What are "Dialers"?
A dialer is an automated dialing device for telephone calls. Dialers are used to initiate a relatively large number of outbound telephone calls in a relatively short period of time without wasting time. This is particularly useful for active customer approach/outbound campaigns in call and contact centres. Dialers automate the establishment of telephone connections under software control and replace manual dialing, which is much more time-consuming. Using a dialer, more calls can be initiated in a given period of time than would be possible manually. This makes telephone contact more efficient, saving time and money.
Innovative dialer solutions offer extensive features to control, manage and monitor dialer use. They automatically recognise answering machines, mailboxes, fax connections and have features such as pause reasons, result codes, quota control for campaign completion, blacklist/whitelist comparison, Robinson list, message function for employees and further features for quality assurance (monitoring, screen recording, voice recording, call evaluation). The so-called overdial factor or the maximum rate of lost and dropped calls can also be set.
Modern dialer software has three different operating modes: preview dialing, power dialing and predictive dialing. It also offers authorised staff the option of dialing records manually, regardless of the dialer's operating mode.
Local vs. cloud
Modern dialer solutions can be used locally, but also across locations from the cloud, i.e. web-based. But what is the difference?
Local dialers, for example, are suitable when companies want to run outbound campaigns continuously and with a steady workload, and actively contact customers on a regular basis. However, security and privacy issues can also be a factor in choosing a local solution.
Cloud solutions are particularly suitable when outbound campaigns are sporadic, when there are only a few people working in the system, or when a local dialer is used for the base load but temporary outbound peaks need to be intercepted. Cloud-based solutions are also suitable if there are multiple call or contact centre locations and/or if dialing is to be used across locations – for example, to integrate home offices. Enterprises can also provide their service providers with cloud-based standardised dialing technology and use appropriate monitoring features. Cloud-based solutions also have the advantage that the technical requirements for use are very low: An analogue telephone, internet access and a PC are usually sufficient. Voice over IP (VoIP) requires only a PC and an internet connection.
Blending: Dialer + ACD
Companies that want to make their outbound campaigns consumer-friendly can combine dialers with an ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) system in a process known as blending. Background: The Telecommunications Act (§66k Abs. 1 TKG) stipulates that advertising companies/service providers must transmit their telephone number when calling, so that called parties who, for example, were not reached, can see the telephone number on their display and call back if necessary. These callbacks are received by the company/service provider as an "inbound call" in the ACD system – and thus actually by the inbound service team. Through the combination with a dialer, however, these incoming calls are recognised as callbacks to an outbound campaign and can, for example, be routed immediately to the employee or group of employees who had previously tried to reach them.
Typical side effects
After the subscriber picks up the telephone, it takes a few seconds before the caller answers. This may be due to the fact that it is not possible to transfer the call immediately, e.g. because an answering machine recognition is being carried out or because there is only a muted line, as the staff member must first complete their respective task before they can turn to the customer and greet them.
The phone rings, but the ringing stops immediately. This may be due to the fact that the number of available employees in the contact centre at that moment does not correspond to the number of calls set up by the dialer. This means that more calls are set up than can be delivered to free employees. The dialer then cancels the excess dialing.
Lost or abandoned call
The called subscriber picks up, but there is no one at the other end of the line or the connection is terminated. The reason may be that connections were set up without a staff member being free.
... and how to avoid them
However, innovative dialers, such as the VIER Outbound Dialer, offer the possibility to adjust outbound campaigns via various parameters and to prevent or reduce the aforementioned side effects. These include the setting of the maximum ring duration, the rate of lost calls, the rate of dropped calls, the time interval between individual call attempts to the same consumer, etc.