With the ever-increasing demand for companies to maintain a customer relations support team to service the various needs of customers, call centers have become a boom industry. One of the many tools a call center uses is a predictive dialer. A predictive dialer, as the name implies, predicts the number of call center agents that are available and automatically dials a batch of telephone numbers from a database source. The predictive dialer then distributes the calls to the available agents. With this tool, the agents will not remain idle during a shift waiting for calls to come in.
However, not all predictive dialers are the same. There are a host of vendors right now offering different packages and product features that can make your choice of the right one a little difficult. Here are some tips to guide you along.
Different Types. Predictive dialers come in different types.
- Hosted Dialers – you do not need to make a purchase of an actual system but rather you pay a company that hosts the system and the agents access the system remotely. All you need is an Internet connection to be able to use the system. The downside is that if there is disruption in the Internet connection, then the whole process is affected.
- Software Dialer – is a simple solution for smaller centers with an existing PABX phone system. The software is installed and configured to connect directly with the PABX. Older models of PABX though may not be compatible with this type.
- Hardware Dialer –uses a dedicated telephony board. As an agent reports for a shift, the dialer will place a call to the agent and keep the line open during the duration of the agent’s shift and process and assigns inbound and outbound calls to that agent.
- Smart Dialer – automatically makes calls when it detects that agents are available and processes the calls so that agents will only be talking to actual interested persons. The system also automatically plays a recorded welcome message should there be some delay in the availability of an agent to take the call. This is an efficient system although there are some US states that do not allow for recorded message playback.
Compare prices and features – Your choice depends on your budget and the number of agents you have, the volume of calls your agents make (inbound and outbound) and your current phone system. Some features to look into are:
- Automatic Dialing – this is the basic feature of a predictive dialer where it can automatically predict the number of agents that are available and makes the calls in advance for distribution to available agents to take the call.
- Ability to monitor the calls it makes and determine the manner the call is answered – by a fax machine, by an answering machine or any automatic answering service.
- Ability to drop calls that are unanswered, engaged lines and those numbers, which have been disconnected.
- The dialer should be able to generate a report on the number of calls made and the results of the calls.
- The predictive dialer must be able to disconnect and/or delay the distribution of calls should there be instances when agents are unavailable. In some cases, the dialer should be able to play a recorded greeting to engage the called party before an agent can personally attend to the call.
Federal Trade Commission compliance – Check if the predictive dialer complies with the FTC directive regarding display of Caller ID, subscribes to the Do Not Call initiative and number of Dropped Calls.
The use of a predictive dialer is a very efficient solution to shorten the response time for customer service demands. Make sure that the predictive dialer system that will get can respond to your company’s current demands and will allow for maintenance and upgrades for the future.