Is a Predictive Dialer Right for Your Business?

February 27th, 2017

Owners and managers of call center operations must take great care to prepare their agents for the pace of a Predictive Dialer.

There is a famous scene from the 1950s television show I Love Lucy, where Lucy and her friend Ethel take jobs in a candy factory. They are placed behind a conveyor belt and told to wrap every piece of candy that passes in front of them, and warned of the dire consequences of allowing any treat to land in the packing room unwrapped.  At first, they can manage the pace, but as the amount of candy begins to exceed their ability to wrap, they hilariously begin jamming the excess in their mouths and their hats, in a frantic attempt to cover up their shortcomings and appease their boss.

This classic example of humans adapting—or failing to adapt—to an increasingly mechanized workplace still holds lessons for us today. This includes call center operators who are evaluating the newest generation of auto dialing systems, including predictive dialers, and seeing nothing but upside. Because while the power of predictive dialers is striking, their benefits can only be fully realized with the right combination of humans and technology.

Are Your Agents Ready for a Predictive Dialer?

If you have ever answered a phone call only to hear silence, or experienced a noticeable delay between your greeting and the reply of the agent, you were likely being contacted by an operation using a predictive dialer.  This gap can be annoying for recipients, who have been conditioned to hang up as soon as they think that it’s a sales or marketing call.

Contact center managers need to stay laser-focused on productivity, which is why predictive dialers generate so much excitement and interest. They jump at the idea of their agents engaging in 50-57 minutes of productive talk time per hour, rather than sitting idle at their workstations looking for leads or dialing and disconnecting calls on their own. The advantages seem clear.

However, for the agents, predictive dialers can remove a layer of personal autonomy. The system dials multiple numbers based on a formula designed to vastly improve the chances of connecting with a prospect.  For example, if there are 30 agents in a call center, and the system is estimating that 1 out of 3 outbound calls are being answered, it will dial 90 numbers at a time and route each live connection to an agent.

Predictive dialers also use analytics and algorithms to predict when a call is likely to end. If the system calculates that the average call is lasting 120 seconds, it can begin dialing the next batch of numbers at the 110 second mark, eliminating downtime for the agent.  Many call center agents struggle to adjust to this feature and can feel like Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory, unable to slow the conveyor belt.

Owners and managers of call center operations must take great care to prepare their agents for the pace of moving from call to call, while providing them with the information and support to ensure that the experience for the lead isn’t a negative one.  A poor interaction between an agent and a prospect, even a very brief one, can leave a lasting impression and hurt the company’s brand.  Moreover, if the system regularly connects with callers and there are no agents ready to talk, they may place the company at regulatory risk.  In short, agents need training!

Is Your Network Ready for a Predictive Dialer?

Predictive dialers can place a greater burden on your network, which needs to be configured to hold up to the demands of a high-volume call center.  This includes certifying that: It’s important to note that not all predictive dialers are the same, with some vendors limiting businesses to a single VoIP service.  If the VoIP provider has set bandwidth restrictions or engages in throttling, the quality of service can degrade during the busiest times of day.  Just imagine 20 call center agents trying to talk to quality leads with voice drop-outs and garbled communication and then guess how much success they’ll have. Consider a solution that includes premium dialer routes to help ensure your predictive dialer traffic is getting the call quality it deserves.

A predictive dialer can produce a seismic impact on your call center operations, but sustainable growth requires the right combination of tools, training, and phone service.

Learn more about reliable and scalable contact center solutions, like predictive dialing, that will improve your close rates and boost your ROI.

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Is a Predictive Dialer Right for Your Business?