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Today's Predictive Dialers Bear Little Resemblance to Dialers of the Past

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February 27, 2013

Today's Predictive Dialers Bear Little Resemblance to Dialers of the Past

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

While predictive dialers, one of the most important tools in outbound telephone marketing, often take a bad rap, there’s a reason they’ve been the equipment of choice for outbound contact centers for so long: they work, and they get results.

The auto dialer, of course, is an automated outbound dialing solution that allows outbound contact centers and the agents who staff them to optimize their time. Dialing telephone numbers manually one by one only to encounter dead numbers, answering machines and hang ups simply isn’t a good use of time. The dialer can greatly increase the number of contacts made per hour, and can allow the agent to come onto calls only when a live connection is made.

Predictive dialers go beyond simple auto dialers: they are smarter. They use statistical algorithms to find the best times of day to call the right numbers, thus minimizing the time that agents spend waiting between conversations, while minimizing the occurrence of someone answering when no agent is available.

Once upon a time, a predictive dialer was a box kept in the telephone room or IT room. It was hard to program, hard to administer and hard to change. They were also expensive, and once you bought one, you were generally stuck with it forever, until it needed to be replaced or you didn’t need it anymore.

Today’s dialing solutions are as different from the dialers of the 1980s as Model-Ts are from concept cars. Often cloud-based technology, newer dialers offer Web-based strategy and management tools to generate the best possible results from outbound campaigns. They can also be easily integrated into existing contact center systems such as the automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR) system, call recording and analytics solutions to boost the success of campaigns with more relevant data.

Broader features, better integration and Web-based administration can take the traditional advantage of a dialer and expand them. Many companies find with a modern dialer, they can boost a number of metrics in outbound operations: they can improve agent productivity and call volume, build more blended environments, remain compliant with do-not-call legislation and other rules such as abandoned call rates and improve campaign tracking accuracy while at the same time keeping costs low (and predictable) and practically eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditures.

Providers such as LiveVox offer a number of dialer modes: not only the simple auto-dialer, but also predictive and preview modes. They are administered by easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI, which means that you don’t need to be an IT worker to operate them) and offer features such as call list management, re-queue methodology, campaign metrics and business analytics and host system integration.

The difference between using the right type of dialer correctly and using the wrong type of dialer incorrectly is huge: the former can yield unprecedented results in outbound campaigns, while the latter can lead to customer dissatisfaction, wasted time and even government fines.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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