A predictive dialer dials a list of telephone numbers and connects answered dials to people making calls, often referred to as agents. Predictive dialers use statistical algorithms to minimize the time that agents spend waiting between conversations, while minimizing the occurrence of someone answering when no agent is available.
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.
When dialing numbers one at a time, there are two sources of delay. First, only some fraction of dials are answered; for example, if 1 out of 3 dials are answered, a predictive dialer might dial 3 lines every time an agent becomes available. Second, even dials that are answered take some time before being picked up. If it typically takes 10 seconds for someone to pick up, and conversations typically last 90 seconds, a predictive dialer might start dialing at 80 seconds. A predictive dialer does so by discarding all tones and only passing “Hellos” from the lead to the agent, the total time can be as short as 3 seconds between calls, as opposed to nearly a minute if the agent dialed by hand. The 57 second difference is an extraordinary amount of time for a call center to consider.
Dialing one number at a time, only when an agent is available, typically keeps agents utilized for 40 minutes per hour (33% idle time). Predictive dialing can increase utilization to 57 minutes per hour (5% idle time).
Predictive dialers may be standalone hardware devices, cloud-based, or they may be integrated in software with call center or contact center platforms. A cloud-based predictive dialer provides the functionalities of a traditional predictive dialer without requiring installation on the local device and reduces the dependency on the hardware. The dialer can often also perform less aggressive dialing modes such as, power, progressive, or preview dialing.
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.
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.
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 200 to 300 percent.
Managers can also monitor the performance of agents through the integrated call monitoring and recording interfaces. Adequate training can be provided later or on a real-time basis to improve the agent’s customer handling skills. These systems also have in-built reporting tools that allow the managers to extract the performance reports of each agent.
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