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Talkdesk

Talkdesk is a cloud-based call center solution that helps businesses improve customer satisfaction while simultaneously reducing customer support costs. It uses interactive voice response (IVR), automatic call distribution (ACD) a...Read more about Talkdesk

4.5 (724 reviews)

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Five9

Five9 is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution for inbound, outbound, blended and omnichannel contact centers world-wide. Powered by Practical AI, Five9 enables agents to provide customer experiences across phone, emai...Read more about Five9

4.2 (462 reviews)

2 recommendations

CallTools

CallTools offers an advanced predictive dialer and inbound call center management solution that streamlines and optimizes call center operations. With list management tools that include list scrubbing, recycling, and export capabi...Read more about CallTools

4.8 (130 reviews)

2 recommendations

CallShaper

CallShaper is a cloud-based call center management solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include lead management, real-time reporting, agent monitoring and tablet support. CallShaper enables users to...Read more about CallShaper

4.9 (17 reviews)

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Intermedia Contact Center

80% of customers believe they’re delivering a great customer experience, but only 8% of customers agree. Businesses like yours need better visibility to determine the quality of their customer interactions and the right tools to m...Read more about Intermedia Contact Center

4.0 (1 reviews)

2 recommendations

Dialpad

Dialpad is an AI-powered cloud communication platform and business phone system that provides organizations with the latest in VoIP telephony technology to keep teams connected and productive. The platform comprises three integrat...Read more about Dialpad

4.3 (521 reviews)

1 recommendations

DialedIn CCaaS

DialedIn (formerly ChaseData) offers cloud-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the solution. It’s designed for outbound, inbound and blended call center teams. Dialing capabil...Read more about DialedIn CCaaS

4.8 (155 reviews)

1 recommendations

HoduCC

Omnichannel contact center software that offers streamlined end-to-end communication solutions. Its effective use of data in customer journeys allows seamless experience across all channels. From customizing workflows, routing rul...Read more about HoduCC

4.6 (81 reviews)

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Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is an online workspace for small, medium, and large businesses. It features over 35 cross-integrated tools, including CRM, tasks, Kanban board, Gantt chart, messenger, video calls, file storage, workflow automation, and m...Read more about Bitrix24

NICE CXone

Organizations around the world are striving to deliver the ultimate customer experience, strengthen brand value, and boost efficiency. NICE CXone empowers brands to achieve these objectives on one interaction-centric platform with...Read more about NICE CXone

Ringover

Ringover is the no.1 business phone system that gives you unlimited calls to 110 countries, video conferencing, SMS and group messaging, call recording, call whispering and more features focused on improving your teams productivit...Read more about Ringover

Outreach

Outreach is the first and only Sales Execution Platform built for intelligent revenue workflows. Built on the world’s largest foundation of customer interactions and go-to-market team data, Outreach gives teams the tools they need...Read more about Outreach

Kixie PowerCall

Welcome to Kixie, the sales engagement platform that revolutionizes the way you do business. Designed to supercharge your sales performance, Kixie offers ultra-reliable and easily automated calling and texting features that seamle...Read more about Kixie PowerCall

CloudTalk

CloudTalk is a contact center management solution that enables businesses to streamline communications with teams and customers using virtual call systems. It allows executives to manage inbound/outbound calls, extract interaction...Read more about CloudTalk

VICIdial

VICIdial is an open-source, cloud-based contact center solution suitable for small to large call centers in a variety of industries. Key features include inbound and outbound calls, call routing, email integration, online chat and...Read more about VICIdial

Convoso

Convoso’s all-in-one contact center platform generates and converts leads faster using multiple communication channels. The cloud-based solution offers multiple dialing modes (predictive/power/preview) along with two-way texting, ...Read more about Convoso

Genesys Cloud CX

Genesys Cloud CX™ cloud contact center software transforms your customer experience. It connects data across teams, tools, interactions so you have actionable insights to address customers problems with ease on any channel, at any...Read more about Genesys Cloud CX

RingCentral Contact Center

RingCentral's leading cloud contact center offers skill-based routing, agent management, real-time insights, and more to empower your employees to deliver better customer experiences. With the right tools, your agents can meet you...Read more about RingCentral Contact Center

PhoneBurner

PhoneBurner is an outbound dialer and call center solution that empowers agents to conduct wildly efficient yet highly personalized outreach, and engage up to 4x more contacts in live conversations. The system offers functionalit...Read more about PhoneBurner

Close

Close is the sales engagement CRM designed to help SMBs turn more leads into revenue. At Close, were dedicated to the business of the future: smart, agile teams who work remotely. If you're a tech-enabled team who needs to scale w...Read more about Close

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

Predictive dialers are sophisticated, so you need to understand how they work and how they differ from other kinds of auto dialers before you invest in one. We’ve written this guide to help you learn what you need to know to make an informed purchase.

(Click on a link below to jump to that section.)

What Is Predictive Dialer Software?

How Do Predictive Dialers Work?

What Are the Features of Predictive Dialers?

What Are the Major Uses of Predictive Dialers?

What Are the Limits of Predictive Dialers?

What Is Predictive Dialer Software?

Predictive dialer software is a type of automatic dialing system that helps call center agents work more efficiently by screening calls and predicting when call agents will be available to answer based on call metrics. It can be used to upload contact lists, dial multiple numbers simultaneously, screen for voicemails or busy signals, and more.

How Do Predictive Dialers Work?

The term “predictive dialer” is often used as a synonym for “auto dialer.” In fact, predictive dialers represent a major evolutionary leap forward from auto dialers.

Most people would assume that if an auto dialer just places another call when an agent hangs up, the agent is spending enough time on the phone.

But if you work in an outbound call center, you know that many dialed calls never get answered. Those that do frequently go to voicemail, or the recipient of the call gets annoyed and hangs up.

In the late 1980s, Douglas Samuelson invented the predictive dialer to solve this problem.

Predictive dialers assume that many calls will go unanswered. They forecast when an agent will wrap up a call based on historical call length data, and begin dialing before the agent actually wraps up the call she or he is currently handling.

This is only half of the story, however. Predictive dialers also deliberately overdial.

Instead of simply dialing one call for each available agent, waiting for the call to end and dialing again, they dial more calls than agents could possibly handle if all of those calls actually got answered (which of course never happens).

Predictive dialers then screen out busy signals, answering machines and hangups to ensure that only live calls get distributed to an agent once she or he wraps up the current call.

The “predictive” part of predictive dialing involves feeding data about call center performance (such as the rate of abandoned calls, average call length etc.) into statistical algorithms, which forecast approximately when an agent will wrap up a call. The diagram below gives a simplified overview of a predictive dialer’s operations:

Overview of Predictive Dialing Functionality

Overview-of-Predictive-Dialing-Functionality

The good thing about these algorithms? You don’t need to understand them. Predictive dialer systems offer simple, rule-based interfaces that hide all the statistical mechanics of the system from users.

While predictive dialers are found in some integrated suites of call center applications, many vendors still offer them as standalone applications. Early dialers were hardware-based solutions, but cloud vendors now offer hosted predictive dialers as well.

What are the Features of Predictive Dialers?

The following features can be found in most predictive dialers:

Upload lists

Upload lists of contacts for campaigns, generally in .CSV format.

Manage numbers

Manage numbers in the lists you upload. For example, ensure that even if a number appears twice in a list, it only gets dialed once. You can also avoid calling cell phones or numbers in specific area codes.

Do Not Call (DNC) Compliance

Track callers’ requests to be placed on the DNC list in real time. Upload your organization’s DNC list to the National Registry and exclude those numbers from your campaigns.

Vertical dialing

Upload and dial multiple numbers for each contact (particularly important for collection agencies that need to improve their list penetration rates - i.e., the rate of successful communication attempts out of total communication attempts in an outbound campaign).

Custom caller ID/local presence dialing

Control the name and number that appears on outbound caller ID. You can also dial out from a number in the same area code as the contact.

Call scheduling rules

Limit the times of day the dialer begins and ends making calls.

Dialing rate

Control how many times the dialer rings each contact. Many dialers can adjust the dialing rate according to lead priority for outbound sales calls.

Answering machine detection

Screens calls answered by machines from agents. Dialers can also avoid voicemail, busy signals, FAX machines etc.

Agent scripts

Customize predefined, branching scripts that help agents to handle calls consistently throughout your contact center.

Pacing algorithms

Adjust pacing to meet defined rules. In particular, users can define an acceptable call abandonment rate. If the dialer exceeds this rate, it adjusts pacing by dialing fewer calls until the abandonment rate drops.

CRM integration

Dialers can integrate with your CRM system to track your agents’ activities.

What Are the Major Uses of Predictive Dialers?

Predictive dialers aren’t right for all call centers. They’re the most aggressive kind of outbound dialer out there. For some call centers, reaching contacts with a predictive dialer will be like hunting rabbits with a bazooka. However, they’re ideal for the following purposes:

  1. Collections: Predictive dialing was born in the collections industry, and while many contact centers are moving to multi-channel operations, there’s little chance a debtor will respond to a Facebook message or text message. If you’re in collections, look for industry-specific features, such as vertical dialing.

  2. Billing: Predictive dialers can be used to notify your customers that they have unpaid invoices.

  3. Telemarketing: While the DNC Registry places limits on how dialers can be used for telemarketing, they can also be used for this purpose given the high rate of hangups, busy signals etc. when contacts aren’t expecting calls.

Campaign-Performance-Reporting-in-PIMS-Dialer

Campaign Performance Reporting in PIMS Dialer

What are the Limits of Predictive Dialers?

The delay that we mentioned before is a big hurdle. Have you ever answered a telemarketing call, only to wait for a noticeable length of time before someone responds to your “Hello?” Perhaps you’ve already started speaking when the agent then interrupts you with a script.

This delay is caused by the fact that predictive dialers only connect live calls, so they “listen” for a human voice before sending the call to an agent. Obviously, this can annoy your customers, so you need to make sure that you’re not calling your most valuable leads with a predictive dialer.

Other types of auto dialers don’t have this functionality, and connect calls without any delay. If courtesy to your leads or customers is more in line with your business goals, consider a standard progressive or preview dialer.

The efficiency gains you can achieve with a predictive dialer are also influenced by the size of your call center. If you only have two agents, it doesn’t pay off to invest in a fancy system to forecast when they’re going to wrap up their calls.

You need to have at least 8 to 10 agents to see the benefits of a predictive dialer.

Finally, predictive dialers can vastly increase your chances of annoying the masses. Make sure you’re complying with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act if you’re operating in the U.S., and check local laws and regulations if you’re not. Many countries place severe restrictions on the use of dialers, particularly predictive dialers.