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First of all, let’s understand what a predictive dialer is and how it is different from automatic dialing. As the name suggests, predictive dialers are smart and can predict when a certain agent will be available to take the next call and dials the number automatically. It uses its own calculations and algorithms to assess how long a certain agent takes on an average call and is able to dial the next number at the exact moment the agent is finishing up the previous call. This helps save a lot of time and ensure the agent gets through a stipulated number of calls in the day without any lag or downtime. If the agent were to dial the phone manually, it would take an extra 30 seconds which adds up to a lot by the end of the day. This intelligence is also what sets it apart from automatic dialers. Predictive dialers can also dial multiple numbers at the same time, as opposed to automatic dialers.
So what should you consider before installing a predictive dialer at your office? Here are 8 helpful points:
The key feature of a predictive dialer is that it predicts when an agent is going to become free to attend to the next call. But for it to work its algorithm, it needs adequate data and information. The dialer surmises when an agent will get free based on how long they take on an average call, which part of the world they’re connecting to and its demographics, etc. But the dialer should also be efficient enough to absorb this vibrant data so there are maximum call connections.
A predictive dialer does its job best if it can be integrated with various business applications and tools used commonly in the workplace. That makes it enhances efficiency, is cost-effective and saves time. A common business tool popular in several telemarketing offices is CRM Integration, which enhances conversations with customers and increases productivity. The dialer should also be compatible with specific workforce management tools so it can schedule calls and manage agents more efficiently.
One of the most important things about interacting with customers over the phone is that the agent has to be well-informed, polite and forthcoming. If an inbound call comes and a customer is led to an agent who provides them with incorrect information or is the appropriate authority on the matter, it could mean your company will lose that customer. A predictive dialer should, therefore, have a feature of skill-based routing so it directs calls of customers to the right agent. This is based on customer feedback, internal performance reviews, etc. The predictive dialer should be intelligent enough to know which agent might be the right one for which customer. This is guaranteed to increase customer satisfaction.
The predictive dialer should be able to utilize the availability of all agents at any given point in the day (or night). For this, the system should employ a ringing strategy which decides the pattern in which a customer is connected to the first available agent. There are two main ringing strategies – ring-all strategy and round-robin memory. In the case of ring-all strategy, all the agents are notified about the call at the same time and whoever picks up the call first attends to it. If one or more agents are away from their desk, there is someone else available to answer the call.
In round-robin memory strategy, on the other hand, the agents are notified one after the other. When the next call comes, the system automatically directs it to the next person in the queue, instead of starting from the first person in the queue again. With this strategy, companies can check calls missed by specific agents as opposed to calls missed by the entire queue or department.
A predictive dialer works best when it is well equipped with customer information. With customizable options, the agent or the user can add as many fields of information as required, to the dialer interface. For example, if the agent knows the age, sex and address of the customer, they might want to put it into the system. But if more information, like race, demographic, etc, comes along later, the agent should be able to add a customized field for that information too.
To get maximum call connections, everything is incumbent on timing. If the agent makes a call to Japan when it’s early morning in the United States, that would be entirely inappropriate and would lead to the company losing clients. If your potential clientele is spread across the world, the predictive dialer should have the intelligence to schedule calls to different parts of the world accordingly. With the customer information provided to the dialer, it should be able to make outbound calls to customers at the appropriate time.
The predictive dialer’s job is to dial the next number as the agent is wrapping up the previous call. To reduce the number of silent calls and maximize talk time, the predictive dialer should have the option of adjusting the algorithm to match with the current availability of agents.
The purpose of the dialer is to increase the efficiency of overall outbound calling. But that efficiency should translate into tangible numbers too. Choose a predictive dialer that provides detailed reports of all the calls made by agents and which calls were converted. Not only will it give you an idea of the profitability but also allow you to assess which agents are getting numbers and which could use some more work.
Finally, predictive dialers may be useful for your company if you rely on soliciting customers via the telephone. But in recent years there have been issues with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) banning automatic dialers, including predictive dialers, for making unsolicited calls to customers who placed themselves on the ‘do not disturb’ registry. So you may want to get a dialer that gives the agents some insight and control into the dialing process.