Contact Center Tutorial: ECC Outbound Dialing from an Excel or Word Document

    I often get asked if ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) can do outbound dialing from an Excel or Word document. The answer is yes it can. Once upon a time DBA meant “Doing Business As” where a company might use a different name to expand how they reach their market. While the term is still in use the acronym now really means Database Administrator. These people are special. The know everything about your data. Be nice to them. They also have no place in a well-designed and well-articulated Contact Center. Nothing against DBA’s but they have better things to do than be involved on a day-to-day basis with something as simple (in ECC terms anyway) as “outbound contact center calls.”

    How to call abandoned calls:

    When I generate an Abandoned Call Report I can do three distinct things to generate follow-up.

    1. I can save my report as SQL and build a Dial List for that effort. Once the ODBC connection is made, I can save the export as SQL in a predicable place with the same name (replacing what’s there) and the Dial List for “Callbacks” would run as scheduled. You can repeat this process automatically or manually and bear the benefit of a Group Agent Report that might have the name “Callbacks from List.” Let’s be fair here, once that connection is built no assist is really needed. DBA’s get the day off (only from ECC needs perhaps).

    2. I can also have the report delivered via HTML, open it in Internet Explorer, highlight and right click to send the call to an named agent or ECC service: Image 1Here’s the Web Dialer Admin pop-up to show you how to do that. Simply utilize the checkbox for “Service” or “Personal Agent Queue.” This is very easy and changeable on the fly as you need. Some calls go to specific people, others to a Group. Flexibility is our paramount concern in ECC. I keep my Web Dialer in a toolbar for easy access:Image 2

    3. Excel or CSV exported report? Simply save as MHT (Single File Web Page) and click to dial the same way you would for the Abandoned report that we delivered as HTML. The two formats are identical as far as ECC is concerned. Save that Excel as an MHT doc (that flat one “icon” doc as opposed to an HTML doc, which is called “Save as web page” with a folder of images and other content), open it in Internet Explorer and use the ShoreTel Web Dialer. Image 3MHT is on the left, HTML with accompanying folder is on the right. They both work the same for our purposes but one is much easier to manage since it’s just that one icon (no folders) to worry about. Less is definitely more in this case as MHT is just neat and compact:Image 12 One important Excel trick is to make sure the number is presented as a phone number. Formatting requires a right click with the column highlighted:Image 5


    How to handle random documents


    So what about straight up Microsoft Excel or Word documents for ECC? Yup. Here’s the scenario: I need my supervisor to work a list having nothing to do with anything, just a random Excel or Word document and the supervisors’ decide who gets called. Here’s where the fun begins.

    1. Save that Excel or Word document as an MHT doc (see above, it’s the flat one “icon” doc), open it in Internet Explorer and use the ShoreTel Web Dialer. If your formatting is clean you can Click-to-Dial the call to a Service or Individual Agent. In this case I want the calls to go to a Service that I have determined. Let’s send those to the “Dial List” Service:Image 6 Save that Excel as an MHT. Microsoft calls that Single File Web Page as noted below:Image 7

    2. Open in Internet Explorer and “do what you need to do.” Here’s where the benefits of proper formatting can be very helpful. If again, your formatting is clean you can Click-to-Dial the call to a Service or Individual Agent. Image 8Even if you do not have excellent formatting, simply highlight the number and right click to reveal the ShoreTel Web Dialer option: Image 13Word doc is on the left and the MHT “save as” is on the right showing the ShoreTel Web Dialer:Image 13


    Excel into Access is another method that is going to take a bit more skill but it does bring us full circle. If you have Excel data you can import directly into Access which leads you to using a scheduled Dial List as an option. Use File/Open, then set the file type to “All Files” and open the document in Access. Save with a familiar name to a familiar place for Dial List usage and you now have a very repeatable business process that allows you to work comfortably in familiar tools like Excel, then import into a database application. One tip would be to make sure you have headers in your Excel doc. Those are used as Call Profiles in ECC. Full circle indeed.Image 11


    While its vital to make callbacks its even more vital to have reporting to match the different ways all contact center’s need to operate. In this case we can take any data pretty much any way we see it and act on it. We have supervisory decision making if needed and of course reporting, reporting and reporting. Thanks for reading!

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