In this article you’ll learn how predictive dialers work, the benefits of using a predictive dialer system, what to look for in a predictive dialer solution, and key features of predictive dialer software to drive profitable outbound call center campaigns for your sales and lead generation teams.
What is a predictive dialer?
A predictive dialer is an automated telephone dialing solution that streamlines and accelerates outbound calls. It will predict call center agent availability, automatically calibrate the dialing rate, and connect agents to live prospects. Predictive dialers are typically used by sales and lead generation teams with high-performance outbound calling.
Predictive dialers are designed to reach the most people in the shortest amount of time. Today’s best predictive dialer systems utilize advanced algorithms to help high volume outbound call centers minimize wait time, maximize talk time, and drive more conversions.
How do predictive dialers work?
Calls are dialed at either a predefined rate or a rate based on variables such as agent availability or past call duration. After dialing the call, the predictive dialer “listens” for an answer. When a live person answers, the call is quickly transferred to a live agent. This listening ability allows the dialer to screen out calls that receive a busy signal or are answered by fax machines, voicemail systems, or answering machines.
What is predictive about predictive dialers?
You’ll find that most definitions about how predictive dialers work focus on algorithms that take into account the typical call duration, past success rate of the dialing list, the amount of time it takes for a call to be answered, and other factors. Over time, as more and more calls are placed, the dialer gets better at predicting when and how many numbers to dial.
By dialing multiple numbers at once, the dialer increases the odds of connecting to a live person every time. And because multiple lines are dialed at once, predictive dialer systems typically assign three or four lines to each agent. The dialer automatically decreases or increases the number of simultaneous calls based on the percent of dropped calls you want to maintain.
What are the benefits of a good predictive dialer system?
Using a predictive dialer in your outbound contact center can deliver a number of benefits. They include:
Improved agent productivity. By detecting when a live contact is reached, predictive dialers ensure that call center agents don’t waste time with busy signals, voicemail messages, or incorrect numbers.
Boosted call volumes. Companies can reach out to more people in a shorter period of time by calling numbers in quick succession from a database and dialing multiple numbers for each contact.
Agent call transfers. Agents have the ability to initiate three-way conference calls, or transfer calls to other representatives, such as sales agents or product specialists.
Better prospect and customer experience. Predictive dialers avoid the risk of annoying or offending existing or potential clients by restricting dialing based on day, time zone, or other variables. They also allow agents to schedule call-backs at a time that is more convenient for the customer.
Tracking accuracy. Agents have the ability to code each interaction’s outcome, or disposition. Call center managers use these metrics to track trends in list and agent performance.
Improved Do Not Call (DNC) compliance. Predictive dialers integrate DNC compliance into their operation, replacing error-prone practices such as merging or purging spreadsheets or removing DNC numbers from a database. These outdated practices can leave businesses vulnerable to fines or penalties.
What to Look for in a Predictive Dialer that Will Drive Productivity
Of course, it’s not enough to know how a predictive dialer works. You have to know what to look for when choosing the predictive dialer software that’s best for your company – and you’ll have many options available in the marketplace.
Since you probably have a high volume outbound call center, be sure to look for a system with the capabilities and features that will help you achieve your campaign goals, and drive ROI. Not all predictive dialers perform equally. So when you’re on the hunt for a predictive dialer solution that delivers the best results for your call center, keep an eye out for these critical capabilities and features.
Picking the right predictive dialer isn’t just about your current needs. You’ll want to consider your operation’s potential for growth. As you build the success of your sales and lead generation team, you will need a system that can easily accommodate the addition of unlimited agents and has extensive experience supporting the rapid growth of call center operations.
Regulations governing outbound call centers are extensive, reaching far beyond the DNC issues described above. Since rules and regs are changing all the time, it’s important that, as you’re picking a predictive dialer to help you boost your contact rate, you ensure that your dialer supports compliance.
Especially in heavily regulated industries like insurance or solar energy, having a predictive dialer that can automatically route leads to agents in the right states or with the right licensure, is a must. You should also look for a dialer with feature integrations like dynamic scripting, which equips your agents with state-specific scripts that can be customized to keep them on message and up-to-date on TCPA rules.
Real Time Data Analytics
You need to see how the leads and lists loaded in your predictive dialer are performing so you can make strategic decisions throughout the day. With automatically generated reports you will know how many calls are made, and their dispositions.
When choosing a predictive dialer system, check to see that your potential provider any predictive dialer prospects will be available around and able to provide technical support when your business needs it most. Explore if there are any available self-help resources as well, too, to get a sense of how committed each provider is to delivering necessary support.
Lead Management Automation Tools
Staying on top of leads and closing sales is not just about making more calls, but calling the right leads at the right time with robust lead management tools that help you track and optimize your campaigns. Build call cadences into your dialing campaigns that include smart redial/recycle logic and customized automated scheduling and outreach across multiple channels.
Finding a new predictive dialer shouldn’t mean that you need to ditch your whole sales stack. Explore the ease and availability of adding third-party integrations to your dialer system. Check if the tools you already use—such as CRM, lead tracking, and lead optimization platforms—can be easily synced up with your prospective dialing solutions.
Find a Dialer with All the Right Features
Your predictive dialer provider should also be committed to innovation, offering the latest features and functions to support your call center’s continued success. Look for a supporting cast of features like these that can deliver greater efficiencies to your outbound team’s sales and lead gen efforts:
- Dialing Rate. You should be able to set the dial rate to automatically accommodate the percent of dropped calls you want to maintain (it’s not recommended to go above the 3% maximum as determined by the FCC).
- Skill-Based Routing. While all predictive dialers should smartly route calls to available agents, skill-based routing adds another level of intelligence and gives managers more room to customize. By layering in additional conditions to your call routing workflow, skill-based routing helps ensure that the agent your customer connects with is the best one for the job—whether that means they’re in the right location or have the right level of expertise.
- Answering Machine Detection (AMD). Avoid even more downtime with fast and highly accurate AMD technology that can quickly and effectively separate actual live calls from voicemail recordings and fax machines.
- Omnichannel Integration. In today’s world, it’s crucial that you connect with customers in the way that they prefer. Bolster your cross-channel campaigns and boost your contact rates by picking a predictive dialer that’s backed by automated omnichannel solutions.
- Multiple Campaigns. Particularly for large volume call centers, the capability to effectively run multiple campaigns simultaneously is essential to maximizing the productivity and efficiency of your agents’ time, and meeting your company’s sales goals.
True Predictive Dialing Mode Saves Managers Time
A predictive dialer uses advanced algorithms to predict the ratio of people who will pick up the phone and initiates enough outbound calls to connect all available agents with an active call based on the expected rate.
With a true “predictive mode” managers and admins can set it and forget it. The dialer will automatically adjust the dialing speed to make more or fewer calls so that agents stay productive on live calls.The alternative is wasting your manager’s time. Without a true predictive dialing mode, you have to constantly watch the dialer all day to keep increasing or decreasing the number of calls (or lines) going out, and to monitor whether agents are waiting too long between calls (which can happen depending on the time of day or if they’re dialing through a bad batch of leads).
Is On-Premise Hardware or Cloud-Based Software Better for Predictive Dialers?
Consider which type of predictive dialer system is best for your outbound call center operation.
Hardware-based, or on-premise predictive dialing solutions
Predominantly still used by especially large contact center operations, on-premise predictive dialing solutions are far less popular today than cloud-based solutions. Since an on-premise system requires the procurement and maintenance of a complex system of hardware, they demand significant investment both up front and over time. They also come with a much longer implementation time—and the process of expanding on an existing system can be quite complex.
Hosted, on-demand, or cloud-based predictive dialing solutions
By contrast, cloud-based predictive dialers have no upfront hardware costs, and they’re far easier to deploy. Plus, the cloud-based model shifts all the costs of upgrades and upkeep over to the provider, leaving call centers more time and resources to focus on (and resources to put toward) doing what they do best, instead of maintaining technology.
Another factor in the recent, widespread shift toward cloud-based systems has been the rise of the virtual contact center. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused so many to move toward remote operations out of necessity, many call centers had begun to realize the many benefits and savings that a distributed, virtual call center can deliver. Cloud-based predictive dialers that lack the extensive infrastructure of older on-premise solutions are the ideal match for the work-from-home call center, enabling call centers to unify their operations through a common, software-based platform.
Finding a Predictive Dialer for Your Future
If you’re looking to bring your outbound call center’s operations up to date and increase the amount of time your agents spend connecting with leads, a predictive dialer system is a safe bet to increase productivity and efficiency at your organization.
However, when you’re searching for the right solution, it’s important to know that predictive dialers are ultimately much more than the sum of their software. Even as technology plays an increasingly vital role in the way that outbound call centers close sales, it still takes having the right partner behind it all to drive sustainable growth and ensure that you can evolve on the road ahead.
Call center owner and industry veteran Heather Griffin noted recently that Convoso is just the right teammate to have on your side. She said, “I always say that Convoso is more of a partner than a software – you’re going to get a lot of additional value out of their content. And most importantly, they’re the only telephony system that I’ve seen that has a plan for addressing the new laws that are coming and going to greatly affect all of us, so that you can remain profitable and successful.”
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