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Decoding the Difference Between Preview, Progressive and Predictive Dialers

Today, consumers are smarter and tech-savvier than ever. They want quick, authentic resolutions without getting into the vicious circle of long holds, dropped calls, exasperating waiting times, and immediate resolutions. Telemarketers are constantly on their toes to create customer-centric dialing campaigns.

In the telemarketing industry, dialer software to be precise is considered the oldest yet the most effective tool for customer engagement, sales acceleration, and enhanced productivity.

According to a report by Business Research Insights, in 2021, the global outbound telemarketing size was about $10.23 billion. By 2028, the market is predicted to touch $12.94 billion while displaying a combined annual growth of 3%.

HubSpot’s inbound call report stated that 62% of marketers asserted that their organization’s outbound marketing strategy was effective and 32% stated that outbound marketing led to more lead generation.

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What are Dialers?

Today, the outbound market has different kinds of automated dialers for various environments and corporate needs that address largely all call-related issues. Predictive, progressive, and preview dialers are the most popular ones.

Before chalking out the difference between preview, progressive and predictive dialers, let’s first address dialers in general and then move on to decoding each of the features and advantages individually.

Dialers are software that supports a variety of outbound dialing modes to streamline outbound calls and manage calls overall. The primary function of outbound dialers is to automate the dialing process enabling agents to engage in more calls, and more conversations thus improving the business’s reach.

According to Sales Insights Lab, 41.2% of sales professionals iterate that the phone is the tailormade medium for their job.

Preview Dialers

Preview Dialer is considered the most basic audio dialing system largely prevalent in outbound call centers. In this type of dialer, the system automatically selects a call record based on the outbound campaign settings before sending it to the dialler to go through the contact details of who decides to go on the call or not.

The contact record typically contains details like the contact history and contextual information. The agent has the say to either accept it and go ahead with the call or reject it and go for the next number on the list.

In the preview dialer, the call center professional is in total control over the call dialing process and is well-prepared for the interaction. Because the agent is aware of the card history, the chances of a successful call are higher.

The insights enhance the agent’s preparedness to handle the call, thus encouraging positive business outcomes along with enhanced customer connection.

According to a report by Crunchbase, 57% of C-level prospects preferred to be contacted on the phone.

Pros of Preview Dialers:

  • Lesser number of dropped calls.
  • Enhanced agent performance.
  • Better efficiency.
  • Increased customer engagement.
  • Instant connection.
  • Reduced long wait times.

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Progressive Dialers

To explain in simpler terms, progressive dialers form the so-called ‘middle-ground’ between advanced predictive dialer solutions and manual dialing.

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The progressive dialer is similar to a predictive dialer where agents are not required to manually dial the customer’s phone numbers while making an outbound call. From sales and telemarketing to customer service and collections, progressive dialers can be used in any vertical as long as the agent is required to make an outbound call instead of dialing manually.

In this type, the system waits for the agent to complete the ongoing call before dialing the next number on the list. In progressive dialers, one number-per-agent rule is followed, making it a customer-centric approach.

The dialer always makes sure that an agent is available instantaneously to handle a call the moment the customer picks the phone, therefore reducing the number of abandoned calls. Progressive Dialers are more common in business-to-business calling.

Pros of Progressive Dialers:

  • No manual dialing.
  • Zero abandoned calls.
  • Dials the next number once the agent finishes the current call.
  • Immediate connection with an available agent.
  • Customer-friendly approach.

Predictive Dialers

Just like the preview dialer, predictive dialers come under the audio dialer system and are widely used in outbound calling. In this type, the system automatically dials numbers from the list till it establishes a connection and routes the call to the next available agent.

This dialing system combines mathematical formulas, call metrics, and special algorithms to predict the availability of the agent to get on a call. In case when most of the agents are already on calls, the predictive dialer accordingly modifies, slows down, or even stops its outreach depending on the availability of the next agent.

The dialer’s most impressive feature is that it can automatically eliminate a number of phone-related issues such as busy tone signals, disconnected phone numbers, unanswered calls, and voicemails. This helps in minimum waiting, and more talk time resulting in an agent’s maximum productivity.

Around 3 decades ago, predictive dialers were majorly prevalent in the financial sector, especially for debt collection. Gradually, they were imbibed in other sectors like travel and tourism, telemarketing, banking, mortgage, etc.

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Pros of Predictive Dialers:

  • More number of calls per hour.
  • Enhanced agent talk time.
  • More resolutions = better conversions.
  • Reduced cost per call.
  • Call recording.
  • Callback scheduling.
  • Answering machine detection.
  • Filters numbers based on area codes and time zones.
  • Generates real-time reports to review an agent’s performance.

Difference between Predictive and Progressive Dialers

Both predictive dialers as well as progressive dialers are quite similar in their characteristics and are amongst the most common automatic dialing system used in outbound call centers.

  • Predictive dialers use statistical algorithms to project agent availability and accordingly, places call in queues at once before an agent becomes available. In the case of progressive dialers, the system does not use any algorithm to place calls; instead, it places only a single outbound call per agent considering when they get available.
  • Sometimes, in the case of predictive dialers, customers are kept waiting due to the unavailability of the next free agent but in progressive dialers, the system always ensures the availability of agents.
  • In the case of a preview caller, the agent has access to the customer’s information beforehand, allowing him time to prepare better for the call. And so, it gives the agent the freedom to choose to answer the call or skip it.
  • Predictive dialers are the perfect solution for outbound centers that have a high volume of calls. They can make multiple calls at once and are more focused on maximizing the number of calls an agent can make during the shift.
  • Progressive dialers don’t make multiple calls like predictive dialers, instead ensure that a number is only dialed after an agent finishes the ongoing call. While predictive dialers focus more on accomplishing the maximum number of calls, progressive dialers are more about quality and are apt solutions for businesses that emphasize more on customer satisfaction and customer engagement.

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In the world of outbound sales and telemarketing, each business has different operational requirements, different goals, and different objects; for some, a preview dialer may work and for some, a progressive may be the ideal choice.

10 Popular Outbound Contact Software

To make your job easier, we have collated a list of popular dialer/outbound contact software that are enabling businesses to achieve positive results and customer satisfaction.

  1. Nextiva
  2. Five9
  3. Aspect
  4. Bitrix 24
  5. Avaya
  6. Tenfold
  7. Talkdesk
  8. Gong
  9. Calltools
  10. PhoneBurner

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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