What is a Predictive Dialer?

Dialers are labeled according to the outbound call method they use. Three main types are Manual, Auto and Predictive. All types handle inbound calls.To appreciate a Predictive Dialer, we must first understand the other two
Manual (aka click-to-dial) Dialers. A manual dialer requires the user to click on a number from a list displayed on the user's desktop computer. Click to dial is faster and eliminates errors associated with using a touch tone phone. It is alright to wonder at this point whether a manual dialer could possibly be worth the money. This post on manual dialers explains the advantages of a manual dialer over touch tone dialing more convincingly.
Auto (aka Ratio) Dialers. High volume callers have a problem: most calls dialed end up in answering machines, no answers or busy signals. Only about 15% mature into conversations. To reduce the caller's waiting time, an Auto Dialer dials more than one call simultaneously (typically 3) from the list. Only calls answered by humans (as opposed to an answering machine) are connected to the caller.
An important facet of auto-dialing is the ability to distinguish an answering machine from a real human answer, since about 50% of calls are answered by answering machines or voice mail. Auto Dialers often come with Answering Machine Detection (AMD) as a feature.
If more than one call is dialed, what if more than one call matures? Well, it could and often does. In that case either it is dropped, or it could be connected to another user if free and dialing from the same list.
Dropped calls are in fact a big problem with auto-dialing, and many countries regulate the number of calls that can be dropped in a day to 3% or less. Dropped calls are less when a large team is dialing from the same list, since it will be likely that a free caller is available to take excess calls. They are also reduced by setting the correct calling ratio (I.e how many calls to dial simultaneously per agent). Setting this ratio is one of the most important tasks of the dialer administrator. Setting it too high will increase dropped calls, while setting it too low will cause agent idle time. What makes it difficult is the fact that the percentage of calls that mature varies during the day. Enter predictive dialers.
Predictive (aka adaptive) Dialers. A predictive dialer is an auto-dialer that decides its own calling ratio. It uses an algorithm to decide the ratio based on caller idle time, percentage of calls that mature and percentage of calls that end up dropped. It adapts to changes in percentage of matured calls, hence the term adaptive. Also, it attempts to predict when a caller will be free (based on past statistics of average call duration) and starts dialing in advance so as to have a call matured by the time the caller will probably be free. In this way it minimizes caller idle time and earns the term predictive dialer. 
Since predictive dialers decide calling ratio based on current call statistics, you need a team of at least 5 agents dialing together to get sufficient data for accurate predictions.  

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