When to Use Predictive Dialer Vs. Progressive Dialer

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Predictive and progressive dialers are indispensable tools for the best call center services, where time is of the essence and efficiency is key. They automate calls, allowing agents to focus on what truly matters—creating a genuine connection with the customer.

But what’s the difference between a predictive dialer and a progressive dialer?

In a nutshell, predictive dialers can call several numbers at once, and when someone answers, the system then connects the call to an agent. Progressive dialers, on the other hand, can only dial each number one at a time, and each call is prompted by the conclusion of the last.

Generally speaking, predictive dialers are most valued in high-volume call centers where time and quantity are the most important factors. Progressive dialers are best for smaller call centers taking a more personalized approach with each customer. There’s more nuance to this, though, so we’ll explain when to use each type of dialer in more detail below.

Almost 90% of customers prefer speaking to a live agent, so both of these dialers are vital in keeping customer satisfaction high and maintaining efficient operations.

Call center solutions offered by Nextiva with a mobile phone, laptop, and wired phone pictured.

When to Use a Predictive Dialer

In order to better understand if a predictive dialer is best for you, let’s explore a bit further how this technology works. This sophisticated outbound calling system uses an algorithm to predict the likelihood that an agent will be available for a call, saving the agent time when it comes to manual dialing.

For example, if the auto dialer software detects that one out of every four calls are answered, it may adjust to this data and call four lines at a time. The software will also analyze how long it takes for a recipient to answer the phone.

So if it takes eight seconds for the average person to pick up the phone and a conversation lasts one minute on average, the predictive dialer will dial a set of phone numbers every 52 seconds to ensure the agent is always on a call.

Predictive dialers are most frequently used by high-volume call centers, debt collectors, large telemarketing teams, and corporate offices with large sales teams. These types of organizations make hundreds or even thousands of calls a day and need to maximize the efficiency of their agents’ time.

Let’s review the pros and cons of this call center software to see if it’s the right fit for your business.

Pros of Predictive Dialers

  • It’s incredibly efficient: Predictive dialers dramatically increase the chance of reaching a real person since they call several numbers at once. They do so in a calculated way based on real caller data, which helps to minimize the time agents wait between calls.
  • Many come with CRM integrations: CRM integration helps agents quickly retrieve customer information. Many predictive dialers are integrated with these systems for simultaneous use.
  • Reduced idle time and work for agents: Call agents don’t have to worry about deciding which number to call next. The predictive dialer handles this for them, so they can focus on the conversation at hand.

Cons of Predictive Dialers

  • Potential for more dropped calls: Since predictive dialing is a guessing game, even if the system anticipates that an agent will be available for a call, it’s not always the case. Multiple answers at the same time or long wait times for an agent may lead to dropped calls.
  • Non-compliance risks: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) may limit the use of predictive dialers for certain types of calls. If these limitations aren’t followed, it could lead to serious legal issues.
  • Less customer satisfaction: When a caller needs to wait for an agent to become available, it can have a negative effect on the call. In addition, when agents are rapidly switching between calls, they don’t have as much time to prepare and offer a personalized experience to the customer.

Situations Where the Predictive Dialer Shines

  • During a new product launch: Companies make big pushes to inform their customers about new products and services. A predictive dialer can help disseminate the news as quickly as possible while allowing the caller to answer any questions about the launch on the spot.
  • Conducting customer satisfaction surveys: Gathering feedback from customers over the phone can provide specific insights into how customers feel about products and services. Predictive dialers can help agents collect a large amount of data quickly, which can be used to improve the business.
  • Sharing emergency notifications: Natural disasters or local community alerts need to be quickly spread to prevent harm. Since time is of the essence and these messages are usually brief, a predictive dialer can quickly make thousands of calls to reach affected individuals.
  • Making connections during political campaigns: Predictive dialers can spread a budget further and help to save time for volunteers who are working tirelessly to get the word out and sway voters. Dialers can call potential supporters, send reminders about an upcoming election, or even ask for donations.

When to Use a Progressive Dialer

Progressive dialers are automated dialing systems that place its calls sequentially. The next number is dialed right after the previous call has been completed, and this pattern is repeated over a predetermined period of time.

Although this system doesn’t rely on subtle algorithmic data in the same way as predictive dialers, it can still detect busy signals, disconnections, and voicemails. This helps the call agent to only focus on answered calls, as the others are filtered out.

Dedicated customer service teams, market research companies, and small sales teams often prefer progressive dialers because they allow for a more focused customer interaction.

Pros of Progressive Dialers

  • Decreased call abandonment: An agent will always be available for the call since progressive dialers only contact one person at a time, which drastically reduces the likelihood that a call will be abandoned.
  • Better productivity: Similar to predictive dialers, progressive dialers save time by automating dialing and screening out non-answered calls. This gives agents a predictable and consistent influx of customers to connect with.
  • Improved customer service: 81% of individuals make purchases or take action if they’ve received good customer support. Since progressive dialers don’t overwhelm agents with multiple calls at once, agents can provide more attentive and personalized service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and conversions.

Cons of Progressive Dialers

  • Less efficient call rates: Naturally, since this software only dials one number at a time, it isn’t able to reach as many people as a predictive dialer.
  • Longer wait times for agents: Progressive dialers will still have some periods of idleness, which may mean that agents need to wait a small period of time for calls to be answered.
  • Inefficient for larger companies: Progressive dialers aren’t best for scaling operations, so as a company grows, it may outgrow the need for this system.

Situations Where the Progressive Dialer Shines

  • For conducting detailed market research: Companies that rely on detailed surveys may use a progressive dialer so they have time to review each caller’s demographics before getting started.
  • During fundraising campaigns: Non-profits often use progressive dialers, with one call at a time allowing them to adjust their strategy to each person in hopes of securing a donation.
  • B2B sales calls: While sales calls to the general public are often easy for a call agent to explain, discussing technical or industry-specific topics may require a more concentrated approach.
  • Fielding customer issues: Teams that need to follow through on customer issues may find progressive dialers helpful, as they can review the complaint and have time to prepare a response before engaging the caller.

Predictive Dialers Are More Aggressive

Predictive dialers take a more aggressive approach to call outreach. While this has the potential to result in saved time and more connections made overall, it comes with a risk. The race for hitting call numbers will likely result in missing a few people along the way due to long wait times when the algorithm doesn’t predict accurately.

If this happens in a high-volume call center, the consequences of missing a percentage of customers are not usually a big deal. However, if every call is critical, or if a business has a limited team for outreach, losing just a few connections can lead to lost revenue.

Progressive Dialers Are Safer

Progressive dialers are safer because they are inherently more focused on the customer. By being set up to allow agents to field one call at a time, there’s no potential for losing a customer while chatting with another.

They also ensure that the agent is more organized due to a stable and predictable flow of calls. When these calls are easily synced with a CRM system, they may also have more information at hand and be able to provide better service.

The agent is also able to stay on the phone for as long as necessary since they’re not dealing with an algorithm that puts pressure on call length by predicting the next call before the first one’s done.

Final Thoughts: Predictive Dialers Vs Progressive Dialers

Now that you can discern between predictive and progressive dialers, which one sounds like a better fit for your operations?

Does your company value scaling its reach and maximizing its efficiency?

Or is it more important to invest in customer satisfaction and getting every person on the line, no matter how much time it takes?

While both methods are efficient and can boost productivity, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons and determine which approach aligns best with your company’s goals and values.From there, you can look into business VoIP phone services with these powerful dialing features that match your needs, budget, and team size.

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