Dialing calls and waiting for pickup, listening to voice messages, or worse, the sound of someone hanging up. These small, daily tasks can add up to waste much of your outbound sales reps’ time. An outbound dialer helps cut down this busy work to increase your agents’ productivity and response times, leaving them to focus on converting leads into sales.
That’s why it makes good business sense to use an outbound dialer at your call center. But not all dialers are the same, so the choice can be complicated. From the different types of dialer available to the many elements of your business that affect your selection, we’ll guide you through the things you need to know to decide which dialer is best.
The 3 Ps of outbound dialers
An outbound dialer is technology that reduces the manual work of outbound calling so that call centre reps can focus on the most important part of the job: closing.
But there are different outbound dialer types, each suited to different business needs. Once upon a time they were analog. These days, though, most call centers use software — either locally hosted or cloud based. There’s a lot you have to consider to make the right choice for your team. First, you need to know your options.
The preview dialer
The preview dialer first shows an outbound agent the record of a lead, then dials. Your agents may also have the option to skip the call or send it to another rep. This technology is ideal for situations where agents require background on who they’re calling.
The power dialer
The power dialer (or progressive dialer) calls numbers one after the other on behalf of an agent and connects the agent with answered calls. If a number is busy, wrong, or goes to voicemail, the dialer will automatically move on to the next number. When the agent’s call ends, the software starts dialing again. Your agents can spend the moments between calls reviewing customer information instead of calling.
The predictive dialer
The predictive dialer is similar, but it’s faster and more efficient. It dials multiple numbers simultaneously on behalf of a team and transfers answered calls to an available agent. With an advanced predictive dialer, you can choose parameters for call routing to ensure the right rep talks to the lead. This type of dialer may also automatically adjust its call rate to your agents’ availability so that calls don’t go unanswered. If your team prioritizes talk time, this could be the option for you. ReadyMode’s predictive dialer has the potential to triple agent talk time and increase conversions by as much as 300%.
Choosing the best outbound dialer for your call center
The best choice for your call center depends on the unique qualities of your business and your team. Here’s what to keep in mind when making a decision.
1. Call type
The most basic consideration is the types of outbound calls your team needs to make. If your agents tackle hundreds (or thousands) of cold calls, they’ll benefit from the speed and reach of a predictive or power dialer. But if the pace of sales is slow and there’s a lot of research involved, they can get by with a preview dialer and might appreciate the way it previews records. That said, the best predictive dialers can be customized to suit any situation and scale as needed
2. Team size
Large teams generally see the best results from predictive dialers, since these can continuously dial numbers on multiple lines — up to 12 lines at once with ReadyMode. If you have many reps available for calls, this software can make a huge difference to keep them busy with productive work. Teams with only a few agents may not need more than one line per agent, but a great thing about some predictive dialers, like ReadyMode’s, is how they can be configured to match any workflow
3. Call volume
Whether your agents make cold calls or use a list of warm leads, you need to understand how your outbound call volume affects which dialer is best for your call center. For low volumes, preview dialers will do. Power and predictive dialers both suit higher volumes but vary in the number of calls they can make per hour, time between calls, and rates of dropped calls. All that, plus individual factors like your agents’ average talk time and the settings you choose, affects their reach. And of course, the size of your database ultimately limits how many calls you can make. So, how many contacts do you have now, and how quickly does your list grow? Choose the software that will help you make steady progress without exhausting your database and leaving agents idle.
4. User experience
One thing that differentiates outbound dialer types is wait time. When outbound call centres dial manually, their agents spend a lot of time dialing, then a lot of time waiting for prospects to answer. A string of unanswered calls could frustrate or demotivate them. Preview dialers take care of dialing, but they don’t address the problem of waiting for someone to pick up. Power dialers serve up answered calls, but they only dial the next call once the line is free. Reps may still need to wait uncertain amounts of time while the dialer cycles through numbers, but at least they are free to take care of other tasks. A well-calibrated predictive dialer can minimize all these pain points, dialing in the background and delivering answered calls right on time.
Consider what your workflow requires from your agents before, during, and after their calls:
- Do they need to read up on each lead before getting on the call, or can they go in cold?
- Can they access information on the lead during the call, or do they need to take notes?
- Do they need time between calls to update the customer’s file, or is that automated?
Understanding the tasks associated with calling and how they affect the ideal pace of work for your teams can help you decide which type of outbound dialer is best suited for your call center. Preview dialers can meet the needs of agents with a slow pace who require time to prepare for each call. Power dialers allow some time to prepare and let reps determine the pace at which calls are placed. Predictive dialers use data from real calls to determine when the next group of numbers should be dialed. ReadyMode’s predictive dialer can calibrate automatically to your team’s pace to optimize their efficiency, or it can be manually configured to match your ideal workflow.
There are three main types of outbound dialers, each with its own unique features. You may even find an outbound dialer that has all the advantages of its type — and none of the drawbacks.
What’s on your wishlist? Ask your team what’s on theirs. Decide which features are “must have” and which are “nice to have” to help you prioritize when reviewing your options.
Here are some considerations:
- Data: Some products include dashboards and reports you can use to measure your team’s success. Do you already have analytics, or do you need them?
- Ongoing training: Would your team benefit from on-the-spot feedback from leaders? What about automatic feedback from voice-recognition software? Live monitoring options can help your team do its best.
- CRM: If you already use a CRM to keep records in a central location, you’ll want your dialer to integrate. If you don’t, look for a dialer that comes bundled with a CRM. Equipped with both its own CRM and the ability to integrate, ReadyMode’s dialer makes a great choice for either use case. Using a CRM is the easiest way to make sure agents can access contacts’ information, fast.
When shopping around for the best predictive dialer software, consider what the vendors bring to the table and how they suit your needs as a call center and business.
Ask the vendor these questions:
- Is their service cloud-based, like ReadyMode, or do you need to maintain it in-house?
- Is there an out-of-the-box option or can you customize it?
- Is there a dedicated in-house support team?
- Do you have a dedicated rep to help you?
- Is training available to all agents, even new ones?
Discuss the options with your IT department to understand the limitations and opportunities of your system, the potential for integration, and your support needs.
Reaching a selection
When looking for the best outbound dialer on the market, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each type. Consider the calls you need to make, the size of your team and database, the way you work, your customers’ expectations, and the features you need to integrate with your system.
Take your time. And don’t forget to look ahead. This decision will benefit your team and boost your bottom line for years to come, especially if you choose an option that scales. ReadyMode’s predictive dialer has the speed and power large teams need, but its customization options mean it is built for calibration to any volume of sales. So, if growth is on your roadmap, you may have already found the best predictive dialer for your call center.
Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock Inc
How to Utilize an Outbound Predictive Dialer in Telephone Sales