Confessions of a Stressed-Out Predictive Dialer

If predictive dialers could express their true feelings (instead of letting IVR do all of the talking for them), they’d probably want to discuss their demanding role and the unrelenting need to meet high expectations 24×7. So, for the next few minutes, let’s go inside the mind of Sam, a predictive dialer, who wants to share some of his deepest concerns and how you can help. Here’s what he might tell you:

It’s so stressful being the only predictive dialer in charge of more than 100 interviewer seats. My workload continues to grow and I am asked to find new ways to be more efficient just to keep up. Those TCPA guidelines for cell phones certainly make my head spin. And all I hear from my supervisor, day in and day out, is “We gotta’ meet quota. Hurry up!”

I know that my boss made a major investment when the company purchased me but I’m a little worried that they might get rid of me now that I’m fully written off. They’re used to me, but I struggle keeping up with today’s demands that require more efficient technology. I really need some help, especially at my age. I don’t want to retire yet — just get me some help.

Survox to the Rescue
That’s why I’m pleading with you to have the Survox™ Dialer join our team. Have you heard about her? She’s one busy and very capable dialer. She can even handle up to 400 interviewer seats. On-premise or off, her service scales up and down with ease without any big fees.

Survox sure stands out in a crowd, with alluring features like inbound/outbound call blending to make sure we don’t miss those highly valued callbacks from cell phones. And when it comes to IVR
– well, she does it all. She uses IVR to screen and field calls and conduct surveys. I’ve heard that the interviewers really like her because now they spend more time with respondents and less time waiting to be connected. She can even identify inbound callers and forward the respondent’s information to the interviewers. I wish I could do that.

Did I also tell you that she comes from a great family, who all pitch in to help? That’s right. When you use Survox you can enjoy the multi-mode sample management capabilities of the Survent® survey management platform. Uh huh….She gets her smarts from Survent which make her quota savvy so you don’t have to make calls that you don’t need.

Staying Competitive
Regulations haven’t killed us yet…we just need to work harder and smarter to stay competitive AND compliant. Make all of us happy and have Survox join us. I could really use the help. And some company.


More information about the Survox dialer from CFMC

MRA Webinar 20Aug2014: CfMC on Cell Phone Callbacks & Mixed-Mode Studies

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 1PM ET| Register Now

Join CfMC for a webinar on Designing Field Operations to Handle Growth in Cell Phone Call Backs & Mixed-Mode Studies

Session Highlights:

The one-hour course, which is free to all MRA members and $65 for non-members, will discuss how to complete studies faster and achieve higher response rates with inbound call conversions. Danny Wong, CfMC CTO, and Allen Porter, CfMC Director of Client Services, will explain how solutions that blend inbound call handling with outbound dialing, leveraging Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, allow you to:

  • Handle callbacks from cell phones immediately and graciously – ensuring a positive, well-managed respondent experience and allowing you to harvest those valuable callbacks for completes.
  • Create a seamless respondent experience by connecting the respondent to the appropriate agent
  • Reduce costs by managing resources more efficiently

They’ll also discuss how IVR technologies can be used to screen calls, set a call-back time, and conduct interviews. Learn how you can leverage these technologies to reduce the labor costs for fielding and interviewing and do so much more.


The webinar, an education program by the Marketing Research Association (MRA), provides 1 contact hour of PRC credit in Marketing Research.


Register Now


Danny Wong

Danny Wong

Danny Wong, CTO for CfMC, works with partners and customers to define the next generation of tools for market research and opinion polling. He joined CfMC over 30 years agoand was responsible for developing Survent™ and other innovations. Survent, a data collection and sample management system, enables leading research organizations to identify, target, and define research subjects with granularity and precision. One-third of the Top 25 Honomichl companies are benefiting from this technology. In recent years, he served as the company’s CFO and President & CEO. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.


Allen Porter

Allen Porter

Allen Porter, Director of Client Services for CfMC, is the general manager of the best
practice consulting organization. Prior to joining CfMC in 2012, he was the Director of Research Technology for Maritz Research and was responsible for all web and CATI data collection developers and systems. Porter has worked in the research industry since 1992, with experience in programming surveys, design, automation, project management, training, systems (hardware and software), general management and leadership. He holds a master of public administration degree with an emphasis in political communications and management from Missouri State University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Read more about  the Survox Dialer, which provides inbound/outbound call blending and IVR capabilities.

CfMC Technology Leveraged in Cancer Epidemiology Study

ADuke University is conducting a study with eight other research institutions across the country to learn more about the cause and prognosis of ovarian cancer in African American women. This research, the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study (AACES), involves conducting telephone interviews with 2,000 African American women in 10 geographic regions. The interviewers use computer-aided telephone integration (CATI) technology from CfMC and enter responses in CfMC’s Survent survey platform.


Read this case study to learn more:

CfMC Technology Leveraged in Cancer Epidemiology Study (pdf)

CfMC Introduces Phone Survey Innovations for Smart Call Center Operations

For Immediate Release

CfMC Introduces Phone Survey Innovations for Smart Call Center Operations

062314 V2 Revised Call Blending Graphic

Call Blending with Survox Dialer and Survent

Multi-Mode Suite Boosts Cell Phone Handling and Adds Inbound/Outbound Call Blending

San Francisco, California – June 25, 2014 – CfMC, which provides survey data collection solutions and services for market research and opinion polling companies, announces release 8.7.1 of the Survox™ Dialer and Survent™ multi-mode survey management platform. “This release includes automation features that can raise quota complete rates, improve call center productivity, and offer enhanced operational flexibility,” said Danny Wong, CTO, CfMC.

Integrated IVR Workflow Increases Call Center Productivity
The inbound and outbound call blending capability enables callbacks from respondents to be answered immediately. New v8.7.1 workflow automation that blends inbound calls with outbound calls eliminates the need for dedicated staff to field inbound calls. The software also handles respondent identification, call transfers, and manages “wait time” to trigger actions that maximize caller retention.

With this release, call centers can augment functions performed by phone interviewers by using interactive voice response (IVR) to screen, schedule, or conduct an interview. “We are looking forward to the new call blending and workflow capabilities in this release,” said Jamie W. Jurgaitis, Vice President and General Manager of Opinion America Group. “These capabilities will make it easier to more efficiently capture and quickly respond to people returning calls, particularly from cell phones,” he said. “Getting more call connections enables higher conversions and faster quota attainment.”

Greater Cell Phone Dialing Control Advances Compliance
This release, which is offered on a subscription license basis or as a hosted service, provides more operational control for call center managers with enhanced cell phone handling and “Do Not Call” (DNC) list management. These capabilities allow users to keep cell phone and landline numbers in the same file while enabling the dialer to act differently, depending on whether the call is to a cell phone or landline. Dialers can then be set up to do power manual dialing to reach cell phone contacts. Users also have the ability to update DNC files and select which DNC files to use for a given project.

Multi-Mode Survey Design Offers Greater Flexibility
CfMC’s multi-mode suite gives research operations the flexibility to optimize the data collection strategy for each study. Surveys can now be designed to allow respondents to choose the mode for responding. The respondent may take the survey by selecting on-device, online, IVR, or onphone.

A survey can also be designed to span more than one mode. Screening questions can be conducted by IVR before the call is transferred to an interviewer. In addition, respondents can be transferred from interviewer to IVR to capture sensitive information or to quickly gather post-survey feedback.

Call Blending and the v8.7.1 Platform
Call blending is available with Survent v8.7.1 and the Survox Dialer v.8.7.1. The CfMC survey management platform supports several other dialers but the feature set described here applies only to CfMC’s Survox Dialer v8.7.1.

About CfMC – When Quota Matters
CfMC provides survey data collection solutions and services for market research and opinion polling companies of all sizes, including one-third of the Honomichl Top 25. We focus on organizations that have precise quota requirements, time-sensitive data collection processes, or require complex survey designs.

The Survent platform enables sample management, survey programming and execution, operational reporting, and client data preparation across a mix of data collection modes — paper, phone, web, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mobile, and heterogeneous vendor solutions. More details are available at


Read more about the Survox Dialer

Media Contact
Brian Fowler
Direct: 415-369-3062
547 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Survox and Survent are trademarks of CfMC. ©2014 CfMC

Additional Resources:

Press Release: CfMC Introduces Phone Survey Innovations for Smart Call Center Operations (pdf)

Video: The Call Blending 2-Minute Explainer

Survent – The Survey Management Platform

Data Sheet:  Survey Innovations for Smart Call Center Operations (pdf)

Data Sheet:  CfMC Survox Dialer Data Sheet (pdf)

Customer SuccessOnline Dialer Services Accelerate Technology Adoption - CfMC Key Research Solutions Success (pdf)

White Paper: Accelerate Quota Completes and Improve Productivity with Call Blending and IVR Phone Survey Innovations (pdf)

Baseball and the Art of Multi-Mode Sampling

In some ways, multi-mode sampling is like baseball – without all the popcorn, peanuts, and hot dogs. Here’s why.

Let’s assume it’s late in the game, the team is behind in runs and the pressure is on to score. In this scenario, if the team can’t get enough runs by the end of the last inning, they lose the game.

The coach knows that the best chance to win involves getting more players on base.  As the pressure mounts, he brings in his best pinch-hitters and pinch runners – the ones he can count on to get a hit, advance base runners and bring home runs. This strategy is the best chance the team has to catch up and win the game.

What does this have to do with multi-mode sampling? As a researcher, you need to get a certain number of quota completes before the study ends, or you lose. Right? It’s a race against time.

So, what’s slowing you down? Budget. That’s okay. You can still win. How? You start by doing data collection online to control costs.

As the deadline approaches to collect data and provide a report, you’ve got to bring in your best pinch hitters, AKA on-phone surveys. Moving to on-phone is essential for meeting your survey deadline and getting enough completes

Want to learn more about this approach and how to “win” within your timeframe and budget? Danny Wong, CTO of CfMC, explains the process in this white paper, “The Benefits of Multi-Mode Sampling – Moving from Online to On-Phone.”(pdf)

Related page: CfMC Resources


I recently attended AAPOR’s annual conference held in Anaheim, California, and got a T-shirt with the message, “The weighting is the hardest part.” Then I thought, it’s not just the weighting that’s challenging. It’s the waiting, too. Let me explain…


One weights if one cannot meet quota in time to complete the study. That approach takes effort to determine the weighting factors and this process can introduce errors in reported results. So why weight when you don’t have to wait? You can address the challenge of quickly obtaining completes with sophisticated call center automation that reduces waiting – that’s interviewers waiting for connections and respondent callbacks waiting for an interviewer. So, to paraphrase a quote from William Shakespeare, “To weight or not to wait – that is the question.”  I think the answer is, “Why weight when you can instead deliver?” (Watch this space soon for more details about v. 8.7.1).


Getting Back to AAPOR Opinion Research and Public Policy

Here are some interesting takeaways from the AAPOR conference:

  • The speakers reiterated that the cost of phone interviewing is justified by the quality of data and the opportunity for interviewers to convert a respondent to complete the survey.
  • Cell phones are now between 40-60% of sample.
  • Adding location information, such as zip code, billing address or telco region helps determine where the mobile contact is, so it’s best to add that information when possible when you are doing RDD to cell numbers. This extra step lowers the survey cost of reaching the desired address-based sample.
  • Multimode is attractive because IVR and online modes are useful for capturing more truthful answers to sensitive questions such as health, voting preferences, religious attendance, etc.
  • Transparency Initiative certification will open sometime between July 1 and September 1.

I moderated a panel on measuring the quality of data, where most topics explored using proxies (persons close to the target) to get more information. The conclusion seemed to be that the use of proxies is not recommended since proxy answers and target answers often differed significantly.


New this year was a well-attended Research Hack-a-thon that gave development teams two days to create research apps built on the Instagram platform and culminated in a pitch competition in front of a panel of judges.

Lastly, the AAPOR community was all a buzz about the mid-term elections and the re-affirmation of the importance of opinion research – now more so than ever.


Mary McDougall, CEO, CfMC.

Industry Update: See CfMC presentations at AAPOR, CASRO, and PAPOR Conferences in May and June

Mary McDougall, CfMC CEO

Mary McDougall, CfMC CEO

Mary McDougall, CEO, CfMC, will be speaking at a variety of upcoming industry conferences beginning this week. If you are attending any of them, here’s where you can find us and meet with Mary.

  1.  AAPOR’s 69th Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, May 15-18. You’ll hear about the Transparency Initiative (expect more on this topic from us soon). Be sure to see Mary McDougall, who will moderate a panel of experts  to discuss “Evaluating and Improving Quality of Measurement” on Friday, May 16th at 4:15 p.m.
  2. Mary will also provide a summary of that session at the PAPOR Mini Conference in San Francisco on June 13. Among the topics to be discussed is the AAPOR Transparency Initiative. The mini-conference will be held at the Public Policy Institute of California.
  3. If you are attending the CASRO Innovation & Technology Event in Chicago, check out Mary’s presentation on May 28 at 4 p.m.  She will join a group of panelists for an exciting session on “Market Research in 2020.” This panel will look at how technology will evolve during the next six years to enhance the experience of respondents, accelerate the process of data collection and analysis, and provide more accurate, meaningful results that offer researchers early insights for decision making. Speakers include:
    • Gloria Park Bartolone, SVP, Global Fieldwork Operations, Maritz Research Inc.
    • Patrick Comer, CEO, Federated Sample
    • Mary McDougall, CEO, CfMC
    • Peter Milla, Principal, Peter Milla Consulting (Moderator)

For more information on these activities, visit our Events Page . To set up a meeting with Mary at these events, send her an email at:

Las Vegas + CfMC Users = A Winning Combination

uc14logoI would like to thank everyone who participated in making the recent CfMC Users Conference a huge success.  It was great having the opportunity to talk with not only the old familiar users, but also meeting many new ones as well.  It was very encouraging for us to see how enthusiastic the attendees were about exploring new technologies and how open they were to using innovative ways to leverage the Survent platform.  And we were delighted that almost everyone stayed to attend all the general sessions through Friday afternoon — even though we were in Las Vegas!

We covered a wide range of topics focused on “When Quota Matters,” along with best practice guidelines, tips, product strategic direction, and technology trends. Howard Fienberg’s compelling session informed attendees as to why many of the laws surrounding cell phone use are outdated.  He also provided insights into what might be ahead in terms of any changes to legal regulations concerning market research.

Danny Wong’s call blending workshops provided a great opportunity to interact with CfMC and to learn more about this exciting innovation to help call centers improve operational efficiency and achieve more rapid quota attainment.

I’d like to recognize the users for their outstanding contributions and participation. There was a lot of interest in the speed learning sessions and best practice panels comprised almost entirely of users.  A very special thank you goes to Brian Carson of MAXimum Research for not only chairing the User Conference Committee, but also personally participating in two of the panels. Users provided great suggestions for the Squeaky Wheel session on ideas to help make CfMC software even more useful to them. We introduced special interest groups for the first time, where people interested in specific topics met over lunch to exchange ideas. Topics included security, 3rd party integrations, the AAPOR Transparency Initiative, along with several others.

We’d also like to thank our sponsors for their support – Rosetta Studio International, Scientific Telephone Samples, True Sample, First Digital, Ascribe, Key Research, SSRS, and Precision Sample.

Attendees have already been sent a post-conference survey, which will provide us with the feedback to enhance our next user event in 2015.

The odds were in our favor that Las Vegas + CfMC Users would create an excellent opportunity for a successful conference and we appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate “Why Quota Matters.”

Jim Ratto
Software Support Manager, CfMC

Customer Success: How the Hosted CfMC Predictive Dialer Gave “Birth” to Key Research Solutions

Online Dialer Services Accelerate Technology Adoption


Ed Ledek

Ed Ledek, Key Research Solutions


Key Research Solutions uses CfMC’s hosted predictive dialer, which enabled the company’s owner to launch a new business without having to make a major capital investment. This technology and delivery model, along with CfMC’s hosted CATI solutions powered by the Survent™ survey management platform, has given Key Research Solutions the flexibility to scale when needed and the operational control required to meet their clients’ quota demands.

“I wouldn’t have a business without the capabilities that CfMC offers.” – Ed Ledek, owner, Key Research Solutions

How the Hosted CfMC Predictive Dialer Gave “Birth” to Key Research Solutions

In 2011 Ed Ledek launched Key Research Solutions, a business that provides research services to companies of all sizes. The company uses phone, web, integrated voice response (IVR), and other data collection tools and provides these services for domestic and international projects.

Ledek chose the hosted CfMC solution because it offered a platform to support phone interviewing and the flexibility to scale without having to invest in capital equipment. “I think of this technology and the hosted services as the full-meal-deal for telephone research. These resources are not only cost-effective but they also help me to meet quota requirements quickly and efficiently.”

Intuitive Management Tool, Scalability, and Great Support

His employees were trained by CfMC in how to use CfMC Navigator interface to the Survent survey management platform and are now programming their own surveys in-house. The team includes people who do multiple jobs such as interviewing, quality control, HR functions, and other tasks. They were also able to easily learn how to do web survey programming to support online or multi-modal survey deployment.

“The hosted CfMC Predictive Dialer gave my business the ability to scale depending on business requirements — whether we needed 50 phones or 200,” he said. The hosting contract allows Ledek to scale up immediately, which is very important in a call center environment. It allows his company to be nimble and save money. “Right now I have computers, chairs, and desks in storage waiting for me to open my next shop. And I don’t have to worry about my platform because it’s already set up with CfMC technology.”

Key Benefits

  • Interviewing capabilities out of the box
  • Flexibility to scale cost effectively
  • Seamless integration of CfMC technology to help the company meet quota requirements quickly and efficiently
  • Intuitive CfMC Navigator interface
  • Helps to prevent having to make unnecessary live calls and doing unnecessary live screening
  • The platform includes built-in robust reporting tools to track sample performance and agent performance, both on the macroscopic and microscopic levels

Read More about Key Research and CfMC (pdf)

About Key Research Solutions

Key Research Solutions supports the marketing research, public affairs, and public opinion research communities. Headquartered in Provo, Utah, the company offers a full range of research solutions for domestic and international programs and projects and has 150 stations and two locations. For more information, visit Key Research.


Q: Why Join Us in Vegas?

Brian Carson, MAXimum Research

We interviewed Brian Carson, Director, IT/DP at MAXimum Research, to get more details on what you’ll learn from the user panel discussions at the CfMC conference in April. Brian has attended the conference each year since 2001.

“I keep coming back because I learn about the products and trends in market research to help improve my operations. I get to put some faces with the names of people who have helped me with various projects. It also gives me a chance to build relationships and increase my company’s visibility.”

Brian, who manages programmers, servers, and close to 200 workstations for MAXimum Research, also mentioned that the conference was a very affordable way to learn programming tips.

“Each year I bring back some ideas and share them with project directors and other members of my team to help us become much more productive.”

USER PANELS– Mobile, Cell Phone Handling, Compliance, and More

He discussed some of the sessions that are being led by CfMC Users. One user session will explore surveys and the impact of mobile devices. You’ll hear users share how to overcome some of the challenges related to mobile surveys. For example, it will address technical issues that can help deal with taking a survey on a small screen while keeping the respondent engaged.

Brian is also fielding a user panel that will discuss some laws related to compliance such as “Do not call” management processes.

“I’ve implemented an internal company ‘Do Not Call List’ and will discuss procedures for scripting to ensure compliance.

Other users in the panel will discuss Opt In & Opt Out processes for emails and address how they meet compliance requirements for cell phone handling.”


Back by popular demand… 5 minutes of pithy wisdom from the best in the business – YOUR PEERS.

“CfMC is offering so many valuable sessions. I look forward to seeing you there,” Brian said.

For more information, visit 2014 CfMC Users Conference.


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