Predictive Dialer Featured Article

The Pros and Cons of Hosted and Premises-based Dialers



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
 

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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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