Magazine article CRM Magazine

Five9's Cloud-Based Dialer Means More Productivity for DirectBuy: Automatic Dialer Brings Substantial Cost Cuts for the Member-Based Buying Center

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Five9's Cloud-Based Dialer Means More Productivity for DirectBuy: Automatic Dialer Brings Substantial Cost Cuts for the Member-Based Buying Center

Article excerpt

In the sweltering summer of 2012, the San Diego franchise of DirectBuy, a member-based home improvement and furnishing consumer buying center, was facing a problem. Its call center, a small, manually driven outfit, could not keep up with its member base, and it was spending far too much--around $1,100 for each new member.

A pool of eight to 10 representatives were manually pulling numbers from campaign lists, dialing in, and, more often than not, getting busy signals, hang-ups, and numbers that were no longer in service. With this technique, a given hour might see only 15 minutes' worth of "actually talking to someone," says Liz Osborn, vice president for product solution marketing at Five9--to say nothing of actually making a sale or finding good prospective leads.

"It's pretty inefficient," she adds. "Switching over to automated dialing, you can triple the amount of time you spend talking to someone."

For San Diego's arm of DirectBuy, automation seemed like just the thing. In the search for a vendor to help them do that, DirectBuy stressed the importance of ease of installation and maintenance. According to Melanie Denischuk, who formerly owned the San Diego franchise and currently owns DirectBuy Memphis, Five9 provided just that. Her franchise contracted with Five9 in June 2012 to implement Power Dialer, a cloud-based automated dialer. Denischuk says her team was able to complete training on Five9's system in one day, and by the end of the first week was seeing dramatically different results.

Agents went from calling 30 to 50 potential members per day to 110 on the low end and as many as 150 on the high end. Cost-per-member dropped to around $700--a nearly 64 percent decrease from the $1,100 they started from. In a press release from Five9, DirectBuy also claims it was able to lower its member (read: customer) acquisition costs by more than 36 percent.

"We are dialing far more numbers and reaching far more people, but I am still able to have the staff work the same hours, which keeps my payroll costs down," writes Denischuk in an email to CRM.

Power Dialer works like this: When an agent is ready to talk to a potential customer, he clicks a button to indicate that. The solution simultaneously calls a fixed ratio of phone numbers, usually three or four. Five9's Osborn explains that for most call centers, one in four calls are actually answered by a live person. …

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