Selecting the Right Outbound Dialer for a Business

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Businesses use outbound dialers for a variety of reasons, from cold calling to debt collection to market research. Choosing the right type of automated dialer can improve the utilization of their customer service representatives from 67% to 95%, which can increase the number of calls per day by 500%, potentially leading to increased sales.

Each dialer comes with advantages and disadvantages. Businesses should understand the differences between the various types of dialers in order to maximize their investment.

Manual Dialer

The most basic form of dialer is the manual dialer. Representatives manually dial contacts from a list of leads, one at a time. The primary focus of this dialer is to minimize the cost of customer outreach.

A Manual Dialer is inexpensive and typically very easy to set up and use. However, it can be inefficient for representatives, as they have to manually look up the contact and dial the calls. It also requires coordination among service representatives to ensure there is no duplication of calls.

IVR Dialer

With an IVR Dialer, the system automatically dials the contacts and plays a prerecorded message when the customer answers. The purpose of the IVR Dialer is to enable automation and self-service for customers.

One key advantage of an IVR Dialer is that it requires little to no involvement of live representatives; the IVR handles most interactions and consumers get escalated to a live representative only when the flow requires it. In addition, businesses can customize the voice message per customer, to provide a more personalized user experience.

One disadvantage of IVR dialers, however, is that many customers view the interactions as impersonal, compared with a live representative, and they can very easily end the call before the end of the message.

Progressive Dialer

A progressive dialer allows businesses to automate the lead dialing process with the purpose of connecting them to a live representative. The system uses a list of leads as input and dials the next lead once a representative assigned to the campaign is available.

Since it eliminates the time to look up and dial each number, there is reduced wait time between calls. This results in more efficient resource utilization. And compared to the predictive dialer (which is discussed below), the progressive dialer ensures that a live representative is present on each call. The main disadvantages, when comparing it with a predictive dialer or preview dialer, are a lower call volume and limited insight into the customer.

Preview Dialer

When representatives need pre-call insight into the customer before connecting, businesses utilize a preview dialer. The system presents customer information to the representative (typically through a CRM screen pop) which can help tailor the call based on the customer. When ready, the representative initiates the call using a click-to-dial button.

The main benefit of Preview Dialer is the ability to provide personalized customer interactions. By giving service representatives time to research the customer’s specific needs, businesses can increase the success rate for calls. However, the preparatory time comes with a price – it limits the number of calls per day and results in increased idle time.

Predictive Dialer

The predictive dialer assumes that a set number of outbound calls will not be answered (or will go to voicemail) and “overdials” based on a preset ratio of calls per representative. It typically dials the customer first and connects to a live representative only if the call is answered.

The predictive dialer maximizes the number of calls per day and can filter busy tones, call waiting, and voicemail pickups. However, there is a chance that customers can answer a call without a live representative immediately on the line. There are significant regulatory and compliance requirements for these situations, so businesses need to understand the legal implications or risk substantial fines.

Which Dialer is the Right One?

The flowchart below provides some suggested guidance to determine the right dialer option.

If most of the tasks are automated for customers, an IVR dialer is a good fit.

For low daily call volume, a manual dialer can be used to reach customers while keeping costs low.

If calls require a level of insight (such as reviewing a customer’s history) before the connection, a preview dialer is a good solution.

At the final stage, it comes down to what is important to the business. Is it the chances of successful calls or the number of daily calls? A progressive dialer helps keep the quality of interactions high by ensuring there will always be an agent on the line when the customer answers, while the predictive dialer focuses on maximizing the quantity of daily calls.

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