Gone are the days where droves of skilled call center agents had to manually dial-up potential leads. These days, the automatic dialer is the way in which businesses reach thousands of potential leads in a day, and knowing which is best for your organization is absolutely critical.

An outbound-based call center trying to gather leads and make connections is going to need to choose between three systems. Power dialing systems, predictive dialing systems, and progressive dialing systems can all be used to wade effectively through the potential customer pool.

These three options are very different and knowing how they function is essential knowledge for anyone that wants to maximize lead generation and conversion.


Your Dialing System Impacts Your Bottom Line


power dialer


Sales is a numbers game. In most situations, you’re going to cast your net wide and hopefully bring in the leads you need. While a lot of businesses would prefer to automate their call center, anyone who uses a fully automated dialer knows that customers prefer speaking to a live agent.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Dialing agents are needed in order to build rapport with potential customers.
  • A system that can automate the dialing process can greatly broaden the reach of a business.
  • Computer-based systems can be used to filter out voicemails, no answers, fax machines, and disconnected numbers.

So, which do you need? Looking at the pros and cons of each of these systems will require an understanding of your reach, the types of customers you encounter, and the size of your call center. A power dialer is going to shine in situations where you need a more personal touch, and the other dialers are great for pushing volume. Follow our guide to learn which works best for your call center.


How Power Dialers Work


Call Recording Main


Power dialers are the most straightforward automatic dialing technology for increasing the productivity and lead generation of your call center. These auto-dialers are designed to dial out to a new customer only when the agent is ready to make a call.

These work sequentially. Once a call has ended, a new lead is dialed so that a call is initiated only when an agent is ready to speak to a prospective or existing customer.

Power dialers can come up with contact numbers from a variety of sources. For example, if a business posts their number on Google or through local directory-based services like Yelp or Foursquare, then this info can be used in your center. Certain power dialer software solutions can sweep the web and add this information to the software so that agents can reach out.

Many of these utilize CRM tools like Salesforce or CiviCRM to store lead information for future agents to leverage to drive sales.

One of the chief advantages of this system is the human factor. Power dialers require agents to update and compile information so that results are garnered. This is a trade-off due to the fact that calls are made on a case-by-case basis. Agents will have to work through various call outcomes other than direct contacts.

These systems work in tandem with the dialer to move to the next call when the agent is ready. Power dialers act like a more like a tool than a “big brother” style of dialing solution.


Pros of Power Dialers

  • With a power dialer, all the numbers are generated by the dialer, but this also allows an agent to leave voicemail messages and set callbacks with relative ease.
  • With one of these, the data is pulled from a variety of sources. In fact, some software solutions will even pull business numbers from Google searches.
  • These are great for teams where an agent may need to gather notes or come up with strategies prior to each call because the dialer doesn’t control the dial rate.
  • There’s little or no chance of voicemail problems cropping up because the agent understands the difference between a recording and a live respondent, which is a weakness in progressive systems.
  • These are sometimes called “rapid dialers” for a reason; despite the human component, dialing is still automated, so your team can still make hundreds of dial-outs a day.
  • With the more deliberate style of a power dialer, your agents can compile better information after the call so that future agents can have more context for each lead.


Cons of Power Dialers

  • These are agent-controlled, and sometimes, this can negatively impact sheer call volume.
  • For results, some call centers may have to implement regulations to minimize downtime between calls since a power dialer doesn’t route calls to agents.
  • To be able to effectively wade through the various adverse call outcomes, you may need a more extensive call center staff.


Power Dialers are Perfect For:

If you have a large team, then this is a great option because your agents can easily have personal interactions with your potential customers. With a system like this, there will be minimal pause between a pick-up and the start of the conversation with an agent.


How Predictive Dialers Work


predictive dialers

With a predictive dialer, machine learning is the name of the game. Predictive dialers estimate the level of availability for your agents and simultaneously dial a set of numbers based on these predictions. During these simultaneous dials, if contact is made, then the predictive dialer will automatically assign the call to an available agent.

The software of the predictive dialer also thoroughly screens out voicemails or fax machines by actively listening to the line. If the dialer detects a pause, then it may automatically deem the call to be a voicemail, and when it does, it may then leave an automated message for the customer.

If you’ve ever received a call and noticed a delay before being connected to an agent, then you’ve most likely have been connected via a predictive dialer. Unfortunately, the delay can be extended if there’s no available agent, which can result in customer hang-ups.

A predictive dialer can work through a number of calls that would have been unprecedented before the advent of the technology.


Pros of Predictive Dialers

  • Multiple numbers are called simultaneously using machine learning.
  • There’s less attrition when it comes to no answer results versus connecting with a potential lead.
  • With a wide variety of calls being made simultaneously based on learned availability, agents spend far less time idle.
  • A call center manager may need far fewer agents than would be required with a progressive- or power-based dialing system since the computer is doing all of the screening simultaneously.


Cons of Predictive Dialers

  • With a predictive dialer, an agent won’t always be available due to the nature of the dialer’s predictive call assignment.
  • Customers can quickly become frustrated and hang up before being connected to a representative.
  • When a customer is presented with a recording that’s designed to segue to a rep, the whole process feels more automated and less personal.
  • Due to call answering patterns being predicted via machine learning, the law of averages can result in some glitches, and agents can still be improperly assigned.
  • These don’t have the capability of leaving voicemail messages, so the system will most likely make several passes at the same number.


Predictive Dialers are Perfect For:

These dialers push volume and get agents on the line with actual customers. There’s very little downtime for agents, which can be great for earning leads. Cold calling businesses that want to reach out to a larger population may find this to be the best way to go about generating leads.


How Progressive Dialers Work


progressive dialers

Progressive dialers are great for call centers needing a hybridized outreach system.

Like power dialers, voicemails aren’t a problem for progressive dialers. Call Center agents can leave messages.

Like a predictive dialer, progressive dialers are used in several verticals. Research, telemarketing, and collections are more efficient with this computerized system. A progressive dialer doesn’t dial out to multiple numbers at a time like predictive systems, so there’s no potential pause or drawn-out wait time for customers that are contacted via such a system.

Like predictive dialers, progressive dialers only send calls through when there is a contact, but unlike predictive dialers, there will always be an agent on the other end to speak with the lead. Effectively, this makes the experience feel more personal and natural than would be possible with a predictive style of dialing.


Pros of Progressive Dialers

  • These are a good in-between for those that don’t want the potential hang-up rates of predictive dialers and want the more personal touch of power dialers.
  • Effectively, the abandonment rate is mitigated by there always being an agent available when contact is made.
  • Similarly to a power dialer, with a progressive dialer, an agent may be able to have time to gather relevant information about respondents before making an outbound call.
  • This is a great system to use for business-to-business calling due to the fact that these types of calls have a higher success ratio since there are fewer hang-ups.
  • While the call is being dialed, a progressive dialer will display past information about the previous calls with the respondent.


Cons of Predictive Dialers

  • The Higher dialing rates of predictive systems may yield more results, especially when continually dialing across larger pools of potential respondents.
  • An agent may have to work through up to four calls in order to get to a single live respondent.
  • When is the agent officially considered available? While there’s definitely time for an agent to gather information, the process can definitely lose efficiency due to call center distractions.
  • As a result of things like pauses in a respondent’s answer, a progressive dialer may cause an agent to leave a pre-recorded voicemail when a live person has answered the line.


Predictive Dialers are Perfect For:

Progressive systems provide calls to agents after the “wrap up” phase of the call is completed and the agent has time to compile notes. This is perfect for those businesses where calls have a reasonably standard structure as it helps streamline the process significantly.


Dialer Systems Deliver Value For Any Business


Every system has advantages for different organizations, helping to maximize outreach. Combined with other technology that reduces hold times or helps agents provide valuable customer experiences, any of these dialers can provide value.

Still not sure where to begin? Check out our coverage of call center software to find the right software with the integrations and features you need to improve efficiency for your agents.