Predictive dialer software is used in telemarketing and call centers to make automatic phone calls. With call center software, the telemarketer is not required to manually dial each phone number. Instead, with predictive dialing, a computer does the dialing. The different types of predictive dialers are software platforms, hardware platforms, and hosted platforms.
Originally, automatic dialing, called an autodialer, helped in call centers by dialing batches of numbers the next available telemarketer or call center agent would pick up. Predictive dialer software goes a step further by using algorithms to determine how many agents will be available to pick up dialed calls at a given time. The software is able to adjust the number of calls the system makes based on agent availability.
This helps prevent nuisance or silent calls. A silent call is when the autodialer calls too many numbers at once, and there is not an agent available to talk when someone answers the call. Predictive dialer software also captures data on the calls made. This allows the call center or telemarketing company to make modifications as necessary to the calling pattern. Some information provided is how many calls were answered, how many calls were picked up by an answering machine or voice mail, and how many calls were dropped.
Survey companies and debt collection agencies also use predictive dialer software. Survey companies typically buy a list of phone numbers based on a certain geographic area or demographic. The phone number list is then loaded into the software and the autodialer calls only numbers from that list. Similarly, debt collection agencies upload the phone numbers of the clients they need to call and the autodialer calls the people from whom the collector is attempting to get payment.
Predictive dialer software is often used in conjunction with hardware platforms such as telephony boards. Telephony board equipment can detect answering machines, and will then either hang up or leave a recorded message. This eliminates the need for the agent to process the call.
A hosted platform is an Internet-based predictive dialing system. This method employs an Internet link connected to the agent's telephone. Hosted platforms are beneficial for smaller companies because the upfront cost of computers or telephony board equipment is not necessary. The predictive dialer software is provided as a service, and as long as the agent is connected to the Internet the autodialer will work. The call data and demographics are provided by the host service, and requested changes to call ratios and geographic regions are made through the service provider.