white papers
 
date:
30th June 2010
subject:
A white paper seeking to demystify AMD as implemented in call centers today for the purpose of figuring out whether a call is being answered by a human or a machine, and to explore what the technology can actually deliver.
synopsis:

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Vendors of call centre technology seek to differentiate their Answer Machine Detection (AMD) algorithms in many different ways; “We have 73 patents”, naming (e.g. Positive Voice Detection, Perfect Call Analysis) and aggressive marketing claims about capabilities (e.g. 99.8% accuracy).

But the bottom line is that it all rests on a common algorithm (explained here). And how reliable is it anyway? This paper debunks the myths and jargon associated with AMD and presents some hard facts for call centers when considering the pros and cons of AMD.

 
date:
6th January 2009
subject:
A white paper looking in depth at the deployment of Softdial Contact Center in a high-availability disaster recovery environment.
synopsis:

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The nature of hosted services is that there is no room for failure. Service providers must guarantee productivity time in the order of 99.999% if they are to provide the quality of service users expect.

This white paper looks at how the components within Softdial Contact Center are designed from the ground up to meet these requirements, including

  1. Automatic and seamless failover of system services.
  2. Redundancy measures and load-balancing for gateways delivering trunk access.
  3. Dynamic provisioning of all system components.
  4. Shared, dynamic configuration store for dial plan, queues, routing, security model and other configuration shared by system services.

 
date:
25th October 2007
subject:
A white paper that looks at the technical challenges that the world of hosted contact centers brings. We discuss the requirements in detail and show how Sytel meets the challenges.
synopsis:

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Historically call center service platforms have been considered too complex for hosting and/or outsourcing of technology and services to be viable. Today this is no longer true but anyone keen to take advantage of this expanding opportunity must first understand the challenges and the potential pitfalls that still remain.

Recent developments in VoIP communications technology combined with a flurry of activity from call center technology developers has raised awareness of the real benefits to be gained by call centers and their customers from hosting services.

The advantages are easy to understand - economies of scale applied to the high capital cost of equipment and services together with higher utilisation means that costs per agent hour should be lower.

While significant savings can be made with a well designed and managed hosting service, there are a number of technology issues that must be considered if these savings are not to be negated by unplanned support costs or hidden costs that can surface when you need to expand or update your systems.

This paper is an essential read for anyone with an interest in the Hosting Services model. It discusses the critical technology issues that must be addressed when planning a hosted call center services operation and explains how Sytel's hosting solutions have been specifically developed to address the needs of this market.

 
date:
10th October 2007
subject:
A white paper based on a document submitted by Sytel Limited for consideration at the FTC Collections Workshop, held in Washington D.C. on 10th - 11th October 2007. (FTC Project No.: P074805)
synopsis:

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Predictive dialers are seen as an essential tool in Collections. They raise the productivity of agents and can make the difference between running a Collections operation at a profit, versus a loss.

The Collections industry in the US is currently exempt from the rules governing the use of predictive dialers there. Sytel believes there are strong reasons why a cap on nuisance calls in the US collections market should now be considered.

The paper looks at dialing behavior in the Collections industry in the US, including type of call, e.g. live versus virtual agent and considers current nuisance call levels.

While Sytel does not necessarily consider the current federal rules on dialers to be appropriate for all industries, neither do we believe that the current unrestricted use of dialers in the US Collections industry is healthy for either consumers or the wider contact center industry.

This paper is offered up as a basis for discussion to arrive at a consensus that matches industry needs whilst protecting consumers from unrestricted levels of nuisance calls.

 
date:
30th June 2007
subject:
A white paper that looks at how the predictive dialing industry has responded to the challenge of compliance, what compliance means for users and how dialer selection has changed in a compliant age.
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In this paper we lift the lid on some practices and ideas that should have been consigned to the history books years ago and we also offer some practical advice on how to select your next (or first) predictive dialer.

Have you ever seen a predictive dialer at work? The dialer industry has spawned a generation of supervisors who sit over the dialer monitoring performance minute by minute, making small adjustments to the pacing algorithm in order to get maximum performance.

What is amazing about this practice is that the big brands in the dialer industry have convinced a whole generation of users that this is the way to manage a dialer. Users have been attracted to the idea because it gives them a sense of control of their destiny.

If you are running a number of campaigns, each involving an array of constantly changing data, for example changes in live call rates, talk and wrap times, agent availability, network response conditions and so on, there is simply no way that the human brain is capable of calculating dialing rates with any precision.

What is required is a well tuned dialer management system automatically making continual adjustments to keep the dialer pacing at peak performance throughout a campaign, without the need for any human intervention. As we show in the paper, it is possible to produce a dialer that does exactly this whilst remaining compliant.

When you select a dialer, no reputable vendor would do anything other than claim compliance; quite right too, since compliance is easy to achieve; you simply set a limit for nuisance calls. In order to make the right choice you need to ask the right questions. This paper helps you to do this and also work out the right answers. Some key questions considered are:

  • Why is the real issue not whether a dialer can dial under compliance, but whether it can do so effectively?
  • Why is excellence in design important and what questions should you ask when selecting the right dialer for your business
  • What proven way can you use to determine if a predictive dialer is any good

If you don’t have satisfactory answers to these questions, then you will be better off keeping your money in your pocket and sticking to preview or progressive dialing

 
date:
5th July 2007
subject:
A white paper that describes Sytel’s VoIP solution, steps involved in fresh deployment or system migration and its suitability for different customers.
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The purpose of this white paper is to set out, in practical terms, the steps that must be taken when implementing a VoIP solution with particular emphasis on deploying Sytel's VoIP solution. The paper also discusses some of the real benefits that can be achieved by migrating to a VoIP solution.

For Example,

  • A single site can be used to connect agents and customers on a world wide basis, 24 hours a day with significant cost savings.
  • VoIP networks can be quickly deployed with quality of service (QOS) levels equivalent to traditional TDM based telephony systems.
  • The convergence of data and voice networks means a single point of management for both networks.

One of the most important considerations in deploying a VoIP solution is to ensure that you can achieve the QOS appropriate to the application. The term ‘Quality of Service’ in a VoIP network generally refers to the network’s ability to allow clear, real time voice communication within acceptable end to end delay limits.

This is particularly relevant to contact center businesses, and requires careful planning and preparation. An initial delay during VoIP calls between colleagues in a company may just be acceptable, however, the same delay on telemarketing or market research calls for example, can seriously impact their success rate

As well as introducing the basic concepts involved in deploying a VoIP solution, this paper also looks at the broader configuration / topology issues that must be considered. For example, in contrast to a traditional time division multiplex (TDM) environment which tends to be relatively static due to the hardware and infrastructure dependencies involved, a VoIP solution is free from these constraints and may be implemented in a more dynamic network, where infrastructure, people and applications may be continuously changing.

The paper also provides detailed information that will be helpful in overcoming any misconceptions that prospective users may have regarding the feasibility of VoIP solutions for contact centers.

 
date:
5th July 2007
subject:
This white paper discusses the guidelines introduced by regulatory bodies and assesses the impact they have had on the outbound calling industry.
synopsis:



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Call center markets around the world have much in common. By and large they use the same technologies, much of it sourced from the US, although home-grown solutions are taking more market share. These markets also tend to develop in parallel, so, for example, what works in the US or the UK is sure to get tried just about anywhere else. This is nowhere more evident than in the spread of outbound campaigns conducted over the telephone for activities such as telemarketing, collections and market research.

The key technology that drives most outbound call centers is called predictive dialing. It has been used for many years in countries such as the UK and the US and latterly has been enthusiastically adopted by offshore call centers.

In both the UK and the US, there was a belief in the late 90s and post 2000 that the way to cope with the nuisance calls generated by dialers was for industry to self regulate, following rules laid down by national marketing organizations, for example Direct Marketing Associations. It was an attractive idea but one that not only didn’t work, but frankly was a disaster for outbound markets in these two countries. The lack of any effective penalties on dialer misuse, prior to government regulation, meant that many predictive dialers were used irresponsibly, with the numbers of nuisance calls to consumers often far outweighing the numbers of live calls

Sytel is well known around the world as a strong proponent of responsible dialing and has a long track record of working with both national marketing organizations and also government regulators, advising them on appropriate rules. For example, in April 2002 Sytel was invited by the Federal Trade Commission1 to be the dialer industry representative at its regulatory hearings held in Washington.

Much of the existing rules now in place in other countries first saw light in the form of advice provided by Sytel. Drawing on this experience, we have now set out a detailed outbound template for other countries to consider when drawing up their own dialer regulations.

1 Government regulations in the US have been set by the FTC and also the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who each monitor different market segments. Their regulations are the same. When we refer to the FTC in this paper, it is understood that this includes the FCC as well.