What Is Predictive Dialing Software & How It Helps Small Businesses
This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Predictive dialing is a software solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to predict agent availability and adjust dialing rates in real time. It calculates the average call length and places multiple calls just before a representative ends a call. Statistical algorithms estimate the average number of calls it takes before a human picks up, so it has an idea of how many numbers to dial. Learn more about what is predictive dialing and its benefits.
How Predictive Dialing Software Works
Once predictive dialing software detects a connection, it screens out voicemails, busy signals, disconnected numbers, and no answers. Predictive dialing systems pull telephone numbers from contact lists segmented for one or more campaigns.
The best predictive dialer software has native customer relationship management (CRM) integrations, application programming interfaces (APIs) for custom connections, or a built-in CRM with filtering tools for lead categorization.
A hosted predictive dialer is a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) feature available on cloud-based contact center platforms and as a standalone service. Alternatively, you can add predictive dialing to on-premise platforms. However, it comes with higher upfront capital expenses and ongoing information technology (IT) costs.
The accuracy and speed of your predictive dialer depend on several factors, including:
- Mathematical algorithms: The technology determines how effective your software can be. It’s essentially a formula that calculates calls, and ML capabilities make it adaptive, changing the pace of outreach based on agent availability.
- Average number of required dials: Predictive dialing software assesses the response rate of your contact list and determines how many numbers it needs to dial to get a caller on the line.
- Call abandonment rate: Contact center analytics track how many calls result in hang-ups, known as call abandonment. Predictive dialers adjust their formula to ensure agents answer the line immediately.
- Number of live and idle agents: The dialing software relies on data about your available agents. It uses information about your schedule and real-time data about your agents’ statuses.
- Average call duration: Predictive dialers estimate the typical length of your phone calls. It uses ML to adjust the expected conversation duration for various campaigns. For instance, follow-up campaigns may take less time per call than final sales calls.
Benefits of a Predictive Dialer
Predictive dialing systems are efficient and flexible. It lowers your operating costs by increasing productivity while providing campaign and agent performance details. In addition, advanced VoIP business features like speech sentiment and live-reporting dashboards offer coaching opportunities and insights in real time. The benefits of predictive dialer software include:
Generating More Leads at Scale
Industry-leading platforms scale up to handle a higher number of outbound calls. It lets you quickly add or remove agents from campaigns, and it should support multiple campaigns, so that teams switch seamlessly between them.
Reducing Unproductive Dialing Time
Busy signals, disconnected lines, and unanswered calls result in downtime. Predictive dialers use call progress analysis (CPA) and voicemail detection to connect agents only to live calls. Also, manual dialing that doesn’t have click to call takes extra time for agents to manage. Predictive dialing software eliminates this tedious task, allowing your staff to focus on talking to live callers.
Enabling Your Team to Prioritize Follow-ups
Predictive dialers can flag unsuccessful calls and update lists highlighting leads or customers to call back. After several unsuccessful attempts, the number can be lowered in calling priority or bumped from the calling list completely.
Lowering Agent Idle Time
Predictive dialing platforms keep a steady stream of calls going to your agents. It monitors agent idle time between calls and adjusts the algorithm to keep your team busy.
Supporting Compliance Obligations
Predictive dialing software as part of a contact center platform automatically verifies numbers against updated blocked numbers in your business’ do not call (DND) database and people on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Who Predictive Dialers Are Ideal For
Companies with heavy outbound call volumes get the most benefits from predictive dialer software for several reasons. First, larger campaigns and call volumes provide more statistical data, improving the algorithms’ accuracy. Secondly, hosted predictive dialer tools cost more than standard business phone systems, so businesses dependent on sales calls can make up the added expense.
Predictive dialing software works well for organizations in many different industries and isn’t just for sales teams. In addition, it covers several parts of the customer journey. You can use predictive dialers to qualify leads, make sales, and follow up post-sale. Predictive dialing and call center software automate parts of your process for each task.
Here are a few uses for predictive dialing systems:
Telemarketers & Sales Teams
Speed is essential in telemarketing, and predictive dialing software delivers. Call center software with predictive dialers also displays scripts on your agent’s screen. If your business relies on sales calls and has monthly quotas, predictive dialing tools provide the speed and analytics to boost performance.
Outbound sales prospecting depends on well-qualified leads. Marketers use predictive dialing systems to contact everyone who opted for an online download and refer those ready to buy to your agents.
Call Centers & Customer Service
Predictive dialers help contact centers comply with Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. It does this by time zone-based calling and verifying numbers against Do Not Call databases.
Improve customer relations by following up after a service call or sale. Customer service teams use a predictive dialer with segmented contact lists for various types of calls.
Market Research & Nonprofit Fundraising
Perform surveys and collect data from people who’ve agreed to participate. Predictive dialers help you quickly move through your contact list and flag people for follow-up. Hit your goals with high-volume outreach to previous donors or others who’ve agreed to receive communications from your organization.
Recovering past-due payments can be expensive. Predictive dialers speed up the process while marking no-responses for follow-up. Some systems also leave a prerecorded voicemail message.
Reach everyone who’s opted to receive job offers in less time. Your agency may have lists for different positions or industries, and the software tracks successful connections.
Predictive Dialers May Not Work For
Although predictive dialing systems efficiently reach many people, the software relies on data for accuracy. Small teams and companies may not have the volume needed by dialing algorithms. Additionally, the extra cost of predictive dialers may not be worth it for small businesses with a one-time need. There is a learning curve, and it’s more effective if your agents are familiar with the software.
Organizations that sell expensive goods and services, especially those that require agents with technical experience, may not benefit from predictive dialing software. Typically, these calls are longer and not as easy to predict, making your system less efficient. Likewise, if your representatives need more time to learn about the person on the phone, the speed of predictive dialers may decrease the quality of conversations.
Predictive dialers also won’t work for companies making cold calls. State and federal regulations often require consent from your contact before using an automated system for communications.
These will generally be warm leads who’ve agreed to have correspondence from your company.
Alternatives to Predictive Dialing Systems
There are several ways to reach many people at once, and, in some cases, other communication channels may be more fruitful. This is especially true if your contacts don’t pick up the phone or prefer alternative communication methods, such as text messaging.
The following solutions can be more affordable for smaller teams:
Short Message Service (SMS) Marketing
According to EZ Texting, “consumers spend more time using texting on their mobile phones than doing nearly any other activity.” Indeed, “90% of consumers open and read a new text message within 30 minutes of receiving it.” Leverage this platform by using text messaging services that let you send dozens or hundreds of messages to customers and leads.
Facebook reported that “people and businesses are exchanging over 20 billion messages each month.” This suggests that using a chat application can boost your conversion rate and keep customers engaged. Chat services also include WhatsApp, website live chat, and in-app chat. Some contact center platforms integrate with popular channels and offer chat queues, so agents can quickly move to the next conversation.
Litmus found that “on average, email drives an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent, higher than any other channel.” It’s less time-consuming than phone calls because your team can email many people at once and add contacts to automated email sequences. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are two popular options for email marketing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between predictive, progressive & auto-dialers?
Progressive dialing mode waits until agents are free and dials one number from your contact list. Predictive dialers make multiple calls before agents are idle. Both predictive and progressive tools use auto-dialer capabilities, so your agents don’t physically dial phone numbers. However, an auto-dialer doesn’t use call metrics to calculate agent availability. Learn more in our guide to how outbound dialers work.
Are predictive dialers legal?
Yes, predictive dialers are legal if your company has consent to call. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and state-specific laws regulate an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) that uses random or sequential number generators. Maintain compliance by reviewing regulations in the states where your contacts live and ensuring you have permission to contact them.
Is a robo-dialer the same as a predictive dialing system?
Although a robo-dialer simultaneously makes calls like a predictive dialer, a robo-dialer doesn’t connect recipients to a live agent. Instead, it delivers a prerecorded message to callers or voicemail boxes. Some predictive dialers can leave prerecorded voice messages, but their primary function is to get a human on the line.
Predictive dialers boost call center productivity by connecting agents to live callers quickly. The software uses mathematical formulas to predict average call durations and automatically adapt the pace of outreach. Many top-rated business phone systems offer outbound dialers on upper-tier plans. Likewise, contact center software provides dialers for blended call centers.
Consider a provider like RingCentral for your predictive dialing needs. It has business and omnichannel contact center solutions. Both options help you optimize your outreach efforts while improving agent and customer experiences.