How to set up and run automated outbound dialer campaigns

Automated outbound dialer campaigns enable babelforce users to automatically call thousands of contacts per day. If you have an active services account, you can run these campaigns with any number of agents, simply uploading any number of contacts who are to be called.

This guide will serve as an introduction to babelforce's outbound dialer functionality, and show you how to get set up for your first campaign.

Introduction

The concept behind babelforce's outbound dialer campaigns is very simple. You create one or more campaigns, then you create a list (of contacts) and link this list to a campaign. By loading contacts into this list, the campaign is ready to start calling them. Now, agents can log into that campaign with normal phone device. babelforce will start calling the contacts, and when one of them answers, they are automatically connected with an available agent.

Pre-requisites

This dialer functionality is available through our API, a low-level interface for interacting with your babelforce account. In order to access the babelforce API and get started with the dialer, you can use a simple tool called Postman. Visit this link and follow the instructions to install:

Get Postman

For this quick guide you will also need to be the administrator of a full babelforce services account. If you can log into your account here then you are all set. Finally, ensure that you or your agents have access to our babelConnect app.

Getting started

Once you have installed Postman, we now need to allow it to access your babelforce account. For this Postman will use a set of credentials. It comprises 3 things:

  • Your region
  • Your API access ID
  • Your API access token

These credentials should be saved in a special file called a Postman Environment, so that they can be used every time you want to authorize a request to the babelforce API. Fortunately, we have created an example environment config file and included in each postman collection download.

Download and unzip the following postman collection specifically that contains the outbound dialer API requests:

https://download.babelforce.com/postman/obd.zip

Download and unzip the folder. The environment file example is called "env.json". In Postman, click on 'Import' in the top left hand corner, then select 'Choose Files' and choose that "env.json" file. Give the environment a descriptive name so you can find it later, e.g. "babelforce_obd" or whatever you fancy. Postman will automatically store the file as an Environment to be used. 

The next step is to update the example Environment with your API credentials. In Postman, click on the cogwheel in the top right hand corner and then 'Manage Environments'. You should then see the imported "babelforce_obd" environment. Click on it to edit:

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Now head over to your babelforce account. In the top right hand corner, click on your name and click 'Overview' in the menu which appears. Here you will find your API access details. Replace the Xs in the Postman Environment values with the 'Access Id' and 'Access token' displayed in your babelforce account Overview page.

Now you must enter the babelforce territory in which your account is registered. In the above example, this is "services", as this is the default region name for our European platform. Here is a guide for what to use enter here based on your region:

  • USA (East) = "us-east"
  • Asia-Pacific = "ap-southeast"
  • Europe = "services"

 

Enter your region without quotation marks and click 'Update'. Now your Environment is configured and available to use. Make sure it is selected in the top right hand corner:

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Finally, we need to import the actual requests we are going to use in order to manage the outbound dialer functionality on babelforce. These are contained in the other file in the download you did above. It is called "collection.json".

Again, in Postman click on 'Import' and choose "collection.json". This time, Postman will automatically store it as a Collection. A Collection is a set of API requests which you can save and send as many times as you like.

If you imported the file successfully, you should see it as a folder (called "babelforce | OBD" in the screenshot) on the left hand side of Postman. You can give it a name as you wish. Click on it to reveal the contents:

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Inside there are 2 sub-folders and 1 test request. Click on "Test request" and see how the request is loaded into the main Postman window to the right. As you might be able to guess from the request URL at the top, this will try and retrieve some information about a babelforce user.

Make sure you have your new Environment selected in the top right hand corner, and click on 'Send'. If some basic user information was returned underneath, then you successfully connected to our API - congratulations! If it didn't work, head back into the Environment and double-check that you got your API credentials right by going back to your Overview page in your babelforce account.

Outbound dialer

Now we are ready to start working with the outbound dialer. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, campaigns basically consist of 2 things: a campaign, and a list. In the "Campaigns" sub-folder of the Postman Collection, you should find a request called "Create campaign". Click on it to load the request, then click on the 'Body' tab just below the request URL. In it you will find a default name for a new campaign.

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Change the name to whatever you like and hit 'Send'. After a few seconds, you should get back some information indicating that the request was successful and showing some attributes of the campaign. Done, easy peasy. Now open up the "Lists" sub-folder and select "Create list". Again, rename the list and fire it off.

Now you have a campaign and a list. But they don't know about each other yet. In the "Campaigns" sub-folder click on "Link list to campaign" and take a look at the URL. This request is slightly different. Instead of creating something, we want to make sure the campaign and list are linked by giving them each other's ID values as an attribute.

If we send of this request with the ID values of the campaign and the list, this is exactly what will happen. So head back to your "Create campaign" request by selecting its tab just above the URL bar (it should have an orange dot now), and copy its ID (excluding quotation marks):

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Head back to "Link list to campaign" and paste it into the URL, replacing the "[id]" just after ".../campaigns". Repeat this process with your list, finding its ID value and replacing the second "[id]" with it.

If you accidentally deleted either of the request tabs containing the information on your newly-created campaign or list, you can find them again very easily. Just find the request in each folder called "Return all campaigns/lists" and send it off to list your created objects.

Once you have constructed your request to link the campaign and list together, click 'Send':

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Now that we have the basic structure necessary for an outbound dialer campaign, we are only missing the contacts who you would like to call. 

Contacts can be uploaded individually with the "Upload individual lead" request, but most likely we will want to upload many contacts in bulk. Check out the "Upload leads" request and go to its 'Body' tab. There you will see a file selector. Contacts can be uploaded in a CSV (comma-separated) file.

The following image shows how a lead upload file can be structured:

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  • "uid" & "number" are the minimum required fields for an upload
  • If fields titled "number2" and/or "number3" are included, these allow you to define additional phone numbers per contact. If for example the attempt to reach the main phone number of a contact is unsuccessful, these numbers will be called in order straight afterwards.
  • You can also include as many custom data fields for your contacts as you like. These can be titled with anything you like, and the information will be shown to an agent when they are connected with a contact.  

To upload contacts to a list, ensure you have formatted the file correctly and saved it as a CSV file. In the request URL make sure to replace "[id]" with the ID of the list to which you would like to upload. Then click 'Send' be aware that it can take up to a minute if thousands of contacts are uploaded. 

You should see a success message after a few seconds, and a confirmation of how many contacts were uploaded. 

Performing outbound campaigns in babelConnect

Agents can log into and take outbound dialer calls in our babelConnect app. Now that we have created a campaign, agents can start making calls. In babelConnect, simply click on the last tab to switch to the outbound dialer interface. Select a campaign:

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and click 'Enter campaign' to log into it:

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The user will then be invited into the campaign and their phone device will ring. When they accept the call, they will hear some default audio being played, and then the following screen will be presented:

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The user starts paused, so when they are ready, clicking 'Resume campaign' will cause the dialer to start calling contacts from the uploaded list:

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Once a contacts answers, their information will pop up on in babelConnect:

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Notice that the custom field data we uploaded earlier is displayed. Once the call is over, the following options will be presented:

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Here the user must select an option which best fits the outcome of the call. Once an option has been submitted, the user goes back to waiting for the next call to be connected.

 

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