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What is a predictive dialer?

What is a predictive dialer?
A predictive dialer is an outbound calling system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers, much like autodialers or robodialers. A predictive dialer automatically calls numbers until it detects a connection, then passes the call to a live agent. dialers screen out busy signals, voicemails, no-answers, disconnected numbers, and so on. A predictive dialer places phone calls even before the agents become available. It is designed to increase agents’ efficiency by calling as many phone numbers or leads as possible. The system quickly moves on to the next lead after an unanswered call. Calls answered, on the other hand, are quickly routed to the next available agent. This guarantees more productive talk time, ensuring improved productivity for the call center. When the dialer recognizes a human response, it immediately transfers the call to an available agent. If the call is busy, not answered, or not working, the dialer automatically discards or reschedules the call and begins dialing another number. Predictive Dialer makes phone banking up to 3X more efficient than hand dialing, saving time and money. Script creation, universe selection, scheduling, and the caller interface can be accessed directly through the dialer's platform, and results are received in real time. Without predictive dialing, agents would have to manually dial and handle:
  • Unanswered calls
  • Busy signals
  • Fax machines
  • Disconnected lines
  • Other phone-related issues
The predictive term is coined from the system’s ability to anticipate when an agent is available and when the next human response is detected.
Originally designed by Douglas Samuelson as a hardware-based solution to make debt collection for overdue payments and telemarketing workflow more efficient in the late 1980s, predictive dialers started out as hardware solutions. Now, many companies offer cloud-based predictive dialer software to minimize up-front capital costs and IT expenses.

How does it work?
A predictive dialer uses advanced algorithms to predict the ratio of people who will pick up the phone and initiates enough outbound calls to connect all available agents with an active call based on the expected rate. With a true “predictive mode” managers and admins can set it and forget it. Using a pacing algorithm, a predictive dialer software calculates the average length of a phone call and the average number of dials it takes to make a connection. It then modifies the dialing rate according to its predictions. If a call goes unanswered, the predictive dialer automatically moves on to the next number in a pre-set list—meaning agents don’t have to search for contacts. Because multiple numbers are dialed at the same time, the seamless flow of live calls ensures minimal downtime. Predictive dialers can also analyze unsuccessful calls and alert agents when a customer requires a call back. They use call metrics to collect and monitor data related to your operations, making it simpler to run multiple campaigns simultaneously.

Why should you use a predictive dialer?
Phone banking works to the extent that callers can establish an authentic personal connection with voters or constituents (2016, Green & Gerber).  With limited budget and volunteers, it’s important to maximize your resources and prioritize what drives turnout: properly trained staff, quality scripts and conversations, and enthusiastic volunteers. A predictive dialer can help boost your campaign’s productivity and efficiency by allowing agents to focus on the quality of their conversations instead of wasting time dialing phone numbers. The ability to customize scripts to the specific person on the phone gives callers the ability to engage in authentic, personalized conversation.

Benefits of a predictive dialer
Phone banking can be a powerful and cost effective narrative tool. Door-to-door canvassing, is resource heavy and time consuming. Phone banking is a cost effective engagement tool. Ever increasingly, sociocultural interaction is critical to increasing voter turnout. According to Green and Gerber, “When used properly, phone banks constitute a very effective means of increasing turnout among low-propensity ethnoracial voters.” A huge benefit of phone banking is the ability to segment list universes into multilingual phone calls where volunteers can engage with voters in their language of comfort. That authentic, micro-targeted conversation not just in delivery but in the scripting dedicated to establishing an understanding of the issues that these voters face, is where HubDialer’s clients see positive change. Phone banks work to the extent that they establish an authentic relationship with voters. That starts with a strong list, segmented to issues that speak to the constituency the most, and delivered by compassionate volunteers. Other benefits include:
  • Boosts productivity: The predictive dialer uses algorithms to determine the call duration and assign it automatically to a specific agent. It reduces the agent’s repetitive work and maximizes the efficiency of the agent. Similarly, it enables you to make multiple calls simultaneously, ensuring the right call is made at the right time, which decreases idle time and increases agent talk time, improving the efficiency and productivity of the call center. Whenever you wish, you can access and review records to determine the efficiency of resources and optimize the process.
  • Reduces idle time: It takes agents a long time to connect their calls manually. Instead of losing time listening to busy tones, answering machines, or dealing with disconnected calls every time a caller makes a call, predictive dialers notice these time-wasting signals and skip calls that contain them. This allows you to reduce agent idle time in addition to increasing agent efficiency. Using predictive dialers, you can detect unproductive and productive local numbers easily. It even checks the availability of agents and routes missed calls to those who can handle the next call. This helps the agent get more calls done each hour by saving them time.
  • Enhance quality of answers: It is always possible that two agents call the same client simultaneously or that a call goes unreturned. All of these issues can be solved with predictive dialers, which enable your entire system to be automated and handle the highest amount of calls at any given time while reducing the possibility of human error. Unlike regular telemarketing calls made at odd hours, predictive dialers allow callers to schedule their calls at convenient times.
  • Works with any budget: With predictive dialer software, you can reduce costs by utilizing your existing computer network. You don’t have to buy new hardware if you choose a cloud-based predictive dialer. Predictive dialers increase caller efficiency, allowing more calls and more importantly, more human-to-human conversations.
  • Analyze call data for insights: A predictive dialer enables you to generate a wide range of reports through interfaces that are based on real-time data. The system also enables you to monitor call center activities and agent productivity through real-time reports. In addition to evaluating recorded and live calls, you can also assess the quality of conversations.

How to implement and set up?
A cloud-based predictive dialer does not require any new hardware. All you need is the internet and You don’t have to buy new hardware if you choose a cloud-based predictive dialer. There are important aspects to consider when choosing a predictive dialer platform for your calling strategy.
  • Does the platform ensure compliance with calling windows?
Federal regulation requires that calls be made within specific calling windows. The predictive dialer scheduling settings should ensure that people are not contacted during inappropriate hours, based on time zones.
  • List management
A good predictive dialer allows each campaign the ability to import data and customize the lists to meet your needs, such as selecting the unique ID, customizable variables, the ability to “household” lists, and scrub for “do not call” lists from previous calling campaigns.
  • Connect rate
What is the total number of calls connected to an agent divided by the total number of calls? This is important because the caller’s chance of having a meaningful conversation is increased by the ability of the predictive dialer to correctly and quickly identify the call result. Less time wasted in a correctly identified live call means that agents get to speak with a human who is less likely to hang up. (into tech)
  • Agent Transfer time 
“Once the predictive dialer detects a human response, the transfer to an agent should be instantaneous. There should be no delays, or periods of silence between the time the respondent answers the call to the time the agent begins to speak.” Too long a pause means a higher likelihood of the recipient hanging up.
  • Answering machine detection
Can the dialer appropriately identify whether a call is a live answer or an answering machine? If the call is incorrectly identified as an answering machine but was in fact a live answer, that’s a missed opportunity for your campaign.

CRMs and predictive dialers
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system to manage all company’s interactions with potential, current and previous customers. When a CRM integrates with a predictive dialer, it becomes easier for agents to find specific information about individual customers. When a predictive dialer is integrated with a CRM, customer-specific details are provided for calling agents, allowing them to make individualized calls and create more personalized connections. Integration with a CRM also allows the data collected from outbound calls to be automatically synced with the customer in the database.

HubDialer has all the features you need for virtual predictive dialer campaigns ranging from simple to sophisticated.