Home > LiveOps EXTRAS! > Application Notes > App Note 013 - Using the Outbound Direct URL

App Note 013 - Using the Outbound Direct URL

Abstract

The LiveOps platform is commonly used for routing inbound calls to call center agents. But the LiveOps  platform can also be used to enable outbound dialing features as well. This Application Note will describe  several creative uses for the OutboundDirect.html URL that can enable “click-to-dial” features to help make a call center agent more productive.

 

Overview

The LiveOps platform provides a wide array of outbound dialing features including:

  • Manual outbound dialing
  • Click-to-Dial outbound calling (from CRMs like Salesforce.com)
  • Push Preview outbound dialing
  • Progressive outbound dialing
  • Predictive outbound dialing

 

In addition to these outbound dialing features, there is a web-based method for generating an agent-initiated outbound call using a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). This HTML page is referred to as the “OutboundDirect.html” page.

 

This Application Note will describe the use of the OutboundDirect.html page and present several specific deployment scenarios and examples which can increase the efficiency and productivity of an agent who needs to dial outbound numbers while connected to the LiveOps platform.

 

Note:    The OutboundDirect.html page is a native part of the LiveOps platform and can be used by any agent logged in as a LiveOps Voice Agent. But creating specialized use cases and/or customized dialing techniques that leverage the OutboundDirect.html page is the responsibility of the end customer and their own development teams or consultants.

 

LiveOps warrants the use of the OutboundDirect.html page only for simple outbound dialing use-cases.  For more complex scenarios or for design consultation and deployment assistance the LiveOps Professional Services team can assist on a time and materials basis.

 

 

OutboundDirect.html

The OutboundDirect.html URL page can be navigated to using the following syntax:  https://<<TENANT>>.hostedcc.com/mason/agents/outbounddirect.html

 

Note:    Replace “<<TENANT>>.hostedcc.com” with your specific LiveOps tenant URL address.

 

 

When accessed directly, this page allows you to enter a specific phone number and select a specific campaign to use for outbound calling.

 

 

 

The same URL can be appended with parameters including:

  • Phone number (“phonenum”)
  • Campaign ID (“campaign_id”)

 

 

A complete URL example, including parameters, might look like this:

 

https://mytenant.hostedcc.com/mason/agents/outbounddirect.html?phonenum=12065551212&campaign_   id=12345

 

 

Entering a URL link like the above into a web browser will display a “Dialing call …” web page and will initiate a call from the LiveOps platform to the Agent. Once the agent answers the LiveOps platform will dialed the destination phone number.

 

 

 

 

Note:    Refreshing the page will cause a second call to be placed.

 

 

In order for a link like the above to work:

  • The agent must be logged into the LiveOps platform
  • The agent must initiate the OutboundDirect.html call using the same browser instance that they are using for their LiveOps connection

 

If the agent is logged in to the LiveOps platform and enters the OutboundDirect.html URL in the same browser as is being used for their LiveOps login then the outbound call will be placed.

 

If an agent is not logged in or attempts to initiate the OutboundDirect.html call using a different browser than the active LiveOps browser the browser will be redirected to the Call Center login page.

 

It is recommended that the agent have a LiveOps dialing tool open and active (e.g. Phone Panel, LiveOps Engage, Desktop APIs, etc.) before initiating a call with OutboundDirect.html. By having a dialing tool open, the agent will have access to the full suite of call control features such as conference and transfer. If no dialing tool is open the call will still be placed but the agent will not have access to call control features.

 

Note:    The OutboundDirect.html page does not query the LiveOps presence servers to determine the agent’s state prior to placing the call.

Neither the state of the agent (Available, Unavailable, Off Line) nor the Call Mode of the agent (All Calls, Inbound Only, Outbound Only, Dialout) affect the delivery of the call.

As long as the agent has an active login to the LiveOps web portal the outbound call will be placed.

 

 

Note:    If an agent is already on a LiveOps delivered call and an agent uses the OutboundDirect.html page, the agent will receive a second call on their phone.

 

 

The call will be placed according to the dialing rules specified by the campaign. For example: an Outbound Campaign might specify to use the Push Preview method of dialing and present an agent with a message. Or an Inbound Campaign (set to allow outbound calls) might be configured to use a specific CallerID, display a pop-up window and enable Wrap-Up timers.

 

Note:    OutboundDirect.html is intended to be used as an alternative method for an agent to manually initiate a dial out call.  Therefore, you should not use OutboundDirect.html with an Outbound Campaign that has been configured for Progressive or Predictive Dialing.  OutboundDirect.html should only be used with Outbound Campaigns set for Push Preview or Inbound Campaigns enabled to be used for outbound dialing.

 

Default Web Browser

If you, as an agent, log into the LiveOps platform using a web browser other than your Operating System’s  default web browser, the OutboundDirect.html page with fail to authenticate and will redirect you to the LiveOps Call Center Login page..

 

Your OS’s default web browser must match the web browser that you used to log into the LiveOps platform in order to enable “click-to-dial” capabilities from non-browser applications.

 

 

Padlock Requirements

In order to enable dialing using the OutboundDirect.html page an access permission needs to be set for the LiveOps User Group associated with your agents.

 

You must enable padlock 311 “OutboundDirectPadlock” for agents to be able to use the URL.

 

 

Note:    This access permission, or “padlock”, can only be set by a LiveOps Staff administrator. Please contact your LiveOps services team to have this feature enabled for your users.

 

The “phonenum” Parameter

The “phonenum” Parameter can accept any legitimately dialable number that works within your tenant. Numbers listed here will dial in the same fashion as if you dialed them manually from within the Phone Panel or from within LiveOps Engage. To determine whether a specific format is valid you can enter the same dial string in Phone Panel or Engage to verify dial-ability.

 

 

In general, numbers should be should be properly formatted following E.164 formatting rules: starting with a plus sign, then the country code, then the specific number.

 

Within North America, numbers can often be shortened and still be dialable. These non-E.164 numbers can be 10 digits or 11 digits and can be entered with or without a plus sign (“+”) at the front. Dashes can be included but are ignored. In most cases all of the following examples will be correctly dialed:

·      +1-206-555-1212

·      12065551212

·      2065551212

 

Numbers dialed internationally must follow E.164 formatting rules.

 

 

Additional Parameters

The “isdialout” parameter and the “makecall” parameter currently have no effect on the behavior of the OutboundDirect.html page.

 

 

Outbound Campaigns

The OutboundDirect.html page needs to reference a campaign within the LiveOps platform. This campaign can be either an Outbound Campaign or an Inbound Campaign that has been enabled for outbound dialing.

 

As with all dial-out calls, the campaign selected for use will determine parameters such as:

  • The Caller ID sent on the outbound call (called ANI, or Automatic Number Identification)
  • The selection of PSTN Telco carriers to use
  • Whether call recording is enabled or disabled
  • Agent screen pops
  • Associated reporting fields
  • Wrap-Up parameters
  • Transfer capabilities
  • Etc.

 

Note:    The features, capabilities, settings and parameters differ between Outbound Campaigns and Inbound Campaigns configured to allow outbound dialing.  See the LiveOps manuals for more details.

 

 

Create campaigns for use with OutboundDirect.html according to normal design principles for outbound dialing.

 

Note:    It is strongly advised that you test the campaign to be used for manual dialout calls via an agent using either Phone Panel or LiveOps Engage to ensure the features and parameters are functioning properly before deploying OutboundDirect.html click-to-dial capabilities.

 

 

Dialout Calling

Remember: when an agent manually initiates a dialout call to a phone number, the first action that occurs is for the LiveOps platform to place a call to the agent.

 

When using the OutboundDirect.html page to initiate a dialout call to a destination phone number the first thing that will happen in the agent’s phone will ring and the agent’s LiveOps interface (Phone Panel, LiveOps Engage, Desktop APIs, etc.) will display information about the call.

 

Once the agent answers the incoming call on their phone, the LiveOps system will immediately place a call to the entered destination phone number.

 

 

Scenario #1: Click-to-Call within a Web-Based CRM

The LiveOps platform has pre-built tools for many CRM (Customer Resource Management) packages. At the time of this writing there were pre-made integration capabilities with the following CRMs:

  • Salesforce.com
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • SugarCRM
  • Zendesk
  • ZOHO
  • Saleslogix

 

Note:    See the following links for additional information on pre-built CRM solutions:  http://www.liveops.com/product/liveops-crm-integration

 

 

In addition to these pre-built integrations, you can embed dialing capabilities directly into any web page that  your organization can access and modify. In this scenario we will discuss the use of the OutboundDirect.html page to enable Click-to-Dial features within a CRM. Specifically in this example, we will implement Click-to-Dial from Salesforce.com while using LiveOps Engage.

 

 

Solution Overview

LiveOps has a pre-made OpenCTI solution when using the LiveOps Phone Panel from within the Salesforce.com environment to enable click-to-dial features. But the LiveOps multichannel agent interface, LiveOps Engage, does not use the Salesforce OpenCTI toolset and therefore cannot take advantage of the click-to-dial features provided by OpenCTI. Instead we will use the OutboundDirect.html page to enable click-to-dial from within Salesforce.com.

 

Note:    To use the OutboundDirect.html page from within a web page you must have administrative access to embed HTML hyperlinks within the web page. This means that enabling click-to-dial features is not available for generic, arbitrary web pages (such as browsing the public Internet).  But it does mean that you can embed click-to-dial features in your corporate web pages and any CRM that gives you the ability to edit and embed HTML hyperlinks within your web pages.

 

This section provides instructions for implementing the OutboundDirect.html page with Salesforce.com but nearly any CRM or web page can support this capability.

 

Configuration Steps

To embed a click-to-dial link within your Salesforce.com pages we will perform the following three steps:

  1. Create a campaign within the LiveOps platform
  2. Create a custom Formula Field for each type of number you want to dial in Salesforce.com
  3. Embed the new Formula Field into your Salesforce.com pages

 

 

Step 1: Create an outbound campaign within the LiveOps platform

The OutboundDirect.html page needs to reference a campaign within the LiveOps platform. This campaign can be either an Outbound Campaign or an Inbound Campaign that has been enabled for outbound dialing.

 

As with all dial-out calls, the campaign selected for use will determine parameters such as:

  • The Caller ID sent on the outbound call (called ANI, or Automatic Number Identification)
  • The selection of PSTN Telco carriers to use
  • Whether call recording is enabled or disabled
  • Agent screen pops
  • Associated reporting fields
  • Wrap-Up parameters
  • Transfer capabilities
  • Etc.

 

Create your campaign according to normal design principles for outbound dialing.

 

Note:    It is advised that you test the campaign used for dialout calls by an agent using either Phone Panel or LiveOps Engage to ensure the features and parameters are functioning properly before proceeding with click-to-dial capabilities.

 

 

Once you have a campaign created and tested, you need to determine the campaigns unique campaign identification number (Campaign ID). To do this, log in to the LiveOps Web Portal as an administrator and navigate to “Routing > Campaigns”. Click “Edit Campaign” to edit your campaign.

 

Now look at the URL address within your browser. You will see the unique Campaign ID for your campaign as the number at the tail end of the URL address. For example, in the diagram below the Campaign ID is 12345.

 

 

 

 

Make a note of this Campaign ID. You will need it later when creating the hyperlink for OutboundDirect.html.

 

 

Step 2: Create a custom Formula Field for each type of number you want to dial in Salesforce.com

Salesforce.com uses objects to store phone number data. Each type of phone number is referred to by its field name. For example, there are standard field names called PHONE and MOBILEPHONE that can contain dialable numbers. Your Salesforce.com instance may have additional standard or custom fields that contain phone number data.

 

You will need to create a new custom Formula Field for each phone number field you want to turn into a click-to-dial link. These new fields are specific to each type of object (Contact, Lead, etc.).

 

To create a custom Contact Formula Field that references the OutboundDirect.html page perform the following steps:

  1. Log into your Salesforce.com instance as a Salesforce administrator

 

  1. Navigate to the Salesforce.com “Setup” page

 

  1. Navigate to “Build > Customize > Contacts > Fields”
    1. Scroll down to the “Contact Custom Fields & Relationships” section; click “New”
    2. Select “Formula” as the Field Type; click “Next”
    3. Set the Field Label to an appropriate label (e.g. “Phone”)
    4. Set the Field Name to an appropriate name (e.g. “Phone_C2D”)

 

  1. Set the Formula Return Type to “Text”; click “Next”

 

  1. In the “Home (Text) =” field area enter the specific hyperlink for your Call Center and your Campaign ID

 

 

  1. The URL must reference your specific Call Center
  2. The URL must identify your outbound Campaign ID (identified above)
  3. The URL must reference one specific Salesforce.com phone field name
  4. The URL should be embedded within the Saleforce.com’s “HYPERLINK” formula

 

The following example references a Call Center tenant named TestCo.hhostedcc.com, references a specific “Phone” field within the Salesforce.com Contacts object called Phone, uses a campaign ID of 12345 and assigns a label of “Dial with LiveOps”:

 

HYPERLINK("https://testco.hostedcc.com/mason/ag....html?phonenum

="&Phone&"&campaign_id=12345","Dial with LiveOps")

 

The following is an example of creating a new customer formula link for the field “MobilePhone”:

 

HYPERLINK("https://testco.hostedcc.com/mason/ag....html?phonenum

="&MobilePhone&"&campaign_id=12345","Dial with LiveOps")

 

  1. Click “Next”

 

  1. Establish the appropriate field-level security for your Salesforce.com environment (or accept the defaults); Click “Next”

 

  1. Add the new field to each of your page layouts as appropriate; Click “Save”

 

 

Step 3: Modify your page layouts to position the new field

You will want to edit each layout that your agents use to display this object (e.g. Contacts, Leads) and move the newly added field to an appropriate location. For example, the new “Phone” field that was created and added above will be automatically placed at the bottom of your Contacts Layout.

 

  1. From the Salesforce.com “Setup” screen, navigate to “Build > Customize > Contacts > Page Layouts”.

 

  1. Click “Edit” to edit a layout.

 

 

 

  1. Drag to move the new “Phone” field until it is positioned underneath the “Phone” number.

 

 

  1. Click “Save” to save your changes

 

 

Step 4: Test your new Click-to-Dial link

  1. Navigate away from the Salesforce.com “Setup” pages by selecting the Contacts tab.

 

  1. Click to view any contact

 

  1. You should now see the “Dial with LiveOps” Link below the actual number

 

 

  1. Ensure you are logged into the LiveOps platform using the same browser that you have open for Salesforce. And ensure you have an agent tool such as Phone Panel or LiveOps Engage open and visible.

 

  1. Click on the “Dial with LiveOps” link in Salesforce.com

 

 

  1. Your web browser should open a new “Dialing Call” page and the LiveOps platform should call you on your agent phone number and display information about the call in the Phone Panel (or Engage, etc.)

 

 

 

Step 5: Repeat these steps for additional phone number fields, for additional objects and for additional layouts

Each Salesforce.com object (Contacts, Leads, etc.) can have multiple fields (Phone, MobilePhone, HomePhone, OtherPhone, etc.) and can have multiple layouts and page views.

 

You will need to create a new custom Formula Field for each phone field within each object and then modify each page view as needed.

 

Note:    Be sure to reference the Salesforce.com phone number field by its “Field Name” not its “Field Label” when entering the HYPERLINK information.

 

 

For example, you may want to add custom Formula Fields for each of the following (or more):

  • Contacts: Phone
  • Contacts: MobilePhone
  • Leads: Phone
  • Leads: MobilePhone

 

Note:    The syntax used to create the HYPERLINK text for the “Phone” field is identical whether created within the Contacts object or within the Leads object.  Each custom formula field will reference the phone number field within the object you created it in – but you must re-create the formula field in each new Salesforce.com object where you desire to use it.

 

 

Scenario #2: Click-to-Dial within Microsoft Office Applications

The OutboundDirect.html page can be used almost anywhere that an HTML URL can be placed.

 

This section will discuss how to craft a URL that can be placed into a spreadsheet of phone numbers to enable click-to-dial within the spreadsheet. This technique can be used to significantly improve the efficiency of an outbound sales agent who is manually dialing dozens of phone numbers each day.

 

 

Direct launching of web browser URLs

Some applications, on both PC and Mac, will automatically detect a URL and make it a clickable link. Applications like Microsoft Outlook, WordPad, Skype, Pages and Numbers for the Mac, etc. will detect and properly format the URL and, when clicked, will open your default web browser and initiate the outbound call.

 

Other applications do not detect a URL being entered and cannot be used for click-to-dial. These include applications like Notepad for Windows, etc.

 

There is a third category of applications that detect a URL and reformat it into a clickable link but, rather than sending the link directly to your default web browser, perform some internal redirection and syntax checking. Rather than simply launching a browser window or a tab, the URL is instead sent to an internal service which then examines and, ultimately, launches a web browser session. Microsoft has chosen this method for their suite of Office applications including MS Word and MS Excel.

 

A consequence of this design is that any web site that requires authentication and stores content about your session will not allow such a redirection. This means that simple applications like WordPad will successfully launch the OutboundDialer.html but MS Word and MS Excel will not.

 

This shortcoming is generally limited to Microsoft Office applications and affects nearly any web site that uses authenticated sessions including the LiveOps platform, which requires user login and authentication.

 

Without modifying their default redirection behavior, attempting to click on an OutboundDirect.html link embedded within MS Word or MS Excel will result in a new web page asking you to log into the LiveOps platform and the click-to-dial fails to be initiated.

 

 

 

Microsoft has provided a registry setting for the Windows versions of MS Office that changes the default behavior to “direct launching” of a web browser instead of redirection. In order for OutboundDirect.html to work as a link within MS Word and MS Excel you must alter this registry setting on each PC individually.

 

The steps below will discuss the necessary registry modification and then proceed to describe embedding click- to-dial links within an MS Excel for Windows spreadsheet.

 

Note:    Making modifications to the Windows registry is the sole responsibility of the customer.

No assistance, support or warranty is provided by LiveOps.  Please consult your technical staff for assistance and guidance when modifying the Windows registry.

 

Configuration Steps

To embed a click-to-dial link within MS Excel for Windows we will perform the following five steps:

  1. Craft the proper OutboundDirect.html URL
  2. Test the URL for accuracy in a Web Browser
  3. Modify the URL with cell references within an MS Excel worksheet
  4. Test the dialing capabilities
  5. Modify the Windows Registry to allow direct launching of URLs
  6. Retest the dialing capabilities

 

 

Step 1: Craft the proper OutboundDirect.html URL

As described above, the OutboundDirect.html URL must reference the following information: Your specific Call Center, the Campaign ID to use and the phone number to dial.

 

An example URL for a call center of “mytenant.hostedcc.com” dialing the number 1-206-555-1212 using the campaign ID of 12345 would look like this:

 

https://mytenant.hostedcc.com/mason/agents/outbounddirect.html?phonenum=12065551212&campaign_   id=12345

 

Step 2: Test the URL for accuracy in a Web Browser

 

Start by opening your default web browser, log into the LiveOps platform and open an agent interface (Phone Panel, LiveOps Engage, etc.)

 

Now open a new tab (or new window) in the same web browser and paste your OutboundDirect.html URL that you created in step 1. Press “Enter”.

 

Your web browser should display a “Dialing …” page, your phone should ring and your agent interface should reflect the call.

 

If any of these things do not occur, stop and troubleshoot your URL syntax before you proceed.

 

Step 3: Modify the URL with cell references within an MS Excel worksheet

Start with a simple MS Excel spreadsheet that contains phone numbers such as the sample below:

 

First Name

Last Name

Job Title

Business Phone

Melvin

Brooks

Sales Director

(408) 818-8989

Derek

Wildstar

Sr. Sales Director

425-802-6561

Edward

Carpenter

Staff Telecom Analyst

(512) 682-1332

Tiffany

Powers

Cust. Success Director

19494138976

Steve

Austin

Channel Manager, UK

+447837676767

 

 

Next, add a new column to the right of your Phone column entitled “DIAL”.

 

Select the cell next to the first phone number and select the “Formulas” menu then click the “Insert Function” button.

 

 

Locate the HYPERLINK function (it is found in the “Lookup & Reference” category), select it and click the “OK” button.

 

  • For “Link location” paste your URL from step 2.

 

  • For “Friendly name” enter “Dial with LiveOps”.

 

This will create a nice clickable link next to the phone number:

 

First Name

Last Name    Job Title

Business Phone

DIAL

Melvin

Brooks

Sales Director

(408) 818-8989

Dial with LiveOps

Derek

Wildstar

Sr. Sales Director

425-802-6561

Edward

Carpenter

Staff Telecom Analyst

(512) 682-1332

Tiffany

Powers

Cust. Success Director

19494138976

Steve

Austin

Channel Manager, UK

+447837676767

 

 

Now edit that link and replace the static phone number with a reference to the cell next to the URL:

 

Original Cell Contents:

=HYPERLINK("https://mytenant.hostedcc.com/mason/...unddirect.html? phonenum=12065551212&campaign_id=12345","Dial with LiveOps")

 

New Cell Contents:

=HYPERLINK("https://mytenant.hostedcc.com/mason/...unddirect.html? phonenum="&G8&"&campaign_id=12345","Dial with LiveOps")

 

Important:  Make special note of the added quotes and ampersands in addition to the reference to the Excel cell: G8.

 

Step 4: Test the dialing capabilities – Failure

Click on the new link in the Excel spreadsheet.

 

Your will get the redirection error and be presented with the LiveOps “Login” page even though you’re already logged in. We will fix that in step 5.

 

 

Step 5: Modify the Windows Registry to allow direct launching of URLs

 

 

Note:    Read more about the redirection issues with Microsoft Office:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2653626/why-are-cookies-unrecognized-when-  a-link-is-clicked-from-an-external-source-i-e

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/899927

Now read about the registry setting that alters the behavior to a “direct launch” of the default web browser:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/218153

 

 

The exact location of the new registry can vary depending on your version and type (32-bit vs. 64-bit) of Microsoft Windows and your version and type (32-bit vs. 64-bit) of Microsoft Office.

 

In our test environment we clicked on the “Fix it for me” tool in the above link (MS KB 218153) and the proper settings were placed in the proper place within our registry.

 

 

 

 

Step 6: Retest the dialing capabilities – Success

Once the registry has been updated, close and restart MS Excel and click on the link.

 

This time your web browser should display the dialing page, your phone should ring and your agent interface should reflect the call just as it did in step 2.

 

 

Microsoft Office for the Mac

At the time of this writing no solution to alter the behavior of MS Word and MS Excel on the Mac could be found. It is recommended that an agent desiring to use these click-to-dial features use a different word processor and spreadsheet program like Pages and Numbers from Apple.

 

 

Additional Resources

 

  • LiveOps Outbound User Guide

 

  • Inbound campaigns used for outbound dialing:
    • Contact Center Help: Campaign Configuration

 

 

 

 

Date

Version

Contributor

Content

June, 2014

1.0

Jefferson M. Rowley

Initial AppNote

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