‘Click to Dial’ in the Spotlight

February, 2023

Sytel considers how existing legislation on nuisance calls might evolve to serve today's markets, and details a predictive dialing 'best practice' strategy for Sytel's US customers.
Aylesbury, UK – 24 Feb 2023 – In a white paper released today, Sytel argues that legislation governing the calling of consumer cell phones by contact centers in the US is being undermined by current practice, and is calling for a reset in US outbound markets.

Sytel CEO, Michael McKinlay, says:

“It’s time for regulators and the contact center industry to put well-designed predictive dialers back into the heart of outbound calling, especially for calling cell phones.”

Commenting on the white paper, Predictive Dialing Strategy in the US, McKinlay points out that:

“regulation and innovation and go hand in hand in the US. It’s a great example to the rest of the world, and no more so than in the use of the telephone. People like their privacy and industry loves to call them up and sell them things, do polling, collect bills and so on. Regulators wave their magic wands to try and ensure there is a balance in how these things happen.”

“But times are a’changing: telephone response rates are falling and digital methods are now in vogue, where the consumer can decide whether or not they want to engage with a live person, in how they respond. And AI practitioners confidently assert that they are taking over the world and that live agents in a contact center will become redundant.

“Except it isn’t so,” says McKinlay. “Many studies show that lots of consumers are happy to receive phone calls, even when they know that someone might be calling them to remind them of a bill payment. But to a person, consumers simply don’t appreciate the volumes of nuisance and silent calls that are sometimes the price to pay, for being open to receiving telephone calls.”

“So move on to the remarkable activity in many contact centers today in the US, where automated dialing products have been replaced by human agents, who are expected to dial more discreetly and not upset consumers, when calling cell phones. Such calls go under the general industry name of ‘click to dial’.

“‘Click to dial’ is certainly innovative, but in its simple form, it just doesn’t have the performance contact centers need in order to generate a healthy bottom line, as consumers shy away from answering the phone. So, move on to the extended ‘click to dial’ systems now being used, ostensibly solving the performance problem. But innovation has got ahead of itself and out of sync with regulation.

“Innovation always provokes a competitive response, so next thing you know is that everyone is doing it, or at least seriously considering it. So extended ‘click to dial’ systems have become the de facto standard for dialing cell phones. Most actors in the outbound market say they can’t last, but they do!

“Nevertheless, change is certain in our view” says McKinlay, “and we look forward to playing our part in this and helping achieve a balance that meets the needs of industry, whilst ensuring a fair deal for consumers.”

Sytel’s analysis and views are set out in detail in the white paper Predictive Dialing Strategy in the US, which also looks at best practice for its own users. The paper has also been shared with the relevant federal regulators.

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