What is Outbound Call Center?
The outbound call center is a business activity in which call center operators make outbound calls to current or potential customers. The outbound call center relies on technology and modern Call Center software solutions to organize and optimize its operation. Most often outbound call centers organize campaigns for:
- Pro-active customer service (e.g., informing about delays, problems, delivery arrangements, etc.)
- Finding new customers (calling potential target customers)
- Renewal of service subscription or repeat purchase from existing customers
- Up-sell and Cross-sell to existing customers
- Debt collection
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Marketing and market research
- Scheduling meetings
What is a Call Center Dialer?
Call Center Dialer, Outbound Dialer, or very often only Dialer is a software application used in call centers which automates and optimizes the outbound calls. In its nature a Dialer is a system that makes outbound phone calls and connects the call center operator with the dialed customer.Dialers operate in different modes and usually they are either integrated or part of the functionalities of the Call Center software , used by call center operators. Call Center Dialer helps any business that requires a large number of outbound calls.
Types of Call Center Dialer
When deploying Outbound Dialer, you should consider first the different dialing modes and which mode would be most suitable for your outbound campaigns. There are many types of outbound dialers, but depending on the degree of automation, they can be summarized in several main categories.
Manual Dialer, or Hand Dialing, as its name suggests, is a fully manual outbound phone call mode. This is the most basic Dialer, which is characterized with the most inefficient way of making outbound phone campaigns. This Dialer is rarely used in call center operation, but yet it is an option for very small, start-up businesses. The manual Dialer is actually the keyboard on the phone or computer (Dialpad), and the phone number is dialed manually by the operator.
Passive Dialer (Click-to-Call Dialer)
Passive Dialer, also called Click-to-Call Dialer or List Dialing, is a dialer where a call center operator gets a list with caller IDs, and he chooses which one to dial, as well as when and to which phone number to make the call. This dialing mode gives the operator a complete freedom with regard to which client to choose to work on, as well as how much time is needed to get acquainted with the client’s specific case before making the phone call itself. This dial mode, unlike the fully manual mode, saves time, as it is done with a single mouse click instead of manual typing the phone number on the keypad. Passive dialing mode could be used for small-volume campaigns, which require a very thorough preparation before making the call itself.
Similar to Passive Dialer, Preview Dialer saves time and effort with respect to the manual dialng of phone numbers. The difference between the two types of dialing is that, while Passive Dialer operator chooses when and which customer in the campaign list to choose to work on, Preview Dialer software itself displays on the screen the information about the customer that the operator should work on, but leaves the operator as much time as needed to prepare for the conversation and then dial the client. Preview Dialer is suitable for campaigns that require detailed preparation before the conversation with the client, but also aim to eliminate the subjective choice on which client should be worked on next. A good example for an appropriate outbound campaign for Preview Dialer is debt collection with long-term arrears.
Progressive Dialer (Power Dialer)
Progressive Dialer (sometimes also called Power Dialer) is an automatic dialing mode. It automatically performs outbound dialing at the moment when the operator is released from the previous call. Progressive Dialer usually requires additional settings such as predefined time before the call is placed for preparation for the conversation with the client, as well as wrap time – a predefined time for processing the information after the end of conversation. At the moment when the operator finishes wrapping up the information from the call, the dialer automatically dials the next contact. Progressive mode saves operators’ time to perform phone dialing (dialing time) and this is usually the first step in automating outgoing phone campaigns. It is suitable for processing large dial lists, which require no special detailed preparation before the call, and when required dial time is predictable and uniform for each contact (for ex. renewal of subscription, repeating purchases, sale of related products, etc.)
Predictive Dialer is the most efficient dialing mode and the most productive way to automate outgoing phone campaigns. Predictive Dialer, as the name suggests, collects and analyses a large amount of information about the operators and their phone calls, and "predicts" ("predict" means in English forecasts), assesses how many outgoing phone numbers to dial at the same time (usually more than the number of operators available in the outbound campaign), so that when an operator finishes a call, the connection with the next person to dial is already made, and the already connected call is being given to the operator. While Progressive Dialer saves and minimizes dialing time (Dialing Time), Predictive Dialer aims at minimizing the time that operators wait without having an active conversation with a customer, and at optimizingthe utilization of the operator in the call center.
The disadvantage of Predictive Dialer is that it inevitably leads to a small percentage of answered, but not operator-connected outgoing calls (Abandoned Outbound Calls) – These are calls performed by the Predictive Dialer, which are answered, but there has been no available operator to take the call. It should be taken into consideration that in different geographic regions there are legal constraints on the maximum permissible percentage of Abandoned Outbound Calls. This percentage is usually less than 3% and the Predictive Dialer algorithm is set to reduce the number of simultaneous dials if this percentage is exceeded.
Theory distinguishes between two sub-groups of Predictive Dialers:
Static Predictive Dialer
Static Predictive Dialer does not rely on historical, statistical information to determine the number of simultaneous calls to be placed by the dialer, and in this sense, though this kind of dialer is referred to as a Predictive Dialer, it is not a real Predictive Dialer. With a Static Predictive Dialer the call center supervisor estimates the average call duration, Abandoned Outbound Calls, etc., based on some statistical information, and manually sets in the software how many calls to be made simultaneously.
Adaptive Predictive Dialer
Adaptive Predictive Dialer uses an algorithm that calculates in real-time the parameter for simultaneous number of outgoing calls. Decisions are based on many more parameters than with Static Predictive Dialer and recalculation is made much more often. The indicators involved in the algorithm are Abandoned Outbound Calls, average call time, and also the time of the day, and other relevant parameters.
Which dialer is most suitable?
If you are searching for how to optimize and automate your call center activity, investing in Call Center Dialer is a step in the right direction. Every business has its specifics and, accordingly, its needs and limitations, that must be considered before choosing suitable dialer. It is important to take into account the following factors:
Number of call center operators
The size of the call center is also important when choosing the right dialer. If your call center has a large number of operators (e.g., 25 people or more) who work on a large number of contact details, Predictive Dialer could be the most suitable for you. But if your call center is of a small size and works with a small number of operators and/or a small number of phone lines, then Progressive Dialer is the most appropriate since it requires to always have an operator to take over the phone call. However, if your work requires detailed investigation of customer information, Preview Dialer remains preferred and most appropriate choice of Call Center Dialer regardless of how large your call center team is.
Type of participants in a Call Center campaign
The type of participants in the Call Center campaign is essential when selecting the appropriate Call Center Dialer. For example, Predictive Dialer is not suitable for campaigns that call potential and current customers with great perspective, as it is presumed that they require more attention and personal attitude. To achieve a good final result, it is essential that the conversation is personalized and meaningful, which could be achieved most effectively with the Preview Dialer. It is also important to consider whether the campaign participants are corporate clients (B2B) or End-users (B2C). For campaigns that process corporate clients, often the phones are answered by secretaries and assistants, and to reach the right person requires more ingenuity from the operator – this is better achieved with Progressive Dialer than with Predictive Dialer. On the other hand, individual campaign dialing usually has the phone number of the person sought and if there are no other considerations, Predictive Dialer is preferred.
Resource of participants in a Call Center campaign
Sometimes the dialer choice should be consistent with the origin and the source of potential customers in the campaign. Potential customers collected from certain sources, such as advertisements or organized events, require special treatment in order to ensure a good result at the end. Such leads should be processed with Progressive Dialer or Preview Dialer, where there is always an operator available to take the connected call with the customers, as well as an operator with the necessary training and skills to close the transaction successfully.
In addition to the factors described above, when choosing a Call Center Dialer, it is important to take into account also the ability to quickly and easily increase the capacity of the software, the possibility of data customization on the screen according to the Call Center campaign, use of scripts and polls, integration capabilities, processing of inbound calls, IVR, CRM integration, reporting capabilities, Real-Time Monitoring, etc.
Contact us , if you want to learn more about Dialers and to discuss how the InfoServ Dialer fits in your business.