SpitFire Help Desk

Remote Agents in SpitFire Predictive


I. Introduction

II. Phone Line Requirements

III. Network Requirements

IV. Configuring the Campaign for Remote Agents

V. Agent Procedures

VI. Common Issues/Solutions


Agents that log onto a SpitFire Predictive campaign can be Local (meaning they have headsets connected directly to the SpitFire Dialer) or they can be Remote. Remote Agents can be extensions on a PBX that the Dialer is connected to or "true remote" stations that are at a different location from the SpitFire Dialer.

Phone Line Requirements

The first item that needs to be addressed when setting up Remote Agents is the number of lines required for each Agent. If you are wanting to have a 2 to 1 dialing ratio (2 lines dialing per Available Agent), then the Dialer will need 3 lines connected to it for every Remote Agent. One line will be used to create a voice connection between the Dialer and the Agent's phone and the other two lines will be dialing out to the customers.

Of course, a 4th line will be required from the actual Agent station side to receive the calls from the Dialer. This line is what the Agent's telephone is plugged into. This can be an extension (if the Dialer is integrated with your phone system) or a DID (Direct Inbound Dial number, ie your 10 digit phone number that can be dialed directly). The only exception to this 4th line would be if the Dialer is using SIP trunks and the Agents are able to use an X-Lite soft phone.

Here is a grid that shows the Lines to Remote Agent ratio needed for up to 15 agents:

Formula : 4 * Number of Agents

 No. of Agents  Outbound Lines*  Lines to call the agent  Agent DID's or Station Lines from PBX  Total
 1  2  1  1  4
 2  4  2  2  8
 3  6  3  3  12
 4  8  4  4  16
 5  10  5  5  20
 6  12  6  6  24
 7  14  7  7  28
 8  16  8  8  32
 9  18  9  9  36
 10  20  10  10  40
 11  22  11  11  44
 12  24  12  12  48
 13  26  13  13  52
 14  28  14  14  56
 15  30  15  15  60

* Assuming a 2 to 1 dialing ratio, i.e 2 lines dialing out for each Agent.

So let's say you currently have a 8x16 SpitFire Predictive Dialer which is configured with Local Agents that have headsets connected directly to the Dialer. And you want to set one of those agents as a Remote Agent. That means that you will have to take away 1 of the 16 dialing lines to be used to connect to the remote agent. Now 15 lines will be dialing out to the customers instead of 16.

Network Requirements

The second main component of Remote Agents is how the SpitFire Agent software will communicate with the SpitFire Predictive Dialer software. 
Note: This is only a concern if the Remote Agents are not going to be on the same PHYSICAL network as the Predictive Dialer.

For true Remote Agents that are not located on the same network as the Dialer, the Agent software must be able to communicate with the External IP address of the network that the Dialer is on. There are 2 ways this can be accomplished.

1. VPN (Virtual Private Network). If you set up a VPN connection for each station so that their computers think that they are on the same network as the Dialer, this can allow your Agent stations to communicate with the Dialer.
Note: A hardware VPN is a requirement for true Remote Agent configurations that are using X-lite, soft-phones. 
OPC Marketing Tech Support is not responsible for the setup and/or configuration of your VPN.
This requires someone on staff who knows your network and can set up a VPN accordingly 
One comparatively simple way of setting up a VPN is to use Logmein Hamachi. This is a free, web based VPN that could be used for remote Agents.
Note: Logmein Hamachi DOES NOT work with Remote Agents using SIP trunks with X-Lite soft-phones.

2. Port Forwarding. The other option for data communications between the Agent software and the Dialer software is to forward the ports that are used by the SpitFire software to the Dialer's address.
This would of course be done by your network admin on your router or firewall.
OPC Marketing Tech Support is not responsible for the setup and/or configuration of your network router or firewall.

Here are the TCP ports that SpitFire uses:

Campaign 1: 2101-2148
Campaign 2: 2201-2248
Campaign 3: 2301-2348
Campaign 4: 2401-2448

Configuring the Campaign for Remote Agents 

In this example, we have a total of 5 agents, 1 through 4 will be local (i.e. headsets connected directly to the Dialer) and we will set station 5 as a remote Agent.

1. The first step is to open the Campaign software.

2. Then click on the Agents tab to configure the Agents.

3. Right-click on the Agent number you want to set as a remote to enter the configuration window for that station.

4. The default setting under LogOn Type is Local. 
a. This needs to be changed to Remote.
b. Then the Phone Number can be entered and the Line that will be used by the Dialer to call that number can be set.
Note: This number needs to be entered exactly as it needs to be dialed. In the case below, there is a 1 because it is a long distance number.

5. When you select the line (in this case line 4), SpitFire will check to see if that line is already set to use as a regular, outbound dialing line. If so you will get the following error message:

6. This can be fixed by left-clicking on line 4 to turn it yellow.

7.  Now when a Campaign is started, you will see in the Line Activity window that line 4 will say "Waiting to Dial Agent".

8. When the Agent logs on, his phone will ring and he will pick up the call and leave the phone off-hook. 

Agent Procedures

The Dialer will dial out as normal and when a customer answers the call, it will conference the call over that open line, to the Agent's phone. However, there are a few differences with Remote Agents that should be identified.

1. It is very important that the Agent does not hang up their phone while logged into the Dialer. Rather, they will use the Disposition buttons in the Agent software, just as local agents do, to end the calls. If the Agent accidentally hangs up his phone, he should just log off the Agent software and log back on. The Dialer will then re-establish the voice connection to his phone.

2. When the Agent needs to step away for a break, he should log off the Agent software and hang up his phone.

3. If the Agent needs to take another call while logged into the Campaign, he should log off, hangup his phone and then pick up the other call.

4. If the Agent needs to transfer the call to a 3rd party, he should not use his phone to transfer the call. This would cause the connection from the Station to the Dialer to be lost once the call is released to the 3rd party. Then the Agent would have to log back into the Campaign so the Dialer could reconnect with him. Instead, the Agent should use the Agent Transfer Feature in the Agent software to transfer calls. See THIS article for instructions on setting up the Agent Transfer Feature.

Common Issues/Solutions

By far, the most common issue with Remote Agent setups is that the Agent logs on, his phone does not ring but he still gets customer data transferred to his Agent software.
This means that the data connection is working but the call to the Agent's phone is not for one of the following reasons:

1. The phone number for that particular station ID is not correct. The phone number that has been put into the Campaign software for that Agent should be for the same station ID that is in the Agent's software at their desk. The station ID is configured in the Agent's software by first opening the SpitFire Agent software and then pressing SHIFT+F1 on the keyboard. 
In our example, we are using Agent 5 in the Campaign software for the Remote Agent. So the Station ID in the Agent's software, at the Agent's desk should be set to 5 as well.
If it was set to 4, the Agent could still log on but it would not get the initial call from the Dialer and the station would be receiving customer data but no voice.

2. The second reason for the Agent not getting the initial call from the Dialer is that the phone number has been entered incorrectly into the Campaign software. The number needs to be entered exactly as it needs to be dialed. If the Dialer is behind a PBX and needs to dial 9 to get an outside line to connect to the remote Agent's phone, make sure the 9 is in the phone number for that station.

3. Another issue can be that the remote Agent's phone is not working. Check the phone by having someone else call that station's phone.

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Last Updated
24th o November, 2009

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