PRLog - Jan. 19, 2011 - REGINA, Saskatchewan -- On the surface, LawnSavers Plant Health Care Inc. and the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association may not appear to have much in common. But a closer look at their internal operations tells a different story... Both organizations rely on cold-calling thousands of people each year to develop their business, and what’s more, both organizations have implemented a sophisticated ICT solution to help make this process more efficient.
Kyle Tobin owns LawnSavers Plant Health Care. Two years ago, he decided to make some changes to the way his company carried out its cold calls. He invested in the predictive dialing system, Pursuit, by MarkeTel Systems Ltd. in Saskatchewan, which dials the numbers automatically, and based on an algorithm that learns the agents dialing and speaking habits, eliminates all time that was previously wasted listening ringing, busy signals, and so on. Ever since, Kyle’s been watching his business grow.
“The amount of people you actually contact on the phone is doubled if not tripled,” Kyle said. “It’s a no-brainer – you spend less time talking to nobody, just listening to it ringing, and more time talking to somebody.”
Kyle said this has translated into significant growth for LawnSavers.
“You watch it as it happens. You can run a campaign and see the results as they’re happening – it’s immediate,” he said. “You know when you’re getting leads, and the system is quantifying them as they are occurring. So it’s easy to quantify converting a lead into a sale, a new customer into real dollars.”
Kyle said a key factor that allowed him to adopt the Pursuit system was that it required no additional expertise from he or his staff.
“We have different types of phone systems, different types of database systems, and I needed everything to talk to each other. I’m not an IT expert, and I can’t afford one, and I can’t afford to wait either. I just wanted to open a box and start a campaign, using our data immediately – and this system allowed that.”
Kyle said his company has reached the point where it’s no longer customer recruitment that limits growth.
“What you get out of this technology is really just a factor of how much money you want to put into the labour and agents behind it. If I had the guts and the money, I’d invest in a hundred seats, and I know I would win. But you have to be ready to accommodate the growth, and keep your service levels up,” he said. “Double-digit growth is the bare minimum you can expect with this dialer.”
Ngee Cau is CEO of MarkeTel. He said it’s nice to see LawnSavers achieving such success with the Pursuit system – after all, MarkeTel started as a landscaping company too.
The company’s founder at the time was encountering the same challenges as Kyle, so he struck up a partnership with the University of Regina to work on a predictive dialer algorithm. As Ngee explains, the main reason why the company’s founder decided to develop his own system was that there were no commercial systems geared toward the SME community – everything on the market at that time was very expensive and difficult for small- to mid-sized businesses to afford.
When Ngee joined the company in 2005, MarkeTel was primarily a hardware manufacturer – and they were on the verge of investing $1.2 million into their latest next generation products. But because of the economic strain this type of overhead was having on the company, Ngee decided to take a “180” and stop manufacturing. Instead, they would focus on software development which would then be loaded onto hardware on a “just in time” basis, before sending the compete package to clients.
He said this has improved the company’s operations and profitability significantly, and has allowed them to expand their offering of ICT products and solutions.
“We have a suite of products – predictive dialer, auto dialer, progressive dialing, preview dialing, inbound IBR, IP-PBX soft phones, and we can work with basically any existing telecom company,” Ngee said.
Ngee said the ability to establish their niche SME market has been key to the company’s success.
“We’re an SME, so we recognize the challenges this size of company encounters,”
MarkeTel has proven that their predictive dialer systems increase the time spent on the phone talking with a prospective customer from 15 minutes per hour to up to 50 minutes per hour – an increase in productivity in the range of 150 to 400 percent. And the company is committed to developing products that will constantly push the envelope.
“More than a third of our employees are in R&D,” Ngee said. “It’s a high expense for a small company, but we need to stay focused on providing the right quality and the right technology.”
Joan Kilbride is the Director of Resource Development and Public Education for the Canadian Mental Health Association’
“It is really cost-effective for us. We used to have a call centre staffed by two shifts of 12 people each – about 25 employees – where someone would have to photocopy our lists from a phonebook, then everyone would dial manually,” Joan explained. “Now we’re down to five people, and we can put the entire phone book on the dialer electronically.”
Joan said before her office adopted the predictive dialer solution, their cold-calling campaigns were consistently on the brink of losing money. But all that is in the past.
“The sales we make per month are more than double what it costs to run the dialer,” she said.
And for a small not-for-profit organization like the CMHA, it helps that they are able to make the calls from within their own office, without having to hire a large marketing company. This allows them to maintain their soft-selling approach over the phone, while also avoiding paying out the large percentages of their revenues to a third-party company.
“There’s no doubt about it – we were really spinning our wheels before, and this system has helped us become much more efficient. And in the end, that just means better service for the people we serve – those who need our help.”
For information on any of these three organizations, please visit www.cmhask.com for the CMHA’s Saskatchewan Division, lawnsavers.com for LawnSavers Plant Health Care Inc. and www.marketelsystems.com for MarkeTel Systems Ltd.
Published in December issue of ITAC Online
By Brendan Glauser - Manager, Communications, ITAC
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MarkeTel Systems provides contact centre solutions worldwide. MarkeTel Pursuit™, is a unified communications solution including predictive dialer, auto dialer and IP-PBX. This turnkey is designed to be simple, reliable and effective! 800-289-8616