When it comes to running a successful call center, there’s little debate over whether you should invest in call center software or a private branch exchange (PBX) solution. Spoiler alert: the winner is call center software.
However, when you drill down into what makes a robust call center tech stack, it can get a bit less cut and dry. For example, let’s look at smart dialers.
This is arguably the most important element of your tech stack. After all, your call center needs to make calls and a smart dialer will power all of your calls.
Sounds simple, right? Well, the reality is that there are multiple dialer options and some can end up hurting your business and reputation more than they help.
Below, we’ll walk you through three major dialer software options—auto dialers, predictive dialers, and power dialers. Then, we’ll tell you which one we think is the clear winner and why.
Let’s get after it!
Overview: Auto Dialers
People use the term auto dialer to loosely refer to any kind of dialing technology in the market. However, an auto dialer is actually a specific kind of dialing technology.
An auto dialer software automatically calls numbers (big surprise, who would have guessed?) from your contact lists. It determines whether it’s reached an answering machine or a person, then either plays a message or connects the call to your reps.
They can be effective for disseminating information on a case-by-case basis, like school closures or political announcements. That's because they can reach a lot of people quickly, and an actual rep is only needed once a call recipient shows interest.
At the same time, auto dialers have serious limitations—especially from an outbound sales perspective.
The “Telemarketer Delay”
Auto dialers have what’s infamously known in the telecommunications industry as the “telemarketer delay.” After a prospect picks up the phone, but before they're connected with a recorded message or rep, there's a short and painfully unavoidable pause as the system connects both parties.
That delay between the time a call recipient answers to the moment they're connected with an agent or recording is beyond frustrating for most people. As a result, they may not listen to your pitch and often just hang up before your rep is connected.
Spam and Scam Call Flags
We’re living in the age of Spamageddon, (I heard that name from an attendee on one of our webinars and I fell in love with it.) where legitimate businesses see their numbers incorrectly flagged as spam or scam.
It’s more important than ever to do everything in your power to mitigate the risk of being flagged and auto dialers do not help here. They hurt your efforts.
Call recipients are beyond annoyed with hearing an automated recording when they pick up their phone. If they hear one, there is a higher chance they will hang up (and even block the number)
And when they do, reputational analytics algorithms employed by the three major carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon—will pay attention. If these algorithms notice high volumes of suspicious call activity like this, your numbers can be flagged as spam or scam.
Overview: Predictive Dialers
Similar to auto dialers, predictive dialers automatically dial numbers from a predetermined list using multiple lines simultaneously The software is able to identify when a call is answered, and then route the call to a rep after the recipient says, "Hello."
The predictive dialer uses algorithmic-based data to determine the likelihood of a rep being available based on the total number of reps working, calls being made, and other metrics around rep call activity. In this way, it predicts when a new rep will be available and routes calls to those reps the second they're free.
True, predictive dialers can eliminate bad numbers, scale the call speed to your agent or rep availability, and dial more than one number at a time. All this can increase utilization while reducing wait times between calls, but it comes at a cost.
The “Telemarketer Delay,” Again
Predictive dialers will sometimes automatically dial a number if there's no live rep available. Even if the predictive dialer's algorithm expects an agent to be available once the call is answered, that doesn't always mean a rep can get on the line in time.
That leads to the dreaded "telemarketer delay," just like with auto dialers. Even if a rep is available, the software still has to route the call their way. That means call recipients hear the awkward pause as they wait for an agent to come on the line.
As a result, predictive dialers tend to increase skepticism and hang-ups, which can negatively impact results. It can also lead to higher chances that the number gets flagged as spam or scam.
No Room for Prospect Research
Since predictive dialer bases call connections on an algorithm that analyzes agent availability, reps can’t conduct prospect research and prioritize their list. They have no say in who gets called next and reps often don't have time to catch their breath between connections.
This may not be an important factor to some organizations, but for those who prioritize rep autonomy, it’s a major roadblock. There’s often no time to even review call notes before the next connection comes through.
Trouble with the FCC and FTC
If you’re in the telecommunications industry, you don’t want to tick off the FCC. Predictive dialers will absolutely push their buttons and force them to pay attention to you in all the wrong ways.
Again, it’s that dreaded delay, which can cause numerous calls to be dropped. The FCC strictly regulates the frequency of dropped calls. If an organization abandons more than 3% of its calls, it may have violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and/or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Violating the TSR and the TCPA is nothing to scoff at: the FTC can impose fines for breaches in these protocols, up to $43,792 per incident. And the FCC may impose fines as well.
Overview: Power Dialers
Power dialers empower your reps to rapidly dial through customized lists of contacts at a rate of about 60 to 80 contacts per hour. But it’s not only about speed—it’s about maximizing the potential for live conversations while still maintaining a seamless call experience for the recipient.
There are a few drawbacks compared to auto and predictive dialers though. First, you can’t make as many calls since you’re only calling one contact at a time on a single line.
Second, power dialers can operate faster than your reps and agents. As soon as they finish one call, it starts dialing the next. The right software partner will have a pause functionality built into their platform though, so your reps can hit pause, collect themselves and their notes, and then move on.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the positives of power dialer software far outweigh the negatives. Here’s what makes power dialers the best outbound software you can use.
Instant Human-to-Human Connection
Remember the “telemarketer delay?” It doesn’t exist with power dialers. That’s because the software is built on providing real-time, live conversations with actual human beings—not robots or automated messages.
Your reps are on the line the entire time while the power dialer is calling and the millisecond someone answers they’re able to say, “Hello!”
This human-to-human connection is crucial when it comes to reducing hang-ups, improving the quality of live conversations, and ultimately accomplishing the goal of the call.
And since your reps are in control of the dial session the entire time, they can tailor personalized messages and pitches to each prospect based on their research, notes from previous calls, or additional relevant context.
Power dialer software is more than just a dialer—it’s an automation platform as well. One of the reasons your team can get through 60 to 80 calls per hour is because their repetitive workflows can be automated to save crucial time.
For example, with the right power dialer software partner, the same click that logs a call outcome can automatically:
- Drop a pre-recorded voicemail
- Send an email immediately following a call
- Send an SMS text message
- Set a follow-up call
- Apply notes and tags
- Trigger other post-call workflows
Your reps are in full control the entire time. And when the software is busy dialing, automatically leaving voicemails, or working through contact lists, they can focus their efforts on other crucial elements of their job.
Integration with Other Platforms
Any SaaS company worth their salt knows that their product doesn’t comprise an entire tech stack. Companies are actively using multiple platforms to accomplish their goals.
For example, many outbound sales teams use Salesforce as their primary CRM. The right power dialer software will seamlessly integrate with Salesforce or other tech platforms you use, so your team can improve call efficiency without leaving the CRM.
In the case of Salesforce specifically, that means any dial sessions, workflow automations, or call activity should be synced to both your power dialer and Salesforce. This type of integration makes power dialer software an indispensable part of any company’s overall outbound sales strategy.
The Clear Winner: Power Dialer Software
When it comes to choosing a dialer for your organization, your best bet is likely a power dialer software. It’s a powerful (pun intended) option that caters to the needs and priorities of teams of any size.
Regardless of what software option you choose though, remember that it’s only as good as the people using it. Be sure to arm your reps with as much knowledge as possible to optimize their outbound processes and increase their chances of having quality, live conversations.
Good luck and happy dialing!
If you’re looking to increase your tech stack with a power dialer solution, check out AppExchange to get started.
About the author: Will Schmidt runs Content Marketing at PhoneBurner, a power dialer software that helps outbound teams and sales professionals find and convert leads, automate repetitive workflows, manage contacts, and ultimately close more deals.
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