Predictive Dialer Featured Article

You Be the Judge: Is this Use of a Predictive Dialer Illegal?



A predictive dialer is a computer-based dialing system that has the ability to make quick multiple outbound calls, pulling from a database of phone numbers that connect to a variety of communication and telephone lines. The configuration and the amount of agents using this system will affect how many calls the dialer places per hour.


Predictive dialers use statistical algorithms to greatly cut the amount of time agents spend waiting between conversations, while almost completely eliminating the chance of someone answering when no agent is available to speak to them.

Seems like a great solution, right? It could greatly increase efficiency in any business or call center while simultaneously reducing costs. Some people, however, are using this technology in ways not originally intended.

Since Telephone Consumer Protect Act or TCPA deems it illegal for advertisers, bill collectors or anyone else from calling your mobile phone without preapproval using a predictive dialer, what are your thoughts on the below example that was first featured in a recent article?

A customer incurs a debt and does not pay. The creditor hires a bill collector to receive the owed funds from the customer. The bill collector then sets up a machine (a predictive dialer) to complete the job and repeatedly calls a cell number that the customer had already agreed to receive phone calls by giving his number to creditor.

“The predictive dialer works autonomously until a human voice comes on the line,” the piece stated. “If that happens, an employee in bill collector’s call center will join the call. But customer no longer subscribes to cell number, which has been reassigned to a bystander. While a human being who called the number would realize that the specific customer was no longer the subscriber, these dialers lack human intelligence and, like the buckets enchanted by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, continue until stopped by their true master. Meanwhile, the bystander is out of pocket the cost of the airtime minutes and has had to listen to a lot of useless voicemail.”

The bystanders in the above scenario are Teresa Soppet and Loidy Tang who sued collections company Enhanced Recovery for the countless voicemails the organization left, in addition to the company increasing their bills. Although the calls were meant for other people who once were assigned these mobile numbers, Enhanced Recovery fought that it didn’t need permission from Soppet and Tang because this was given from the original mobile owners.

Did you guess the outcome of this trial? Yes, the Seventh Circuit panel unanimously agreed that consent doesn’t move from mobile carrier to carrier even if they possess the same numbers.

“Borrower agrees with bank, as a condition of a loan, that bank can enter borrower’s garage and repossess his car if he does not keep current on payments,” said Judge Easterbrook in regard to the decision. “After signing this contract, borrower sells his house, moves, does not tell bank his new address and defaults on the loan. Can bank now enter the garage of the house where borrower used to live and seize the car the repo men find there? Surely not. Borrower can consent to an entry on his own land and the use of his own car as collateral, but he can’t consent to an entry on anyone else’s land or the seizure of someone else’s property.”

The lawsuit is now headed back down to federal district court where a monetary settlement will be decided upon.




Edited by Braden Becker
 

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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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