When it comes to streamlining the efficiency and effectiveness of your call team, a power dialer or predictive dialer can prove an essential tool in your arsenal.
Both solutions are designed to improve the experience of agent and caller alike while freeing up precious time spent manually dialing. They each have different strengths that can empower your team—but they also have important limitations that can make them a poor fit.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about power dialers and predictive dialers so you can choose the best fit for your business.
What is a Power Dialer?
Imagine you’re a customer service rep with a list of hundreds of phone numbers in front of you. One by one, you have to type each one in manually to make your next call. Not only do you spend a ton of time during your day pressing buttons—you have to be extra cautious not to accidentally press a wrong number as you go.
A power dialer automates this process by dialing the next number on your list as soon as you complete your previous call.
If there is no answer or if the line is unresponsive, the dialer will move to the next contact until it reaches a live person or a machine on which you can leave a message.
This is a huge time saver. Now you can make a larger amount of calls in a shorter period of time. Plus, you don’t have to worry about those potential misdials.
Here are a few more advantages of using a power dialer:
- You get control over your call pace with a steady 1:1 agent/customer ratio
- There’s an immediate call connection, with no wait time for the customer
- You have the option to leave a message if the customer doesn’t answer, making the experience more personalized
- There are potentially lower dropped call rates with power dialers
The drawbacks of a power dialer relate largely to its efficiency, particularly if:
- You expect a low rate of of call connection (below 30%)
- Your business is larger, with multiple call centers and a call list that includes over 1,000 contacts per agent, per day
- You don’t have at least a small team of dedicated agents who can manage an ongoing list of calls throughout the day
What is a Predictive Dialer?
Like a power dialer, a predictive dialer automates and streamlines the process of working through a pre-established contact list.
But rather than running through the list consecutively and connecting callers to agents as they become available, a predictive dialer can try two or more numbers at once, relying on call algorithms and system presets to estimate which callers will actually pick up and when an agent will be available.
One of the chief benefits of predictive dialers is their enhanced focus on time optimization, which is ideal for:
- Daily call lists of over 1,000 contacts per agent
- Larger sales teams at multiple call centers
- Cold calling a contact list with an expected answer rate below 30%
While this technology can drastically improve your ability to reach more people much faster, drawbacks can include:
- Less personalization, with callers sometimes experiencing a brief pause before being connected to an agent
- No option to leave a voicemail for further connection
- Possible Federal Communications Commission (FCC) compliance issues if more than 3% of calls are dropped
When to Use a Power Dialer vs. Predictive Dialer
If your business or team is small to mid-sized and your daily call list includes less than 1,000 fairly high-quality contacts, a power dialer is likely your best fit.
This technology will save your agents time while empowering them to engage in a more personalized approach. It can be a little more customer-friendly, as the call connection is immediate, so customers won’t have to deal with that awkward pause before being connected.
And in the event that no one answers, agents are able to make good use of their time by leaving a voicemail that elicits possible future connection.
Even more convenient—you achieve all of these benefits while avoiding the compliance risks associated with a predictive dialer’s dropped calls.
When to Use a Predictive Dialer vs. Power Dialer
A predictive dialer is ideal for much larger operations, such as call centers, with sizable teams dedicated to managing customer connections.
Since the system is only predictive in its ability to estimate how many people will answer at a given time of day, its multi-number dial feature can sometimes result in multiple live answers. In these cases, the first person to pick up is connected to an agent, while the remaining call is dropped, leading to lost sales opportunities.
This isn’t just a negative thing in terms of sales, though. It also has potential compliance implications
FCC regulations stipulate that callers have two seconds to identify themselves before a call is considered abandoned, and businesses are allowed only a set limit of such calls—roughly three percent of call volume. This protects consumers from rampant misuse of telemarketing and robocall technologies.
Because of these regulations, a predictive dialer can potentially put you at risk of legal trouble if an agent is not ready at the time a call is answered.
In order to mitigate this risk, many predictive software programs offer adjustable features that help to maintain a specific threshold of abandoned calls.
Businesses can also set a pre-recorded greeting to play while callers are waiting. However, this far less personalized approach can be frustrating and off-putting to callers.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Solutions
Several VoIP platforms, such as Nextiva and RingCentral, offer a suite of power or predictive dialing features, in addition to other helpful call services for modern businesses. Browse some of our top picks to discover a streamlined dialing solution that’s right for you.