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Outbound Dialling using Answer Machine Detection. Banned or not?

by OPEX Hosting Marketing, July 6th 2009

There seems to be some confusion as to whether outbound dialling using answer machine detection has been banned or not, getting straight to the point.... it hasn’t so why all the confusion?!

The confusion lies within the guidelines surrounding the use of answer machine detection. The DMA state that no more than 3% of calls made within a 24 hour period can be abandoned and calls that are picked up (that do not go through to an agent) must be left a message within a two second timeframe.

Obviously, it would be beneficial to detect answer phones so the abandoned rate is kept to a minimum. However, answer machine detection cannot usually detect an answer machine immediately, therefore the 2 second delay results in an abandoned call which some contact centres choose to leave as a silent call. The guidelines are trying to demolish these for the protection of the consumer.

However, rules are rules and if your answer machine detection and message playback cannot be performed reliably within the two seconds it is best not to use it and look at alternative strategies.

Gareth Owen, Head of Service Delivery at OPEX Hosting, believes ‘answer machine detection has its benefits but it can be more trouble than it’s worth. Abandoning calls can affect future relationships and customer experience. However, there are other ways to approach outbound dialling that won’t land you in hot water.’

‘By using a more systematic and targeted approach, looking at demographics and profiling consumers you can choose more suitable times to call which will increase pick up rate, reduce the abandoned rate and improve efficiency. Training and a little more consideration can go a long long way. For example, experiments we have run in the past have increased productivity by 30% whilst still reducing the number of calls.’

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