What is Predictive Dialer Software?
Outbound call centers should always be looking for new ways to maximize their agent efficiency in any way possible. By eliminating some of the down to agents might experience between calls, it can be possible to maintain a higher overall average of calls per hour. This should hopefully directly lead to an improved bottom line, with agents handling more calls in the same amount of time. One incredibly effective method of eliminating downtime and improving agent efficiency is through the use of predictive dialer software.
Predictive dialers are simply designed to place the maximum number of calls possible in a short period of time, for example an hour. To do this, the best predictive dialer systems automatically calculate and even predict agent availability, and then automatically dial outbound calls so that your agents do not have to. However, a predictive dialer works a bit differently from other standard auto dialers. Predictive dialers will make the necessary number of phone calls to obtain an answer, before the call is then transferred directly to an agent. This prevents even more down time, when agents are connected to calls without an answer on the opposite end of the line.
Standard dialers will also simply place a call as soon as an agent ends their phone call, but predictive dialers work a bit differently. Predictive dialers use statistical algorithms to determine any and all necessary information in order to reduce agent downtime, including average call length, the number of available agents, available lines, and even the average number of calls it takes to finally have someone answer. By combining all of this information, predictive dialers are able to keep agents in a constant, steady stream of phone calls. Predictive dialers even handle the process of calling for agents, dealing with busy signals, answering machines and wait times
Additional Reading: The Beginner's Guide to Understanding Predictive Dialer Software
Top 5 Benefits of Predictive Dialer Software Solutions for any Contact Center:
1. Improve Agent Efficiency - With the use of predictive dialer software, your call center can almost totally eliminate agent downtime. With the predictive dialer software handling the call process, and always serving a call to agents as soon as they are ready, agents won't be sitting around waiting, wasting precious time.
2. Improve The Customer Experience - Since agents do not have to deal with the calling process and waiting on hold, they can better focus their time and efforts on serving the customer or client in the best way possible. This allows your agents to hone in on their customer interaction skills, enabling your call center to provide the best experience possible.
3. Increase Sales and Improve Lead Management - With agents working at their optimal efficiency, handling calls as soon as they are ready to take another, your call center can optimize and maximize sales efforts and lead management. Predictive dialer software makes it easy to always follow up on those previous leads and utilizes intense algorithms to decide when the best opportunity arises.
4. Adhere To Legal Compliance - Outbound call centers must legally adhere to specific compliance regulations, specifically the National Do Not Call registry. Predictive dialer software makes it easy for your call center to adhere to the DNC registry by importing and maintaining campaigns and lists right into the software, including the DNC registry.
5. Lower Operational Costs - With the use of a predictive dialer software to help manage the flow of outbound calls, your call center will not require as many agents or even expensive phone lines. Predictive dialers are able to improve efficiency to the point that your call center will not even require as many agents to handle the same number of calls in a short period of time.
What to Look for in Predictive Dialer Software Providers:
Not all predictive dialer solutions or providers will be created equally. While they might all set out to accomplish the same goal, different solutions will focus on different aspects or include different functionality. When searching for a predictive dialer solution, these are some of the best functions that your business will want to be on the look out for. Depending on how your business plans to use the predictive dialer, these aspects might not all apply directly.
1. Support For Major Phone Providers and ACD
Any call center would not be complete without an automatic call distributor, directing calls to the correct agent each time. Your business should ensure that the predictive dialer software chosen will integrate well with existing business VoIP solutions, as well as ACD systems to provide the best possible service, and avoid any configuration issues.
2. Regulatory Compliance
Outbound call centers must follow specific regulatory compliance, including compliance with the national Do Not Call Registry. Its imperative for your predictive dialer software to comply with these regulations to avoid potentially calling the wrong number. With built in compliance, your agents no longer have to worry about calling the wrong number, as the system will weed out numbers automatically.
3. Local Numbers
To offer your callers with the best experience possible, your predictive dialer solution should include support for local numbers. This enables your call center to dial out to clients with a familiar number, increasing the chance of a call connecting with a lead.
4. Pacing Algorithm Adjustability
Predictive dialers utilize "pacing algorithms" to best determine how quickly to dial new calls by estimating gent availability at any given time. With the ability to adjust the pacing algorithm, your business can gain a stronger grasp on how effective and efficient your predictive dialer software will be.
5. List Management Capabilities
Predictive Dialers should have the ability to effectively track manage campaign lists to prioritize hot leads, while shelving colder leads. Sometimes your call center might even need to redial a specific lead, and this can be done through campaign list management.
Important Features to Consider
When searching for a predictive dialer solution, these are some of the absolute key features that your business should be on the look out for. Not every single predictive dialer software will include all of these features, and not every single business will need everyone of these features. However, when searching for a complete solution, it is important to look beyond just standard calling functionality.
1. Answering machine detection
Now this may seem like a standard, but its possible to find predictive dialers without answering machine detection. Since these dialers are routinely calling numbers one after the other, its possible to have the call answered by an answering machine. To prevent this waste of time, some predictive dialer solutions can determine when they receive an answering machine, and hang up and dial a new number.
2. Disposition Codes
Disposition codes allow agents to label the status or outcome of calls with a quick note. These could include "busy signal," "disconnected," "call transferred," "reached answering machine," or many other labels. This would then allow managers to quickly glance through a list of calls made that day for a quick update on the day's progress and the outcome of all calls.
3. CRM and WFO integration
Both Customer Relationship Management and Workforce Optimization tools are incredibly important to any call center. By integrating your predictive dialer into these two solutions, your business gains even deeper insight into every call, as well as a greater ability to maximize agent efficiency through the combination of WFO and predictive dialing.
4. SMS and email integrations
Phone calls are still an incredibly important aspect of any call or contact center, but they certainly aren't the only method used by customers. SMS and email are quickly becoming popular channels for clients to communicate with a business. Integration with these channels would allow agents to send follow up messages, or even automatically generated responses when a phone call ends.
5. Time Zone Restrictions
Not everyone lives in the same exact time zone, and calling at the wrong time can make or break a sale. With time zone restrictions, your predictive dialer solution will only place calls in certain time zones at specific points during the day. This helps improve overall connection rates and call center performance.
6. Adjustable Scripts
If your business is utilizing a predictive dialer without agents, then it will be crucial for the predictive dialer to support adjustable scripts. Not every single call will be the same, and utilizing the same script for different regions, different products or different demographics just doesn't cut it. With the ability to customize and adjust scripts, your business can ensure each call leads to a closed deal.
7. Smart Retry
Phone calls are dropped and disconnected accidentally all the time. With a Smart Retry function, your predictive dialer solution will be able to automatically redial the number as soon as a call is lost. This frees up the agent from having to call back, or asking the client to provide a call back number, and helps save crucial time when a dropped call does occur.
8. Call-back features
Calls won't always go smoothly, and sometimes they can accidentally end prematurely. With call-back features included in a predictive dialer system, your agents can automatically be reconnected when a call drops, without having to interrupt the flow of calls or even dial the number themselves.
Final Thoughts to Shoppers:
Its very easy to be persuaded by a shiny feature list, or what seems like too good to be true pricing. However, searching for the cheapest solution can land your business in a contract with a solution missing critical functionality, and just buying based off the biggest feature list can have your business paying extra for features that aren't even going to be used. In order to find the best predictive dialer solution for your business, you have to find that sweet spot where you get the features you need at a low price.
Predictive dialers, like all solutions, do have their downsides: agents might be entering calls blind without any context, and there is also increasing public backlash against the use of predictive dialers. However, that doesn't mean they are to be forgotten. When used correctly, predictive dialers an offer a massive efficiency boost to any outbound call center.