation… just what are the current Ofcom guidelines for ACR rates?

It was clear, until late last year, what Ofcom expected from businesses to do. However, December saw a consultation focusing on tightening the parameters for legal dialer use. The reason? Because its policies were still being ignored by some, it sought to change its approach, including considering the validity of adopting a zero-tolerance approach.

The initial focus was (and still is as nothing has been concluded quite yet) 1) on silent and abandoned calls using answer machine detection, 2) which supervisory steps to take to increase compliance, and 3) multiple caller IDs. They have implied that higher penalties and robust enforcement may be on its way (for example, the fine of up to £2million has been mentioned).

As a reminder, here is how to calculate the abandoned call rate presently (ACR): 

ACR = Total number of agent-dispositioned answerphones(x) – human answers(y) divided by x+y *100 which then equals a percentage e.g. 34%

So how can you ensure your clients are aware of what’s expected from them when using a hosted dialler?

1. Don’t assume your hosted dialler calculates dropped call rates for the UK market

Every country has its own policies when it comes to telecoms, therefore, if you are suggesting the use of an open source-based application, which may have been developed overseas, ensure it has the functionality to change the total dropped call figure to the appropriate market rates.

For example, Hostcomm works closely with its hosted dialler experts to ensure it has the functionality to reflect the customers’ market. And if it doesn’t, it works with its developers to introduce the functionality to ensure its users have access to the right supervisory tools.

If in doubt, always check which country the dialler is set to and if it can be altered.

2. Use tools to highlight transparency

Another way for you to ensure your customers are doing the best they can to operate on the right side of Ofcom is to promote the use of wall boards within your portfolio.

You’ll be familiar with wall boards, and their ability to show a client core agent performance statistics, such as idle time, sales per agent or call wait time, but why not stress the benefits of highlighting the ACR rate on this screen view too?

This approach will allow them to show the internal organisation the importance of adhering to Ofcom policies, but it also ticks a few boxes for Ofcom too.

3. Don’t always assume everyone knows the basics

People don’t always have the luxury of time to sit and absorb pages of best practice and definitions, especially in smaller organisations where resources are stretched.

We don’t necessarily mean understanding the difference between ‘what is an abandoned call’ or ‘what is a silent call’ or even being able to recite Ofcom’s latest guidelines.

(On that note, Ofcom presently requires that the number of abandoned calls should be no more than 3% of live calls per campaign (i.e. across all call centres) or per contact centre over any 24-hour period… should you need to be reminded).

Rather, you could argue that many abandoned calls are, in fact, made by mistake. Put simply, they are a result of the company not understanding how to use the dialler correctly. For example, if we know that AMD is incorrect 20-30% of the time, ensure they know to turn it off.

Here, you may wish to introduce training – delivered by you or through Ofcom. People pay for peace of mind. Investing in training for their staff if it means reducing the chance of their agents falling foul of guidelines.

Conclusion

Precisely when Ofcom will issue its revised policies on ACRs is still unclear. What is obvious, however, is that there are a number of precautionary steps a business can take to mitigate not adhering to ACRs.

It is an environment of uncertainty, and of moving goalposts, and will continue to be whilst businesses fail to comply with Ofcom. As a reseller, this can present a number of opportunities to not only add new strings to your bow, but to also ensure your customer base receives quality, expert and value-added advice.

For more information on any of the suggestions posed, why not get in touch or learn about our reseller programme today.



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