Predictive Dialer: Explain it! How Does it Work?

January 19th, 2017
“I have a pair of tickets for this weekend’s U2 concert for Caller Number 12!”

During the heyday of radio in the 1980s, stations would often hold contests or giveaways where the DJ would ask listeners to call in. The switchboard would light up while hundreds of callers jammed the lines, frantically dialing and redialing, only to hear the frustrating sound of a busy signal.

To increase their chances of getting through and winning, savvy contestants began using hardware devices like demon dialers, which would automatically redial a number once it received a busy signal. This provided a competitive advantage which was so difficult to beat that stations often had to impose limits on how many times a listener could enter and win.

This same period gave rise to software which was designed to solve a slightly different problem: was dialing large batches of phone numbers. Those who remember Matthew Broderick’s big screen breakthrough, WarGames, might recall that his character used his computer to randomly dial numbers in Sunnyvale, California to find a computer modem. Which almost triggers a thermonuclear war.

While these technologies seem primitive now, they were aimed at addressing issues that businesses still wrestle with today. Namely, how to efficiently call and connect with customers and leads. But what can you do to minimize the downtime between productive conversations? Currently, the most effective method for supporting call center agents in their mission to engage current and future customers is predictive dialing with dialer termination.

Understanding a Predictive Dialer

There are four general methods of outbound calling that call center operations can choose from:
  • Manual Dialing: Where the agent chooses and dials the number on their own.
  • Preview Dialing: Where the agent chooses which number to call and receives contextual information about the customer from the display, ranging from the lead’s name to background information about them.
  • Auto Dialing, or Progressive Dialing: Progressive dialing systems allow phone numbers to be arranged in a queue so that it automatically dials the next number on the list once a call is finished. Progressive dialing platforms use the contextual information that preview systems offer, while providing a finer level of control over which leads are prioritized.
  • Predictive Dialing: Predictive dialing platforms take this concept to another level of intelligence by dialing multiple numbers simultaneously to increase the chances that an agent will connect with a customer or lead. The systems are powered by algorithms which rely on statistical analysis to boost the chances of agents connecting with an actual person, rather than a voicemail system, fax machine, or numbers no longer in service.

The allure of a predictive dialing platform is strong for call center managers, mainly because of their ability to optimize their agents’ most valuable resource: time. Predictive dialers draw on historical data and current call-and-response patterns to figure out how likely it is that an agent will connect with a lead. For example, if the system calculates that the chances are 25%, it will automatically dial 4 numbers at once, knowing that 1 should hit.

A predictive dialer can also reduce idle time on the back end by using analytics to determine when a call is most likely going to end. For instance, if the system gauges that the average call length is currently 2 minutes, it can begin dialing fresh numbers at the 1:50 mark, so that the agent can effortlessly flow into the next call once the current call is terminated.

Call Center Metrics

One of the metrics that matters most in a call center is talk time. If you consider the time that it would take an agent to manually determine who to call and then dial the number and await a response, it would equate to 30-45 seconds. If the failure rate is 75%, this means that an agent could spend over two minutes of idle time between calls. Even in theoretically optimal conditions, where every call is answered, the most you could expect is 40 minutes of talk time per hour. Of course, the real numbers are much lower.

By addressing each of these friction points, a predictive dialer can boost agent talk time dramatically, with some studies showing that agents can reach 57 minutes per hour. Multiplied over a call center operation with 20 agents, a predictive dialer can add 400-700 minutes of productive talk time per hour.

Learn more about reliable and scalable predictive dialing solutions using dialer termination and other Voxtelesys contact center solutions that will improve your close rates and boost your ROI.

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Predictive Dialer: Explain it! How Does it Work?