The predictive dialer, often thought of as the domain of large, faceless outbound contact centers that plague dinner-eating Americans with unwanted offers of aluminum siding, is one of those technologies that gets a bad rap. While horror stories aplenty exist in the realm of bad experiences, far more companies use dialers successfully to remind customers of refill orders or healthcare appointments, communicate vital information to the parents of schoolchildren, make public service announcements, qualify leads for sales professionals and many more uses.
Many smaller organizations use predictive dialers today for very targeted purposes, and they find a great deal of success with them. One of the things that has made this possible is the use of hosted dialers that don’t actually involve a piece of equipment sitting on the company’s premises gathering dust. Companies that once may not have been able to afford a dialer can now pay for only what services they use and let someone else worry about the administration of the solution.
For some companies that plan to use a dialer more often or for more applications, however, the premises-based model may still make sense. So what are the pros and cons of each model?
The Hosted Dialer. Some companies today offer hosted dialer services for a variety of different dialer products (predictive, preview, etc.). With no capital outlay upfront and only an affordable monthly fee, companies can run their dialer solutions on remote servers dedicated for their company from a high tech, high security data center. Administration, maintenance, trouble-shooting and updates are all performed by the hosted solutions provider, taking what can be a complex task out of the hands of the contact center or sales force using the solution. After a relatively easy set-up, companies can access the dialer and make calls through the cloud while agents are remotely connected. This means it can be used by home-based agents and companies that need to re-locate a contact center quickly, either permanently or temporarily due to outages or weather.
The Premises-Based Model. While it’s nice that the hosted model takes administration and maintenance chores out of your hands, it takes other things out of your hands, too, such as the choice of a long-distance provider. And while the hosted model is appealing to many companies thanks to the monthly fee, some companies may not wish to continue paying for something they can own in a year, since premises-based dialers don’t often represent an enormous expense, particularly if they can buy a refurbished dialer (and these are widely available). For some organizations, the biggest attraction of the premise-based model is security that they believe cannot be attained with the hosted model.
Sensitive to the budget constraints of companies that require dialers, dialer company SpitFire now offers its FlexPay Predictive solution, a premise-based dialer that allows companies to pay monthly over a year, at which time they will own the dialer without “obligation or contract.”
In the end, which option is right for you will depend on the size of the contact center, the business it’s supporting, the frequency of use, the company’s budget and capital considerations, the nature of the contact center’s locations (fixed or variable, office-based or home-based agents), the need for disaster recovery (better with a hosted solution) and the availability of in-house IT resources. Given the importance of dialing technology to an outbound business or sales organizations, companies should consider carefully before choosing.
Edited by Blaise McNamee