Top 5 Myths Of Outbound Calling

July, 2011

Here are the top 5 misconceptions about how predictive dialers actually work, along with some suggestions for better practice.

In talking to predictive dialer users around the world, we come across many misconceptions about how predictive dialers actually work, and how to get the most from them. Here are the top 5, along with some suggestions for better practice.

  1. The longer I set my Ring No Answer (RNA) time, the greater my productivity will be.
    RNA is the duration an initiated call rings at the destination before being killed as a No Answer. The reality is that 95% of consumers answer the phone within 18 seconds, and setting an RNA longer than that just pushes line costs up and agent productivity down, not up! Not sure why? Just ask us.
  2. Answering machine detection (AMD) must be beneficial because it cuts down the number of non-live calls connected to my agents.
    Yes, it can help, but 85% detection accuracy is as good performance as you are likely to get in most cases, and even then there is a price to be paid. Firstly, you will be hanging up on live callers thinking that they are answering machines, putting you at risk of trouble with the regulators. Secondly, you are likely to be keeping the consumer waiting for 2-3 seconds before putting the call through, which just annoys people and lowers the quality of the call. Any attempt to go above 85% will make these two effects worse. But ask for a copy of our paper on whether to use AMD at all.
  3. To gain the maximum benefit from my calling list, I should pass through it once, then call all the answer machines, no answers and busies again.
    Batching a group of previous non-connects will probably lead to more non-connects, and agent left waiting for a live call. It is better to keep the connect rate steady, firstly by combining fresh list data with smart recycling of individual outcomes (e.g. calling answering machines at a different time the following day), and secondly, by preventing supervisors from cherry-picking data at the expense of overall campaign performance.
  4. Predictive dialers need to be managed according to observation,
    e.g.a. slowing the dialing rate when there are too many abandoned calls
    b. dialing at say the reciprocal of the average connect rate, or according to average talk times, or at ‘x trunks per agent’The problem is that during any campaign, conditions such as connect rate, agent numbers, long/ short talk times, are liable to roller coaster. If the dialing rate is either fixed or under the control of a manager, it can lead to agent thumb-twiddling on one hand, and silent calls on the other. It is better to use a dialer that reacts immediately and automatically to these changing conditions.
  5. Call blending is unproductive and should not be used.
    The problem here is that agents tend to be good at either outbound processes, or inbound, but not both. Deploying agents to work outside their skill area degrades call center performance.The answer is firstly to restrict blending to those (rare) agents with both inbound and outbound skills, and secondly to blend not only voice traffic but multiple media channels as well. And where do you find multi-disciplinary agents to deal with email, chat, sms, social media, etc? Anybody with teenage children will see how naturally young people interact with multiple media sources. Your multi-disciplinary staffing issue could be a solution for youth unemployment!

If these myths are familiar to you, you are not alone. We hope the above suggestions will improve your use of existing call center software. If you would like more detail, please ask us ( for the white papers we have produced on these subjects.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC) – multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions.

Available by subscription as CCaaS, fully managed and supported by Sytel, or for quick and easy deployment by partners and enterprise users.

All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

Flexible Contact Center Software

Softdial Contact Center™ – rich functionality, all-in-one, designed to deliver at scale

  • Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

    CCaaS for subscribers – global service​, with no upfront costs

  • Contact Center Platform – CCaaS Partners

    Build your own CCaaS business using the power and flexibility of Sytel software

  • Contact Center Platform – Enterprise

    High performance platform to drive contact center productivity – cloud, on-premise or hybrid

Blended Media Desktop

Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

Work Anywhere

Browser-based tools, no software installation required

Customise, Localise, White Label

Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

Integration via APIs

‘Swap out’ components and integrate with 3rd party apps

World Class Development

Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries


Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

All Media Channels

Voice, chat, email, social, etc – fully integrated and blended

Agent Multi-Tasking

Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media channel

Dynamic Workforce Management

Optimise agent usage and balance workloads in real-time without human intervention, across all media channels

Predictive Dialing

Best-of-breed performance under compliance

Optimised Inbound Routing

Smart rules and ‘best-available’ decisions to drive great customer service

Agent Scripts

Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

Voice and Screen Recording

See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

Analytics and Data Feeds

Measure and evaluate performance at every level

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

Customer Journey Tracking

Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations


Drive operational efficiency, increase customer satisfaction & improve agent performance

Softdial One™

Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

Softdial Scripter™

Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

Sytel AI Dialer™

Maximum predictive dialing performance, under any compliance rules

Softdial Pathfinder™

Precise routing rules for ‘best available’ connection

Softdial Media Server™

Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/outbound SIP calls

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

Softdial Publisher™

Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Automation to optimise any outreach strategy

Softdial Repository™

Central storage and configuration of common resources

Sytel Global Compliance™

Flexible ‘no contact’ rules to protect contact center and consumer


Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

By Business Type


A full featured contact center software solution, designed for optimum performance at scale

Small/ Medium Business

Options for SMBs to subscribe to our full-featured cloud service managed and hosted by either one of our partners or by Sytel themselves

By Industry

Customer Service

Connect quickly to well equipped agents

Market Research

Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

Debt Collection

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing


Secure, highly-configurable multichannel communications for excellence in patient care