At UE we pride ourselves on building creative solutions to large-enterprise challenges. One such example is our most recent live call-transfer service: a platform that connects users with prospective customers in real-time, on a set schedule, based on a series of pre-selected custom lead filters.
To illustrate how it works, we’ll look to the insurance industry.
So, you’re an insurance agent who wants to generate new business with Internet leads. Traditionally, the agent would have to find a service, register, and filter through the volume of leads they’ve purchased. The next step: agents have to find the right times to contact each lead, even when there is no predefined availability, meaning they have to manually sort the high-intent from the disinterested, cold leads. This can be a labor-intensive, frustrating process and quite frankly, a waste of time.
Essentially, we needed to flip the script on buying leads and send live calls from customers to agents, rather than the other way around.
How It Works
Agents are able to use our centralized customer acquisition applications to create an order that caters to their unique campaign needs, targeting a set consumer demographic from their preferred vendor(s), who will call them at pre-scheduled times. This saves agents from potentially making calls to people who aren’t interested in their products, while also making it easier for them to shop from multiple vendors, simultaneously.
Agents can specify their preferred call vendors, delivery methods (phone numbers, email addresses), and most importantly, the people they’d like to have calling them. Do they want continual coverage? How old should their potential customers be? Previous DUI or not? The list goes on, and our goal is to facilitate market arbitrage as efficiently as possible, as this is best for the two key stakeholders in the insurance market: consumers and agents.
Agents can also set how many calls to receive at any given time. Not every agency has enough staff to handle multiple concurrent calls, so we built in a throttling system to avoid overloading their capacity. If an agent’s team can only take 5 calls at a time, they only select 5 calls.
Obstacles We Had to Work Around
We spent a lot of time pondering the complexity of taking real-time callers and quickly connecting them with agents, as the window of intent is extremely narrow–like fractions of a second. Thus, to say the service had to be quick would be an egregious understatement–we needed an intelligently designed system that could handle the rapid telephony aspect of the call-transfer. This is why we used Twilio — because of its reliability. They have great documentation, a mature API, and world-wide coverage. This was a new field of technology for us, so we needed an established solution to minimize our potential points of failure.
Selling leads has a well established flow of communication, but purchasing calls through an API is a brand-new concept in the industry. It took a fair amount of back-and-forth communication between us and our vendors to develop a digital handshake process that would work for all parties involved. The ideal solution for each party differed, so some compromises had to be made.
We also wanted to provide real-time feedback to agents purchasing calls, so we decided to go with web sockets, allowing full-duplex communication between our end-users’ browsers and our application servers. This made real-time communication possible without any page refreshes. We push out the call notifications and events as they happen. That’s how we achieve a user experience with incredibly low latency.
Moreover, due to the distributed, event-based nature of the call transfer system, we had to have a process continually running to preempt and handle failures. There are several points in the workflow where our servers have to wait an unspecified amount of time for either a response from the call vendor or an update in the lifecycle of the phone call. In the event of a failure — if a call was disconnected, if someone’s connection dropped, if a call fails — we have a process (daemon) that is constantly monitoring calls and cleaning them up.
Measurable Data and Performance Metrics
For the service to be useful to agents, we needed to do more than drop prospects into agents’ laps. Using our centralized application, agents can see when calls are ringing, when a user picks up, how long the call lasted — they can track nearly every aspect of the call to monitor and improve the performance of their agencies.
When all this began, we set out on a mission to enhance the connection between large enterprises and their prospective clients, delivering a highly efficient route to organic sales conversations. And we were successful. As a result, UE has developed an industry first innovation: real-time calls on ping-post platforms.