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Featured

What is an outbound dialler?

An outbound dialler is generally a cloud or software solution that automatically makes calls on behalf of your sales, collection or customer service teams. As such, it’s an essential ingredient in any organisation where you need to make outbound calls to clients and prospects throughout the day.

Why? Most obviously, by automating the dialling process you allow your agents to make a far higher volume of calls than would otherwise be possible. Your outbound dialler can dial numbers and screen for unanswered calls and voicemails, and will only connect to an agent when a real person answers the phone. By cleverly crunching data, it can also prioritise your data sets. So if you know you have more success speaking to clients who have retired between the hours of 10am and 12pm and those who are at work after 5pm, you have the power to control your data strategies, allowing you to focus on those that are most likely to result in a positive outcome, at the right time.

Those are huge benefits on their own, but they’re far from the only ones. Modern cloud and software diallers can be tweaked to help you achieve different results. Different diallers (or dialler modes) can be adopted by different teams (or individual agents) with contrasting functions, whether that’s late payment collection, contract renewals, new sales, post-sales service or anything else.

The optimum functionality of your outbound dialler very much depends on the type of outbound calls you want to make. In this blog, we give you a rundown of the most common dialler modes.

Outbound dialling agent

The most common dialler modes:

Predictive dialling

What is it? When most people think of outbound dialling software, they tend to think of predictive dialling. Predictive dialling places calls based on the software’s predictions of agent availability. It dials multiple numbers simultaneously, so that when agents finish one call they can be instantly connected to the next.

Predictive dialling is hugely efficient. At its heart is an algorithm that is constantly crunching data to refine the rate at which calls are made, with the aim of ensuring that, if a customer answers a call, there’s always an agent available to take it, but that no agent is sitting twiddling their thumbs. This dialling rate is adjusted in real time to take into account the ebb and flow of the working day.

What is it used for? However sophisticated the algorithm, predictive dialling can lead to some abandoned calls – when a customer answers the phone but there isn’t an agent available to speak to them. There are strict rules around abandoned calls and heavy fines for businesses that ignore them, so you must ensure that your predictive dialler is compliant. It should automatically slow the dialling rate if too many calls are abandoned.

Nevertheless, predictive dialling is the standard for straightforward, high volume sales campaigns (like commodity sales) or debt collection activity. It can quickly and efficiently work through large datasets, making sure leads are contacted while they’re still warm. The best predictive diallers minimise abandoned calls (and the amount of time customers spend on hold) and maximise the time your agents spend having conversations. They can be set to play messages if they meet an answerphone, and will recycle numbers (placing unanswered calls back into the call queue) in a way that ensures your customers or leads are contacted, but never pestered.

Progressive dialler

What is it? Progressive diallers are predictive diallers that slow the pace down by only dialling a number when an agent is available to take the call. Dialling is instant and automatic, so the system still allows for a relatively high number of calls, but also eliminates the risk of customers abandoning calls or waiting a frustratingly long time before being connected to an agent. As with other diallers, calls that go to voicemail can be automatically and instantly disconnected, and ‘no answers’ are disconnected after a predefined time.

What is it used for? Progressive dialling is lower volume than predictive dialling, so is often used in campaigns that target current customers. It’s a low risk option that can improve customer experience, help nurture loyalty and effectively help agents upsell additional products and services. Because an agent is always available to have a conversation, the customers you have painstakingly nurtured over a period of time feel valued and important.

Preview dialler

What is it? A preview dialler takes the pace down another notch. When an agent indicates availability, information about the next call is sent to the agent for preview. After a set amount of time – say, one minute – the number is automatically dialled. The purpose of this delay is to let the agent prepare for the call, using information typically taken from the company CRM system – which are often integrated into the dialler. Armed with this knowledge and having reviewed the conversational scripts, agents can have more in-depth, focused conversations, based on a customer’s real experiences and challenges. It can improve customer experience and increase the number of positive outcomes.

What is it used for? Preview diallers are particularly helpful when the reason for the call is complex or sensitive. For example, following up with web leads or dealing with customer complaint calls are both more likely to end positively if agents are armed with all the information they need beforehand. In a B2B setting, preview diallers are also useful for helping agents prepare a bespoke pitch based on specific customer circumstances.

MaxContact offers the most sophisticated outbound dialler currently available. Our continually improving cloud-based solution gives you the flexibility to run your contact centre your way, letting you choose the right blend of productivity and compliance for your business needs. With over a 1,000 unique features, MaxContact’s outbound dialler helps meet your contact centre challenges in new and powerful ways. Find out more about MaxContact’s Dialler.

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Industry expert Natalie Calvert helps ambitious leaders powerfully engage customers and employees in a way that impacts the bottom line. Her clients have included organisations of all sizes, including some of the world’s largest brands: O2, Royal Mail, Audi, LEGO, M&S and BT. She is also a board advisor and judge for the Lloyds Bank...