Knowing the how a predictive dialer can help you vs an auto dialer is crucial for growing your business properly.

Predictive Dialer vs Auto Dialer: What You Need to Know

Nicholas PriceLast updated on January 2, 2024
7 min

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Using a predictive dialer or an auto dialer in place of manually dialing calls is like the difference between walking to work or taking a high-speed commuter train. You get to your destination a whole lot faster. There’s no time wasted looking up phone numbers or punching them in.

Sales reps and support agents don’t have to wait for someone to answer the call or a machine to pick it up. When it comes to efficiently making outbound calls, there’s nothing like automation to get the job done. Automation software for outbound calling comes in many forms. Let’s dig in by describing the similarities and differences between a predictive dialer vs an auto dialer.

What Is a Predictive Dialer?

Imagine that you could tell your phone that you’ll be off the current call within 3 minutes and ask it to dial another call with a different number for you in 2 ½ minutes, so you can immediately go from one call to the next. That’s a simple explanation of how a predictive dialer works.

With a predictive dialer, you don’t give those instructions to your phone by speaking or writing them down. Predictive dialers are pretty smart! Predictive dialer software uses algorithms to tell your phone which numbers to dial and when to dial them. An algorithm is simply a mathematical equation that uses data to give instructions to a device.

Computers and devices can learn on their own when algorithms go to work. They calculate the average length of a call and the average number of phone numbers it will take before a receiving party answers. A predictive dialer can also detect when an outbound caller is available to take the next call. Then it automatically dials another number and passes it through to a live agent.

Predictive dialers are efficient tools for sales and support. They can even dial multiple numbers simultaneously.

What Is an Auto Dialer?

An auto dialer is a type of predictive dialer. It needs four things to work — a computer to run the software, a person to answer the phone, a voice modem, and an active telephone line. The voice modem enables the computer to play an audio recording over a telephone line. With VoIP technology, auto dialers can also work with PBX business phone systems that use SIP trunking.

Some auto dialers have built-in voice detection software, and they can tell whether a human picked up the call or whether the call went to a voice mailbox.

An auto dialer uses predictive dialing to make calls while a sales or support agent finishes up a call. From there, the auto dialer sends the call to a live operator or a recorded message. If a person answers the call, an auto dialer can put the person on a brief hold until a live agent comes on the line.

Predictive Dialer vs Auto Dialer: What to Know

Back in the 1940s, banks used the first auto dialers to make calls for collections. In those days, auto dialers were semi-automatic dialers, and they were limited to storing between 12 and 52 numbers. Employees had to press a key to initiate the features.

With advancements in technology, auto dialers come in different types and support a wide variety of use cases including sales, support, telemarketing, market research, and debt collection. Overall, predictive dialers and auto dialers make it possible to dial as many numbers as possible in the shortest possible time.

There are advantages and drawbacks to predictive dialers and auto dialers. One may be more beneficial than the other depending on the type of industry and your business goals. Either way, predictive dialers and auto dialers are highly efficient, making them valuable tools for increasing productivity.

Contemporary sales dialers are completely automated. They utilize call metrics to predict when a live agent is ready to make the next call, seconds after finishing the previous call. During busy times when sales or support agents are having lengthy conversations, a predictive dialer will slow down making outbound calls until there are more agents available to accept calls.

Call centers for customer support can make vastly more calls to customers to upsell, introduce new products, and ensure customer satisfaction when using predictive dialers and auto dialers. For sales reps, making more calls allows them to generate qualified leads quickly and spend more time closing sales.

Predictive dialers and auto dialers have a few things in common. Both tools route calls to agents, scale easily, and increase efficiency and productivity. A VoIP-based (cloud-based) auto dialer works with your CRM, giving sales and support reps data to personalize conversations.

Benefits of a Predictive Dialer

  • Screens out voicemails, unanswered calls, disconnected numbers, and busy signals.

  • Uses algorithm-based dialing.

  • Dials multiple calls at once and increases the call connection ratio.

  • Checks for an available agent.

  • Provides a steady stream of calls to reps.

Benefits of an Auto Dialer

  • Improves the chances that customers will connect with a human vs. voicemail.

  • Distributes calls between available agents.

  • Offers call waiting.

  • Reduces agent idle time and improves talk time.

  • Sends a recorded message when voicemails pick up calls.

The biggest risk that predictive dialers and auto dialers have in common is violating anti-spam laws. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has specific rules about telemarketing, mobile phone communications, abandonment rates, and call recording. Your reps must be aware of federal and state laws regarding predictive dialing and auto dialing.

Weaknesses of a Predictive Dialer

  • Doesn’t have call waiting.

  • Possible risk of algorithm failure.

  • Requires reps to be skilled at quickly answering calls after one ends.

  • Performs better with large campaigns so the algorithm has more data to work with.

  • Presents the risk of abandoned calls if agents take too long to connect.

Weaknesses of an Auto Dialer

  • Produces a short wait time before reps connect to the line.

  • Doesn’t check for agent availability resulting in abandoned calls.

  • Requires more than a few outbound calling reps.

  • Doesn’t always detect answering machines accurately.

Choosing the Right VoIP Phone System

All VoIP phone systems offer a variety of voice calling features. Most of them include some type of dialer. How do you narrow down the choices? Read on for five tips on how to choose the right VoIP phone system to meet your small business needs for a predictive dialer or auto dialer.

  1. Consider the size of your customer base. With a preview dialer, reps can view the next call in line and decide whether to skip it. By contrast, a progressive dialer automatically dials the next call on the list. Smaller companies may prefer a power dialer while larger companies may benefit more from a predictive dialer.

  2. Identify the features you need. Automatic dialers come with features like opt-out management, CRM integration, dashboard reporting, speech recognition, IVR capability, and more.

  3. Consider the size of your team. Predictive dialers and auto dialers don’t make sense for teams with just a few reps, but other voice features may be important for your business.

  4. Ask the vendor if you can do a trial. The best sales dialers are intuitive and easy to use. They’ll save you lots of training time.

  5. Choose a vendor that has a reputation for strong customer support. You’ll want assurance that the company will be there for you when you need them.

Optimizing Outbound Calls for Your Business

Outbound calls are a necessary part of growth for most small businesses, so optimizing outbound calls is time well spent. Generally, there are two challenges with optimizing outbound calls for your business.

First, features like a predictive dialer or auto dialer should increase the number of qualified leads, increase conversion rates, and help you reach your business goals. It’s important to track data to ensure that these things are happening.

Second, outbound calling can be pretty mundane and repetitive, causing sales and support agents to lack motivation and enthusiasm. Without a positive work culture, it’s difficult for sales and support agents to perform well.

Predictive dialers and auto dialers solve both problems. Here are some ways to optimize outbound calls to boost sales and revenue and keep a positive culture within your teams.

1) Set clear goals, metrics, and KPIs.

Spend some time evaluating your goals and set your metrics and KPIs to match them. Then set up workflows that lead to progress. Share successes with your reps to keep them motivated. The right VoIP phone system will allow you to track things like:

  • Average call handling time

  • Conversion rate

  • First call close or first call resolution

  • Average wait times

  • Average time to return a call

2) Personalize scripts.

Scripts are a useful tool that can work for or against your company. The solution to ensuring that your reps don’t rely on scripts too heavily or come off as overly scripted, train your sales and support reps how to pull up data from your CRM and use it to personalize calls.

3) Scale your team.

Evaluate data from your VoIP phone system’s dashboard (average call length, number of phone calls made, etc.) to help you determine the right number of sales or support reps needed to help you reach your goals.

4) Track and analyze call data.

Call data tells you which reps are performing well and which aren’t. By sharing accurate data with your sales and support reps, you have an objective way of measuring their performance.

5) Use multiple channels for outreach.

Customers who perceive phone calls as spam will just hang up. Incorporating SMS, email, and chat feels more like engagement and relationship-building than a cold sales call.

6) Set reasonable, attainable quotas for sales and support reps.

Set sales quotas that are challenging, but not unattainable. Your metrics and KPIs will assist you in this. Be sure to reward high-performers.

7) Record customer interactions and review them.

Call recordings offer opportunities to learn whether sales and support reps are spending too much or too little time on calls. Recordings also give you a way to assess the quality of interactions and help you train your outbound call reps.

Aircall offers a power dialer, a type of progressive dialer, vs just an auto dialer. The reason being, our power dialer adds more versatility and efficiency than other auto dialers. Sales and support reps get a screen pop-up that displays customer and account data to have the proper call history and context for discussions.

With Aircall, your sales and support reps can also leverage the after-call feature to update call details in real-time directly from the Aircall app.

Automation is the key to efficiency and productivity. A modern phone system should offer you the right features you need to grow your business. Make sure your solution offers a full-featured auto dialer, a wide array of features, and integrates with other digital tools.

Published on May 14, 2021.

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