The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Predictive Dialer Software

Predictive dialer software helps reduce contact center agent downtime and keeps phones ringing to boost employee efficiency. Using algorithms, predictive dialer software considers which agents are available and best for each call, then dials out so agents have a steady stream of calls without having to dial each number manually. You can avoid wasting time with voicemail systems, waiting for answers and punching in numbers individually. The system knows how long calls typically take, how many numbers to dial before reaching a live person, how many numbers will reach busy signals and other calling statistics.

These systems can help your contact center stay efficient and communicate with as many outbound calls as possible. As such, it can be enormously helpful for organizations with advanced business phone systems and high call volume. Your organization can become more productive after implementing a predictive dialer system, if your business needs sustained outbound phone calls to keep agents busy.

In this article, we will introduce predictive dialer software and help you understand how it works and how it can help your business. We will also discuss alternatives to predictive dialers, a few potential drawbacks and which industries may not need predictive dialer software or may not benefit as much. Predictive dialers can be very useful for many businesses, but they can also have significant weaknesses that may make it a less desirable solution than other alternatives.

For many businesses, though, predictive dialers have many benefits and can help them accomplish what they need to do. To help you figure out which category your business is in, read on further in this article for more information on predictive dialers and how they work. Getting started with many predictive dialer systems is a snap, too, so you may quickly see that productivity boost your business is looking for.

Article Contents:

  1. What is a Predictive Dialer?
  2. How Do Predictive Dialers Work?
  3. What Are Some Benefits of Predictive Dialers?
  4. What Are Some Disadvantages of Predictive Dialers?
  5. Predictive Dialer Alternatives

1. What is a Predictive Dialer?

In outbound call centers and contact centers, predictive dialer software allows agents to dial out calls automatically without manually dialing phone numbers. This bring a consistent stream of phone calls to the call center agent so they have little to no downtime between calls. This improves efficiency and helps drive higher productivity. As a software system, your predictive dialer can consistently manage your outbound calling functions so human agents do not have to. It is an important tool for contact centers that are looking to improve their productivity. Agents do not have to lose time to unanswered calls, since the software dials until it receives an answer. It manages voicemail, too, so it does not fall to an agent. When a person does answer, the system is ready to switch the call to a person who can help them. At that point, it transfers the call to a live agent who is available. This way, agent time is not wasted dialing numbers and waiting for responses.

2. How Do Predictive Dialers Work?

Predictive dialers know how to keep agents occupied with calls. With sophisticated algorithms that learn how many numbers to dial, how long agents will probably be on the phones and other information, predictive dialer software can keep agents busy and call the right number of numbers to keep the contact center running smoothly. This also keeps agents operating efficiently.

For example, if it would take a human agent a full minute of dialing phone numbers to finally find someone who picks up, that is a minute of time wasted for every successful phone answer. That adds up to a lot of wasted time.

3. What Are Some Benefits of Predictive Dialers?

Many different industries can effectively use predictive dialers, such as surveys, opinion research, telemarketing, debt collection and other businesses that do a large amount of outbound calls. Having a predictive dialer can dramatically boost productivity for outbound call centers. Agents actively learn more about customer service, because they spend more time talking with real customers. As soon as agents finish one call, there is already another call on the line for them to talk to. Implementing a predictive dialer software solution can help your business accomplish so much more if you rely extensively on outbound calling. This can also help you adhere to Do Not Call Registry requirements because agents are not doing the calling and the numbers on the call list can be tightly controlled. This is important for compliance purposes.

4. What Are Some Disadvantages of Predictive Dialers?

Predictive dialers are not as easily used with calls that require extensive background information, such as customer service follow-up calls. These conversations require some amount of agent prep with the customer’s information before the call, so using a predictive dialer can be more challenging. Agents need to have enough downtime to review customer information before the call and quickly get back on the phone, making it more difficult to use a predictive dialer. Auto dialers are prohibited from calling mobile phones without written consent according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which is another major drawback of predictive dialers.

5. Predictive Dialer Alternatives

There are other options for businesses looking to improve outbound call efficiency. These two options, preview dialers and power dialers, may serve as effective substitutes for predictive dialers, depending on what your business needs.

  • Preview Dialers–These systems provide agents with the opportunity to briefly learn about a callee before or while dialing them, before the call is connected. Agents can accept the call or transfer it to a more appropriate department or another agent altogether. For information-heavy industries and applications, this type of system can be enormously helpful. Agents have more control over calls that are placed, but the system helps move calls along and improve efficiency. Each agent still has the information they need to make the call successful. This is great for debt collection, customer service callbacks and large-ticket sales, where lots of data and ready access to it is important for agents.
  • Power or Progressive Dialers–These software platforms make calls only when agents are available to take the calls. There is no calculating how to keep a steady stream of calls going. There is simply a system that keeps available agents busy. As such, the system is somewhat to significantly less efficient than predictive dialers. These systems have serious limitations compared with predictive dialers, although they overcome a few of the drawbacks of predictive dialer software systems.

Predictive dialers are very efficient, so pursuing an alternative may not really be right for your business. Businesses that make a large volume of outbound calls may need the increased efficiency and may not be able to use an alternative because of the serious drawbacks those systems have. If you are not sure what to use, you may want to ask your VoIP or business communications system vendor. Many of today’s business communications software systems already have predictive dialer software available for you to use, so you may not need to get your system from an outside vendor. There are, however, many vendors that offer just predictive dialer software and they can help you obtain a system if your VoIP service or business communications system vendor does not carry it.

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