What is a Dialer?
A dialer is an application used in call centers to automate the process of dialing external phone numbers so that the agents can attend to certain calls selectively. Well, since call centers want to increase the productivity per agent they have employed, they monitor the time which is spent by an agent to talk to a prospective customer.
So, when the agents are provided with a database and asked to call various prospects, it is noticed that the effective time spent in talking to the customers is very low as many calls are not picked up, answered by fax machines, busy etc. So, the agents spend more time dialing numbers than actually talking. That is why many outbound call centers employ dialers that automatically dial phone numbers on behalf of agents, to increase their efficiency, which is sometimes measured in Talk Time per Hour.
Types of dialers
When you implement an automated dialer you need to think about the different dialing modes offered and which one will work best for your campaigns. The definition of each dialing type varies depending on who you talk to and according to your special requirements.
There is a phone, there is a phone line connected to it. So, the agents just pick up the phone and start dialing by themselves! It has been noticed that this is the least efficient way of conducting outbound call campaigns in larger call centers based on Talk Time per Hour value. But we’ll tell you one thing: This is the most economical way for a very small call center or office!
If you already have CRM system, integrating a click-to-call feature will allow your sales agents to just click on the phone number in your CRM to make an outbound call. It is slow compared to a power dialer, but all the information about the prospect is right there so agents can more effectively sell and upsell while on the call. Also, any information gained on the call goes directly into your system-wide database that your team can use to follow up on later.
This is the first level of Dialer automation. There is a database in a PC and the agent selects which number to dial to and perhaps clicks on the contact so that the call is automatically dialed by the system and the agent doesn’t have to dial through a keypad. Based on the response, the agent either talks to the person at the other end or manually disconnects the call if there is an answering machine, fax machine, busy signal or no response. The records need to be manually updated by the agent, after the call.
This is often a company’s first step into automated dialing. Power dialers will automatically make an outbound call when an agent becomes available. These systems are inexpensive and there are a plethora of options. Going from manual to power dialers can seriously boost productivity and significantly cut down on dialing time. However, be prepared to experience a lot of idle time, no-answers, and busy signals.
A predictive dialer consists of a dialing algorithm that “predicts” when an agent will be available and calls being made automatically by the predictive dialer based on the above prediction to have it ready to connect the agent’s workstations when there is an answer by a live contact.
The effectiveness of a predictive dialer depends on a lot of factors like the size of the call centers, number of agents, length of an average call, sophistication of prediction algorithm, time of the day, type of job etc. If a call is ready based on the prediction algorithm and no agent is available, then the call is automatically terminated by the predictive dialer, which results in call abandonment.
A predictive dialer software like Coztel automatically identifies answering machines based on the length of the response immediately after the call is picked up: If it is a short “hello” then it probably is a live contact, if there is a longer response, then it is probably an answering machine. Some predictive dialer’s use frequency detection of the voice answering the call to identify if it is alive contact person or an answering machine. Which is more effective.
In this method, the agent indicates availability and only after the indication by the agent, the progressive dialer starts dialing automatically from the database. There on, the progressive dialer determines if the call resulted in a busy signal, no-answer, fax machine, modem signal etc. and automatically terminates the call. In certain cases, marks the call and record to be called after specific minutes, and places the call to the next prospect.
If any of the above cases is not true, then the agent gets to decide if it is a live call or the call is being answered by an answering machine. If it is a live call, then the agent starts talking to the contact right after the word “Hello” and if it is an answering machine, the agent manually updates by clicking a button. The database and after that the progressive dialer starts calling the next record automatically.
There’s no way around it. Making sales calls all day long is hard work. Management spends painstaking hours tweaking their motivational techniques, attending sales seminars and investing in technology so that their sales team can convert more leads faster. Sales agents grind the phone lines day in and day out while skillfully establishing rapport and pushing their product with relative ease. Why not enhance this process by optimizing your call center dialers?
If your business is at that point where you need to start ramping up phone sales or lead conversions by making the outbound dialing process more efficient, this is a great time to start. It can help you understand the main types of dialer automation software and help you to decide where to place your next sales investment to improve your business.