Dial-IQ | The Intelligent Lead Dialer
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Predictive Dialer Overview
Predictive dialers are probably the most misunderstood dialing technology. However, many of Leads360's clients regularly ask us about how predictive dialers work. This is probably because different companies label different dialer software features as being predictive. The following information covers:
- The classical definition of a predictive dialer
- The various variations of predictive dialer available in the market
- The pros and cons of predictive dialing
- Leads360's predictive dialer approach
Predictive Dialer Definition
A predictive dialer is a type of list dialing technology that dials through a list of leads assigned to it. What makes predictive dialing different from progressive dialing is that while a progressive dialer calls one lead after another a predictive dialer calls multiple leads at a time. In other words while a progressive dialer will call one lead per available agent, a predictive dialer will be calling many more leads than there are reps available to take the call.
A predictive dialer relies on the fact that most outbound calls do not end up connecting with a live person and thus for every successful call one predicts that a certain percentage will be unsuccessful. If the predicted ratio of unsuccessful to successful calls is exactly correct one can create a scenario where reps are on the phone the whole time and are successfully fed new calls every time they hung up. Sadly, the reality is that it is impossible to perfectly predict the accuracy of successful to unsuccessful calls; see the pros and cons of predictive dialing section below.
Variations of Predictive Dialers
The following are Leads360's definitions of predictive dialer variations.
Dumb Predictive Dialers A dumb predictive dialer is one where the ratio of calls to agents is fixed. In this scenario the system simply makes multiple calls and the successful connects are connected to an agent if one is available and dropped if no agent becomes available over a period of time.
Smart Predictive Dialers Smart predictive dialers not only have the ability to detect voicemail answering machines and leave messages but also, in the best predictive dialing technologies, the predictive algorithm that determines the number of simultaneous calls to make per agent constantly adjusts based upon predictive statistical analysis applied to historical data.
Quasi Predictive Dialers Some dialer companies call something that is not really predictive dialing a name like "Predictive Dialer 2.0". Usually what these companies are referring to is a dialer that can predict which outbound lead to call next. This is what Leads360 would typically call an intelligent dialer and not a predictive dialer. Leads360's version of this technology is called Intellidial.
What are the pros and cons of a Predictive Dialer?
There are many benefits and disadvantages of a predictive dialer. Determining whether predictive dialing is the right thing for your company will largely be determined by your answer to these questions:
- How big is your call center?
- How good do you want the experience of your customers and prospects to be?
Benefits of a Predictive Dialer
- Significantly increases the amount of time your reps are on the phone
- Fewer reps/agents can handle the same lead/customer volume
Disadvantages of a Predictive Dialer
- The prediction ratio is never perfect. This means that with a predictive dialer your organization either has reps waiting to be connected or consumers' waiting for long periods before being connected or simply being dropped.
- The consumer experience is typically quite negative. Many consumers report that as soon as they receive a call that starts with a long pause, they hang up.
Types of Companies that are well-suited to using a Predictive Dialer
Given the pros and cons of a predictive dialer, there are certain companies that are better off using one than others. If most of the following characteristics are true for your company then you should at least consider a predictive dialing technology.
The leads you call are low value and low quality Predictive dialers rapidly churn and burn through leads. If you have lists where this is an appropriate way to work the leads because each record was either free or extremely inexpensive to procure then this could be appropriate.
If you have 40+ agents working leads at all times In order for a predictive dialer's algorithm to work properly you really need a large number of agents available to make a call. Most experienced call center operators consider 40 connected agents is an absolute minimum and that predictive dialers are only highly effective when there are several hundred agents on the dialer at the same time.
If most calls are typically a "one-call-close" Predictive dialers are really well suited to businesses where a product is typically sold on the first telephone conversation. However, in an environment where the consumer typically needs to have several separate interactions during the decision and sales process predictive dialers are not very useful. The reason for this is that in an environment where several interactions with a consumer need to occur, developing a relationship with a salesperson is usually important. In a predictive dialing scenario each call can go to any number of different reps and thus it becomes impossible to maintain or foster a one-to-one relationship between prospect and sales person.
Leads360's approach to predictive dialing
Most of Leads360's customers currently do not fall into the category of a good fit for predictive dialers. Usually our customers spend a considerable sum of money on leads, wish to drive as much value from each lead as possible, and sell products and services that typically require more than a one-call-close.
That said, Leads360 believes that predictive dialing does have its place, for example in calling leads that have been neglected for a long period of time by other reps. We also believe that very few companies in the market provide technology that is robust or sophisticated enough to deliver on the promise of true predictive dialing.