20-20. It's not your vision test score, nor a reference to the popular TV news show. It's the name of a new feature that CallWorks call-management systems will offer to users in August.

"The goal of 20-20 is to eliminate busy signals by completing 20 percent of your calls in 20 seconds or less," said Rick Stanbridge, CEO of Fidelity Communications, which makes CallWorks.


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20-20 uses two automated functions to do its magic: caller I.D. and recorded message marketing. When customers call a pizzeria using CallWorks, they hear an "upfront" message touting that day's special, and are prompted to buy it with the press of a button.

If the caller is an established customer, caller I.D. recognizes the number and retrieves the caller's previous order from the POS database. It then prompts the customer to buy that same order again, or talk to a live order-taker.

"We already know as a fact that 25 to 30 percent of customers order what's on the upfront message," said Stanbridge. "We also know that 18 percent of people order the same thing all the time."

With 20-20, the customer's order is taken and on to the kitchen in 20 seconds or less.

"Tests we've done show orders that used to take upwards of a minute are reduced to 20 seconds by using this," Stanbridge said. "And that's for 20 percent of an operator's traffic. When you do that, you don't have busy signals turning customers away."

Stanbridge said the company will price the new feature closer to its release date, and that upgrading existing CallWorks users' machines with the 20-20 software will be done by Fidelity techs.

Basics first

Why have a call management system? To reduce the volume of calls taken by human order-takers and to increase check averages through targeted marketing opportunities, Stanbridge said.

Rob Scheiper, a 20-unit Domino's Pizza franchisee in Paramount, Calif., sees another benefit: knowing which customer is next in the phone cue.

"When you've got six to eight lines at every store and you're really busy, you put somebody on hold and they sometimes get lost because all you see is those phone lines lit up," said Schieper, a CallWorks user. "Now all we do is look at a screen on the wall to see who's next."

Call managers allow pizza makers to stay on the make line instead of stopping to answer phones, and they ensure the special is marketed the same way every time.

"The machine never feels pressured to upsell the customer, and customers don't feel pressured to buy from a machine," Schieper said. "It never forgets the special, either. It just simplifies a pizza operation."

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