Choosing the right vessel is critical when setting out on the open waters. Though not exactly the same thing, picking the best dialer for your call center is also critical for meeting your specific business goals and reaching the most people with the least staff.

There are ups and downs to each kind of call center dialer, so it’s important to know how you can use them to boost the efficiency and profitability of your call center.

What are the types of call center dialers?

When it comes to call center dialers, many people think of call center dialers in generic terms like robo-callers, which are used in reference to auto dialers. You may also have heard of intelligent dialers that have some added technologies. These mainly include integrations with customer resource management systems to enhance customer interactions, but they don’t always offer new dialing methods.

However, there are many other types of call center dialers, as listed below:

  • Auto dialer.
  • Power dialer.
  • Preview dialer.
  • Predictive dialer.
  • Progressive dialer.

You can integrate any of these call center dialers with today’s best VoIP systems. Let’s explore how each call center dialer type has specific capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Auto dialers

Auto dialers are the trusty, rusty anchors of call center technology, and they are particularly useful for dealing with large contact lists.

As far as dialing technology goes, auto dialers are pretty simple. They’re designed only to make calls from predefined lists, and they do so automatically and continuously.

Benefits of auto dialers include:

  • Automated dialing: It automates dialing to eliminate the need for manual calling. This saves time and ensures everyone on the list gets called.
  • Call analytics: It offers detailed insights into call performance. This helps call centers make data-driven decisions and refine their strategies.
  • Increased efficiency: Automating the dialing process lets agents spend less time pushing buttons and more time having meaningful conversations with clients.
  • Customization: Call centers can modify their auto dialers to suit different campaigns. This makes them versatile and suitable for various industries and purposes.

Auto dialers can increase efficiency and improve business margins versus manual dialing, but compared to more advanced dialing technologies, they have some drawbacks.

  • Connect delay: Auto dialers have a noticeable delay between when a person answers the phone and when an agent responds. This happens because the auto dialer needs time to connect the answered call with an available agent. It can lead to a negative experience for contacts who realize a machine is calling them.
  • Call abandonment: If the dialer makes more calls than available agents can answer, it can lead to abandoned calls. This can create a bad customer experience for those on the other end who answer and get no response.
  • Limited customization: Auto dialers can be customized, but they offer limited call pacing and options for retrying. This lack of flexibility can be a problem when call centers need specific strategies for different campaigns.
  • Compliance concerns: Auto dialers often don’t include built-in compliance features; this means they may not comply with laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and could cause legal troubles without careful management.
  • Scalability and cost considerations: Adding more lines and agents to an auto dialer system can be complicated. While they’re generally more affordable than other technologies, auto dialers may need additional features or integrations. Both of these considerations can increase costs over time.

Power dialers

Much like auto dialers, power dialers automatically call numbers from a predetermined list, but they’re designed to chart a smoother course for agents. Instead of automatically calling numbers one after the other, power dialers use call pacing to dial the next number only when an agent becomes available. This feature optimizes agent productivity, which can change the tide for call center bottom lines.

Some other beneficial features of power dialers include:

  • No connect delays: Since agents control when they answer calls, the people receiving calls don’t experience a delay. This leads to a better customer experience, as many people won’t realize the calls are automated.
  • Call filtering: Power dialers can filter out unanswered calls, busy signals, disconnected numbers and voicemails. These unproductive calls can cut into productivity. Getting rid of them means agents can focus on conversations with people who answer.
  • CRM integration: Most power dialers integrate with CRM systems, so agents can access customer information, update records and view call histories in real time. This integration improves lead management and encourages agents to provide more personalized customer interactions.
  • Compliance tools: Unlike auto dialers, power dialers include compliance features. These features ensure call center activities comply with laws prohibiting unsolicited calls.
  • Customization: Power dialers have more customization capability than auto dialers. They can adapt to specific business needs, such as creating custom call scripts, automating follow-up actions and setting call-scheduling preferences.
  • Scalability: Whether it’s a small-scale survey or a large-scale telemarketing campaign, power dialers can adjust to handle a variety of call volumes.

While power dialers offer significant benefits over auto dialers, they’re far from perfect technology. Here are some of the drawbacks that could leave you in rough waters.

  • Dependent upon agents: Power dialers rely on human agents to answer calls and handle conversations. This means their efficiency is tied to agent availability and effectiveness, which can limit their call volume capacity.
  • Limited call progress analysis: Power dialers can filter calls but lack sophisticated call progress analysis features, which makes it tough for them to differentiate between voicemails, answering machines and live answers. This can lead to inefficiencies when it comes to handling different call outcomes.
  • More agent training: With power dialers, agents must adapt to different call scenarios and responses. That means agents need more training and skills to work effectively with power dialers.
  • Expensive and complex: Configuring and maintaining power dialers can be more costly and complicated than other dialers because they need more hardware and software resources.
  • No predictive capabilities: Unlike predictive dialers (more on these soon), power dialers don’t include algorithms that predict agent availability. This means they can cause agent idle time, especially during peak call periods, which can lead to inefficiencies.

Preview dialers

While other dialers simply blast out calls, preview dialers give agents essential information about a call before it gets dialed. Because of this capability, preview dialers are typically used for complex or high-value transactions where agents need context before making a call.

Some other benefits of having a preview dialer at the helm include:

  • Compliance and consent: Preview dialers allow agents to verify and ensure consent before initiating a call. This makes preview dialers a huge asset when strict compliance and consent management are in play.
  • Quality assurance: With preview dialers, supervisors can monitor calls more effectively. These dialers’ features include real-time call listening, whisper coaching for live guidance, call recording, performance analytics and customized feedback mechanisms.
  • Lead qualification: Because agents get a preview of a contact’s information, they can better evaluate leads and prioritize those with higher conversion potential.
  • Addressing sensitive issues: When faced with sensitive situations like complaints or billing disputes, preview dialers allow agents to prepare for the conversation. Agents may be more empathetic in their responses by being emotionally and mentally ready, which can lead to more effective conflict resolution.

Preview dialers can enable you to run a tight ship for personalized calling campaigns, but they include challenges that could make them a suboptimal choice for your business needs.

  • Slower pace: Agents need to review information before each call manually. This cuts down on the number of calls that preview dialers can make compared to automated dialers, which can impact efficiency.
  • Reliant on agent skills: Preview dialer effectiveness is highly correlated to the agent’s ability to utilize the information provided. Individual agent capabilities can vary, which will impact call volumes and quality.
  • Higher labor costs: Because of the slower pace and reliance on agents, more staff could be needed to make the same number of calls as an automated dialer. That means labor costs would be higher.
  • Limited scalability: Preview dialers might not scale well for large businesses that need to make a high volume of calls.

Predictive dialers

Predictive dialers are the clipper ships of the auto dialing world; they are efficient and intelligent dialing programs designed for navigating busy call center waters. Along with the basic ability to dial phone numbers automatically, predictive dialers use algorithms and historical data to anticipate agent availability and adjust their dialing rates accordingly. This capability minimizes idle time and maximizes agent efficiency.

Some other advantages of predictive dialers include:

  • Dynamic call rate adjustments: They adjust call rates in real-time based on factors like agent availability and call answer rates. This flexibility optimizes the dialing pace while reducing the likelihood of abandoned calls.
  • Improved call connection rates: Thanks to advanced features for filtering out unanswered calls, busy signals and disconnected numbers, predictive dialers can dramatically increase connected calls compared to auto dialers and power dialers.
  • Enhanced scalability: They are highly adaptable to handle different call volumes and agent capacities — without compromising efficiency.
  • Optimized lead management: They often integrate directly with CRM systems. This allows businesses to manage leads more efficiently by giving agents important customer information before or during calls. Agents can then personalize their interactions, which can lead to higher conversion rates and better customer service.

There’s a lot to love about predictive dialers, but there are still some trade-offs to consider, such as:

  • Inaccurate predictions: History often repeats itself. Predictive dialers rely on historical data, and sometimes unforeseen factors can cause inaccurate predictions about agent availability. If the system overestimates agent availability, it can cause idle time. That can cut into efficiency and productivity.
  • Compliance concerns: Predictive dialers work by calling multiple numbers simultaneously. Compared to power and auto dialers, they can create challenges when managing abandoned call rates, accurate caller ID, consent and record-keeping. They can also generate a lot of unwanted and unsolicited calls, which can lead to fines, legal trouble or damages to a business’s reputation.
  • Connect delays: Like auto dialers, predictive dialers can result in a connect delay before an agent speaks to a caller. This can be annoying or confusing to contacts when they realize a machine is phoning them. The delay can also impact an agent’s ability to build rapport with the client, who may hang up before the conversation starts.

Progressive dialer

Progressive dialers are versatile tools that balance efficiency and control, letting you maintain a consistent call flow without overwhelming agents. Unlike predictive dialers, which dial multiple numbers simultaneously, progressive dialers call just one number at a time. Compared to preview dialers, which require the agent to initiate the call, progressive dialers automatically call the next number as soon as an agent is available.

The secret to a progressive dialer’s success is its ability to have a new call ready for an agent as soon as they finish their previous call. This minimizes idle time and creates a steady workflow for agents while preventing some of the issues associated with abandoned calls.

Other benefits of progressive dialers include:

  • Adaptability and flexibility: Progressive dialers are versatile and can be used in many industries for different outbound calling campaigns. These dialers are flexible enough to handle varying call volumes and agent availability levels.
  • Lower agent stress: By giving agents a steady flow of calls and a controlled pace of interactions, progressive dialers help reduce the stress associated with high call volumes; this can foster a better work environment and induce higher employee morale.
  • Compliance management: Progressive dialers offer more control than many other dialers. Calls happen in real-time as agents become available, so there’s less risk of regulatory violations.
  • Quality assurance: Progressive dialers let supervisors monitor calls to ensure agents stick to scripts, maintain professional standards for customer engagement and generally deliver a high level of customer service.

Progressive dialers may be a versatile tool with plenty of pros, but there are cons you should consider before deciding if they’re right for your call center.

  • Limited call volume: Because they dial one number at a time, progressive dialers are subject to lower call numbers when compared with predictive dialers; this makes them a tough choice for high-volume call centers looking to maximize outreach.
  • Potential for idle time: If agents take longer than expected on calls, the dialer may wait for agents to be available before calling another number; this can lead to agent idle time. In high-volume environments, even small amounts of time spent idle by each agent can add up, leading to loss in productivity over a day.
  • Complex campaign management: Managing campaigns with progressive dialers can be time-consuming because supervisors need to monitor pacing and adjust staffing levels to maintain efficiency without overwhelming agents.

Call center dialers need a CRM

Regardless of which type of dialer you choose, you’ll want to have it connected to your CRM. Like a tugboat escorting your ship out of port, it’s a critical step for any call center that manages high call volumes.

CRMs house essential customer data that can equip agents with personalized information during calls. Having this kind of data at the agents’ fingertips can help increase customer satisfaction and lead to more success on calls.

PREMIUM: Choose the right CRM for your organization.

Integration with a CRM also streamlines agent workflows by automating certain processes, which can reduce manual data entry and ensure accurate record-keeping.

Integrating your dialer with a CRM can give you comprehensive tracking and reporting of calls that can help you make data-driven decisions for your business. The reports can provide vital insights into metrics like call volumes, agent performance and conversion rates.

In addition, call center dialers connected to CRMs can simplify follow-up tasks like sending personalized emails and making callbacks. This enhances the customer experience and collects rich data for analysis that can be used to refine strategies, optimize scripts and predict customer needs.

Win the numbers game with the right call center dialer

Running a call center can be like steering a ship. With the right dialer, you can hit your numbers faster and increase your company’s overall capacity. That can give you a competitive edge as you aim to reach your destination.