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Have you ever been looking for a description about the different types of outbound dialers and campaign execution? There are many terms around but you can basically put any outbound dialer into at least one of the following categories. Most products (like SAP Business Communications Management) even provide more than just one type of dialer.

The simplest type of outbound dialing is the CRM-based call list execution (aka Manual Call List execution). This means that an agent selects the next call manually or requests a proposal for a call from the CRM system. The call is then initiated manually by the agent utilizing CTI functionality. The phone system receives the phone number via a mouse click and initiates the call to the customer automatically. This is a completely manual process.

A more sophisticated way of dialing is the Dialer-based call list execution. This can be broken down into three different types of outbound dialers:

Preview dialing

Preview dialing is the simplest outbound dialing mechanism. The preview dialer selects a customer record from a call list and proposes this call record to an agent. The agent can then look at the customer record (the "preview" phase) and decide to call this customer. The agent will hear the progress of the call on the phone line. If the customer is busy, the agent hears busy tone, if the customer is not answering the phone the agent hears ringback tone until ending the call, and, of course, if the customer answers the phone the agent can talk to the customer.

  • An outbound campaign call request is routed to the agent's screen or sometimes manually selected from a call list
  • An outbound agent clicks the call button to call the customer
  • Once the agent finishes the current call, the next call request is routed to the agent screen
  • The dialer decides which call is proposed to which agent and when. The agent can preview, accept, or reject the call.


Progressive dialing

Progressive dialing is similar to Preview dialing except for a small difference: The decision when exactly the customer is called is not made by the agent, it is also made by the system. An agent has a predefined "preview time" and as soon as this time has elapsed, the system initiates the outbound call to the customer automatically. The agent also hears the progress of the call on the phone (same as in Preview mode). After the call is finished the next call request is routed to the agent automatically. This automation already increases agents’ effectiveness.

  • An outbound campaign call request is routed to the agent's screen
  • The outbound call to a customer is automatically dialed after a configurable time
  • Once the agent finishes the current call, the next call request is routed to the agent screen and is again dialed automatically after the configured preview time

  · The dialer decides which call record is dialed and proposed to the agent. Depending on configuration and workload the agent might have a fixed time to preview the call before it is dialed. 

Predictive dialing

Predictive dialing introduces a predictive dialing engine that initiates outbound calls based on outbound campaign call lists automatically in the background. The predictive dialing engine handles all calls (including call classification if a number is busy or not answering) until a call is connected. Some predictive dialers even feature an answering machine detection so that only calls answered by a person are connected to an agent. Based on complex and sophisticated mathematical algorithms, the predictive dialing engine defines the number of calls that are initiated and when they are started. However, introducing predictive dialing bears the risk of calls needing to be dropped when a customer answers the phone but no agent is available at this moment. Predictive dialing is the most effective outbound dialing mode.

  • The predictive dialing engine starts outbound calls automatically based on outbound campaign call lists
  • The dialing algorithm balances automated dialing rate in real time based on agent availability and multiple call handling-related statistics
  • The campaign manager can adjust dialing algorithm parameters
  • Answered calls are routed to agents, others are re-scheduled automatically

    · The dialer dials the call and transfers it to an agent when it is connected. Usually, the agent has no time for preview 

  • Risk of dropped calls