Customer Support Center

How to Configure the SAS Outbound Calling App

Activating the Specialty Answering Service Outbound Calling App is a perfect way to use our call center agents as your personal telemarketing team, instant lead capture experts, and appointment confirmation crew. The app makes it easy to upload outbound calls, or integrate your website or web apps into our call center software! The magic starts when you add an outbound calling campaign to your account.

In an outbound calling campaign, SAS operators dial out to your customers using a script that’s designed with your business objectives in mind. You might add an outbound campaign to your account to immediately contact new web leads, to place appointment reminder calls and keep your calendar booked, or to share special promotions with your valued customers. To activate an outbound campaign, your account must meet the following minimum requirements:
  • You need to be on at least the 1,000 minute plan.
  • You need to maintain at least the 1,000 minute plan for at least 2 consecutive months.
  • You need to be a client in good standing for at least 2 months.
  • You need to have a valid credit card on file.
  • If you would like us to dial through your call list more than once per day, you will need to have an inbound call campaign, in addition to your outbound campaign.
If you meet the above requirements and are ready to get started, our Sales team will work with you to develop a scripting protocol that will meet your needs.

After SAS programs your outbound calling campaign, the outbound calling app will be enabled in your portal. Once it's enabled, we'll provide you with an API key to activate it. This key links the app to your account so all calls and activity will be logged and accessible to you.

There are three methods you can use to set up your integration. This tutorial will walk you through the instructions for each one:
  • XML post: Choose this to work with XML. This is ideal for programmers who are developing their own XML application to integrate with SAS software.
  • Web form post: You’ll choose this to create a form, and then you’ll use generated HTML to insert the form into your website. When users complete the form, their information will be sent to SAS which will initiate an outbound call based on your script.
  • Load calls: Choose this to format a CSV (comma delimited) file with your desired fields, fill in your customers’ information, and then upload the file for our operators to use. It’s a great way to upload daily appointment reminder calls, telemarketing calls, customer service follow-up calls, etc.

If you're having trouble getting the integration to work, we've listed some common reasons for errors with your integration. We've also listed some great tips that will help you get started quickly and minimize errors.

Note that in order to maintain an outbound-only campaign, the same customer cannot appear twice in your call list, and you cannot upload each person to the app more than once per day. If you would like us to dial through your list multiple times based on parameters such as no answer calls, voicemail, etc., then you will need to set up an inbound campaign, and your outbound campaign will be created as a sub-account, which incurs a $10.00 monthly fee.

So let's start by getting you to the outbound calling app.
 

How to Get the App


1. Click Apps from the menu on the left.

2. Under the SAS Outbound Calling App logo, click Configure.



3. This will bring you to a screen that says Outbound Calling Campaign. If you meet the minimum requirements for utilizing this app, you’ll see fields for you to complete. If you don't meet the requirements, you’ll see a message in red that says "Please contact us to activate this app on your account".

Please Contact Us

4. Once you’re connected, you can begin your configuration. Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to just one configuration. You can create a bunch of different integrations and save them for later use.

5. To get started, First, type in a name to identify the purpose of the campaign, e.g. “Appointment Reminder Calls.” Then, click on the radio button for the Type of configuration you’d like: XML post, Web form post, or Load calls.
Radio Buttons
 

XML post


If you are a programmer and you are writing your own XML application, then this is the configuration you'll need. With XML, you have two options: 1) you can load calls into the production environment, or 2) you can have calls go to the sandbox or testing environment.

As you are developing your application, you'll want to use sandbox as you'll be responsible for any usage that hits our line. With the proper option chosen, you’ll include variables, generate a code, and enter the generated code into your website or XML application.

Here’s how:

1. After clicking the XML radio button, select Production or Testing from the drop down directly below XML post. In Production mode, your configuration will be live to the operators. In Testing mode, you can upload calls that will not be visible to the operators and not count against your usage. When you’re ready, change Testing to Production, and click to generate your form again.

Production or Testing

2. Next, use the Campaign drop down menu to select the campaign that contains the form fields you are using.

3. Enter the API Key that we provided upon setup. Remember, the API Key gives you access to the log of outbound calls made on your account. If you lose the key, just contact us, and we can provide it for you.

Select Campaign

4. Now you’ll need to add your form fields. These will change depending on which campaign you select from the drop down menu.

In the Available fields column, click on a field you’d like to include in your setup. A pop-up will open showing you the field you’ve selected and giving you options to Add field or Cancel.

XML Form Fields

5. Click the blue Add button in the bottom right corner, and you’ll see the field populate in the Selected fields column on the right followed by Edit and X.

Add Field

6. If you’d like to change the field you’ve just entered, click the blue Edit link. A pop-up will open where you can select a different field from the drop down, then click the blue Save changes button. To delete a field, click the red X.

XML Edit Field

8. Once all form fields are entered, click the green Generate XML button.

9. This will give you a code that includes all of your inputs, and you can insert this right into your production environment.

XML Form

When your XML application is live on your site, data will be passed over to us and into your outbound calling campaign. This will generate an outbound call from our operators.

 

Web form post


This configuration will generate a form and provide you with a code to insert into your website. When your customers fill out the form and click send, the form data will go directly to our operators. The operator will then follow your script using the form fields that were sent to us. This is ideal for sales and service instant lead capture, special website promotions, time-limited online offers, etc.

Here’s how:

1. After clicking the Web form post radio button, you’ll enter your Return URL and Failure URL. The Return URL is used to redirect your customers to a web page letting them know their form was submitted successfully. The Failure URL will redirect customers to a different page in the event that there was some error in submitting the form.

2. Next, use the Campaign drop down menu to select the campaign that contains the form fields you are using.

3. Enter the API Key that we provided upon setup. Remember, the API Key gives you access to the log of outbound calls made on your account.

4. Now you’ll need to add your form fields. These will change depending on which campaign you select from the drop down menu.

In the Available fields column, click on a field you’d like to include in your setup.

Web Form Available Fields

5. A pop-up will open showing you the name of the field you’ve selected, followed by an area where you can enter a Label for this field. The label is what will be displayed on your website in front of the area where your customers will add their information. For example, your form field may be ‘CompanyName’, but the label may be ‘Company’.

Add HTML

6. Below the label, you’ll see options to Add field or Cancel. Click the blue Add field button in the bottom right corner, and you’ll see the field populate in the Selected fields column on the right followed by Edit and X. The field name will be listed first in bold type, and the label you’ve added will be listed next to the field name in plain type.

Field Added

7. If you’d like to change the field or label you’ve just entered, click the blue Edit button. A pop-up will open where you can make any updates, then click the red Save changes button. To delete a field, click the red X.

8. Once all form fields are entered, click the green Generate form button.

9. This will give you a code that includes all of your form elements, and you can insert this right into your website. When your customers complete the web form, data will be passed over to us and into your outbound calling campaign. This will generate an outbound call from our operators.

HTML Code

10. To test the configuration, you can submit calls individually by clicking the yellow Submit an outbound call button. This button will become operational once you have generated your web form.

Submit an Outbound Call

11. A pop-up will open containing all of the fields you've selected for your form. Simply complete each field, and then click the blue Send button. The data you entered will be passed over to us and into your outbound calling campaign, generating an outbound call from our operators.

Submit an Outbound Call
 

Load calls


The Load calls configuration allows you to create a CSV (Comma delimited) file that is similar to an Excel spreadsheet. Any fields you select will become column headers for your CSV file, which you’ll save and fill with your customers’ information. At that point, you’ll upload the completed file to the portal and submit your calls to the operators.

Here’s how:

1. After clicking the Load calls radio button, you’ll use the Campaign drop down menu to select the campaign that contains the form fields you are using.

Load Calls Campaign

2. Enter the API Key that we provided upon setup.

3. Now you’ll need to add your form fields. These will change depending on which campaign you select from the drop down menu.

In the Available fields column, click on a field you’d like to include in your setup.

Load Form Fields

4. A pop-up will open showing you the field you’ve selected and giving you options to Add field or Cancel.

CSV Add Field

5. Click the blue Add field button in the bottom right corner, and you’ll see the field populate in the Selected fields column on the right followed by Edit and X.

Load Form Fields Added

6. If you’d like to change the field you’ve just entered, click the blue Edit button. A pop-up will open where you can select a different field from the drop down, then click the red Save changes button. To delete a field, click the red X.

7. Once all form fields are entered, click the green Generate CSV button.

8. Your CSV file will be saved in your Downloads folder. This CSV file will have the column headers you'll need when you add your data. Don't modify these headers. You’ll just want to add in your customers’ information, and then save the file.

Load Form CSV File

9. After you’ve saved your CSV file, head back to the App to Upload it. You’ll click the yellow Browse button to locate your CSV file.

Upload CSV File

10. After it is uploaded, the Submit your calls button will be operational. Click Submit your calls.

Submit Your Calls

11. A pop-up will open asking if you are sure you're ready. Click Submit calls, and your call information will be sent to our operators.

Disclaimer
 

Common Errors


If you are unable to connect with the SAS outbound calling app, below are some common problems:
  • Maximum sending limit: If you've reached the maximum sending limit of 300 outbound calls in a day, you will not be permitted to upload additional data until the start of the next day.
  • Invalid API key: Please check your API key inserted into your form against the API key we provided. You may have added extra characters. If the issue persists, please try typing the API key into the form area instead of copying and pasting the string.
  • No outbound campaign active: If the outbound calling campaign on your account has become deactivated, you'll be unable to access it. Please check your active campaigns from the left navigation to ensure the campaign is still active.
  • Required fields not sent: At minimum, we require a first name, last name, and phone number to be passed. If you are missing any of those fields, your submission won't work.
  • Special characters: Please check your uploaded or sent data to make sure there are no special non-ASCII characters being passed.
  • Dialing hours: If you are passing information but we're not making the call, your dialing hours may need to be adjusted. These are the hours you provided during the setup phase that restricted the hours we were able to place calls.
  • Duplicate data: You are only permitted to add a single unique first name, last name, and phone number per any 24 hour period. If you are uploading or sending duplicate data, the transmission will fail.


Tips


Errors stink. Please use the following tips below to make sure you aren't sending SAS any data until you're ready:
  • XML sandbox environment: If you are developing your own XML application, you'll want to block it from going to a live agent until you're ready. By choosing sandbox, you'll be able to make sure your app connects to SAS without accruing minutes.
  • Send a single test: If you are uploading your calls or inserting a form on your website, you'll want to make sure everything is working before you commit. Please click the Submit an outbound call button. This will bring up a sample form so you can send a single submission before you're ready to go fully live.
  • Save your forms: Doing duplicate work stinks. Be sure to save your configuration when you're done so next time you won't need to start from scratch.
  • Style your forms: After you've generated your HTML form, you can style it with your own CSS before you add it to your website. Just be sure not to edit any of the form variables.
  • Make changes quickly: If you need to make changes to a saved form, just click the View button, make your changes, and click save. This will commit your changes.

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