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Chasing proxy votes.

CHASING PROXY VOTES

Now that their telephone solicitors don't have to spend time dialing numbers from their New York headquarters office, D.F. King & Co. Inc. is increasing productivity and efficiency.

The streamlining effort began four years ago, when the Wall Street financial relations and consulting firm went from regionalized to centralized calling.

"If we had 20,000 holders to call," says Senior Vice President Robert Fraina, "think of the time involved in picking up the telephone and getting all those numbers, making the telephone calls, waiting for the phone to ring, getting people, trying to get decision makers, then also recording all that on reports. If you wanted to know where all those thousands of holders stood, you had to have solicitors on adding machines totaling by dispositions."

Since installation of a computer-controlled automatic calling system by Electronic Information Systems Inc., D.F. King receives shareholder information from its clients stored on magnetic tape. D.F. King accesses a database for the telephone numbers needed. "This is much less expensive than directory assistance," Fraina says. "We then augment with directory assistance to the extent that is necessary and appropriate."

New Vistas

That tape is interfaced with the calling system to open up new vistas of cost-effective operation.

The sophisticated new workstations require no more than the same number of solicitors. The CPU feeds through only the live connects, ending all the time formerly spent dialing and redialing to get not only the phone number but someone to answer the call.

As a telephone connection is made, information pops up on the screen showing name, address, share level, D.F. King client company name, and the proposals on the agenda.

"The system eliminates the no-answers," Fraina says. "It eliminates the busy signals. If we want, we can even eliminate answering machines. Our solicitors are more active and enthusiastic now that they don't have to go through all those other machinations."

The end of a conversation is marked by certain disposition codes, implemented by keystrokes. D.F. King employees can input holder disposition information into the system so that, on a real-time basis, D.F. King account executives can generate reports for clients and make strategy recommendations whenever they want.

In a typical calling session, the telephone solicitors can now make close to 5000 connects.

In manual mode, 2000 would be average.
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Title Annotation:automatic calling
Author:Gitlin, Bob
Publication:Communications News
Date:May 1, 1990
Words:391
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