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What Are Predictive Dialers?

Predictive Dialers are used in call centers to increase productivity and decrease agent average idle time. Predictive dialing is a system of outbound calling that dials without the agent being on the line. The system dials a phone number, listens and when a live "hello" is detected, automatically transfers the call quickly to an available agent. The predictive dialer places numerous calls simultaneously, checking each number for a live "hello" . If the call is busy, no answer, not working, etc., the dialer either discards or reschedules the call and then dials another number.

The dialer is predictive because it anticipates when the next agent will become available and when the next "hello" will be detected. They also take into account how many agents are working and adjust the number of calls dialed accordingly. These dialers can even be programmed to reject answering machines. Predictive dialers are commonly used for telemarketing, surveys, appointment confirmation, payment collection, and service follow-ups.

A Predictive dialer uses complex algorithms to predict calls. All work along similar principles, but the architecture of dialing performed, can vary greatly between manufacturers. There are two basic types of predictive dialers: Soft Predictive dialers and hard Predictive dialers.

Soft Predictive Dialers provide software only solution using ISDN messaging or computer telephony integration CTI (CTI is a technology that allows interactions on a telephone and a computer to be integrated or coordinated). Their advantage lies in their low cost, as they make use of fewer components. Their flexible architecture works well in multi-site and distributed environments. Soft Predictive Dialers are often part of an integrated inbound/outbound call handling package and integrate easily to existing desktop applications and management information systems. Their downside is that they require a higher number of telephony connections and the quality of certain capabilities such as answering machine detection may suffer.

Hardware Predictive dialers use a dedicated telephony switch to perform call progress analysis and answering machine detection. They require less telephony connections and have superior answering machine and call progress detection abilities. The downside is they are more expensive, andd therefore more suited for larger call centers. Hardware dialer architectures are typically less flexible than their software alternatives. Most current products are more than a decade old and struggle to keep pace with new requirements. Hardware dialers are typically USA centric and fail to comply with international legislation.

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