RMEx'S INTERFACE TO I-TEL, THE INTEGRATED DIALER PLATFORM FOR RMEx
Proprietary information - © 2004 Quantrax Corporation, Inc.
Last updated - 08/27/2004
 
Last updated - 10/31/2004 (Inbound changes)
Last 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 dialer platform.

The 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 management resources.

OVERVIEW

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.


Collector assignment top

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 :


Contact Series  top

The "Contact 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.


Collector queue management 
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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 different workers.

The consolidation options are as follows,

       

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  top

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 features.

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 options.

       

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 zone.

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  top

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.

       


Options for managing inbound calls 
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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.


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.

Why 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 opportunities.

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.)



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.


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.)


Predictive dialer-related features 
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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.


Summary 
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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.