RMEx'S INTERFACE TO
I-TEL, THE INTEGRATED DIALER PLATFORM FOR RMEx
information - © 2004 Quantrax Corporation, Inc.
Last updated - 08/27/2004
updated - 10/31/2004 (Inbound changes)
updated - 04/13/2006 (Version 8.1 changes)
Even though RMExwas designed many years ago, the value of a dialer was clearly
identified and incorporated into the underlying structure of the product. Today
RMExcontains many features that specifically target environments where a dialer
exists. With the introduction of I-Tel, this functionality has been greatly
enhanced. After more than a decade of experience, we felt that it was time for
the next generation of dialers and we have created technology that addresses
the true and identified challenges within a management-oriented collection environment.
We have not been afraid to venture where others may not have dared to go and
within the I-Tel / RMExpartnership, you will experience new order created by
a radical approach to dialing and collection management. This documentation
will present several key concepts and areas of RMExthat pertain to Quantrax's
key concept is that RMExmanages your accounts. It is your experience and knowledge
that drives RMEx. The dialer is a tool that allows you to effectively manage
your outbound and inbound telephony, and properly managed, it will add great
efficiencies to your collection operation. In a poorly designed dialer environment,
you would be facing a lack of control, a difficulty in working all your accounts
as frequently as they should be worked, and the increased need for valuable
I-Tel is integrated with
RMExin many key areas. This integration is the core of a new and powerful dialing
platform that will allow you to manage your telephony requirements in a manner
that will surpass any prior dialer experience you may have had. The integration
of RMExwith I-Tel is primarily related to :
The I-Tel related options
are available from an option on the Management menu (Option 15). This will display
the I-Tel options menu. In addition to these options, there are separate tools
on the dialer sever that will be used to operate and manage the dialer.
Several of the options relate to specific use of the dialer (e.g. Campaign administrator,
setting up extensions), but some of the options such as "Do not call numbers"
and "Queue consolidation" relate to RMEx's interface to I-Tel.
Assigning collectors to
accounts at the time they are posted is where your strategy begins. That strategy
will be related to your operational procedures and workflows. E.g. Do you work
accounts in a pooled environment? Do you send as much mail to accounts that
have phone numbers, as ones that do not have numbers? Within the work-group
definitions (System control file used to assign collectors based on client code,
ACat code or other circumstances), you will see separate areas for handling
accounts with phones, as opposed to without phones (either a home or work number).
In general, you will first need to define overall strategy for your dialer plans.
The key questions you will need to ask yourself are :
- What dialing modes will
you utilize? If you need to maintain ownership of accounts (cradle-to-grave
concept), you are probably looking at using preview, progressive or power
dialing for individual agents. There may be certain types of accounts that
qualify for predictive dialing and these accounts may need to be assigned
to a house collector codes. This is the concept that we will refer to as 'pooling"
of accounts. There is no immediate ownership. The accounts would usually we
contacted by a dialer and ownership may be assigned to an agent based on the
results of the contact.
- What is the correct time
to assign a collector code? The new account may not have a phone number, but
a linked account may. Should you be looking at the results of linking to decide
how a collector should be assigned?
- Once a collector assignment
strategy is established, when and how do you attempt to contact the debtor?
You can opt to wait for the results of a letter series, or start working the
accounts as soon as the accounts are loaded.
Series' in RMExis a very powerful concept that has yet to be exploited for its
full potential - it is an automated series of letters and/or phone calls, designed
for use with a predictive dialer. Although you may be familiar with the use
of a letter series with new placements, the contact series concept was designed
to be applied to any phase of the collection cycle. The series of phone
calls can be based on client or account-type; it is automated and is designed
for a dialer. The following will describe how this functionality can be utilized.
- Similar to a letter series,
you set up a series of phone calls (and / or letters) through the Contact
Series definition. For phone calls, just as you would with letters, you define
the interval between each call.
- If a call is attempted
and the result is a "contact", the system will then wait for the
"next sequence" (next scheduled attempt) in the series of actions.
If a contact is not made, the account is eligible to go back to the queues
at a frequency you define (based on the client).
- At the client level,
you can ask the system to repeat the unsuccessful dialer attempts 'every X
days". If this is not defined, 1 day is assumed. Even a dialer is limited
in its ability to attempt every number that it is asked to call. You should
reschedule the retries based on client priority, potential profitability or
history of collectability.
- The contact series allows
you to separate different types of accounts into different campaigns? How
is this done? In the contact series definition, there are options called opening
script#, closing script# and message#. These were originally designed to drive
scripting on a standalone dialer. It is also the method by which you can separate
accounts into different campaigns within I-Tel. (E.g. you may want to have
different agents handle the first attempt, versus the second attempt when
the account is in the contact series) When you process the accounts eligible
to be worked on the dialer, and place then in RMEx's queues, the open script#
etc. can be specified, allowing you to place each type of account in a different
queue or QCat code.
- Once you have defined
the contact series, the automation begins. Every night, the accounts in a
contact series are analyzed and the accounts eligible to be called on I-Tel
are separated. You are allowed to set up "rules" for how those accounts
will be placed in RMEx's account processing queues, which in turn can be used
to create dialer campaigns. In RMEx, the key items that make an entry in the
queue unique are the User ID, processing type (new business, home phones,
hot accounts etc.), QCat and time frame. Any group of accounts in the contact
series can be move to a specific "area" by defining the "Selection
criteria" and the parameters for placing the accounts in the queues.
- The first step in this
process is setting up a "code" for each of the required rules for
adding selected accounts to the account processing queues in RMEx. There is
an option "Dialer options by Contact series" on the I-Tel options
menu that will be used to automate the moving of accounts from the contact
series phase to the dialer queues. The following is an example of Code "01"
which creates a queue of contact series accounts for client code 1590. We
are looking for a specific range of opening script codes, which could be a
certain phase of the collection cycle.
- Once the rules have
been set up, it is then a matter of telling the system what "codes"
should be processed each night. The process is completely automated, with
the system selecting and placing accounts in the selected queues, and including
the selected numbers in the work maps for each user. The following screen
would be set up by management and the information would be using during Nightly
- Note that we have special
logic to present accounts at different positions in the queues when the accounts
are presented on different days. This will work provided you have a sufficient
number of accounts to be worked during most of the working day. You do not
have to set up any option. If an account was called on 5 different days, you
should find that has been called during the morning, afternoon and evening
and that you obtain very good "calling time management" for these
Collector queue management
RMEx's account queuing
system is probably unique and very simple in its concepts. We succeeded in maintaining
the simplicity of a card system, combining that with powerful tools that add
flexibility and control. At the highest levels, we analyze all open accounts
each night, and based on the worker codes, place then in queues that are separated
by User ID of the worker. Accounts are further broken down by processing type,
after careful analysis of all the linked accounts that are eligible to be worked.
Processing types are
broken promises, dated follow-up's, new business, home phones, hot accounts
etc. Within each processing type you can set up sub-queues called QCat's, which
allow you to further separate the accounts based on different and important
circumstances (e.g. skips located, new credit report obtained, disputes etc.).
There is another broad classification called "time frame" which was
a simple method of moving accounts within 3 different areas (A, M and P), giving
you the opportunity to attempt contact at different times in the day. With I-Tel,
the concept if time-zone management is more flexible and we have more options
to manage the times at which accounts are called.
While RMEx's design for
managing accounts is very flexible, it has some limitations when we are in the
dialing environment. Typically, a "campaign" is the combination of
a specific User ID, processing type QCat code and time frame. If there are many
QCat codes set up within the system, many campaigns will need to be set up in
order to allow a user to navigate through all of the accounts in their queues.
This is not efficient and is also prone to errors. The solution is to provide
you with powerful tools that will allow you to consolidate accounts from different
areas into larger units that can be easily worked by agents.
In addition to the above
concepts, we also have to consider how accounts with phone numbers can be kept
away from the dialer for any reason. In RMEx, there are description codes and
QCat codes that can be set up to make sure that specific accounts are not sent
to a dialer queue. These options are set up within the System Parameters and
QCat codes system control files.
What about the need to call
a group of accounts with very short notice? RMExwill allow you to select accounts
from the entire collection database, and move them into queues that can be worked
immediately. The system is sufficiently smart to omit accounts that have been
worked that day, or are not eligible to be called because of conditions such
as the existence of a payment arrangement.
The concepts of managing accounts for your collectors have been well-researched.
Since there are many variations that are applicable, we have used many different
techniques to allow you to manage how accounts are presented to your collectors
through the dialer. There is an option on the I-Tel options menu to set up queue
consolidation. On the sub-menu that is called, we have new options as well as
options from other menus. The objectives - You should be able to look into the
system and see what is in a specific user's queue. Based on rapidly changing
requirements (perhaps throughout the day), you should be able to move accounts
in a manner that will allow you to meet your collection goals.
IMPORTANT NOTE - In the queue consolidation options, when accounts are moved
into new areas (queues, processing types etc.) the accounts are removed from
their original positions and locations in the queues. This ensures that accounts
will not be in more than one queue at any one time. The exception is linked
accounts that belong to multiple workers. It is possible for a debtor (same
linked group) to be contacted by different collectors if the accounts are with
The consolidation options are as follows,
- Let us start with the
queue consolidation options. The first option is a simple tool to allow you
to take a single user's accounts and consolidate them immediately. The following
screen is displayed when this option is selected (Option 1 from within the
Queue Consolidation options)
This option will select all account eligible for the dialer (accounts with
phone numbers and accounts not excluded from the dialer) and place then in
a single processing type and QCat codes, depending on whether the account
have a work number or not. It is possible to place all of the accounts in
a single QCat. Once the information has been selected, the accounts are consolidated
into the selected area. The work map is updated with an entry indicating that
accounts were added to the specific area. The number of accounts is also displayed.
Although the contents of the workmap area are not updated, the new status
will be reflected in the updated work map display (Release 7.2 feature).
- There is a more flexible
and powerful feature that allows you to consolidate any group of accounts
during nightly processing. For this feature, you would select Option 2 from
within the Queue Consolidation options. The following screen is displayed.
You have the following
- You can use the code
*ALL to set up rules for all users. This will ignore any other rules for
specific users or dialer group codes.
- You can set up rules
for individual users or dialer group codes. Dialer group codes can be
associated with a user through the System Security.
- You control the processing
types, QCat codes and time frames to be consolidated.
- What happens when
you place the accounts in a QCat that is different from the original QCat
code? When the accounts are presented in the account processing queues,
- You have options
to remove recently worked or paying accounts from the queues.
- Once a code has been
defined, you can "deactivate" it by making it inactive.
- Once a code is set
up, it will be "run" during the nighty process, after the normal
queues have been created.
- Work maps will reflect
the consolidated queues.
- When an account is
presented, it will display the QCat code prior to the consolidation.
How do you tell the system
which codes are to be run each night? There is nothing you have to do. After
the normal queues have been created, the system will look at the consolidation
rules for the company and either consolidate all users (*ALL option) or
specific User ID's or dialer groups!
And what if you need
to consolidate some specific queues, but the rules were different from the
nightly options? (e.g. You decide at 10 a.m. to create a single queue for
all accounts for users JOE01, PAT16 and ANN63). Simple - Go into the consolidation
option described above. Set up a code and update the information, so the
data is stored. Press F10 - Run this consolidation now. The consolidation
will be run immediately! You can create a campaign and start calling debtors
with very little planning.
The above option is
one that was designed to consolidate QCat Codes and processing types based
on User ID's. You may have a requirement to consolidate queues based on
client codes. Always remember that making decisions based on the client
code for linked accounts can produce unpredictable results if you link across
different client codes. With that in mind, you can use option 7 from the
queue consolidation options to consolidate queues based on client codes.
The logic and features are similar to the User ID-related option. User ID's
can be optionally specified, as well as placement date range and balance
range. The following is a sample screen.
The queue consolidation
options work from queues already created during nightly processing. What
if the accounts you want to call are not easily identified (e.g. all accounts
placed within 6 months for a specific client) or the accounts are not even
in the queues (e.g. new business placed today)?
This is where you would use the Account processing -Special transfers option.
This is on the Daily Operations menu, within the "Create Downloads
- Regular accounts" option. It has also been added to the queue consolidation
options within RMEx.
This is a powerful option that will allow you to select any group of accounts
and move them into a specific area of account processing. Please not that
in all of the account movement / queue consolidation options, the system
is sensitive to the possibility that the debtor may have been contacted
prior to the queues being changed. In this case, we will make sure the account
is not called again. If the debtor selected by a process is already in another
queue, but was not worked, we delete the account from the original queue
and then add it to the new queue. If you have multiple workers handling
the same debtor, it is possible that an account will be deleted from a queue
when it should not have been. We feel that this is a reasonable compromise
to ensure that debtors are not called in error, multiple times, during the
Let us review the options for "Special transfers". You will be
presented with the following screen. You will see several options from the
familiar "Multiple Smart Codes" screens. There are some additional
phone selection options.
The objective is to permit
you to select any group of accounts and place them in a selected queue.
As with other similar options, we will notate the work map with the number
of accounts that were added to the User's queues. A word of warning - These
are options that were designed to provide immediate solutions. In this case,
you will be asked to confirm your selections and the system will then display
the number of cases selected. You can cancel the job or proceed. Jobs such
as this which could involve processing large numbers of accounts and are
run interactively, require system resources. If you have a recent model
of the iSeries (AS/400) and it is suitably configured for your business
volumes, you should experience no problems. Today's iSeries is a very powerful
business computer, capable of handling the demands of both interactive and
batch environments that involve complex information analysis.
This powerful option should be used for any on-demand requests for account
management, but should not become a substitute for the automated
account management tools provided by RMEx. This option creates manual work.
It requires management supervision. It was not designed to be a part
of your daily operations or standard operating procedures. Managers
who may have been accustomed to personally managing dialer production may
feel very comfortable with this option. We realize that every other collection
system requires that a manager be involved in the selection and sequencing
of the accounts that should be worked by the dialer each day. RMExwas designed
to work with a dialer with no management resources required to create dialer
queues! To take advantage of the system and to perform at the highest levels
of productivity, you must automate!
- Within the Queue Consolidation
options, we have added the option to "Re-create work queues by worker
code". This option was designed to be used in the event that you used
RMExto reassign a large group of accounts to different collectors, and immediately
needed these accounts placed in the collector queues. You will be prompted
for up to 10 worker code for whose queues are to be re-created. The option
will be submitted to the job queue.
- There is an option on
the Queue Consolidation options to "Resort work queues by client".
You have complete control over the sort order of each QCat code, but consider
the possibility that you may need to prioritize a group of clients for some
business advantage, at very short notice. This option allows you to select
a group of accounts from the the existing queues and move certain clients
to the top of the queue. The following screen is presented.
Note that placement date range only considers the primary account. If there
are linked accounts with different clients, the client code selection may
not work as expected. You can have all the selected account placed at the
top of the queue based on the sort order, or have the accounts presented based
on the order the client codes are entered on the screen. If the option to
"Present in client order" is selected, the "Sort by" option
becomes in effect, a secondary sort. Once the required information has been
entered, the information is processed and the queues are resorted as you wait!.
Some additional comments are as follows.
- Rather that deleting
the accounts from a queue if they were recently worked or contacted, or
based on last payment date, we will allow you to keep the account in the
queues, but not consolidate them into the specified User ID's, QCat's
etc. Use the option "Omit, do not delete (Y)" for this. The
account will stay where is was in the queues.
- The option "Change
within to prior to (Y)" can be used to delete accounts that were
worked prior to a specified period. E.g. Delete if worked within 30 days
would delete the account if it was worked within 30 days. If you set on
the option "Change within to prior to (Y)", this will tell the
system to delete the account ONLY if it was last worked more than 30 days
ago. i.e. if it was worked more than 30 days ago and not been worked since.
This would keep the accounts that were worked within 30 days, deleting
- You can select worker
codes. You were only able to select User ID's in the past. Worker codes
are entered in the User ID section in the format W-xxxx where xxxx is
the worker code.
- There is an option
to delete accounts from the queue, if they were worked within a certain
number of days. That option also allows you to delete accounts if they
were contacted within a certain number of days (based on Smart Code type).
You will set up the number of days and enter "C" in the field
- The options based
on last worked date, last contact date and last payment date can produce
unpredictable results if linked accounts are present because Smart Codes
many not be duplicated or the accounts may belong to different clients.
If there is no last worked date or contact date, then we ignore the checking.
- We have powerful options to resort a campaign. The option is available
from campaign manager from I-Tel options (a new option 5 to resort) or from
the Special Options Menu, option 13... a new option 3 within that which
brings up campaign manager.
- You get a list of
campaigns as you presently do. From that list, you can select the option
5 (Re-sort) to resort the campaign - It does not matter whether a campaign
is running or is stopped. You may get a message that a campaign is running...
That is an informational message and you can ignore it.
Here is the new campaign screen.
- Select option 5 for
any campaign. The system quickly analyzes the entire campaign and shows
you the top 14 clients within the campaign, based on the largest number
of accounts left to work (sorted in that order). We also show the number
of accounts already worked for these clients.
Here is a sample of the screen you see.
- You can use a function
key F10 to display the same information by client group number.
- You are now ready
to change the order of the accounts within the queue, by client or group
number or some other parameters.
- On the same screen
where you saw the client analysis of the campaign, you can select up to
4 clients to prioritize (or drop to bottom of the queues).
- If you want to prioritize
those clients, do you want to do it randomly or so the first client's
accounts are called before the second client's etc.? "Present
in above order" is used to say the accounts must also be presented in
the client order specified on the client selection.
- You can indicate
that the client codes entered are group numbers.
- We have a field "Use
Ratio" to the left of each client code. That is initially loaded with
the percentage of accounts within each client or group, based on the total
to be worked for all of accounts in the top 14 client/group numbers. E.g.
If there are 2 clients with a total of 5000 accounts and the first has
2000 and the other, 3000, the ratios would be 40 and 60 respectively.
If you use the ratios to resort queues, the queues would be resorted with
the first 40 accounts for Client 1, the next 60 for client 2, the next
40 for client 1 etc. You can also set your own ratio by keying over the
displayed ratios. E.g. If you set Client 1's ratio at 5, and client 2's
ratio at 10, the queue would be resorted with the first 5 accounts being
Client 1, the next 10 Client 2, the next 5 Client 1 etc. If you do not
specify a ratio for a specific client, their accounts will drop to the
bottom. Note - because of rounding issues, do not be too concerned if
the ratios do not add up to 100! This is normal.
- You can indicate
whether you want to drop the selected accounts to the bottom of the list
as opposed to prioritizing them! (e.g. You discover client X's accounts
have many bad numbers and want to stop them from being called. Resort
the queue, moving their accounts to the end.)
- You can also "select"
accounts based on placement date range (can be used to target specific
batches of accounts) or select a range of last worked dates. (Remember
that in the case of linked accounts, the results may not be predictable
because of multiple accounts for the debtor.)
- You can specify a
new sort order for the queue - date last worked, descending balance, external
score or internal score!
- The sort order is
ignored when you use the "ratio" options at the client or group
code level. When you use the ratio options, we are sorting accounts by
client or group code, so a sorting field becomes redundant. However, there
is "smart logic" to manage the queues even when ratios are used. E.g.
A queue has 5000 accounts for 2 clients. Before you start work you set
a ratio of 3 to 1 for one client and resort the queues. You work through
the entire queue. A week later you have the SAME accounts in the SAME
campaign. You set the ratio as 3 to 1, just as you did before. Will the
accounts be called in the same order as they were the week before? NO!
There is special randomizing logic that will present the accounts at different
times (provided the campaigns run for a reasonable period of time). This
is very effective on longer campaigns. The accounts will be presented
at completely different times of the day, adding to the quality of your
- You can sort account
based on time zones. Select W, M, C and E (West coast, mountain time,
central time and east standard time) to sort the accounts based on the
time zone (by looking at the phone numbers on the accounts). The field
can accommodate 4 characters. E.g. EWCM would present east coast, followed
by west coast, followed by central, followed mountain time accounts. Entering
only a W in the field would put all of the west coast accounts on the
top of the list followed by all of the other accounts in a random order.
Numbers further west than the west coast (e.g. Hawaii) are treated as
west coast time zones. Numbers further east of the east coast are considered
east cost time zones. If the time zone sort option is selected, the client
sort options are ignored and are not used.
- Summary - You target
the accounts (client, group, placement date or date last worked), decide
if you want those accounts at the top or bottom of the queues, select
a sort order for the accounts within the client grouping... and go for
it! It happens on the fly, even while a campaign is running.
- And how do you know
that you selected the correct options? How is the queue sorted based on
the selections? After the queues have been resorted, go back to the screen
that allows you to change the sort order... Press F12. (Calling list)
This will display the queue, 18 accounts at a time. Press ENTER for more
accounts. Up to 20 pages are displayed. That should be sufficient to allow
you to analyze the queue.
Here is a sample screen for the calling list display. The last field TZ
refers to the time zone E, C, M or W (East coast, central, mountain or
- Sometimes you will wish
to know what a user has in their queues. Perhaps, what is left to be worked,
if this is later in the day. It is for this reason that the "Audit a
User (Accounts worked)" option has been added to the Queue Consolidation
options. In Release 7.2, you were given options to display a work map through
the audit options and :
- Select F10 to display
the current status of the work map, considering accounts that had been
- Display real-time
user productivity statistics (e.g. Smart code analysis and time management)
- Display payment information
processed by user.
Following is the work map display with the new function keys.
Please review these features
in detail. Together they provide you with a suite of tools to provide levels
of automation that the collection industry has never seen. It may be challenging
to give up some of the control you have been accustomed to, but we have no doubt
that the results will more than pay for your investment.
Telephone number options
With an advanced dialer,
there is pressure to make sure that "phone number management" is given
its appropriate priority. For a dialer to be effective, accounts must have valid
numbers and debtors must be called at the correct time in the day based on the
time zone they are located in. RMExhas many approaches to helping you manage
phone numbers within your collection system. The following are some of the key
- You can assign a collector
code, based on the existence of a phone number (Work groups). This can be
used to move accounts to different house collector pools, if you plan to dial
accounts predictively and work in a pooled environment.
- Based on whether the
account links to existing accounts or not, Smart Codes can be applied and
the accounts could be moved to different collector pools (System control file
- A contact series can
also be assigned at time of placement, or at a later time (Smart code at client
level, Smart Code at time of linking etc.). The contact series can be used
to automate a series of phone calls using predictive dialing campaigns. Remember
that you can assign a contact series at time of placement, based on the existence
of a phone number. You can also assign a contact series based on ACat code
(Contact series by ACat code).
- RMExallows you to keep
different phone numbers on different linked accounts - home and work phone
are the "primary" numbers we work with, and these are displayed
on the account detail screen.
- If the same number is
on different linked accounts and one account is changed (new number entered
or number is removed), the change is automatically made on the other linked
accounts with the same numbers. There are options to force a specific number
into all of the linked accounts (F3 from the account detail screen).
- If the primary account
does not have a phone number but a number exists on an open linked account,
that number is moved into the primary account during nightly processing. Provided
you remove bad numbers, the primary will usually have a good number. If all
accounts are paid or closed, and a new account is placed many months later
with a new number, there is always the challenge of knowing which number is
better and should be attempted first. Presently there are no options to move
numbers based on the age of the respective accounts.
- There is a window for
additional phone numbers that is accessed by entering + or = in the field
to the right of the Smart Code. This area will be significantly enhanced in
a future release.
- Managing area codes is
always complex. If you receive an account without an area code, RMExwill use
I-Tel's area code and zip code tables to create the missing area code. The
data we use for these operations is provided by a company called Melissa Data
Corporation. The product was configured into our original proposal and you
should have ordered it prior to installing the system. Please contact them
at 1-800-800-MAIL for updates. The updating of area codes takes place during
nightly processing. Within the I-Tel options menu, there is an item called
"Phone number maintenance options". This option allows you to :
- Identify accounts
without an area code (home and work numbers) and assign an area code,
based on the debtor's state and the 3 digits of the phone number, immediately
following the area code (prefix).
- Select all of the
accounts with numbers with a specific area code (home, work or phone window)
and change the area code to a new area code. Area codes are periodically
changed, and unfortunately it is not all numbers with that area code that
are changed. Area codes will usually be changed, based on the prefix.
In such ha case, you will need an updated version of the area code files
from the vendor of those discs, and you will need to supply the old and
new area codes. The system will look for changes to the old area code
(based on prefix) and change all the numbers that require new area codes.
- In a predictive dialing
environment, it is sometime inappropriate to call specific numbers such as
those of a large employer in the area. We have separate "Do not call
lists" that are not only a part of the dialer, but are also linked to
the manual queues.
- What about making sure
calls are placed within the permitted times for accounts that are in different
states? With I-Tel, you would have purchased a set of files that contain area
code and time zone data for all US territories. While it is your responsibility
to obtain updates to these files, we have incorporated this data into both
automated and manual dialing options within RMEx.
- For all US numbers,
we have set the allowed calling times as 8 am to 9 pm since this is the
rule for all states.
- For Canada, there
are different rules by province. The same province can be in different
time zones too. We have the following special rules for Canadian provinces
- The rules work based on the area codes. If an area code is not of the
list below, the calling times will be 8 am to 9 PM
604 - Can call from 7 am
250 - Can call from 7 am
778 - Can call from 7 am
403 - Can call from 7 am
780 - Can call from 7 am
204 - Can call from 7 am
807 - Can call from 7 am
705 - Can call from 7 am
613 - Can call from 7 am
519 - Can call from 7 am
289 - Can call from 7 am
905 - Can call from 7 am
867 - Can call from 7 am
819 - Can call up to 8 pm
418 - Can call up to 8 pm
450 - Can call up to 8 pm
514 - Can call up to 8 pm
709 - Can call up to 10 pm
506 - Can call from 9 am
416 - Can call from 7am
647 - Can call from 7am
- How do you know that
the collector or system placed a call on a specific account? With most systems,
you can not tell. Only cross-checking against telephone logs can tell us if
that call was really placed, and to do it on every account is not practical.
This is a problem that has existed for a very long time and one that costs
every company a great deal in terms of lost productivity. We set out to verify
that calls were actually placed, as opposed to what could very well be "fictitious"
documentation by an agent that a call was placed.
- The system will automatically
place a call, depending on the mode of dialing (e.g. Predictive). There are
instances where a user will want to manually dial a number. As an example,
the connected number was not the debtor's and another person you spoke with
gave you a possible number for the debtor. You need to call that using the
dialer. In addition, there are other phone numbers in the system. We want
to give users an option to call any of those numbers. We will develop these
options with time. One option you can presently use is the ability to call
any of the numbers on the Tab+ window. The user will have to enter a “.” in
the code field for the phone number and press 12 to place a call. The phone
number will be logged in the audit notes. The collector is also able to make
a call from the empty entry field. The number entered will not be stored but
it will be logged.
Let's review some of the
"phone number" related options in more detail.
For changing area codes,
select the option "Phone number maintenance options" from the I-Tel
menu. You will see the following options.
The first option will look
at all accounts that have no area code in the home or work phone fields and
use the prefix on each number and the debtor's state to try to find a match
on the area code and prefix tables. If a match is found, the area code is updated.
The second option is used to change a specific area code. You must make sure
that you have an update from the company that supplies the area code/time zone
data, that contains the new area code information. The menu option will ask
you to enter the old and new area code. No other information is required. Using
the updated area code information in the tables, the area codes that should
be changed will be updated with reference to home phones, work phones and any
numbers in the special phone window.
The third option on the menu will be used for updating area code and time zone
information when new discs are obtained from the vendor.
With reference to the "Do not call lists", you will select the option
"Do not call numbers" from the I-Tel menu. You will see the following
The first option allows
you to set rules for all companies. Note that any rules set up for individual
companies will override the rules for all companies.
To use option 1 (all companies)
you must have access to all companies as set up within RMEx's system security.
Other than for the manner in which the information is accessed, both options
will allow you to enter phone numbers and further describe how the use of those
numbers should be restricted. You can specify the modes of dialing that should
use the rules and also indicate if a warning should be displayed whenever an
account with the specified number (home or work) is displayed. The following
screen shows you the information that you can define about each number on the
do not call list. You can make a number "inactive" by using the field
called "Make inactive".
I-Tel will manage the calling
times based on the location of each number that can be called. It is only necessary
to set up some options on the dialer system control file. The following is displayed
when the system control file option is selected from the I-Tel menu.
You need to set the DST
flag to Y when daylight savings time is effective. You should do that the night
before the change takes place. The dialer time zone field must also be defined.
For the east coast it is 05 and then increases by 1 for each time zone, as we
move further west. This is based on where your iSeries (AS/400) is located.
These fields are used to set up the valid times for calling each account on
the queues. If you have a home and a work number that are in different time
zones, the system only start calling the account when both numbers are eligible
to be called. Similar logic is used at the end of the valid calling times. For
all states, we have assumed that the valid times to call are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Note that we will handle the areas that do not observe DST.
The time zone information
is also used for presenting accounts to non-dialer agents. RMExhas logic to
manage the times that an account is presented based on the debtor's state. This
can be inaccurate because it is the phone number that determines where the call
will be placed to. With I-Tel, time zone logic will be enforced for standard
account processing. It is possible that a user will not be calling debtors (e.g.
a client service representative may be calling clients or insurance companies),
and in this case you can bypass the time zone logic by selecting the option
on the account processing selection screen. A sample is shown below.
The user is notified that
some accounts were bypassed along with the number, when they get to the end
of the QCat. The user can go back at another time and work the accounts that
were bypassed because they were not eligible to be called based on the time
What about the question
"How do you know that the collector or the system placed a call on a specific
account?". Every call that is made through the dialer is
automatically documented in the special notes area of an account. (F8 from the
F11 notes screen). The date, time, method of calling and the number called are
recorded by the system, eliminating the need for any verification of what was
done by an agent or the system. This is a great advantage in the event of an
audit by a major client. It also strongly discourages agents from fabricating
their work records!
Managing a pooled environment
With an pooled environment,
we are referring to accounts being assigned to a group of collectors as opposed
to the concept of individual ownership of accounts. The advantage of a pooled
environment is that you are able to maximize the productivity of a predictive
dialer by setting up campaigns that have a large number of agents signed into
the dialer at one time. In this scenario, the dialer cam operate at maximum
efficiency, with wait times being kept to a minimum. In an ownership environment,
your only choices for automated dialing are progressive or power dialing, since
it is not possible to dial ahead for a single user. By having larger volumes
of accounts being worked by a larger pool of agents, you will be taking advantage
of the true potential of a predictive dialer. But the disadvantage of a pooled
environment must also be considered - How do you measure individual productivity
in a pooled environment?
When RMExwas initially designed,
this very important concept of working in a pooled environment was considered.
The following features will allow you to manage a pooled environment.
- Based on the client,
type of account, linking etc. you are easily able to assign accounts to specific
pools of house accounts (Dialer pools). The concepts used would be work groups,
contact series, smart codes as well as other areas of the system.
- As you know, there is
an owner and worker code on every account. The worker code is used to move
the account into different queues. It is the owner of the account who received
credit for payments. To keep accounts in a house pool, the owner and worker
would initially be one of several "house collectors".
- When an account is worked
(contact is made) a smart code would be applied depending on the circumstances.
At that time you have the option of giving the agent credit for a positive
contact (based on the smart code applied) and changing the owner or split
to the agent's code. RMExallows you to set up a split collector for each account
- this is a code that is set up on the collector file and is set up with the
percentage of a payment that the agent will get credit for, as long as the
split code exists on the account. The rest of the credit will go to the owner.
Within a Smart Code, you are able to change the spilt collector based on different
circumstances. The following screen shows the options available for managing
the split collector code.
- Once the split collector
(or owner) have been changed, you would generally let that agent control the
account for a period of time (You would also change the worker code for this
to occur). As an example, you can use a Smart Code Series to check the account
after 15 days, and give it back to the pool if there has been no payment.
The process of moving accounts between the house and an agent is easily automated.
The result is efficient use of the dialer, with credit to those who are generating
Options for managing inbound calls
With a dialer, you will
usually launch more calls that in a manual environment. This is specially true
with a predictive environment. The result will be an increase in the volume
of inbound calls, and I-Tel should be used to manage the routing of your inbound
calls based on different criteria.
Presently, only Priority and Round-Robin are supported.
In the illustrated agent configuration example, there two distinct hunt groups:
medical collections and student loans. Each hunt group can defined as either
Priority or Round-Robin, but not both.
Hunt Groups - The processing order for a priority hunt group is first-to-last,
or top-down. Let us imagine a group of agents as shown in the table below:
The key characteristic of a Priority Hunt Group is that the group will always
be hunted in top-down order from the first agent to the last. When a call
comes into the hunt group, if Bob Rogers is not already on a call he will
receive the incoming call. If he is on a call, Mary Wilkins will be given
the call, etc. The
first person in the queue is presented calls most often, the last person in
the queue is presented calls least often.
would you use a Priority Hunt group? A priority hunt group helps answer the
question: "If I had only one agent able to take this call and recover the
debt, who would I want that to be?" You might want to use a priority hunt
group to make sure your best, most experienced agents get the next incoming
call. Correspondingly, you might want to use a priority hunt group to make
sure that underperforming agents are getting sufficient commission and training
- In this method, calls
are distributed approximately evenly to the longest-waiting agent until the
rate of calls coming in exceeds the rate of call completion. Between this
point and the point of saturation calls appear to be distributed arbitrarily
but will average out to be shared evenly among waiting agents.
would you use a Round-robin Hunt group?
A round-robin hunt group helps answer the question: "How can I make sure that
the incoming call volume is spread as evenly as possible across the members
of the group?" You might want to use a round-robin hunt group to make sure
all agents in the hunt group have approximately the same number of calls over
a period of time.
about performance when an agent is set up in multiple queues?
The behavior of the 4 types of hunt groups described in a prior section, referred
to a simple scenario with one and only one queue, and running within capacity.
In a scenario with multiple queues, and running within capacity, queues behave
Priority - If the queue is the highest-priority queue then the first
person in the queue is presented calls most often. A lower-priority queue
will appear to have calls distributed arbitrarily but some degree of preference
for the head of the queue.
Round-robin - If the queue is the highest-priority queue then distribution
is as per a single queue. If the queue is not the highest priority queue then
the calls will appear to be distributed arbitrarily, but roughly evenly.
Waiting order - If the queue is the highest-priority queue then distribution
is as per a single queue. If the queue is not the highest priority queue then
the calls will appear to be distributed arbitrarily, and agent experience
will oscillate between long waits and short waits.
Skills route - Calls will be delivered to the most suitable waiting
agent. With multiple queues the likely quality of skills match is lower.
Practically speaking round-robin does a slightly worse job of fair and even
call distribution when running within capacity compared to waiting order when
there is one and only one queue, but a better job of fair and even call distribution
with agents shared across multiple queues.
if an agent does not pick up a call? As the I-Tel dialer proceeds through
a hunt group, it will first look to see if the agent is already on a call
(we can check for bothe inbound and outbound calls). If the agent is "available"
as defined within your set up, we will offer the call to the appropriate agent.
If the agent does not answer the call, the call will be offered to the next
agent in the list according to processing type. During this time the telephone
will ring (or a tone will be audible in the agent's headset). A configurable
number of ring cycles will be used to determine that the agent has not picked
up before moving to the next available agent.
if NO agent picks up the call? If the I-Tel dialer exhausts the list of
agents and finds that either none are available or no agent picked up the
call, the hunt group can be configured so that the call offering cycle continues
until the call is finally answered or the call can be configured to roll over
to another PBX address. While the debtor is waiting, you can play a message,
a combination of music and a message etc. (will be set up in a sound file).
The roll-over PBX address can either be - an individual extension, a voicemail
extension, or another group. Since an inbound call to your telephone system
often means a debtor is willing to pay, you want to make sure the time the
debtor waits to be connected is as short as possible. Let's say you had a
third hunt group called "house collectors". You could have overflow
calls from either medical collections or the student loans group roll over
to the house collectors group. If no one answers the call, you could configure
the roll-over from the house collectors group to be a receptionist's extension.
Medical collections group ----> Reception
Medical collections group ---->Voice
mail for medical collections group
Medical collections group ---->House
collectors group ---->
Medical collections group ---->House
collectors group ---->
The I-Tel dialer supports
three different types of membership within groups: Users, Extensions, and
Groups. For this part of the discussion, it is important to emphasize that
even though a group might have fifteen members defined, calls will only
be route to the members of the hunt group when they are logged in. The I-Tel
Hunt Group support has many important features that provide great flexibility
and convenience. Hunt groups can be defined a priority groups or round-robin
groups. Within a given group, overflow calls can be routed to an extension,
another group or voicemail. The types of group membership allow you to configure
groups in the way that best suits your office, your lines of business, and
your personnel. To make best use of I-Tel Hunt Groups, it's wise to do some
planning in advance.
- Membership by user
When a user
(or agent) is defined as a member of a hunt group, that agent is a member
of the hunt group regardless of which extension she uses to log on to
the dialer. If Mary Wilkins is defined as a member of the student loans
group by her User ID, she joins that group automatically whether she logs
on to extension 343, 540, or 219 (i.e. any extension). If she logs on
to extension 219 on Monday and logs onto extension 343 on Tuesday, she
joins the student loans group automatically because her User ID has been
defined as the member of the group.
This type of membership
provides the greatest flexibility to make sure Mary is part of the medical
collections group regardless of where she works on a given day.
Membership by extension
When an extension
is defined as a member of a hunt group, any agent logged on to that
extension becomes a member of the group. If extension 549 is defined
as a member of the medical collections group, Mary Wilkins automatically
joins that group whenever she logs on to extension 549. If Mary logs
on to extension 549 on Monday she automatically joins the medical collections
group. If John Harper logs on to extension 549 on Tuesday, he automatically
becomes a member of the medical collections group because the extension
was defined as the member of the group.
This type of membership
provides the greatest flexibility to configure a work area in your office
space to suit a certain type of collections and staff that area with
any available agent.
Membership by group
This one can get
a little tricky. The way to say it best is that groups can contain groups.
Here's an example to give some insight into this type of membership.
Let's say you had a Hunt Group called "Top Twelve". This might
be a group of your very most experienced and valuable collectors. You
might want a way to easily move this group of twelve agents from group
to group as business conditions warranted. You might want them working
Monday on medical collections and Tuesday on student loans. You can
easily move the entire group from one group to another with a few simple
steps without having to go through the tedious process of removing all
twelve from one group and the adding them to a different group.
Any member of any
group can be a member of multiple groups simultaneously. Mary Wilkins
can be a member of two, three, or more groups simultaneously. Extension
549 can be a member of multiple groups simultaneously. Our sample group
called Top Twelve can be a member of multiple groups simultaneously
as well. Also a hunt group can contain mixed types of membership. Any
group can contain any combination of users, extensions, and group in
any order that is useful for your business.
In our diagram at
the top of this document, a hypothetical agent named Josephine is shown
participating in two groups simultaneously.
Number Identification (ANI) is utilized. This is similar to "Caller ID"
that residential customers are accustomed to. The dialer is be able to capture
this information, identify a matching account, and display the account information
to the agent who received the call. If the number can not be matched to an
account, it is still captured and once the account has been identified using
one of RMEx's search options, the phone number can be recorded anywhere on
The area of capturing the inbound number is probably the area that requires
some operational guidelines.
I-Tel Inbound logic is
designed to :
- Capture and store
inbound calls and ANI's, notifying the user at the extension that there
is a call via a message
- Attempt to intelligently
match incoming calls to an existing account
- Allow ANI information
to be electronically placed on any account
The system will log
all inbound calls on a file. This will include calls that are not transferred
to an extension. The key fields on the file are phone number that call was
received from (ANI), date, time and extension the call was transferred to.
As soon as the call is received and the information is written to a file,
RMExwill try to match the ANI to an existing home or work number on RMEx.
All active companies will be searched. Within a company, we will only make
a determination that a debtor can be matched if there is a single
match as opposed to multiple matches. (Multiple linked accounts found) We
will not attempt to match a number to an account that is in a company that
the user has no access to.
When a call is transferred
to an extension, we will send a message to the user (displayed on last line
of the screen). If the account was matched, the debtor name and linked balance
will be displayed! We will allow a user to access the ANI log from any account
detail screen. Once the list is displayed, the user can display an account
in inquiry, or in the case of an unmatched call, go into a search from the
list of calls. If the user goes into a search, the ANI information is "remembered".
If the user can match the number to an account, the user can electronically
move the account into the account. (This will be particularly useful when
the debtor may have left a message and the account can be identified and the
time of the message matched to the time of the inbound call.)
- The user accesses the
ANI list, in different ways, depending on where they may be at the time with
regard to system use. If they are in any of the dialing modes (Preview, power,
predictive or progressive), they would use the Attention Key. This would bring
up the ANI list. In account inquiry from a non-dialer mode, key in "ANI"
in the Smart Code field. These options will display the list of inbound calls.
Some will have possible debtor information filled in (Company, case number
and debtor name).
Following is a sample screen of inbound calls.
- The user can select
any record on the list by keying in a code on the specific line. Note that
any valid code will delete the record from the list. The following
codes can be used to "manage" the entries on the list of incoming
- H will bring the phone
number into the "Home Phone" field on the account detail screen.
You will need to press F12 to update the account.
- W will bring the phone
number into the "Home Phone" field on the account detail screen.
You will need to press F12 to update the account.
- N will bring the phone
number into the notes on the account detail screen.
- D will delete the record.
This option selected
above will display the account search screen or the account details. Depending
on whether the call was matched to an account or not, different screens will
be displayed (Search or detail screen). If the program goes into search mode,
the phone number is displayed with the home phone search option filled in.
- Regardless of whether
the account was matched or not, if the calling number is available it is
automatically added to the notes of any account that is accessed after an
account is selected from the inbound calls list. The note is added to only
the first account in a linked group, if the user accesses multiple accounts
for the same debtor. This feature will ensure that the calling number is
never lost. Remember, that the account accessed may not be the correct one.
In the case where the system adds a note automatically, the text will be
"I-Tel inbound XXXXXXXXXX" where XXXXXXXXXX is the calling number.
If the user selects the "N" option from the list (described above)
or uses ANN in the Smart Code field (described below) the note added will
be "I-Tel ANI XXXXXXXXXX". This will differentiate it from the
note added by the system.
- If an account match
is not found and you go into inquiry (e.g. the debtor has left a message
and you have the ANI, but RMExdid not find a match based on the number)
you could search by name and find the account. Once the account is displayed,
you can electronically record the ANI by using the codes ANH, ANW or ANN
in the Smart Code field (see below). You do not have to go back to the ANI
list! On the account detail screen, if you selected inquiry from the ANI
screen, you will see "INBOUND" in the "Category" on
the top left-hand corner of the account detail screen. If you want to bring
the last ANI you selected into the account you have on the screen, the following
codes can be used in the Smart Code field. You can only do
this from the ANI account detail screen!
- ANH will bring the
phone number into the "Home Phone" field on the account detail
screen. You will need to press F12 to update the account.
- ANW will bring the
phone number into the "Home Phone" field on the account detail
screen. You will need to press F12 to update the account.
- ANN will bring the
phone number into the notes on the account detail screen.
- From the standard account
detail screen, AN0 (AN + zero) is a special code that can be used to display
ANI's for calls that were NOT sent to an extension. This can be accessed
by any user.
The system will remember the last ANI that was selected from the list and
use this data whenever you next utilize one of the above options. (See earlier
section where we discuss the system automatically adding a note for
the calling number.)
- From a standard account
detail screen (No "ANI" in the "Category" field) there
is an option that will allow you do quickly display the account details
for the last inbound call if the last call was matched to a debtor
on RMEx. (I.e. You can do the screen pop without displaying the ANI list).
To do this, you key in "ANL" in the Smart Code field. If the last
incoming call was not matched to an account, the ANI list will be displayed.
- Entries remaining on
the inbound call list after 30 days will be automatically deleted.
Predictive dialer-related features
With the integration of
RMExwith the the dialer, predictive dialing works seamlessly to provide significant
productivity gains in any collection operation. Some of the features described
in the preceding sections will help you set up suitable workflows to automate
call management within your dialing environment. Because predictive (and progressive)
dialing is not controlled by the user, the concepts can be difficult to understand.
For the agent and for management, connected calls and the corresponding "screen-pops"
are the result of a successful predictive call. There are many things that happen
"under the covers" that one should be aware of, since understanding
what you do not see is very important!
Following is a summary of I-Tel's predictive dialing features.
- Predictive dialing takes
place from the normal account processing queues. During nightly processing,
when the queues are created, all of the information required for least cost
routing and time-zone management are loaded into the queues.
- Any programs that can
create new queues (e.g. Special transfers) will also load the least-cost routing
and time-zone information into the queues.
- You target a specific
group of accounts by setting up a campaign that identifies a User ID, processing
type, QCat code and time frame. Since this information must be unique for
each campaign, you can consolidate several smaller queues into larger queues
using one of the I-Tel queue consolidation options.
- Accounts are processed
by the dialer in the same order as they are prioritized by QCat, based on
the rules set up in the system. If you consolidate different QCat's that have
different sort orders, you will define a new sort order that will be used
for the new QCat.
- You can specify which
numbers are dialed by for a specific campaign, and in what order (set up in
Campaign manager). I-Tel's design allows for up to 5 numbers to be attempted
for each account - Presently only home and work numbers are utilized.
- Based on the numbers
to be called, I-Tel will dial multiple numbers as a part of working a single
account (e.g. if you have specified home and work number, and both exist on
an account). If a contact is made, transfer is controlled to the agent and
any remaining numbers are not dialed. If an additional number needs to be
dialed because there was no right-party connect, this call will be placed
by the agent in preview mode.
- Since it is important
to know what number was reached by the dialer, we will pop a window when a
number other than the home number was contacted. This will indicate the number
that was contacted. There is a function key to stop the warning for being
displayed. This would be used in the case of a work number campaign. The following
screen shows the pop-up window.
- Presently, if you set
up a campaign to call the work number only, and that campaign is run during
the day, based on the retry options set up (see later), the account will be
marked as worked after the dialer attempted to call the work number. This
will mean that you will not be able to retry that account at a later time
in the day (e.g. to try the home number). In a future update, we will offer
a feature that will allow accounts that were not contacted to be retried at
a later time on the same day.
- I-Tel will allow automatic
updates of all accounts that were attempted by the dialer but not contacted.
The option "Non-connect switch dispositions" allows you to specify
the action to be taken for different switch dispositions. While the following
list may change with time, this is an example of switch dispositions.
Within each disposition code, you can define the action to be taken when a
predictive (or progressive) call meets those conditions. The following screen
is an example of how a "No answer" may be set up. Remember that
these update take place within a few minutes of a call being placed by the
dialer. Note that switch disposition codes are system-related and should not
be modified by users.
- Accounts are retried
(e.g. busy's) based on the options set up within campaign manager (presently
on the dialer server).
- During the same day,
accounts that are not worked in a campaign could be worked manually or set
up to be worked in a different campaign at a different time. Even though the
dialer engine runs on a separate PC, its close integration with RMExmeans
that contacts and Smart Codes are updating the same queues that are used by
the dialer. If an account was scheduled to be called but the debtor called
in a few minutes prior to the call being placed, the dialer will not place
another call to the same debtor. Depending on the manner in which RMExis set
up, you could stop accounts from being dialed based on Smart Codes applied
or payments posted.
- Predictive dialer strategy
should be designed in conjunction with RMEx's I-Script features. I-Script
is RMEx's intelligent scripting engine that will allow you to create open
and closing scripts as well as "intelligent" scripts (rule-based)
that are virtually built and displayed only (automatically) when each account
is presented to the user. Scripts can also be presented to guide a user through
a series of steps, with the system displaying information based on the debtor's
responses to each situation.
I-Tel was designed to be
different. It was expected to set a new standard for the term "integrated
dialer". Quantrax believes that the present product and future enhancements
will accomplish the ambitious goals that Quantrax set for itself and this new
and exciting product. As with all technology, you will be limited by your vision,
an unwillingness to take risks or a lack of interest in bringing new thinking
to your operation. There is no easy or quick path to deploying new technology,
but our experience with RMExhas shown that acquiring knowledge about your technology
and taking small steps to incorporate new technologies into your processes is
a vital part of progress. Quantrax will continue to provide its users with high-technology
that is innovative, practical and can result in greater efficiency and productivity.
But how you use that technology to your advantage is entirely within your control.
By selecting RMEx, you demonstrated a desire to be different from the other
6000 collection companies in the United States. This is your next opportunity.
Phone number for Melissa
Data Corporation who provide area code and time zone data is 1-800-800-MAIL.
Please contact them for updates.