There are many different business needs that an auto dialer can assist with. Businesses are often overloaded with customers they need to contact, and a lack of call center agents to do so. Scaling campaigns is impossible to do without help- hence why an auto dialer system could be the missing key to your business strategy.
In this blog, we will break down the different aspects of auto-dialers such as how they work, how to use them, their different types, and what to look for when selecting one.
What is an Auto Dialer?
An auto dialer is a predictive dialer software tool that automatically dials telephone numbers from a list. There are different forms of auto dialers, and they perform different functions based on the business’ needs. As the name suggests, auto dialers make calls automatically, saving time, money, and labor from the traditional process of having an agent do the calling. This is essential in all B2C industries, including banking, healthcare, insurance, utilities, public sector, business process outsourcers, to name a few.
For instance, the debt collection industry spends a large amount of human time making calls to people to get them to clear their debts. Auto dialing can tirelessly take over this process and increase the number of calls the agency can make.
How Do Auto Dialers Work?
Auto dialers are software applications layered on top of contact centers, communication systems, or using an embedded telephony connection. They automatically call a phone number and connect it to an agent or associate. Depending on the software, the computer can detect if a live agent is answering the phone, and then hand it over to a human operator. The computer can also be programmed to leave a message on answering machines, play a recorded message, or list options to the person on the receiving end.
Auto dialers work over Voice over IP (VoIP) and the public switchboard telephone network (PSTN). The telephony system uses multiple trunks to connect to telephone or IP networks and perform multiple dials simultaneously. It can also play or record audio. An auto dialer can overdial, calling multiple numbers on behalf of one associate to ensure at least one will get connected. To further improve the productivity of agents, they use headsets connected to their workstations instead of telephone handsets.
Many auto dialers rely on the ability to identify if a call is connected. There are multiple reasons for calls not to go through such as a wrong number, a busy line, or a network issue. Understanding why a call has failed is critical to know what to do next. This can be done by specialized software known as Call Progress Analysis (CPA). CPA can also determine if you are connected to a person or an answering machine.
Types of Auto Dialers
Preview Auto Dialers
Preview auto dialers prompt agents when they become available with a number to call together with information about the person to contact. After reviewing the information, the agent has the option to make the call or to skip it and get proposed another number. Once selected, the number is automatically called by the auto-dialer, allowing the agent to start getting ready for the conversation.
Preview dialers are helpful when the user wants to gather some data about the customer to ensure that the call is more personalized. When it is a discovery call or a follow-up call, the option allows the user to be more prepared for the interaction. Preview dialers work very well when the situation calls for handling complex customer situations or important conversations.
Progressive and Power Auto Dialers
The dialer automatically calls the following number as soon as the agent has completed his/her previous call. Progressive and power dialing are words often used interchangeably, with power dialing being preferred for sales and progressive dialing for service.
While the auto dialer is making the call, the agent can familiarize her/himself with the context of the person being called. This type of auto dialer is more focused on quantity and can help businesses to make large numbers of calls. In some cases, it might be possible to over-dial, calling multiple numbers at once to ensure that at least one will get through.
Predictive Auto Dialers
As discussed above, predictive auto dialers go beyond preview and progressive dialers. They use a pacing algorithm, based on the success or failure of recently made calls, to predict how many calls will go through. They adjust the number of calls made to ensure that all available agents are in a position to be connected to a live person.
Predictive auto dialers are highly efficient for businesses that need to connect with as many people as possible at large scales. However, with predictive dialers, agents will not have time to prepare themselves before the calls. It limits their chance of extended or personalized conversations with the people at the receiving end.
Agentless dialers use an interactive voice response (IVR) system to call. In case of busy signals or no response, the call gets disconnected. If the call is connected to an answering machine, a pre-recorded message will be played.
When connected to a person, agentless dialers can drop a message such as a notification and/or offer the option to be transferred to an agent. The calls made by machines are subject to local regulations, including having the option to get connected to a person or be placed on the do-not-call list. While limited to simple calls, the high level of automation makes this agentless dialing option highly efficient.
How Do Auto Dialers Work?
Auto dialers work with both software and voice modems to automatically complete tasks, like dialing phone numbers. Auto dialers run off of computers as a software, so a computer is necessary in order to use auto dialing capabilities. Therefore, you need 4 elements to have an auto dialer work properly:
- A Computer with Auto Dialer Software
- A Voice Modem
- A Person to Answer the Call
- Telephone Line
The auto dialer software has the capabilities to tell the computer which numbers to dial. Simultaneously, it can also tell if a line is busy and save that caller for a different time. This saves your agents time and allows them to focus on more solid leads.
What to look for in an Auto Dialer
Auto Dialers are an essential tool for businesses to engage customers with meaningful conversations for sales, proactive service, collections, and retention. They need to be considered in the context of your customer engagement software stack. We offer a comprehensive checklist of the capabilities needed and how to source them. The most important considerations include:
Support for all dialing modes – The type of outreach or campaign is likely to determine the best dialing mode. Hence, it is critical that the auto dialer you choose supports all dialing modes—preview, progressive, power, predictive, and agentless—to let you pick the right one on a per campaign basis.
Call progress analysis – Getting yourself best-in-class CPA capabilities will ensure you only connect live calls to your agents and take the proper steps to recycle or retry failed attempts.
Built-in compliance checks – As soon as you introduce automation in your dialing process, you are subject to multiple compliance and privacy regulations such as TCPA, GDPR, or Ofcom. You need to ensure your auto dialer empowers you to perform these checks while offering flexible configuration options to run compliant campaigns and providing the associated reporting.
Agent tools – Dialing is only one part of the process. Ultimately, the quality of the conversation your agents can have with your prospect and customers will determine its outcome. So, you want to equip your agents with the right desktop and give them instant access to all the information needed. You should also provide the right tools to handle live discussions and automate tedious tasks such as call disposition.
List and campaign management – Auto dialers are fed with all the lists of calls to be made. Hence, the dialing performance is as important as its ability to ingest data, segment lists, and prioritize contacts.