The emergence of Predictive Dialing has revolutionized the way contact centers perform outbound campaigns. What was once a tiring, manual, and inefficient task, can now be fully automated and maximized. In fact, contact centers have enjoyed a 50% increase in sales, 100% growth in profits, and 400% improvement in agent productivity since the introduction of predictive dialer platforms. But despite being the ideal solution for outbound campaigns, predictive dialers have faced substantial scrutiny and restrictions in recent years, requiring users to proceed with extreme caution. So are the days of the predictive dialer numbered?
At one time, businesses faced little to no regulation when using auto-dialers with an “open season” attitude to whom a company can call and when, with little to no consideration as to prior interactions. With the recent modernization of TCPA and FCC laws, businesses and contact centers are now specifically limited to interacting with only those prospects expressing prior consent or face the risk of significant fines. Of course, the scope of what constitutes “customer consent” is blurry at best; one both businesses and courts are having a hard time defining. Case in point, while the FCC takes the position that the scope of consent is not unlimited, meaning auto-dialer-related customer interactions should only pertain to specific transactions that have previously taken place, courts argue it depends on the individual case facts.
So how should contact centers proceed?
Despite the apparent handicap FCC and TCPA regulations impose on predictive dialer systems, the fundamental benefits of auto-dialers have not changed. In light of it all, the latest restrictions may have actually come at an opportune time when considering the ongoing emphasis on the customer experience and its effect on modern consumer purchasing patterns. In fact, as consumers increasingly drive and manage the consumer experience, the role of predictive dialing will change but will certainly not die. To take it a step further, the damage unexpected and unwanted outreaches can cause as it relates to future customer relations or company branding (after all who wants to do business with a company imposing its services onto you) easily makes the case for avoiding those prospects who don’t want to hear from you in the first place. So while your predictive dialer may have fewer leads to call (which could still mean hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands), at least its efficiently calling leads with a higher probability of converting.
So how can you keep your predictive dialer, stay compliant, and maximize your call center’s activities? A few thoughts:
Compliant Lead Generation: Rather than use predictive dialing solutions to contact any lead, why not use it to focus on the right ones? Use TCPA lead generation compliant sources, such as a TCPA compliant website, to ensure all leads already meet the latest regulations, in which case the limitations on predictive dialer use no longer apply.
TCPA Compliant Campaigns: With the right contact center solution, businesses can identify, filter, and separate out leads that have not “expressed prior consent” and place them in a TCPA compliant campaign. Under such an approach, businesses can continue to use predictive dialing for those leads that qualify while independently contacting “non-consent” leads using traditional manual dialing.
Compliance Scripting: Modern TCPA laws require agents leave their name, the company they represent, and contact information for every outreach. The use of dynamic scripting tools can help ensure compliance with these industry standards while also enhancing the quality of each attempt.
DNC Compliance Screening: To remain complaint with TCPA laws, contact center should maintain an internal “do-not-call” (DNC) list of customers who have requested not to be contacted and honor the national do not call list. With the right contact center solutions, businesses can automatically screen any lead lists to ensure compliance and only contact those parties who have previously consented.
Alternative Dialer Options: While predictive dialers are perhaps the most popular, there are alternatives. For instance, preview dialers enable agents to preview client information and initiate the next call rather than allow the task to be performed automatically. Fixed ratio and progressive dialers also exist, addressing TCPA requirements as it relates to call abandonment.
In the end, predictive dialing is not dead, and there is no indication it will be anytime soon. As long as businesses still require the ability to quickly and effectively perform client outreaches there will always be a place for the many advantages it provides. What is dead, however, is the way it was previously applied. It is simply no longer acceptable to contact individuals who do not wish to be reached, or avoid the necessary required steps before initiating outbound campaigns. But with the right contact center solution in place and a team dedicated to ensuring industry compliance, any business can still successfully perform its outbound campaigns.