Getting started

Once you have decided to use the PCT calling system for your campaign, be sure to start early, setting up your network and computers, and testing things out.  Most people find the setup process pretty straightforward and quick.

There are, however, a LOT of variables here – internet providers, modems, firewalls, other software installed on computers, etc. – and in the complicated cases, it can take a while to sort things out.

Sometimes there are problems that are related to how many computers you are connecting to the system at the same time.  Your internet connection or router may be fine when you connect one or two computers, but problems may come up when you try to log in all ten or twenty of your computers.  For this reason, it is very important to test your setup by logging in all of the computers that you plan to use for calling – at the same time.  With all of the computers logged in, you can then make manual test calls from the computers to be sure that headsets and sound settings are ok.

You do not need to wait for your real calling campaign to be ready and loaded into the system.  If you are using the PDI integration, you do not need to wait for your PDI and PCT accounts to be connected.  As soon as we send you the welcome email with your calling system settings and login information, you can set up and test your computers.

Don’t wait until you have phoners coming in later the same day!  Do the configuring and testing well in advance of your first day of phoning.  That way you will be ready for your first phonebank, confident that things will run smoothly.

Do this first, before you set up the computers that your phoners will use. That way, as you are setting up the phoners’ computers, you will be able to look at the admin screen to verify that your phoner computers are being logged in correctly.

Your welcome email will include a link to the login page for the admin system.  Go to your browser (any browser will work).  Click on the link in your welcome email – or type the address into the browser.  Bookmark the login page.

You can now log in with your admin or supervisor username and password.

You will need to use Chrome or any other browser that supports the WebRTC protocol (we recommend Chrome, but other browsers work as well).

On each computer, go to the agent login page that was in your welcome email.  Bookmark the login page.

The first time you log in to the system, the browser will ask if you want to allow access to your microphone. Click on Allow and you are ready to go.

For your phoners, you will need computers (Windows, Chromebooks, or Macs) or tablets – as long as they can run a current version of software, it should be fine.

Phoners will need either a headset to plug in to their computer or a phone (cell phone or landline) to handle the audio.

For one or two phoners at a single location, any modern internet connection should have plenty of bandwidth.  A stable connection is the most important factor.

If you are setting up a phonebank at a central location, each computer will need approximately 125 kb of bandwidth, both upload and download.  This means that each megabyte of bandwidth is enough for 8 phoners.

For the people in charge of running the phonebank, you will need at least one Windows-based computer.

The calling system runs in a browser. Chrome generally works for most people; other browsers work well, too.

The standard way to connect to the calling system is to use the computer for the data – the voter information on the screen and the responses you mark after the call – and the audio, using VOIP.  In some situations, however, you may not be able to use the computer for the audio – particularly if your internet bandwidth is limited or your internet provider blocks the VOIP connection.

You can use a telephone for the audio.  It can be a cellphone, a landline, or an internet phone, as long as the phone has a ten-digit phone number and can receive calls at that number.  To use a telephone for the audio, you will need to change a couple of settings.

At the agent login webpage, click on the Settings button.

Click on Use Dialback: Yes.  In the Dialback box, type the ten-digit phone number you want this computer to connect to.  Click on Save & Close.

With these settings, when the agent logs in, the system will call the ten-digit phone number as part of the login process.  Remember not to hang up the phone in between calls!  If you hang up, you will need to log in again.

Once you have configured the computers that you will be using, you can make manual test calls to be sure that everything is working correctly. Manual calls are also useful to troubleshoot problems with headsets, volume settings, etc.

In the calling system’s admin area, make sure that your “manual” campaign has been started.  Now, log in to the phoner computer.

Leave the status as “NOT READY” and click on the Manual Call icon.

NOTE:  If there is nothing in the Campaign dropdown, that means that the manual campaign has not been started.

Fill in a 10-digit number in the phone number box and click on Dial.  The dialer will call that number.  Be patient – the call can sometimes take a while to connect to the number you’re dialing.

When you are finished with the call, follow the prompts on the screen.  You will be able to choose between staying in “Not Ready” status, or going “Ready” and starting to take live calls.

Make sure that the computer has good internet access

Make sure that you have allowed access to the microphone.

Try a different browser

Try running Chrome in Incognito mode.

Check if the individual computer has a firewall on – try turning it off, if it is on.

Try rebooting the computer.

Basic admin

The Projects | Activity page lets you keep an eye on the progress of your phoning in real time, both at the campaign level and phoner by phoner.

You will see a list of your campaigns.  Click on one of the campaign rows (not on the campaign name) to see its agents (phoners) in the bottom area of the screen, once you have started the campaign.

AO / AR – agents online and agents ready – this tells you how many agents are currently logged in to this campaign, and how many of them are ready to take a call right now.

LiU – Lines in Use – this tells you how many lines the dialer is currently using for this campaign.

Cn / CnR – how many calls have been answered (including answering machines and other calls that the system handles).  Cn is the total number and CnR is the percentage of the total number of calls dialed.

C / CR – how many contacts the agents have made – C is the total number and CR is the percentage of all connects that became contacts.  Your account can be configured to specify which call dispositions are counted as contacts; the default setup is to count any response to the first question as a contact.

H – calls on hold.  On outbound calling, not relevant (occasionally shows a small number above zero, as calls are being handed off to agents).

D / %D – dropped calls.  These are calls that were connected to a person on the line, but there were no agents available to take the call, so the system had to hang up the call.  A small number of dropped calls is normal, but these calls are a wasted opportunity and annoying to the people on the receiving end.

Total – this is the total number of calls dialed since the campaign was started for this session.

AW / MW – average wait and maximum wait, measured in seconds.  This calculates the average length of time that your agents are waiting now between calls.  Max wait looks at the agent who has currently been waiting the longest.

See “How can I adjust the speed of my campaign?” for more information about these numbers.

These final numbers indicate how many busy signals, answering machines detected, no answer, and failed calls/operator intercepts the system has called during this session.

The RED and GREEN icons indicated whether the campaign is currently STOPPED or STARTED.

The lower half of the screen allows you to watch agent activity, showing the agents’ current status, how long they have been in that status, and the total number of calls and contacts they have handled today.  You will only see information in the lower half of this screen when you have clicked on the campaign above to select it, and the campaign is started.

On the Projects | Activity page of the calling system admin, you will see a green or red dot at the right-side edge of each campaign listed.  Green campaigns are started; red ones are stopped.

To start or stop, click on the campaign row (but not on the name) to select it.  The row will now be highlighted with a light green/yellow color.  At the top of the page, you will see that the Start-Stop button is now enabled.  Click on it to start or stop the campaign.

You control how many lines the system will try to dial for each phoner.  When you start a phoning session, it is important to wait at least 15-20 minutes before you start adjusting performance – you want to give the phoners a chance to settle into a rhythm.

To assess the speed of the system, look at the upper area of the Projects | Activity page.  D and %D tell you how many calls the system has had to drop.  These are calls that were connected to a person on the line, but there were no agents available to take the call, so the system had to hang up the call.  AW tells you how many seconds your phoners are waiting between calls.

There are no absolute rules on what numbers you should aim for.  %D under 5% is important – you don’t want to waste the opportunity to talk with people by hanging up on them.  Average wait times will depend on a number of factors.  Few phoners on the campaign will mean longer wait times.  Long conversations also mean longer wait times between calls (because it is too variable when the call will end).  Lists that have already been called for days may mean longer wait times.

For standard voter lists, using answering machine detection, a ratio of 4:1 is a good starting point.  If you are not using answering machine detection, 2:1 is a good starting point.

To adjust the performance, click on the campaign row to select it.  Click on the Performance button above.

Adjust the speed by changing the Dial Speed.  A higher number (going from 3:1 to 4:1, for example) means that the system will use more lines – call faster.  Do not change more than one step at a time.  After you have made an adjustment, wait at least 15 minutes before making any further adjustments.

If you have questions about this, feel free to talk with a PCT support person.  We will be happy to work with you to make sure that your phoning is as productive as possible.

In the calling system admin, the Projects | Activity page shows you real-time statistics by campaign and agent as the phoning happens.  You can also see more detailed real-time reports in the Reports section of the admin, as well as detailed reports covering not just today’s calls, but past results, in the Report Generator.

You can access reports that analyze your productivity and results, and report on your billable usage. In the report generator, you can also lookup whether/how often you have called a phone number or person in the past.

The address to access your reports was included in your welcome email, and it is:

[your assigned domain]/reports

For example, if you are assigned to the system using the cc1.callevo.com address, your reports will be available at https://cc1.callevo.com/reports. Supervisor and admin users have access to the reports.

When you have generated a report, you will notice that there is a “Copy All to Clipboard” button. You can click on that button, then paste the results into an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet for further analysis.

If you need information that is not covered in the standard reports, contact us and we can talk about setting up custom report formats for you.

As your phoners make calls, you may be called on to resolve problems. There are two typical categories – sound issues, and connection issues.

Sound Issues:
If your phoners complain of static, echoes, or other sound quality issues, that is most likely a problem with the internet connection – fluctuations in the speed and consistency of your internet or router. Problems like that are often temporary and go away on their own, but if not, contact us to discuss it.

If a phoner’s computer has no sound at all, there are some settings to check:

Some headsets have mute buttons – make sure the headset is not muted.

Check the Windows Sound Control Panel – make sure that the headset is the default device for “recording” and “playback”. On Windows 10, it will look something like this:

Connection issues:

Sometimes a computer will lose its connection to the system. A momentary drop in the internet connection – anywhere along the line from the computer to the router to the modem and then out in the internet – will disconnect you from the system. If things seem to freeze up on the computer, look in the lower-left corner of the screen. If one or both of the indicators are RED, you are disconnected from the system.

Close your browser and try logging in again.

For ongoing connection issues, troubleshoot your internet connection. If you’re using wifi, make sure you have a strong signal.

The dialer system will make up to 5 attempts to reach a number.  After every unsuccessful attempt, the system will wait 4 to 8 hours before attempting that number again.  This happens automatically and is designed to maximize the efficiency of your phone program in most situations.

Sometimes your list may run out of “eligible” records – which means records that can be called RIGHT NOW.  You have records that could be called in the future, but they are blocked by the time delays.  If you want to reset those time delays and make those records eligible to be called right away, follow these steps:

Click on the campaign name in the admin.  You will see the list(s) that are loaded for the campaign.

Click on the row of the list that you want to reset, to select that list.  You will see a Reset button – click on that button.

The Preview list shows the count of records that could be reset in each category.  Choose the categories that you want to reset, and then click on the Reset File button.  If your records have already been attempted 5 times, you can check the Override box to allow a 6th (or more) pass.  Click on the Back button to return to the Dial Table (list of lists).  You will see how many records are now eligible to call.

Be patient – the reset process can take a minute or more to finish processing.  The system will then begin to offer records to be called again.

If you are not getting any calls, make sure that the campaign is started. In the admin, look at the right side of the Projects | Activity page – is the icon green (Started) or red (Stopped)?

Click on the campaign row to select it, then click on “Campaign Readiness Check” (you must be an admin user, not a lead/supervisor, to do this).

Click on the Update button in the lower right of the window to see updated numbers. Look at the 5 indicators at the top. If any of them are red, those are issues that need to be resolved for calls to start.

If everything is green, you have clicked on Update, and calls are still not coming in, try logging out your clicker and at least 2 or 3 phoners and then logging back in. If none of these steps resolve the issue, contact support.

Advanced admin

The PCT calling system uses TEAMS to assign phoners to campaigns.  Each campaign has one team assigned to it.  This is found on the “Agent Options” tab when you are editing Campaign settings.

You can manage which users are assigned to which teams in the Administration | Teams section of the calling system’s admin area.

To adjust the team(s) that a specific user is assigned to, go to Administration | Users.  Click on the user’s row, then on the Edit button.  You can then add or remove team assignments for the user, and click Save.

To adjust the users that are assigned to a team, go to Administration | Teams.  Click on the team’s row, then on the Edit button.  You can then add or remove users, and click Save.

Be sure that each team has at least one clicker user, and for best performance, don’t have the same clicker supporting more than one team at the same time.

NOTE – be careful about assigning the same user to more than one team that will be active at the same time.  This can be confusing to the user, who will get a mixture of calls from more than one campaign, and can make it difficult for the calling system to maintain appropriate pacing for the campaigns.

Calling campaigns can hold a single list of targets, or there can be multiple lists loaded into a campaign.  This can be helpful when you have several tiers of priority, and want to work one list first, while having the next list ready to go instantly.

You can access the lists on the Projects | Activity page.  Click on the campaign name.  This will take you to a page that shows all of the lists that you have loaded into the calling campaign.  Lists that are currently turned on will have a green icon; lists that are stopped will have a red icon.

Click on a list row (not on the list name) to select the list, and then click on the button above to start or stop it.

You can have more than one list active at the same time.  The system will pull leads from all active lists.  You can turn lists on and off without interrupting the phoners.

Answering machine detection is the name for the process that a calling system uses to decide whether a call was answered by a live person or by an answering machine or voicemail system.  Calling campaigns often hang up on calls that are detected as answering machines, and only pass the “live” calls out to the phoners.

Answering machine detection is not an exact science.  The system listens to the sounds as the call is answered and analyzes things like the amount and type of background noise and the sound qualities of the voice on the other end, to make a judgment on what type of answered call it is.  This means that when you use answering machine detection, there will always be some answering machines that are passed through to the agents, and some live calls that are hung up on by the system.

In the calling system’s admin area, on the Projects | Monitor page, click on the row of the campaign to select it and then click on the green “Edit” button above.

At the bottom of the campaign settings screen, choose the setting you want in the “Detect Mchn” section, and then click on “Save” in the upper right.  The system will ask if you “want to regenerate the ivr?” – you have to click Yes for the change to take effect.

Important – when you change the answering machine detection setting, you also need to change the speed of your calling. See “How do I adjust the system’s performance (speed)?”

With answering machine detection OFF, you need to call more slowly – use a lower line ratio. 2:1 or 5:2 are typically good choices with answering machine detection off.

If you turn answering machine detection ON, you will want to speed the system up. 4:1 or 5:1 is a good starting point.

Managing caller ID numbers

One of the biggest challenges in phonebanking is getting people to answer the phone. Choosing a caller ID number is an important part of that. The CallEvo system offers several options for the caller ID number that will appear on people’s phones
when you call them.

You can use a single number for all calls that you make – this is the default setting for campaigns.

PCT/CallEvo offers the ability of rotating your calls through a list of caller ID numbers. This reduces the risk that your calls will be flagged by phone companies as “spam” calls. You have two options for caller ID rotation:

Rotating through a list of caller ID numbers for all your calls. If you have a list of caller ID numbers that you want all calls in your CallEvo account to share, because, for example, all the people you are calling are in the same geographic area, you will use the “Global Rotation” option.

Rotating through lists of caller ID numbers on a campaign-by-campaign basis. If your calling campaigns target different regions and you want to use separate lists of caller ID numbers for each campaign, you will use the “Campaign Rotation” option.

You can use a list of numbers that you have acquired, or you can get them from us. Talk to your PCT representative if you are interested in getting caller ID numbers from us.

To see and modify the caller ID settings, in the calling system’s admin area, on the Projects | Activity page, click on the row of the campaign to select it and then click on the green “Edit” button above.

On the first tab of the campaign settings (“Projects”), scroll down to the “Caller ID” section.

The DID dropdown menu shows the caller ID options. Choose the appropriate option. (The campaign and global “Rotation 2” options are the same as the campaign rotation and global rotation options – you can choose either.) If you are using the “Campaign” option – a single number for all of the calls – put that number in the “Project CallerID” box.

Click on “Save” in the upper right, then “Yes” to the question about regenerating the IVR.

In the left menu of the calling system admin, click on Routing | Numbers.

To import a new list of numbers, click on the “Import” button. Your list should be a .csv or .txt file, with “DID”, “TN”, or “phonenumber” in the first row. You can either import a “GLOBAL” list, which will be used for all calling campaigns in your account that are using the “Global Rotation” setting, or choose a specific campaign for your list. Choose the file, then click “Save” to import the list.

To copy a list of numbers from one campaign to another, click on the “Copy” button. Choose the campaign to copy FROM and TO, then click “Copy”.

Using the PDI integration

Once your PCT/CallEvo account has been set up, you will receive a welcome email from us.  That email will have information about how to set up your computers to use the system, and it will also have your “tenant id” number.

Contact your PDI account representative or PDI Support and ask them to connect your PCT/CallEvo account to your PDI account.  They will need your tenant id and the name of your PDI account.  When the service has been added to your PDI account, you will be able to access it from the Organizing Tools | Click to Dial – Team Calling menu in the PDI system.

If you get an error when you choose Click to Dial – Team Calling, your PDI account may not have been connected to your PCT/CallEvo account.  Contact PDI Support for assistance with this.

In the Admin | Surveys & Data Configuration section of the PDI Admin menu, you will need to take two steps to prepare your account to use the dialer.  If you do not have access to the Admin Settings | Admin Settings | Flags & Surveys section of your account, you will need to ask a user with that access to do this.

Acquisition type – the PDI system uses the acquisition type to help you track how you contacted voters, whether it was in a door-to-door canvass, by email, or on the phones.  If you do not already have an acquisition type set up for your phonebank contacts, you should create one in Admin Settings | Admin Settings | Flags & Surveys | Acquisition Type.  Make sure that you associate it with PHONE.

Non-contact question – the PDI system uses non-contact questions to set up codes to indicate what happened in conversations that did not result in a contact with the voter you were looking for.  This can include wrong numbers, language barriers, voters who have moved, etc.

The calling system requires that your non-contact question have at least 4 specific responses:

  • NH – Not home
  • AMM – Answering machine
  • BNH – Bad number, home
  • BNM – Bad number, mobile

You can add any other codes you choose.  Some common options are Moved, Deceased, Language barrier, and Refused to participate.  The responses available in your PDI account can be seen on the Flags tab.

Once you have verified that your account has all of the response codes that you need, you are ready to create the non-contact question.  In the Questions section, create a question as shown here.

Give the question a clear name and description – like “Non-contact – dialer”.  Set the Question Type to Non-Contact – Click to Dial and check the “Show” box.  Choose from the default responses and/or add your own options and then click on Save – remember, at a minimum your question must include the NH, AMM, BNH, and BNM options.

In the PDI interface, leave the survey setting as “Logical” (this is true, even though the dialer integration does not using branching logic in the phoners’ screen setup).

Typical campaigns will use a survey with a support question – “Can we count on your support for our candidate? Y-N-U”.  There may also be separate follow-up questions like “Would you like a lawnsign? LS” or “Would you like to volunteer? VOL”.

If you have talking points or other information that you want your phoners to see on-screen, you can add it in the Segment Script area of the PDI survey setup.

Questions on the calling system screen only allow one response to be chosen per question.  If you want to allow phoners to mark multiple responses – for example, “What are the top issues that concern you?” – you will need to have a separate question for each of the options.  Each of the options will then appear on the phoner’s screen as a check box.

On the calling system, phoners will be required to mark a response to the first question, so make sure to place the most important question in the #1 position if you have more than one question in the survey.

NOTE: If you modify your survey (including the talking points) in PDI, and you have already created a dialer campaign, the survey will NOT change on the dialer. You will need to create a new dialer campaign if you need to change the survey that the phoners see.

Once you have prepared your PDI account, set up your survey, and created a universe of people that you want to phone, you are ready to create a calling campaign.  Go to the Click to Dial Team Calling area of your PDI account and click on the Create New Caller Campaign button in the lower left.

When you create a new calling campaign, you will also load a list of target voters into that campaign.  Later, if you want to, you will be able load additional lists of voters into that same campaign, using the same settings and script.  Those new lists can be in addition to the first list, or instead of the first list.  You will control this in the calling system’s admin area.

Name the campaign.  Choose your target universe and the survey.  Next you will choose the non-contact codes, acquisition type, and team of users to be assigned to this campaign.  You can create and manage the teams in your calling system’s admin area.  You can also later assign this campaign to a different team in the calling system’s admin area. 

Caller ID – you must specify a 10-digit phone number that you want voters to see on their caller ID when you call them, or click on the More Settings link and check the box to “Use caller ID rotation”. More information about this is available in the Caller ID section of the FAQs.

You can now click on the Save button to create the campaign and load the voters’ information into the calling system. This process may take a minute or two.

Information about the additional settings and how to customize the information that is displayed on-screen about each voter is provided in separate sections of this FAQ.

PCT/CallEvo campaigns can hold a single list of targets, or there can be multiple lists loaded into a campaign. As long as you are using the same survey, you can keep using the same campaign and just add new lists to it.

There are different reasons that you might want to do this.  For example, if you have several tiers of priority targets, and want to work one list first, while having the next list ready to go instantly, you can load the two lists into the campaign, and turn on the second tier list as soon as the first list has been called.

Also, if you have voter contact happening at the doors and through other efforts, you may want to turn off the current list in your calling campaign and replace it with a fresh list that includes only those people who still have not been contacted.

To add a list to an existing campaign, on the PDI Click to Dial – Team Calling page, click on the View link on the right side of the list of campaigns for the campaign that you want to add to.  This will take you to an information screen about that campaign.

Click on the Add New List button at the bottom.  Name the list, choose your saved universe, and adjust the geography or settings if necessary, then click on Create.  Your new list will be added to the calling campaign – but not turned on.

You control when to turn on your new list (and possibly turn off other lists) in the calling system’s admin area.

You can access the lists on the Projects | Activity page.  Click on the campaign name.  This will take you to a page that shows all of the lists that you have loaded into the calling campaign.  Lists that are currently turned on will have a green icon; lists that are stopped will have a red icon.

Click on a list row to select the list, and then click on the button above to start or stop it.

You can have more than one list active at the same time.  The system will pull leads from all active lists.  You can turn lists on and off without interrupting the phoners.

When you create a new calling campaign, a standard set of information and display layout about each voter is sent from PDI to the calling system.  The default information is the voter’s full name, party, sex, age, and permanent vote-by-mail status.  The information will be displayed in the upper-left area of the phoners’ screens.

You can modify that information when you create the campaign in the PDI.  To make the changes, look at the bottom area of the campaign creation screen.  You see the default setup, and a list of fields that you can add to the display, along with labels.

To add a text label or a field on the next line down, click on the PDInewline new line icon next to the label or field name.  To add a label or field to the right of the last item, click on the PDIsameline same line icon.

Geographic or district information: you can display the city, congressional, state senate, and other district information by selecting the appropriate field from the list.

Custom fields: you can configure up to 20 custom fields, based on Saved Universes.  (Accounts that have custom data fields can also display the contents of those fields.)

To set up a custom field, click on the Custom Fields tab.  Choose the Saved Universe from the dropdown list, and then type in the text that you want to display for all voters in that saved universe.  In the example below, all voters in the “PVBM early voters” saved universe will be marked with the text “Early VBM”.

If you want to keep using the same survey and campaign settings, and you know that polling place information is available in the PDI system (and was already available when you loaded the list into the calling system), you can modify what is displayed about the voter to show the polling place.

In the calling system’s admin area, go to the Projects | Activity page and click on the campaign row to select it.  Click on the green Edit button above, and then click on the Call Data tab.  You will see this:

Scroll down the field list on the right until you see the polldesc1, polldesc2, and polladdress1 fields.  You can click on them to move them into the window on the left, or you can type the field names directly.  If you type them directly, the field names are CASE-SENSITIVE (lower-case letters) and are enclosed in { } – curly brackets.  You can type labels (like “Polling place:”), and adjust the font size, bold, italics, etc. using the controls at the top.  This is an example of how you may want to set it up:

Click SAVE, and then Yes to “regenerate IVR” – your changes will appear on phoners’ screens as soon as they get their next calls.

When you are creating a new calling campaign in the PDI integration, you can modify the information that will be displayed for each voter when you create the campaign.  You will see the standard layout at the bottom of the screen:

To add a text label or a field on the next line down, click on the PDInewline new line icon next to the label or field name.  To add a label or field to the right of the last item, click on the PDIsamelinesame line icon.

This is an example of how you may want to display the polling place information:


When you have finished setting up the information to be displayed, you can complete the calling campaign creation as usual.

Any time you need to change the survey/script that your phoners are using – to add a question or change the response options, for example – you will need to create a new campaign.

In all other cases, you can just add new lists to your existing campaign.

No. When you load a list into the calling system, that list is static. That means that it will not change until you change it.

If you want to have “fresh” data in the calling system – to take out voters who have returned their ballots or who have been contacted in another part of your campaign, for example – turn off the existing list in the calling campaign, and load a fresh list into the campaign, using your target universe.