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RICS Screener to Live Interviewer (RSLI) is about 6X as efficient and ½ the cost when compared to DFRDD CATI. This is because agents spend most of their time interviewing rather than dialing the phone.
The SPH (Completed Surveys Per Agent Hour) is about 1.5 for RSLI vs. .25 for DFRDD CATI. Below is an estimate for an optimized RSLI. The rest of this document outlines our recommendations to achieve an optimized RSLI.

RICS Sample IVR Script

We can record the greeting in any language. Naturally, you’ll need agents that can speak those languages. We can send calls to different agents depending upon the language in which the caller responds.

Greeting: You’ll get $20, if you qualify and complete an important health survey, conducted by ___. Your confidential answers will be used to improve the health of _____.  Let’s begin…
Screeners: If you’re 18 or older press 1. If you’re 17 or younger press 2.
[IF “2”] Thank you. Only adults qualify to participate in this study. We hope you have a nice day. Goodbye. [Disconnect call]
Do currently you live in _____[State]? If yes, press 1, if no, press 2.
[IF “2”] Thank you. Only residents of _____ State are qualified to participate in this study. We hope you have a nice day. Goodbye. [Disconnect call]
“Atta Boy” Thanks, you’re doing great!
Softballs: Is your health good, fair or poor?  If good press 1, if fair press 2 if poor press 3
Do you generally like to help others?  If yes, press 1, if no, press 2
“Atta Boy” We really appreciate your help!
Transfer Message: You’ll get $20 for completing this important health survey with a live member of our study staff.  We’re connecting you now. Please stay on the line. [Transfer to call center]

Call Transfers from RICS to Live Interviewer

RICS transfers callers that have agreed to participate in a survey to live interviewers. The transfer should be virtually instantaneously. The interviewer should then seamlessly continue with the interview. Callers should not hear rings, music or a message telling them to hold.

We can send the calls via a SIP connection or ring the calls to a local or tollfree number at the call center. Our CTO can coordinate with your CATI software vendor to ensure this process is smooth.

Auto-populate and Match on ANI

  • RICS sends the callers number (ANI) to the call center
  • The call center should auto-populate the ANI. This enables the agent to confirm, rather than ask for, the caller’s number. The agent can call back the person if the line gets disconnected.
  • This enables easy matching of response data in the IVR and the Call Center. You can match on the ANI, date, time and call duration. Also, you can track breakoffs by demographics using a reverse append service like the White Pages

Call Center Staffing

Staffing is the #1 most important part of success. Our traffic manager will coordinate our call flow with your call center manager. Our objective is to send just the right amount of calls to the call center to keep the agents highly productive. With longer interviews it is imperative to have plenty of extra agents available to handle overflow.

Therefore, the staffing plan should be a blend of INBOUND and OUTBOUND. Since the callers are the ones initiating these inbound calls, they naturally have greater spikes and valleys than outbound calls. For example, if you had 20 agents outbound dialing and 10 inbound calls come in, those agents just stop outbound dialing and take the inbound call. This ensures that agents are just not sitting around waiting for a call, or too busy on surveys to answer new calls.

The #1 objective is to answer the phone fast. The #2 objective is to optimize agent utilization—More time interviewing and less time dialing.

Agent Smiles and Rapport

Agents must smile. People can feel a smile on the phone. Also, it’s critical that agents know how to easily answer a caller’s question and then pivot back into the interview.

RICS and Agents Relationships

We like to personally meet agents and develop a relationship with them. It’s good to have contests and make it fun. We know that agents perform better if they feel they are doing something important and having a personal relationship with our team also helps.

RICS/Call Center Integration

RICS regulates the call flow to the call center based on agent availability.

Representative Demographics

We can send calls 24/7 or just particular days/times to ensure a balanced demographic profile of your sample.

Overnight calls

We can send calls to two call centers, one for daytime calls and one for overnights, so you can conduct interviews 24/7.

Answer the Call

A key to success is propoer staffing so almost all calls are answered immediately.

 

What is RICS Live?

RICS Live is a new telephone sample and screening methodology that can cut the cost of conducting live telephone surveys by up to 50%. RICS Live can work as a stand alone service or in conjunction with outbound CATI. With RICS Live, call center agents spend most of their time interviewing rather than dialing the phone.

How does RICS Live work?

  1. Inbound callers1 are routed to the RICS Live IVR
  2. Callers are invited to participate in a survey and asked screening questions
  3. Interested callers, that meet the screening criteria, are transferred to live agents

1RICS receives millions of misdialed and incomplete calls a week from phone carriers nationwide.

Glide Pattern of a Brick

Telephone survey response rates have had the glide pattern of a brick. See Pew Research Center chart below. Why?  The main reason is that both phone carriers and people screen calls—When a person does not recognize the caller ID they usually don’t answer the call. RICS Live is the only solution to the caller ID problem, because the person is already on the phone.

Why does RICS Live save so much money?

Because RICS Live cuts labor costs by up to 80%. Here’s an example of a general population survey to illustrate RICS Live vs Outbound CATI2.

2Actual results and pricing may be differ depending on the yield rate of completed surveys and other fees.

How does RICS Live enable callers to immediately speak with a live agent?

RICS Live IVR uses “Maximum Concurrent Calls” and the call center uses “Blended Agents”.

  • Maximum Concurrent Calls

    RICS regulates the number of calls INTO the IVR by continuously monitoring the concurrent calls being sent to dedicated agents at the call center (“Maximum concurrent calls”). When all dedicated agents are on the line, RICS Live stops routing new calls into the IVR. When one or more lines free up RICS Live starts sending more calls into the IVR.

    When RICS Live stops calls into the IVR, there are still people in the IVR answering questions. If any of these callers want to be transferred to the call center, there will not be a dedicated agent available to answer their call. This is where Blended Agents comes into effect.

  • Blended Agents

    Blended Agents take the overflow of calls when the dedicated agents are busy. Blended Agents are making outbound calls until if/when a call is routed to them that the dedicated agents cannot answer.

    Blended Agents are necessary since inbound calls have greater call spikes than outbound calling and it’s imperative to answer these screened callers live rather than sending them to an on-hold message.

Call Center Staffing

Staffing is the #1 most important part of success. Our traffic manager coordinates the RICS Live call flow with the call center manager. The #1 objective is to answer the phone fast. The #2 objective is to optimize agent utilization—More time interviewing and less time dialing. In the example below, ~5 dedicated and ~4 Blended Agents would be able to manage this call flow.

What does the RICS Live caller hear?

Below is an example of a RICS IVR script.

Greeting: You’ll get $20, if you qualify and complete an important health survey, for the ___ Department of Health. Your confidential answers will be used to improve the health of _____.  Let’s begin…
Screeners: If you’re 18 or older press 1. If you’re 17 or younger press 2.
[IF “2”] Thank you. Only adults qualify to participate in this study. We hope you have a nice day. Goodbye. [Disconnect call]
Do currently you live in _____[State]? If yes, press 1, if no, press 2.
[IF “2”] Thank you. Only residents of _____ State are qualified to participate in this study. We hope you have a nice day. Goodbye. [Disconnect call]
“Atta Boy” Thanks, you’re doing great!
Softballs: Is your health good, fair or poor?  If good press 1, if fair press 2 if poor press 3
Do you generally like to help others?  If yes, press 1, if no, press 2
“Atta Boy” We really appreciate your help!
Transfer Message: You’ll get $20 for completing this important health survey with a live member of our study staff.  We’re connecting you now. Please stay on the line. [Transfer to call center]

Relationships

  • Agent Smiles and Rapport

    Agents must smile. People can feel a smile on the phone. Also, it’s critical that agents know how to easily answer a caller’s question and then pivot back into the interview.

  • RICS and Agents Relationships

    We like to personally meet agents and develop a relationship with them. It’s good to have contests and make it fun. We know that agents perform better if they feel they are doing something important and having a personal relationship with our team also helps.

How RICS Live Transfers Calls to the Call Center

RICS Live transfers callers that have agreed to participate in a survey to live interviewers. The transfer should be virtually instantaneously. The interviewer should then seamlessly continue with the interview. Callers should not hear rings, music or a message telling them to hold. Calls are sent via a SIP connection or to a “ring-to” number at the call center.

Auto-Populate the ANI

  • RICS sends the callers number (ANI) to the call center
  • The call center should auto-populate the ANI so that the agent can simply confirm, rather than ask for, the caller’s number. Also, the agent can call back the person if the line gets disconnected.
  • For reporting purposes, auto-populating the ANI increases the accuracy of matching the IVR to the Live agent data.
  • Matching is done based on the ANI, date, time and call duration.

Calls by Time of Day for Representative Demographics

To increase the likelihood of a representative demographic profile, we recommend fielding surveys both during the day and at night and on the weekends.
Nights/weekends typically include a younger demographic and weekdays typically include an older demographic.

Optimize Overnight calls

RICS Live receives calls 24/7. Therefore, if possible, staffing the call center 24/7 is most ideal so “night owls” can also be interviewed. Alternatively, although much less efficient, RICS Live can play a message informing the caller they qualify for the survey and will be called back the next day. RICS Live can automatically provide the call center with the ANI’s.

Answer the Call

Interested callers must NOT be put on-hold. People will hang up. Under rare circumstances, if a person must be in the queue:

  • Hold times should be <15 seconds
  • The on-hold message should be interesting like “Fun Facts” to keep people on the line.
  • Callers should be able to “press 1” to be called back when an agent is available