A predictive dialer is an outbound calling system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers. Like other types of autodialers (also called robodialers), predictive dialers call numbers automatically and can help agents screen for busy signals, voicemail, no-answers and disconnected numbers.
So what sets predictive dialers apart from other automatic dialers? Their ability to utilize call metrics to predict the moment when human agents will be available to make the next call. Another distinguishing feature of predictive dialers is that they dial multiple numbers at the same time. The goal is to call the right number of leads at the right time to ensure maximum agent utilization.
What is a Predictive Dialer
Predictive dialers have been around for around 30 years. They got their start in the banking industry and were used primarily for debt collection purposes. And while predictive dialers began as hardware solutions, many companies now offer predictive dialer software that is often based in the cloud. Hosted dialers are preferred by many companies due to the fact that they minimize up-front capital expenses and reduce IT costs. Some dialers can even integrate with CRMs like Salesforce.com in order to give visibility into call metrics.
How Do Predictive Dialers Work?
As the name implies, predictive dialers predict when agents will be free to take the next call and then dial numbers on the agent’s behalf. The dialer uses algorithms to surmise the exact time that an agent should be finishing up with a call and then dials another number. When working properly, predictive dialers supply agents with a steady stream of calls with little-to-no downtime.
This can save agents and telemarketers a lot of time. For example, manually dialing a number can take 30 seconds. And only one out of every three or four calls might get answered. But predictive dialers can calculate the average length of a call and the average number of dials it takes to make a connection and then optimize dialing to enable agents to seamlessly move from one call to the next.
Who Uses Predictive Dialers?
Predictive dialers are routinely used in telemarketing, market research, debt collection, and customer service follow-up. In addition, some lead qualification agents use predictive dialers to maximize the amount of time they can spend on the phone with leads during outbound sales prospecting.
How Effective Are Predictive Dialers?
There are various reports on the effectiveness of predictive dialers. When phone utilization is a primary concern, predictive dialers have been shown to deliver dramatic results. One study showed that predictive dialers can improve agent productivity by 400%. They have also been shown to increase agent utilization from 40 minutes per hour to 57 minutes per hour.
There are several reported drawbacks to using predictive dialers as inside sales enablement tools. For example, inside sales reps selling high-ticket items often need to research prospects in advance of calls, but predictive dialers are designed to keep reps on the phone without offering opportunities for pre-call research. Another concern is that some predictive dialers dial multiple leads at once without giving inside sales reps any insight into the dialing process. While they can increase call volume, predictive dialers don’t give inside sales reps as much power to prioritize leads. There has also been backlash against predictive dialer use, as the FCC banned the use of all auto dialers (including predictive dialers) for dialing mobile numbers.