Predictive Dialing Under Regulation – All Pain, Little Gain

November, 2012

Virtually no predictive dialers were designed to deliver good performance under Ofcom/ FTC rules for abandoned calls. This blog explores the implications for the operators and the industry.

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: in both the UK and the US, outbound operators are getting a raw deal.

The fact is that virtually no predictive dialers were designed to deliver good performance under Ofcom rules/ FTC rules for abandoned calls. In fact, most struggle to deliver predictive dialer performance that is any better than a progressive dialer.

Why? Because virtually all were designed pre-regulation and have never been reworked to cope with the challenge. Limited design leads operators to take control of the dialing rate in an effort to maximise productivity. But the most on-the-ball dialer manager is slow and inaccurate (compared to automatic pacing), squeezing out marginal productivity increases at best. And at the same time, users are gambling on achieving an overall abandoned call rate that does not breach the rules.

What is amazing is that the big brands in the dialer industry have convinced a whole generation of users that this is the way to manage a predictive dialer! All pain, little gain. As we said: a raw deal.

Well, enough is enough. It’s time to disrupt the status quo!

Cast your mind back to when the regulators in the US and the UK brought in their rules for predictive dialers about a decade ago. The rules were tough and were set without any regard as to whether dialers could cope with them and still be productive. (Most can’t!)

Let’s consider how we got into this mess.

In the aftermath of the rules, two things happened:

  1. The outbound industry took a nose-dive, as consumers flocked toward Do Not Call lists (DNC in the US, TPS in the UK)
  2. Prices for dialers dropped precipitously

The impetus for both users and vendors to invest in predictive dialer performance slowed in response. Why bother, especially if most countries don’t care or if regulators in the UK and the US are slow to penalise non-compliance?

How have users of dialer technology responded? Particularly in the UK, where compliance matters a great deal, they remain rooted in old-world thinking, for example:-

  • “Our vendor has given us a statement of compliance that shows us we can work within Ofcom rules/ FTC rules and still get great productivity”
    Compliance? Sure! Great productivity? Baloney! Many users would be shocked at how little predictive advantage they are getting over progressive dialing. The only way to know for sure is to run a predictive gain test.
  • “We rely upon the experience of our dialer managers to control the pacing of our dialers”
    Anyone relying on human control to stay compliant and achieve great predictive performance is simply smoking dope, as they say.

If you don’t know what predictive gain is and your dialer managers are spending their time telling your dialer what to do, then you are underperforming on your outbound campaigns. (You can calculate the predictive gain of any outbound campaign by using Oceanic™, Sytel’s simulation and planning tool.)

Call us for some fresh thinking on predictive dialers. Your finance director will love you.

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