Modern call centre basics – predictive dialer – part 1
For a digital call centre – virtual or installed alike – the predictive dialer is a useful tool to handle outbound calls, manage customer care or to run telemarketing campaigns. This tool is relatively new but has proven its usefulness many times, the technology behind it become more sophisticated over time. The predictive dialer substantially improves call centre efficiency, and such improves business results. The tool is utmost useful in virtual call centres, where alongside other software based solutions can be used at its maximum efficiency. Before showing advantages of predictive dialer it is worth taking a look at the environment where it can be used, and such highlighting its importance.
Handling outbound calls is the key to find success in telemarketing
The efficiency of a telesales operator and a telesales company is influenced by the number of people they can reach during a set amount of time. No matter if they are willing to sell products, services, or to set appointments, retain customers, follow up orders either to broaden their services one factor remains constant: the outbound call model requires efficiency and speed. Hiring more people, leasing more telephone lines and building new infrastructure can lead to an increase in speed and efficiency alike – if we go the traditional and expensive way. The price of a successful sales pitch can be very high – so high, that can not justify development costs. This is the moment when technology steps in and an intelligent predictive dialer will guarantee a higher return on investment.
Professional evolution: from manual to predictive dialing
To handle outbound calls a telemarketing company needs four basic tools: database, human resource, technical tools and outbound telephone service. Usually, the database is given (its augmentation is not a topic for this article); the phone service is usually stable. There are two areas left for improvement: human resources and technical tools. As stated earlier it is very expensive to broaden human resources, and this not necessarily comes with efficiency improvement. The only area left is the development of technical tools, where one can find useful possibilities. Telesales industry figured this out a long time ago, and so, handling of outbound calls improved and still improves daily, no matter what type of calls we are handling: cold calls (when we contact a person who had no previous history, contact with the company), warmed-up call (when we contact a person who was previously contacted by the company, has some sort of knowledge regarding the product or service in question) or warm call (when we contact an existing and hopefully satisfied customer). Technology makes possible to distinguish between these calls and handles them differently, helping the operator.
Handling outbound calls changed tremendously in the past years. The classic manual dialing is disappearing (paper or Excel table, manual button pushing) because its efficiency is rather low: operator spends only 13 minutes per hour with effective calls, this being something less than one-third of his work time.
In the next stage of evolution, the operator could call the phone numbers with one click. This technology gave a somewhat better result, with an average of 15 minutes spent on effective calls per hour. The predial technique (when the system initiates calls automatically and not transmitted calls are administered somehow) offered a quality leap: 20 minutes of effective calls can be achieved.
Another important development was the appearance of power dialing. In power mode, calls are initiated automatically, taking into consideration the number of freely available operators. The live connection is routed to the operator who waited the longest time – the actual workflow is continuous. This technique allowed an operator to work 25 minutes per hour with effective calls – with a 10 minute break this means that work is 50 % efficient.
The real development was brought by the introduction of predictive dialer, which nearly doubled the efficiency of the power mode.