The debate over which is the higher priority between agent wait time and the withdrawn rate has gone on for as long as contact management solutions have been in our industry. People feel passionate about their approaches and have based the majority of their workflow on this belief. This is an important and ongoing topic because of the focus on “consumer experience” and fears of consumer harassment litigation.
I’ll attempt to fairly discuss both perspectives but will share that my personal approach is always to limit agent hold time while ensuring an effective withdrawal strategy is in place. Managing your available Reg F call restriction solution, redial timeframes, outbound DID (Direct Inward Dialing) effectiveness, all while measuring results can allow for a compromise to be reached. The absence of any one of these areas can introduce unwanted risk.
Let’s start with the basic question of what your goal(s) is when attempting to contact a consumer. Common responses include:
- Be compliant within the 7in7 regulation
- Manage redial settings
- Ensure proper restrictions are in place within application software and/or contact solution. Only expect what you inspect. If you’re not sure, ask your vendor.
- Attempt/Work as many accounts included in the campaign as possible – campaign saturation percentage
- Resolve the debt
- Low agent wait time
- Ensure a quality experience between your staff and the consumer
Once the goal(s) are understood, we move to how you are achieving your goals. By this time, the position on withdrawn calls versus wait time is known and the discussion moves to the “speed” of the campaign. Campaign speed is normally controlled by the number of dials per agent.
Below are the two scenarios and expected outcomes that I normally encounter. Please note that these are also the key performance indicators that I would recommend be included to not only measure change but also identify the need to change.
Increasing the dials to attendant ratio can have the following impacts:
- More dial attempts will be made
- Wait time can decrease
- Connects can increase
- Withdrawn calls can also increase
Decreasing, or slowing, the dials to attendant ratio can have the following impacts:
- Fewer dial attempts will be made
- Wait time can increase
- Connects can decrease
- Withdrawn calls can decrease
The final area that is key when changing the dials to attendant ratio is redial settings. Redials occurs when your call does not end with a connect or voice mail/answering machine. Examples include triple tones, reorders, withdrawn calls, and no answers. If you increase the dials to attendant ratio to limit hold time, and increase attempts, but also will increase the number of withdrawn calls, ensure that your withdrawn call settings or actions that will be taken when a withdrawn call is encountered are aligned and correct. Focus on a “withdrawn call strategy”. Your phone number is showing on the consumers’ phones. Challenge yourself to consider a withdrawn call as a viable attempt and one that warrants a strategy and effective KPIs.
As you can see, there are many considerations involved when trying to answer the question of which is more important to manage: withdrawn calls or agent wait time. Today’s technology and regulation allow us to think differently about each. Through innovation, control group testing, and analytics you are able to determine the best path forward for your organization.
At The Intelitech Group, we focus our analytics and consultation on helping subscribers to overcome challenges like this and drive results. Our Telephony Consulting Services dig deep into your unique configuration and performance related to campaign and agent performance. We help agencies by providing a step-by-step improvement plan and become part of their team to assist efforts to complete needed change and implement quality measurements going forward.
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