Inefficient dialing wastes time and money in call centers.
The era of basic auto-dialers with excessive unused agent time and call recipients hanging up on dead air is over. Predictive dialing is an advanced solution that forecasts agent availability and connects them to live prospects in real time for seamless conversations.
This is handy when managing an outbound call center or a telemarketing campaign. With predictive dialing, agents can progress directly between productive live calls, contacting more leads, and increasing sales.
However, like any powerful contact center software, predictive dialers must be carefully implemented to maximize benefits and avoid misuse.
This article covers best practices for creating effective predictive dialer campaigns, optimizing efficiency, and avoiding common mistakes that can backfire. You’ll learn how to use predictive dialing strategically to increase contacts while maintaining compliance and quality.
What Is Predictive Dialer Software?
Predictive dialer software automatically dials phone numbers from lists and connects answered calls to available agents. It uses algorithms to dial multiple numbers at once and optimize call distribution based on real-time call metrics like agent availability and call connect rates.
Key benefits of predictive dialers include:
- Increases agent productivity without manual dialing and voicemail wait times
- Predictive capabilities adjust dialing rates up or down based on metrics
- Integrates with contact center software to supply agents with customer data
- Enables contact centers to enable smart routing and scale outreach efficiently
Predictive dialing technologies maximize agent productivity and utilization through automated dialing, predictive analytics, and integrations with CRM platforms.
They even allow you to route calls to cell phones so call center agents can work from anywhere and on any device. This allows call centers to contact more leads in less time.
How Predictive Dialers Work?
Predictive dialers load calling lists and data just like basic auto-dialers, but are enhanced by a predictive algorithm and dialing modes that model the operation of the call center in real-time.
The software automatically dials multiple phone numbers from lists and connects answered calls to available agents. It uses algorithms to maximize agent talk time by minimizing busy signals and wait times.
Tracking the average handle time per call, as well as the time between inbound calls, the algorithm estimates when an agent will become free. It then dials the next call ahead of time so someone answers when the live agent arrives.
By overlapping outbound calls with agent availability, the dialer achieves much higher contact rates than agents could ever deliver on their own.
The system can dial dozens of numbers for every agent, only connecting calls that are actually answered live. This maximizes the productive use of available resources.
Types of Predictive Dialer Campaigns
Predictive dialers can be helpful for a number of outbound calling campaigns.
1. Customer service calls
Predictive dialer software can help your team proactively reach out to customers. This may be useful if you need to remind them of a service outage, set up a service appointment, or promote an upcoming sale.
2. Fundraising campaigns
By leveraging predictive dialer software, your team can reach more potential donors, enabling you to reach your fundraising goals faster and more efficiently.
Predictive dialers can be configured to work with any size of call center, so if you only have a few agents dedicated to raising money, the software can work to make the most of their available time.
3. Phone surveys
Whether you’re performing market research, working for a political party, or simply trying to assess how happy your customers are, surveys are a common use case for predictive dialer software.
In all of these situations, you’re trying to reach the largest number of people possible. It just makes sense to maximize your agent’s productivity with a predictive dialer campaign.
4. Lead generation
Does your company do telesales or telemarketing? Use predictive dialing to boost sales and move those leads through the funnel.
You can connect the predictive dialer software to your CRM to automatically dial leads and connect them with your available agents.
5. Debt collection
Call centers are often used to collect outstanding payments from customers. The larger your customer list, the infinitely more useful predictive dialer software becomes.
Upgrade from manual dialing to predictive dialing, and you can reach a lot more people and get those invoices paid.
How To Create a Predictive Dialer Campaign
Ready to boost agent productivity and your contact rate? Follow this 7-step guide to setting up your predictive dialer campaign.
1. Choose a goal for your campaign
As with any campaign, success always starts with a clear goal.
So, what do you want from your predictive dialing campaign? Is your goal to schedule service appointments? Perform market research with your target audience. Turn leads into customers?
Hone in on your goal. And remember, good goals are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
2. Scrub your call list
Want to really supercharge the efficiency you can enjoy from a predictive dialer campaign? Scrub your list first. Get rid of old, outdated, or incomplete contact information.
You might also consider segmenting your list by customer sentiment scores, location, or other demographic markers. Once everything’s all cleaned up, you can import it into the predictive dialer software.
3. Use local outbound numbers
When was the last time you answered a call from an area code you didn’t recognize? We thought so.
Your customers feel the same way. Increase your chances that people actually pick up by using outbound numbers that match their area code.
💡Pro Tip: Avoid getting your outbound numbers flagged as spam. This can happen when you make a number of calls from the same number. So, purchase multiple local numbers for area codes where you have a high call volume.
4. Write your script
Work with the relevant teams to develop a script that’s engineered to achieve your goals. Ideally, your script should be on brand. In other words, your agents should naturally sound like representatives of your company.
You’ll also want to write out comprehensive answers to common FAQs and walk through how to respond to objections or any hesitation.
5. Develop the voicemail
Once you’ve got the script, it’s time to write your voicemail. After all, you need a plan for the calls that go unanswered. A voicemail script is the best way to maximize your calls in the campaign.
You want to cover the key points, but keep it short and sweet. That way, there’s no confusion about your call to action. It’s all about striking the right balance. Make it easy for people to call you back with a toll-free number.
6. Leverage other channels
Pairing your outbound calling campaign with other marketing channels can increase your success rate.
The more familiar people are with your brand and your value proposition, the more likely they are to answer your call — or to call you back if they missed you.
If you have email addresses on file, follow up with an email campaign.
For awareness-building campaigns, you can also post relevant information on your social channels to engage the people who are already following you.
7. Use analytics to iterate and improve
Predictive dialers use artificial intelligence to optimize agent productivity and connected call times. These software are designed to be efficient and maximize performance, but it’s still smart to keep a watchful eye.
- Average agent availability
- Average call times
- Average connection rates
- Average abandonment rates
If things start heading in the wrong direction, you can adjust the settings.
Challenges With Predictive Dialers
Predictive dialing does have some inherent challenges, which is why proper implementation and vigilance are so important.
Risk of high abandon rates
If the predictive algorithm dials too aggressively, there may be calls that are answered but need to be dropped or abandoned before an agent becomes free.
While regulations dictate that abandoned calls must represent no more than 3-5% of answered calls, excessive rates still deliver a poor experience.
Negative customer experiences
Related to abandon rates, the underlying mechanics behind predictive can occasionally be exposed to customers as hang-ups and odd call behavior if not managed well. This may sour them on future contact attempts.
Hard to control the pacing or tempo
Unlike auto-dialers with fixed pace, the variable predictive formula can sometimes struggle with sudden changes in handle time and availability. Spikes in wait times or variability make it hard to find the right equilibrium.
Best Practices for Predictive Dialer Campaigns
🎛 Fine-tune algorithm aggressiveness
Set the predictive algorithm to balance maximizing calls placed without going over abandon rate limits or customer experience. Start conservatively and optimize based on real performance data.
📈 Monitor performance metrics
Keep a close eye on critical metrics in real time to catch any issues quickly before having major impacts. Watch abandon rates, wait times, and connection pacing to make sure productivity gains don’t sacrifice other KPIs.
📩 Create effective answering machine messages
Because so many more calls are being placed, a good percentage connect to answering machines. Have customized voicemail messages, auto attendants, and answering machine detection to improve connection probability for callbacks.
📋 Ensure proper agent training
Make sure agents know how to handle the variety of quick-paced scenarios prompted by predictive. This includes connecting calls quickly, proper responses to machines, dealing with hang-ups, conveying correct messaging, and following compliance.
✅ Follow regulations
Stay up-to-date on the latest rules from the FCC and follow the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines regarding calling requirements, especially abandoned calls. Also, monitor trade association best practices so your campaigns operate safely.
📝 Carefully build contact lists
One challenge with the speed of predictive is mistaken calls get amplified quickly across large call lists. Invest in quality lead sources, watch for errors in data entry, and comply with calling permissions to keep problem calls to a minimum.
Above all, Choose the Right Predictive Dialing Software
With a predictive dialer system, your call center team can reach more people, close more sales, and keep customer satisfaction high.
What should you look for in a predictive dialer provider? Beyond the predictive dialing basics, here are a few dialing system features we recommend:
- Voicemail message drop: This leaves a pre-recorded message in a person’s answering machine. They’ll be notified of a new voicemail, but their phone won’t actually ring.
- Voice broadcast: This predictive dialer feature sends urgent messages to many people simultaneously. It can be helpful for outbound dialing, such as service updates or other time-critical information.
- Call recording and do-not-call (DNC) list scrubbing: The dialing system can be configured to work with any number of agents and is ideal for high-volume outbound campaigns. With a power dialer optimized for your contact center, you can achieve much higher contact and connection rates than agents could deliver manually.
- Local presence caller ID: By matching your outbound number to a person’s local area code, they will be more likely to pick up.
- Time zone awareness: This feature optimizes connection rates by delaying call times to the times people are most likely to answer.
- CRM integration: Connect your predictive dialer with your CRM to further improve agent productivity. They can generate leads seamlessly, and their KPIs will get logged in a snap.
- Pricing: Predictive dialers can significantly reduce the cost per lead or sale by improving agent efficiency. Calculate the potential ROI taking into account predicted improvements in connection rates, idle time, workflows, and agent productivity.
Start Predictive Dialing With Nextiva
A properly optimized predictive dialer software like Nextiva drives productivity for outbound call centers while respecting customers and compliance.
Because predictive dialing pushes operational pace to the maximum tolerable threshold, call centers need to focus on the right technology and human oversight to succeed.
Nextiva offers a cloud-based call center software with predictive dialing capabilities tailored to avoid overfilling and compliance issues while enabling agents to have more positive conversations that build customer relationships over time.
With the right balance of automation and human insight, call centers can thrive responsibly.