People mistakenly call many dialers “predictive dialers” when they are actually referring to “auto dialers” and vice versa. This article explains the difference between predictive dialers and auto dialers and also compares features between the two types of dialers.
Difference between a predictive dialer and an autodialer
Let’s get the terms straight. A predictive dialer is a telephone dialer that uses an algorithm to estimate when an outbound call can be made that, if answered by the dialed party, will be connected to an available call center agent.
Predictive dialers initiate more outbound dials at a time than there are available agents. You can read more about how predictive dialers work, but for the purpose of understanding the difference between a predictive dialer and an auto dialer, just understand that a predictive dialer dials more outbound calls at a time than there are available agents.
An auto dialer is a dialer that sequentially and automatically (“auto”) dials through a list of numbers. If an auto dialer is used for a live agent campaign, it typically dials one outbound call for each available agent. (Auto dialers can also be used for outbound voicemail campaigns or voice broadcasts which are a different topic).
So, the fundamental difference between a predictive dialer and an auto dialer is how many calls are initiated per agent.
Feature comparison: predictive dialer vs. auto dialer
Now that we know that predictive dialers dial more outbound dials at a time than an autodialer, let’s discuss some of the feature differences between the two types of dialers.
Auto dialers let agents accept calls. Predictive dialers may not
Let’s dig into this a bit. Unlike a predictive dialer (which makes multiple calls at a time based on an algorithm that predicts when an agent will be available), an auto dialer does one dial for each agent when the agent is available.
Some autodialers let you configure a setting to either automatically dial the next call when an agent is available (e.g., as soon as the agent wraps up the previous call) or to require the agent to go into a status to initiate the call. The difference is subtle but can have a big impact on how many calls can be made. A predictive dialer doesn’t care – it makes calls based on its algorithm.
Answering machine detection is more important for predictive dialers than autodialers
Both predictive dialers and auto dialers rely on answering machine detection to improve dialing efficiency. However, predictive dialers are very dependent on answering machine detection to work. This is because part of the predictive algorithm is a prediction of how many calls will be answered… and more particularly, how many will be answered by a human.
Well configured answering machine detection in a predictive dialer can dramatically improve the dialing efficiency of a predictive dialer.
Pacing is required for predictive dialers and not for autodialers
Predictive dialers have multiple configuration options that determine what “pacing” or speed the dialer will dial at. Autodialers do not.
For example, predictive dialer pacing options may include how many max concurrent calls may be made per agent, a maximum setting of abandonment rate, an estimated (or actual) average call length, etc.