A predictive dialer is calling software that manages how outbound calls are distributed among a group of users. It calls numbers automatically and screens for things like busy signals, no answers, and disconnected numbers according to the existing snippet. The dialer then assigns connected calls to agents so they don’t spend time dialing numbers manually.
How a Predictive Dialer Works
Predictive dialers connect to existing call center phone systems and use a combination of mathematical and statistical algorithms to anticipate when agents will be available. They do this by measuring how many agents are online at any given time and by estimating their average call handling times for the most efficient call distribution.
Predictive dialers also utilize machine learning techniques to manage and route connected calls to agents. For example, if agents were to dial one number after the other manually, the process would be slow and cumbersome. Predictive dialers improve idle times between calls by studying the average times that agents are on the phone and making calls in anticipation of when an agent might be available.
In addition, the best predictive dialer software knows to automatically filter out extended rings, voicemails, and non-answers and only send an agent calls that are answered on the other end by a live person. This allows the software to reduce the time agents spend waiting for the next call and continues to make calls with the expectation that calls will be matched with agents who are available.
Predictive Dialer Costs
Predictive dialers are typically broken into two categories: premise-based systems and cloud-based applications. Premise-based systems can range from $5,000 to more than $300,000 for enterprise systems. Hosted solutions are a more affordable $25 to $200 per user, depending on the features required and how much time call center agents spend on the phone.
Predictive dialer cost factors include:
Offered as a one-time purchase that your business will then own for life, premise-based predictive dialers are hardware and software components that are typically sold as a buy-to-own service. If you know your business will always require a predictive dialer and you don’t want to continuously pay monthly subscription fees, then a premise-based system might be worth giving serious consideration.
Pricing for premise-based systems is heavily dependent on what type of call capacity you require in your call center. A typical system with one user and two associated phone lines that can dial up to 120 calls per hour can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on the company you eventually decide to partner with for your solution. It is important to remember that this cost scales up as more users and more concurrent call capacity is added.
Hosted predictive dialing applications have fewer upfront costs but usually depend on a subscription model that means you will never own a system outright. Monthly fees typically depend on the number of users your company requires and the charges can scale from anywhere from $25 to $200 per user per month. This is the best option for companies with seasonal or otherwise changing predictive dialing needs.
Predictive Dialer Features
Effective predictive dialer systems should incorporate some degree of machine learning into their design, and be able to mature and familiarize itself with your company’s unique outbound call habits. They should also be able to dramatically enhance the efforts of call agents and provide valuable insight into your company’s call center operations.
Predictive dialer features include:
Advanced Dialing Logic
Predictive dialer software must be able to effectively analyze call information, accurately remove unconnected calls from its rotation, and forward connected calls to agents. Advanced dialing logic applications use a machine learning technique called linear regression, which calls for the software platform to analyze trends in call agent activities and accurately predict how many agents will be available at any given time.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration
CRM software integration is an important tool in call center environments as it provides call agents a wealth of customer information displayed on the agent’s computer monitor as calls are connected. A predictive dialer that can integrate with CRM tools can boost agent effectiveness and help improve effectiveness rates in most any call center environment.
Call Monitoring & Recording
Effective predictive dialer solutions should provide managers with insight into the activities of call center agents. The ability to actively monitor and record calls is an important feature because it enhances call center quality control efforts by providing managers the ability to assess call agent performance. This information is essential for training and quality assurance processes.
Creating, designing, and implementing outbound call campaigns can be complicated processes. An efficient predictive dialer platform should provide detailed call reports that analyze a wealth of information designed to help you track the effectiveness of your call center, of your employees, and of your predictive dialer application.
Reports should be able to be generated in real time to provide information on demand to managers who might need to make decisions quickly. These reports should be fully customizable in easy to understand formats that can be opened in a variety of common file formats.
Predictive Dialer Providers
Predictive dialers are available as standalone software, however they are typically more cost-effective when bundled with a comprehensive phone package. Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) business phone systems include features like reporting and call recording that, when combined with its auto dialer functionality, provide a comprehensive calling system to meet the needs of most small businesses.
Popular predictive dialer providers include:
RingCentral is a VoIP business phone service provider with features including unlimited domestic calling, video conferencing, and internet faxing with pricing from $19.99 per user, per month. Engage is RingCentral’s standalone predictive dialing service that offers customizable campaigns and smart routing through a single user interface. Contact RingCentral for a custom quote today.
8×8 is a VoIP phone system provider that includes unlimited international calling to up to 47 countries with plans starting at $25 per user, per month. The company also offers optional cloud-based call center software with pay-as-you-go pricing from four cents per minute. It includes a predictive dialer as well as call recording storage, analytics, and an interactive voice response (IVR) system to route inbound calls. Visit 8×8’s website to learn more.
Chase Data is a standalone auto dialer platform that includes a predictive dialer in its software, with pricing from $89 per user, per month. It also features training tools and an auto attendant to automatically greet and route callers to their destination without human intervention. This solution is for companies that already have a business phone system in place, but no built-in predictive dialer. Head to Chase Data’s website to find out more.
Who Predictive Dialers are Right For
Call centers that focus on improving agent productivity and reducing idle time should consider predictive dialers. However, they can also assist a variety of other environments that rely on outbound calling to meet business goals.
Predictive dialers are also suited for:
- Fundraising and nonprofit organizations: Whether it’s a grassroots fundraising campaign seeking donations or a nonprofit connecting with supporters, predictive dialers make quick work of dialing long lists of numbers.
- Collection agencies: Many bill collecting agencies attempting to connect with hard-to-reach customers use predictive dialers to weed out disconnected numbers and hang-ups.
- Sales center teams: Some sales organizations employ large teams of sales agents who use auto dialers to facilitate cold calling to generate leads and advance customers through the sales cycle.
- Market research operations: Some companies use predictive dialers to reach large numbers of existing or potential customers to gather information and perform market research.
Predictive dialer software can improve outbound calling efficiency and connect trained employees to potential or existing customers. It’s a valuable business tool that can radically transform the way companies communicate externally.
Pros & Cons of a Predictive Dialer
While predictive dialers can be important tools that can radically enhance the efficiency of your call center team, they aren’t without imperfections. It’s important to consider their pros and cons before committing to a companywide predictive dialing system.
Pros of a Predictive Dialer
- Increased efficiency: Predictive dialers remove the need for call center agents to manually dial numbers, which is a time-consuming task even during slow times.
- Reduced idle time: Predictive dialers can dramatically reduce agent idle time which, in turn, increases individual and team productivity.
- Real-time analytics: Most predictive dialers come with a suite of metrics and analytics tools that can be used in strategic decision-making, employee training, and to ensure quality control.
Cons of a Predictive Dialer
- The technology is subject to heavy regulations: The federal government subjects any devices or software tools that artificially increase call capacity to heavy regulations in the interest of protecting consumers.
- Extremely expensive: Predictive dialers can be expensive, so unless you perform a significant amount of outbound call activities with your call center, you might not need the service.
- Can increase consumer dissatisfaction: Aggressive phone tactics and perceived spam calls may sour current and prospective customers against your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How are predictive dialers different from auto dialers?
Predictive dialers are a more advanced version of auto dialers. They are software applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) to learn about user habits, call data, and other statistical data to predict when call center agents might be available. Auto dialers merely call lists of phone numbers and take no further action when a line is busy or disconnected.
What are the requirements to use a predictive dialer?
That depends on the type of predictive dialer system you have. Most modern predictive dialers require phone service with a reliable and dependable connection. Specific requirements of predictive dialer solutions you are considering purchasing should be discussed in advance with the company’s sales team.
What is the learning curve for predictive dialers?
Once set up correctly on your network, a predictive dialer automatically begins the process of learning how your call center works so that it can determine baseline agent call and idle times. Advancements in machine learning algorithms have benefited the predictive dialer industry greatly as most companies boast a 24-hour or less learning cycle for new software installations.
Bottom Line – What Is a Predictive Dialer?
A predictive dialer is powerful VoIP business phone feature that can radically transform the way your call center operates. Their ability to reduce call agent idle time can help improve call center activities and dramatically improve your outbound calling efforts. Whether it be for debt collection or sales activities, predictive dialers can enhance your call center immensely.
Businesses that want to improve their call center operations with a predictive dialer service should check out RingCentral Engage. It is competitively priced and packed with features like answering machine detection, call recording, and real-time supervisor coaching. Visit RingCentral today to learn more.