In today’s competitive world, it is no longer sufficient to advertise and expect the market to come to you through an inbound phone call. Instead, existing customers need to be encouraged and enticed in order to be loyal and new customers need to be searched for.
These days, companies are constantly looking to increase their customer service levels as retaining existing customers is far less cost intensive than attempting to win new ones. As a result, companies are proactively making contact with their customer base on a regular basis to increase customer service by way of outbound dialing.
Before companies can jump into proactive outbound dialer software, they first must transition from inbound-only communications to a blended contact center with outbound dialing. It’s important for leaders to recognize that making this transition represents a significant shift from a reactive customer service approach to communicating proactively to customers.
In this transition, they must determine the number of outbound communications the contact center plans to conduct and the objectives that it seeks to accomplish.
Sales is still a numbers game.
What is a Dialer?
A dialer is an application used in call centers to automate the process of dialing to external phone numbers so that the agents can attend to certain calls selectively. Well, since call centers want to increase the productivity per agent they have employed, they monitor the time which is spent by an agent to talk to a prospective customer.
So, when the agents are provided with a database and asked to call to various prospects, it is noticed that the effective time spent in talking to the customers is very low as many calls are not picked up, answered by fax machines, busy etc. So, the agents spend more time dialing numbers than actually talking.
That is why many outbound call centers employ dialers that automatically dials the phone numbers on behalf of the agents, to increase their efficiency, which is sometimes measured in Talk Time per Hour (TTH).
Types of Dialers:
1. Manual Dialer
There is a phone, there is a phone line connected to it. So, the agents just pick up the phone and start dialing by themselves! It has been noticed that this is the least efficient way of conducting outbound call campaigns in larger call centers (based on Talk Time per Hour values). But we’ll tell you one thing: This is the most economical way for a very small call center/ office.
2. Preview Dialing
This is the first level of Dialer automation. There is a database in a PC and the agent selects which number to dial to and perhaps clicks on the contact (or uses some other button) so that the call is automatically dialed by the system and the agent doesn’t have to dial through a keypad.
Based on the response, the agent either talks to the person at the other end or manually disconnects the call if there is an answering machine, fax machine, busy signal or no response. The records need to be manually updated by the agent, after the call.
3. Predictive Dialing:
A predictive dialer automatically identifies answering machines based on the length of the response immediately after the call is picked up: If it is a short “hello” then it probably is a live contact, if there is a longer response, then it is probably an answering machine. Some predictive dialers’ use frequency detection of the voice answering the call to identify if it is a live contact (person) or an answering machine, which is more effective.
- It can intelligently assign calls to available agents. It never waits for one particular agent to be available. All agents on the team are expected to be equally competent professionally to handle any call. That means the agent doesn’t get to choose which call to take or ignore. There is almost no chance of bias.
- A predictive dialer helps to organize and manage the client database and maintain all relevant records systematically. That means the manager or clients don’t have to scribble down notes and fear to misplace them. It can rework the call structure based on the record of previous calls.
- This technology can help to blend calls in a call center which deals with both outbound sales and inbound customer service. A predictive dialer and an automated call distribution system can work in tandem to assign calls to available agents.
- It helps to improve the efficiency of each agent working in a team. It gives all of them an equal chance to improve and makes the work challenging. This improves agent morale and makes it easier for them to fulfill sales targets.
- Improves the professional relationship between the administration and the workforce because no one can allege prejudice as the workload is assigned by an automated system.
- A dialer helps to always keep the database updated. Separate call-back lists are maintained with the time of preferred calling. When the time comes, the system will automatically place the call, put an agent on the call and support him on a real-time basis with the relevant information about the customer and past call history.
In this method, the agent indicates his/her availability and only after the indication by the agent, the progressive dialer starts dialing automatically from the database. There on, the progressive dialer determines if the call resulted in a busy signal, no-answer, fax machine, modem signal etc. and automatically terminates the call.
If any of the above cases is not true, then the agent gets to decide if it is a live call or the call is being answered by an answering machine. If it is a live call, then the agent starts talking to the contact right after the word “Hello” and if it is an answering machine, the agent manually updates (by clicking a button etc.) the database and after that, the progressive dialer starts calling the next record automatically.
There are no abandoned calls by using a progressive dialer and there is also no delay meaning the agent can start talking to the contact immediately after the contact answers with a “Hello”.
The agent might also get some time to preview the details about the contact while the progressive dialer is dialing the number (at least the pronunciation of the name). Progressive dialing is better suited for Business to Business dialing.
Now that you know the different types of dialers, take a look at how you could utilize these tools to boost your team’s sales performance and increase revenue.
The disadvantages include lesser Talk Time per Hour (Lesser efficiency), longer duration is taken for each call and the agent has to manually distinguish if the call is answered by an answering machine or a live contact to update the database.
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