Predictive Dialer Featured Article

New FCC Rules to Impact Predictive Dialer Technology



Political campaigns are still an acceptable method for making robocalls through predictive dialers, but a recent FCC (News - Alert) decision pulls the plug on automated telemarketing pitches. Telephone carriers, airlines, banks, and insurance companies will now have to get written permission from consumers before they can add them to a predictive dialer robocall list.


According to this Business Week report, the FCC chairman said they are “closing loopholes” that have allowed robocalls to reach too many dissatisfied consumers, who have “complained to us by the thousands.”

Not-for-profit organizations and political campaigns are not subject to the recent ruling. Predictive dialers are also used by school districts to inform parents of school events and this usage will still be protected and is not a part of the FCC ruling.

Many predictive dialers are now being offered in the cloud with a flash-based Web user interface, making them more economical and easier to use. Many allow integration with a company's customer relationship management systems, which make robocalls to specific consumers much more efficient and productive. 

Most companies keep an eye on cost per call, so making calls to an audience that would not respond (or complain to the FCC) is not in the best interest of companies using a predictive dialer.

The FCC's ruling says that telemarketers cannot base their outgoing calls on established business relationships and that before they make future calls, written consent, which could be gained electronically, must be obtained.

“We are also closing the loophole so that every single telemarketing campaign will have to comply with strict limits on the 'dead-air' calls that are so frustrating to consumers when they interrupt their dinners or other activities,” according to the ruling.

Furthermore, all prerecorded predictive dialer calls must include an opt-out mechanism, which will end the call and add the consumer's number to an internal do-not-call list. As part of the ruling, telemarketers will not only have to get permission or an opt-in from consumers, but they must also offer an opt-out.

How companies using predictive dialer technology in their marketing strategy will cope with the ruling is yet to be determined. Obtaining permission from every lead in the data base, however, could prove to be a time-consuming effort. Still, it is an important one to stay in compliance with the federal regulation.

Another FCC decision that affects telephony is a ruling that requires Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to report network outages that will affect 911 coverage. Traditional carriers already follow that requirement, but with more 911 services going to an E911 model, the VoIP services are also being required to follow the same guidelines as traditional carriers.

However, SpitFire, a provider of innovative predictive dialers, offers a highly effective way to contact consumers without using robocalling pre-recorded messages. In fact, the company's dialers filter operator intercepts, answering machinges, busy tones, no answers and other non-productive calls, thereby connecting agents with the highest possible number of live answers while staying within legal telemarketing limits for dropped calls.To find out more about the company, click here.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
 

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What Are Related Definitions You Should Know?

Related definitions that you should know as you increase your understanding of predictive dialers include:

Dialer: generic term for any computer-driven device that places outbound calls and connects the answered calls to an agent or operator.

Agent: telephone professional to whom a predictive dialer sends the ready call.

Predictive Dialer: Predictive dialing was introduced for the purpose of increasing efficiency within calling centers. They are computer based system that automatically dial groups of telephone numbers, and then passes live calls to available agents. The SpitFire Enterprise dialer utilizes sophisticated algorithms to speed up and slow down the call rate based on, number of available agents, number of available lines, the campaign’s average call time and other statistical information.

Quick Connect: Quick Connect allows your agents to log in one-to-one with a phone line. This option is great for B2B purposes, especially when your agent needs to be on the phone line through the entire call.

Fixed Dialing: Fixed Dialing gives your call center manager the power to manually set the volume of calls. The software will then automatically dial a predetermined number of lines per agent. Fixed dialing is ideal for political campaigns, charity campaigns, and other situations drop call ratios are not a factor.

Auto dialer: makes thousands of calls screening for busy signals, no answers, fax machines while detecting answering machines/voicemail and delivers pre-recorded messages. SpitFireX Auto Dialer is a low cost solution for voice broadcasting.

How Do Predictive Dialers Work?

Predictive dialers use complex mathematical algorithms that calculate, in real time:

  1. the number of available agents
  2. the number of phone lines available
  3. the probability of reaching a human being at a specific number
  4. the time between calls required for optimum agent efficiency
  5. the length of typical agent/customer or
    debtor conversations
  6. the average length of time agents require to wrap up after a call

SpitFire Enterprise Predictive SEP is a fully blended call center solution that supports unlimited lines, agents, and campaigns. Its greatest strength is in its flexibility: multiple campaigns can be set up, viewed, and changed with the click of a button. With easy options for customization, data and dispositions can be catered to each campaign. In addition to our user-friendly interface, SEPhighlights full customer data and combines multiple campaigns on one screen. All the information your agents need is accessible at a glance, freeing their energy to focus on what matters: the calls.

Keep It Simple with SpitFire Fully Integrated Call Center Software

Our greatest priority is making your call center run smoothly, and we do that by developing software that is intuitive and easily integrated with your current systems. SEP works seamlessly with most CRM applications and long distance carriers, making it the simplest and most cost-effective solution for your call center.

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Benefits of Using a Predictive Dialer

  1. Manages the process of dialing tens of thousands of calls or tens of millions of calls in its lifetime.
  2. Detects the result of the call, as an example: no answer, busy, fax, bad number, answering machine without any presence of human expertise. Consequently saving time by only transferring calls which are voice connects to the agents locally or remotely.
  3. Using predictive dialer increases the productivity of the company by drastically increasing the time agents spend on the phone talking to actual customers or prospective clients.
  4. Predictive dialer users get the ability to organize and better manage the client information, no lost notes scribbled on pieces of paper. The database used by the dialer organizes the calling structure.
  5. The most significant task done by the predictive dialer is to predict, which means always making an effort to get a live call to the available agent with the shortest amount of wait time. This is achieved by self learning algorithms within the predictive dialer to increase or decrease the dial ratio per agent, logged into the system.
  6. Inbound call can be better dealt with by allowing the customers to wait on hold in an IVR system, or a way to leave a message they'd like a callback while the agent is busy talking with other customers.
  7. Most important benefit of a predictive dialer is it reduces expenses for your company over a period of time since you do not need to buy and deploy a complex and sometimes extremely expensive PBX system. Your company will experience return of investment (ROI) in a period of six to twelve months.
  8. A predictive dialing system can effortlessly fit into your companies existing infrastructure since it is software controlled.
  9. The call routing logic and the contact management is all included in one software package. Your call routing logic implemented as per your specifications. Since it is a software package it can easily be upgraded even if you are located remotely with the help of internet.
  10. Provides an added cost effective method of managing the client database by giving the user of the predictive system ability to rework your database on previous call results.

    Example:
    1. only redial records which were busy, no answers and answering machines
    2. Delete records which are bad numbers, disconnected numbers or operator intercepts
  11. Do a real time look up against the do not call database saving the predictive dialer user from accidentally calling people who have enrolled in the do National not call registry. This saves the company from lawsuits and others risks conforming to all legal statutes and FCC complaints.
  12. Provides progressive dialing capabilities like call blending which means handling inbound and outbound call at the same time.
  13. Provides ability to integrate call recording devices and call monitoring interfaces which helps call center supervisors to train agents and users and improve their customer support skills.
  14. Easy to setup and learn the predictive dialer logic and software tools.

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