We’ve all been there: Eagerly calling a friend to share the good news, but, instead of having that great conversation, we get their voicemail that asks us to leave a message. For many, hearing that voicemail is an everyday annoyance. For agents at outbound contact centers, reaching voicemail after voicemail is more than a mere nuisance—it’s a drain on efficiency and productivity, which can lead to reduced sales and revenues. That’s why call center dialers use answering machine detection (AMD) technology.
AMD at a glance
Operating in conjunction with your outbound dialer, AMD lives up to its name. AMD determines if an answering machine or actual person is reached and prompts the appropriate next steps. Typically, that’s transferring a live customer to an available agent or leaving a pre-recorded or live message from an agent on the machine.
How does it distinguish an answering machine from a person? AMD uses algorithms to identify voicemail versus live voice based on the presence or absence of the following characteristics:
- Background noise. Rustling, hissing, or muffled sounds are often found in pre-recorded voicemail messages.
- A long strand of words. On answering machines, the recorded greeting could be something like “Hello, you’ve reached [FIRST NAME, LAST NAME], please leave a message…”
- A short greeting. As most people answer with “hello” and pause for the caller to speak, this indicates an actual person, following up with another “hello” if no one talks.
The efficiencies gained from the implementation of detection technology are only possible with highly accurate systems. While infrequent, leading AMD solutions may still result in:
- False negatives. These occur when the AMD tool detects a live customer when it has reached an answering machine. This means the call is passed to an agent, wasting their valuable time and reducing team efficiency.
- False positives. In these cases, the machine classifies live callers as voicemails, creating poor customer experiences and possibly losing leads or sales.
Inaccurate AMD technology can cause contact centers’ call abandonment rates to rise, which may jeopardize their compliance with federal regulations or subject them to Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuits. Choosing a proven AMD solution that delivers best-in-class accuracy is a must.
While false negatives and false positives are certainly undesirable, outbound call centers can prioritize the occurrence of one over the other, depending on their goals and leads. For example, AMD-enabled campaigns including highly promising leads may prioritize more false negatives to ensure these leads are never misidentified as voicemails and potentially lost.
3 Ways AMD delivers ROI
- Faster call classification. With outbound call centers processing thousands of calls a day, quick (and accurate) detection of answering machines allows many additional calls to come through. That means making contact with more leads or customers.
- Improving agent efficiency. The more voicemails agents get, the more time they waste, the productivity they lose, and the costs they drive up, all at no fault of their own. Not only can AMD enhance operational efficiencies that save time and money, but it can also improve agent morale and energy, leading to even greater productivity!
- Increased conversions. When talented agents can connect with high-quality leads, conversions happen. Sales are made. Relationships are strengthened. Company goals are met. AMD helps facilitate positive agent and lead interactions, whether through a well-timed voicemail message or a successful conversation.
It’s easy to see how AMD technology can drive ROI for outbound call centers. But it’s important to remember that the best AMD systems and solutions can’t make up for improper lead management or lack of data reporting and analysis.
Leveraging real-time data reporting enables call center management to see which agents are top performers, how many leads have been converted into customers, and which leads warrant more attention to secure the sale.
Luckily, various digital technologies are available to help call centers streamline agent workflows, harness and transform lead and customer data into actionable insights, and much more. Add it all together, and it can result in highly efficient call centers that operate at maximum efficiency and generate greater revenues, as well as positive customer experiences that improve customer satisfaction.