Predictive Dialer Buyer Report – 2017

by:
on January 12, 2017

Call centers devoted primarily to outbound campaigns have needs that differ substantially from inbound call centers devoted to customer service and support. First and foremost among these needs is an auto dialer of some sort.

Software Advice consults with over 100 buyers of auto dialers each year. We collect information about these buyers’ needs and businesses that yields crucial insights into the state of the auto dialer market.

Our analysis of our 2016 interaction data revealed a number of trends in these buyer’s needs:

Key Findings

  1. Very small call centers are heavily utilizing auto dialers—69 percent of our sample consists of buyers with 9 or fewer licensed users on the system.
  2. Seventeen percent of the buyers in our sample are specifically requesting predictive dialers, as opposed to more basic types of auto dialers.
  3. Buyers are increasingly looking for dialers that are integrated into call center suites, with 69 percent requesting integrated suites rather than stand-alone dialers.
  4. The most popular auto dialer feature is message lay-down, specifically requested by 7 percent of our sample (which includes buyers of call center suites).
  5. Dialers are increasingly used in remote call centers, with 8 percent of our sample requesting features such as mobile apps to support agents working from home.

Now, let’s take a deep dive into these findings.

Small Contact Centers Leveraging Auto Dialers

The typical advice about predictive dialers specifically, as opposed to basic auto dialers, is that you need at least eight to 10 agents to start seeing benefits with predictive dialing. (If you’re still not clear on the difference between predictive dialing and auto dialing, check out our explanation.)

However, we noticed that a large portion of our sample plans to license fewer than five employees on the system:

 

Buyer Size by Number of Licensed Users on Call Center System

 

Buyer Size by Number of Licensed Users on Call Center System
In some instances, these buyers are one-man shows—entrepreneurs looking for auto-dialing features to amplify outreach.

As we’ve already noted, less than a fifth of our sample is specifically interested in predictive dialing (as opposed to auto dialing). This finding correlates with the small size of the deployments these buyers are planning, as only 5 percent of our sample has over 100 employees.

Let’s now dig into the actual functionality that these buyers are requesting.

Predictive Dialing and Message Lay-Down are Top Buyer Needs

One thing to keep in mind when looking at the list of modules, features and integrations below is that nearly 70 percent of our sample wants dialers that are integrated in call center suites rather than stand-alone dialers.

Because of this, our interactions primarily document their broader needs for basic functionalities, such as automatic call distribution (ACD) in many cases.

That said, we do see some interest in specific dialer features showing up in our sample:

 

Top Functionality Needs of Predictive Dialer Buyers

Top Functionality Needs of Predictive Dialer Buyers
It’s no surprise that computer telephony integration (CTI) tops the list. In most cases, this term refers to the integration of call center software with CRM software, and is a basic need for efficiently running outbound campaigns.

On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that performance management solutions are requested alongside dialers by 26 percent of buyers. This trend indicates that a holistic approach to performance management needs to go beyond simply tracking sales by agent.

This is particularly true for outbound verticals such as collections, where agents’ performance isn’t always clearly reflected in the outcomes of interactions.

Predictive dialing was only specifically requested by 17 percent of our sample. This reflects the presence of smaller organizations in the sample.

Additionally, some organizations in verticals where sales are particularly challenging are looking for less aggressive modes of dialing. For instance, one buyer complains that his current dialer “burns their leads” too quickly.

Such buyers are still looking for auto dialing, but may be better able to utilize dialing modes such as progressive and preview dialing, which are better suited to sensitive leads.

As far as specific dialer functionality goes, the most compelling feature for the buyers in our sample is message lay-down dialing, which presents a prerecorded message when the recipient of the call picks up (for agentless campaigns) or when the call goes to voicemail.

Buyers Seeking Integrated Dialers

Traditionally, predictive dialers have been a best-of-breed market, due to the complexity of the technology and the numerous regulations and compliance issues around telemarketing.

Increasingly, however, buyers are demanding integration between the dialer and the rest of the call center system:

 

Buyers’ Integration Requirements for Predictive Dialers

Buyers’ Integration Requirements for Predictive Dialers
Nearly a third of our sample is explicitly seeking stand-alone dialers, rather than entirely replacing their systems. However, 69 percent want the dialer to be integrated.

When we look at the feature requirements above, we can see that many buyers intend to use dialers synergistically with their performance management, quality management (QM), CRM and call center scripting solutions.

Increasingly, organizations are taking the same data-driven approach to outbound campaigns that has governed inbound call centers for decades. Such an approach is facilitated by a more fully integrated dialer.

Call Centers Demanding Mobile Apps to Support Remote Agents

We’ve seen that 8 percent of our sample is specifically requesting mobile apps. This finding correlates with an increasing reliance on remote agents in smaller call centers:

 

Business Models of Call Centers Buying Predictive Dialers

Business Models of Call Centers Buying Predictive Dialers
Another 8 percent of the call centers in our sample use remote agents, and require software that supports employees working from home via robust mobile apps.

While dialers have traditionally been deployed on-premise, this finding suggests that hosted dialers will grow in popularity as a way to support remote call centers.

Sample Demographics

We’ve already broken down our sample by business size, but here’s a quick look at the top industries among our buyers:

 

Top Buyer Industries

Top Buyer Industries
This breakdown should come as little surprise to readers familiar with the market. Even though our buyers skew toward the smaller end of the organizational spectrum, their industries align fairly closely with those that have seen the heaviest use of auto-dialing technologies.

If you have questions or comments about any of the findings we discuss here, please email me at danielharris@softwareadvice.com

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