Call center dialers are integral tools of efficient call centers. They automate the dialing process so that agents can connect with more customers in a shorter time span.
The variety of dialer types caters to different call center needs, so getting to know each kind will help you meet your operational demands. They include:
- Preview dialers
- Power dialers
- Progressive dialers
- Predictive dialers
- Click-to-call dialers
Each type of auto-dialer software serves a unique purpose for a wide range of calling strategies. To make the best choice for your call center, it’s important to explore the functionalities and ideal scenarios for each—plus, you have to be mindful of compliance issues when you have representatives dialing thousands of numbers each week.
A preview dialer allows agents to review customer information before initiating a call. This helps them be better prepared for interactions and fosters a more personable and approachable communication style.
- Personalized interactions: The prep time provided by a preview dialer gives agents a chance to show up on a call prepared with customer information. This can lead to higher customer satisfaction rates and faster conversions.
- Lower risk of non-compliance: Preview dialers let agents see all the available information before initiating a call—including notes about compliance requirements, such as do-not-call (DNC) lists.
- Better lead management: Agents can decide to prioritize leads and choose who to call based on the information presented by the preview dialer. This makes preview dialers a valuable tool for managing high-value or sensitive leads.
- Slower dialing rates: Due to the manual intervention required before each call, preview dialers have a slower dialing rate than other automated dialer types.
- Missed opportunities: The time taken to review each customer’s information could result in missed connection opportunities with leads or customers who may have been more receptive if they had been contacted immediately.
- More work for agents: Reviewing details before each call can increase an agent’s stress and fatigue, which could negatively impact their quality of service over time.
Which type of call centers should use a preview dialer?
Preview dialers are best suited for call centers that require a high level of preparation before each call, such as customer service and healthcare settings. They offer a balanced approach for call centers looking to maintain a high level of personalization in their customer interactions while still benefiting from dialer technology.
A power dialer operates by automatically dialing from a predefined list of phone numbers. It moves quickly through the list, dialing a new number as soon as the previous call finishes. This maximizes the number of calls an agent can make in a given period.
- Controlled call pacing: Unlike predictive dialers—which dial multiple numbers simultaneously—power dialers make calls at a controlled pace, which is beneficial in ensuring compliance with call regulations and maintaining call quality.
- Increased agent efficiency: By eliminating the manual dialing process, agents can focus more on their conversations with customers, leading to improved performance and higher customer satisfaction rates.
- Ease of use: Power dialers are often easier to set up and use than other dialer types, making them suitable for small to medium-sized call centers.
- Lack of personalization: Power dialers automatically dial the next number as soon as an agent becomes available, so there’s no time for agents to review customer information before the call connects. This can make it challenging to offer a personalized experience, which might negatively affect customer satisfaction and/or conversion rates.
- Regulatory risks: Because power dialers are designed to make calls automatically, there’s a potential risk of not complying with telemarketing regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States.
Which type of call centers should use a power dialer?
Power dialers are designed for outbound, high-volume call centers, particularly those focused on inside sales.
A progressive dialer automatically dials numbers from a preloaded list and only connects agents when a live person answers the phone. In practice, the dialer waits for an agent to become available before it starts dialing. Once the agent is ready, the system dials the next number in the list. This helps agents stay engaged without overloading them with calls.
- Reduced call abandonment: By ensuring that an agent is always available when a call is connected, progressive dialers help reduce call abandonment rates.
- Greater agent talk time: Automating the dialing process maximizes the time agents spend talking to customers, improving overall productivity.
- Better goal conversion rates: The efficient workflow facilitated by progressive dialers can lead to better goal conversion rates as agents can handle more calls and therefore resolve more customer issues.
- Less suitable for high-volume call centers: In high-volume call centers, the wait time for agent availability might slow down the rate of calls, making other dialer types—such as predictive dialers—a better fit.
- Lack of pre-call information: Unlike preview dialers, progressive dialers don’t provide agents with pre-call information, which could be a disadvantage in scenarios where personalized interactions are needed.
What type of call center should use a progressive dialer?
Progressive dialers are excellent for outbound call centers and customer service settings where the quality of interaction is more important than quantity.
A predictive dialer is a sophisticated type of auto-dialer that anticipates when agents will be available. It dials more numbers than there are available agents, assuming that a certain percentage of calls won’t be answered. This feature helps keep a near-continuous flow of calls, and it also intelligently manages call queues so that high-priority calls are dialed first.
- Increased agent efficiency: By minimizing idle time, predictive dialers enable agents to spend more time talking to customers, which can significantly increase productivity.
- Cost efficiency: Predictive dialers help you get the most out of your team’s time by maintaining a constant flow of calls.
- High call volume: Predictive dialers can easily handle an increase in call volume, making them ideal for large outbound campaigns and seasonal spikes in activity.
- Higher abandoned call rates: Since predictive dialers call multiple numbers simultaneously, there’s a risk of calls being answered with no available agent to take them. This leads to a higher rate of abandoned calls and can annoy customers, which can hurt your brand’s reputation.
- Learning curve: Predictive dialers often come with a complicated suite of features that require a longer training period than a simpler system like a preview dialer.
- Lack of personalization: Predictive dialers don’t allow agents to review customer information before the call, which could lead to generic-feeling interactions.
What type of call center should use a predictive dialer?
A predictive dialer is perfect for outbound call centers running large-scale telemarketing, sales, or collection campaigns. They’re a great option for any call center where the emphasis is on reaching the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.
Click-to-call dialers, sometimes called semi-automatic dialers, provide a balanced approach for call centers and sales teams looking to combine the benefits of automated dialing with the control and personalization of manual dialing.
With a semi-automatic dialer, agents need to click on a phone number to initiate a call. By allowing agents to control the pace of calls while still benefiting from automatic dialing technology, click-to-call dialers can get the best of both worlds.
- Controlled pace: By requiring manual interaction to initiate each call, click-to-call dialers allow agents to control the pace so they won’t be overwhelmed.
- Preparation time: Agents can review customer information before initiating a call, thus leading to more personalized and effective interactions.
- Seamless CRM integration: Click-to-dial systems often integrate easily with existing customer relationship management (CRM) software. This allows agents to access customer information directly from the CRM interface to prepare for the call.
- Slower dialing rates: Because agents need to manually click to initiate each call, the pace is slower compared to more automated systems like predictive or power dialers.
- Variable productivity: The effectiveness of click-to-dial systems relies on agent discipline. If agents aren’t diligent about clicking promptly, it can lead to idle time and reduced efficiency.
- Limited scalability: High-volume call centers may find the click-to-dial approach difficult to scale compared to more automated systems.
What type of call center should use a semi-automatic dialer?
Click-to-call dialers are best suited for call centers with specific needs in terms of targeting. They are great for customer service and inside sales, particularly in environments that are not extremely high-volume.
Compliance Issues With Dialers for Call Centers
Operating auto-dialers in a call center environment requires a thorough understanding of various laws and regulations to avoid hefty penalties. It’s important to keep track of the major laws, potential fines, and the best practices for compliance.
Major Laws for Auto Dialers
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) all have strict rules for automatic dialers.
To stay compliant, it’s essential to review the official guidelines in detail. Some of the most important restrictions require you to do the following:
- Identify your business, describe the products or services you’re calling about, and provide a way for the consumer to opt out of future calls.
- Get prior written permission from consumers before calling their cell phones or leaving prerecorded messages related to marketing.
- Honor do-not-call lists.
- Avoid calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., based on the recipient’s time zone.
- Avoid auto-dialing hospitals, police departments, or any emergency numbers.
- Keep your abandoned call rate to no more than 3%.
- Never misrepresent your services or the purpose of your call.
In addition to following federal guidelines, some states also have laws regarding auto-dialers. Both federal and state laws can change frequently, so it’s critical to stay on top of these to ensure your calls are compliant.
Fines and Penalties for Non-Compliance
Non-compliance can lead to serious fines or legal action. Violations of TCPA, TSR, and FDCPA can result in fines ranging from $500 to $1,500. (That’s per violation, by the way, which you can imagine would add up quickly.) Consumers are also allowed to sue if their rights are violated.
Best Practices for Compliance
- Consumer consent: Obtain prior written consent for all telemarketing, informational, and transactional calls.
- Do-not-call registry: Maintain an updated DNC list, honor consumer requests to be added to it, and regularly scrub calling lists against the National DNC Registry.
- Abandoned call regulations: Ensure your abandoned call rates don’t exceed 3% of your calls. This is especially important to keep an eye on if you’re using a predictive dialer.