A power dialer or a predictive dialer? Which dialer, or dialing mode, will be the most effective solution for your sales and lead generation team to drive revenue?
In this article we’ll review:
What is a power dialer?
What is a predictive dialer?
What are the key differences between predictive and power dialing?
Which dialing mode is best for different businesses?
Agent-to-lead contact is at the heart of your outbound call center’s operations. When you look at your top-line revenue, you know that your contact rate is a critical factor in driving results. But how often do you consider revenue from the perspective of the individual agent?
Unanswered calls, voicemail, busy lines, and pause time between calls represent lost revenue opportunities. These opportunities are often overlooked since, for many, they’re a necessary part of getting the job done. That is, they can appear as little more than unavoidable steps in your agents’ efforts to contact and convert customers.
With today’s autodialer software, automated and intelligent solutions of predictive and power dialing offer increased efficiency to call centers’ day-to-day operations. Predictive dialers and power dialers are specifically designed to boost productivity among your agents and eliminate idle moments between calls.
But which is best for your outbound call center’s success? Which one should you choose?
What is a Power Dialer?
A power dialer automates the process of preparing and dialing the next caller on behalf of the agent. As soon as an agent finishes a call, a power dialer calls the next number in your data, eliminating the time lost between the completion of one call and the start of the next. This mode automatically calls multiple numbers at the same time for each agent and only connects the call to an agent when a person answers their phone. However, unlike the Predictive Dialing mode, power dialing doesn’t automatically adjust the dial level.
Without a power dialer, agents who finish a call are left to find their next call destination and dial them, which inevitably leads to a delay between each call. While this act of scouring the company’s call list and manually inputting the next number may seem like only a small delay on its own, the aggregate data tells a different story. The seconds, minutes, and, ultimately, hours quickly begin to accumulate—whether you are running a large-scale operation or employ only a handful of agents—and over time can add up to significant losses for your operation.
Power dialing technology can be deployed to virtually eliminate these losses of both time and money.
What is a Predictive Dialer?
A predictive dialer also automates the process of initiating outbound calls. As the name suggests though, a predictive dialer does a bit more. Predictive dialing utilizes a complex algorithm calculated through real-time analytics to predict the availability of agents—and the likelihood of successful outreach—in order to limit pause time even further.
What’s more, a predictive dialer will also disconnect from unsuccessful calls before the agent is connected to the call. In essence, this means that agents will only ever be rerouted from a completed call to a new, live customer. Plus, the transfer will be made rapidly, seamlessly, and still without the downtime associated with a more traditional, manual approach.
With its algorithm, a predictive dialer will consider factors such as the average length of outbound calls, the proportion of unsuccessful attempts to successful connections, as well as the downtime generally incurred as the agent waits for a dial tone and for the customer to answer. It is also capable of detecting answering machines and, if necessary or desired, leaving an automated message to unreachable prospects.
Ultimately, a predictive dialer will respond and adjust intuitively as these inputs fluctuate, all while ensuring that you are able to maximize agent resources. In some cases, moving from a manual approach to one based around a predictive dialing solution can improve outbound productivity within your call center by as much as 400%.
Key Differences Between Predictive Dialing vs. Power Dialing
While they may sound similar in some ways, power and predictive dialers both offer distinct approaches to the automated outbound dialing process. Most notably, predictive dialing builds upon the core functions provided by power dialers and further lowers that idle time accumulated between live calls.
Listed below are some of the most valuable features available through predictive dialing software, and not power dialing:
Power dialers respond to a completed call by dialing the next prospect on the list, but predictive dialers dynamically respond to the continuous workflow of a call center, continuously cataloging and analyzing data in order to scale its processes up or down depending on demand.
Exclusively Connect Agents to Live Calls
While power dialing automates the process of identifying and dialing the next caller on an agent’s list, it is not capable of eliminating unsuccessful calls prior to engaging an agent. The line may be busy, or the customer may simply ignore the call altogether. In other words, an agent could potentially be provided with a string of dial tones that do not yield live contact with a customer or prospect—something that no dialing manager or call center owner wants to be putting precious payroll resources toward.
Predictive dialing remains one step ahead of the agent, disregarding calls that are ignored or go through to voicemail before the agent is brought onto the line. And when paired with AI-powered features like an intelligent virtual agent, they can also prepare live, qualified contacts to be ready for the agent as soon as their previous call ends.
Discover why AI for outbound call centers is trending in 2021.
Variable Call Ratio
Power dialing takes effect as soon as the agent is free: as the previous call ends, it will react instantly, and dial the next number, rather than leave agents to find and dial the number themselves. This process occurs on an “as-and-when” basis, or at a fixed ratio of 1:1, and can result in the agent being connected to a call that does not lead to contact with a prospect.
In the case of predictive dialing, there is no fixed ratio. The software will react in real time based upon a number of conditions, such as call success rate and the amount of time agents are spending on calls. Some predictive dialers also give dialing managers the ability to program select inputs, such as a target drop rate, into the dialer, helping support TCPA compliance even while boosting calling efficiency.
While power dialers certainly offer an excellent resource for mitigating downtime and streamlining an agent’s workflow—particularly in smaller operations—they do not offer the same level of support and scalability available from a predictive dialer.
Predictive dialing software ensures that pause time is kept to an absolute minimum. Since agents will not be left waiting on potential connections or answering machines, and will only be put through to live calls, the predictive dialer offers the most efficient means for taking full advantage of your workforce.
What businesses benefit most from Power Dialing?
Power dialing helps smaller-scale operations streamline their outbound call processes and mitigate agent downtime.
The benefits of deploying a power dialing solution will be most notable in centers where the duration of outbound calls greatly varies, as an algorithm that attempts to determine a pattern might prove arbitrary. In these instances, the benefits of a variable call ratio will be limited and may result in a higher number of abandoned calls as agents are unable to keep up with the number of live calls available.
Of course, these cases are less common. Most call centers will find that call-duration patterns can be uncovered, even if they might fluctuate over the course of the day.
What businesses benefit most from Predictive Dialing?
Predictive dialing offers the most efficient and scalable resource for call centers seeking to amplify their contact rates and reduce pause time for agents. Enabling them to engage their workforce to the fullest extent, a predictive dialer drives productivity by putting all the data your individual agents produce in their daily work to use for your call center as a whole.
Because of this, predictive dialing typically offers the most lucrative solution for those operating on a larger scale, whether they are working on outreach to existing customers, or pursuing new prospects, sales, or market research opportunities.
What About Compliance with Consumer Protection Laws?
Now more than ever, your choice of autodialer software needs to reflect the growing importance—and complexity—of compliance.
State and federal regulations like STIR/SHAKEN are changing the ways businesses approach their call center operations. Proving yourself to be a legitimate and compliant business is integral not only to your success with prospects and existing customers, but also to your ability to protect yourself against potentially catastrophic fines and damage to your reputation.
But it’s not only these types of damage you need to avoid. Call centers also need to be wary of the potential (and sometimes hidden) harm that increases in call blocking and flagging can have on contact rates. Working with an experienced software provider that is on top of today’s latest compliance challenges is essential to your success. If you’re looking to deploy a new power or predictive dialing solution, make sure that it’s supported by features such as caller ID management, dynamic scripting, and adjustable call scheduling that help your business dial smarter, not harder.
Learn what outbound call centers need to know and do about compliance in our post TCPA Compliance Trends 2021
What Service is Best for Your Business?
Whether with power dialing or predictive dialing, automating the processes that slow your agents’ productivity levels and hinder your operational efficiency will offer a significant boost to your call center’s performance.
For most outbound call centers, predictive dialing will offer the most effective software option—one that works intelligently alongside your agents to help them improve their output and help your business reach its goals. For operations running on a much smaller scale, however, power dialing will still offer a fantastic means of augmenting productivity and improving your contact rate throughout the day.
The type of autodialing software your business requires will depend on its scope, demand, and the nature of the business itself, but there is no doubt that any call center of any size will benefit from re-evaluating their manual processes and delegating repetitive tasks to the latest technology.