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Power Dialer vs Predictive Dialer: Which is Right for You?

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Published: May 22, 2024

An auto dialer is a telecommunications device or software that automatically dials telephone numbers. It can be used for outbound calling campaigns, fundraising, telemarketing, debt collection, and as cold calling tools. Dialers come in many flavors – the most popular being the Power Dialer and the Predictive Dialer. 

Choosing the right Auto dialer for your campaigns is critical to their success. All types of dialers have pros and cons. The key here is to decide carefully while choosing one whose benefits outweigh the disadvantages.  

If you are confused about whether to choose a power or Predictive Dialer for your calling campaigns, this post will help you resolve that dilemma. 

Power Dialer vs Predictive Dialer: First, what is common in them?

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Both kinds of dialers are commonly thought of as forms of an Automated Telephone Dialing System (ATDS). The TCPA regulates their use, and the FCC and state attorneys general enforce it.

However, these definitions have been updated after a series of court rulings.  

Are dialers an ATDS?

The TCPA defines an ATDS as – “equipment which has the capacity – (A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers.”

As the US Supreme Court has declared, this limits an ATDS to only those devices that can either generate random telephone numbers and then dial them or systems that just dial every possible number . 

Therefore, both Power and Predictive dialers are not ATDS since they only dial numbers uploaded by clients after consumers have given their express consent to get calls from the organization (or calls generally for political calls). 

Why are Power and Predictive dialers not ATDS?

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While both dialers call numbers automatically, this does not legally make them ATDS. The ‘human intervention’ standard has also been removed by the courts, so merely dialing automatically does not make a dialer an ATDS. Here’s why:

  • These dialers do not generate random numbers or call numbers sequentially.
  • They do not randomize the call order. The call order is decided by the campaign manager for each campaign.

What is common between Power and Predictive dialers?

What they do have in common is:  

  • The ability to make a vast number of calls within a time frame.
  • Reducing delays and wait times for agents.
  • Ensures that there is always an active caller ready for any free agent 

Specifically, in CallHub, both dialers let you: 

  • Use personalized, branching scripts
  • ​​Send text follow-ups to contacts who didn’t pick up or need more information
  • Receive incoming calls so you don’t miss out on prospects
  • Establish local presence and improve your answer rate with a dynamic local caller ID
  • Schedule automatic callbacks
  • Drop voice messages for answering machines
  • Use call dispositions to mark the outcome of each call for follow-ups

Important: 

  • All CallHub dialers are SHAKEN/STIR compliant. Get a ‘Caller Verified’ badge on your phone numbers and comply with the SHAKEN/STIR regulations. 
  • The average call duration of a campaign should be greater than 30 seconds. The carrier can flag a large number of calls below 30 seconds as ‘spam.’ 

Types of automated dialers

What is a Power dialer?

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A Power Dialer is an automated outbound dialer that dials the next number only when the agent initiates it. Smaller and mid-sized teams will see more benefit from Power Dialers, where every call takes a variable amount of time and in unique. 

This has several advantages: 

  • The agent can have an unhurried conversation with the contact
  • The agent can make notes, update surveys, or fill in ‘call disposition’ tags after each call 
  • Contacts do not face any pauses when they get the call. The agent is already on the line when the contact is connected.

You can make an estimated 60-80 calls per hour with a Power Dialer. 

What is a Predictive dialer?

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The Predictive Dialer is an automated outbound dialer that dials numbers ahead of time and only connects answered calls to free agents. The Predictive Dialer lets you make up to 110 calls per hour. 

The Predictive Dialer is a good fit for larger teams who are working through enormous lists of contacts, and speaking to every single contact is not a priority. (Although obviously, it is preferable to reach every one, and hence the redial option). The Predictive Dialer is good for campaign events like Get Out The Vote (GOTV), voting day reminders, mass surveys, etc.  

How does CallHub’s Predictive Dialer work?

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An algorithm calculates a ‘dialing ratio’ based on data like answered calls, dropped calls, and the number of active agents. 

The ratio is the number of calls dialed for every free agent. For example, suppose the dialer must connect one free agent in the next minute.

In that case, it decides whether to dial one, two, or three numbers simultaneously so that one of the dialed contacts will be ready to take the agent’s call at any given time. This ratio lets the dialer predict the appropriate number of calls for each call round in ratios like 1:1, 1:2, and 1:3. 

If more than one contact answers the phone simultaneously, the dialer lets you choose to hang up or play an answering machine message for one while connecting the other to the agent. 

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Important: If you are using a Predictive Dialer for telemarketing, the TCPA mandates that “no person or entity may abandon more than 3% of all telemarketing calls that are answered live by a person, as measured over a 30-day period for a single calling campaign.” 

Abandon here means someone answered the call, but your campaign cut the call without a live agent speaking to them. The TCPA requires you to play a recorded message at that point, which includes an explanation about how the contact may get themselves removed from this calling list. And the TCPA demands that your campaign never exceed 3% in abandoned calls. 

To ensure compliance with this rule, ‘Enable Dropped Restrictions’ is checked by default if you use the Predictive Dialer. However, you may uncheck the box if the restrictions do not apply to your campaigns.

Call to conversation conversion rate

The call-to-conversation conversion rate is the average number of calls you make until someone speaks to your agent. Your calls may go unanswered for various reasons, including a bad number, network issues, or people being busy. 

The conversion rate helps you determine your calling ratio. Usually, you must calculate this metric. In the Predictive Dialer, however, it happens automatically.

Power Dialer vs Predictive Dialer: Key differences

While Power dialers offer more manual control and are suitable when a more personalized approach is needed, Predictive Dialers are designed for high-volume campaigns and prioritize throughput. 

The choice between them depends on the specific needs and priorities of the call center or organization using the dialing system.

Calling ratio 

  • The Power Dialer is welded to 1:1, so the number of calls made is lower in comparison. The Power Dialer is best for smaller or less intensive campaigns with a smaller, segmented, or more personalized contact list where reaching each contact matters. 
  • The Predictive Dialer’s ratio can be increased upto 1:3 for every free agent, allowing a much faster rate of calls. Choose the Predictive Dialer if you have an enormous calling list, and covering the entire list is the priority, whatever the outcome – unanswered, answering machine, spoken to the agent, etc.

Critically, the Predictive Dialer scales up and down – depending on factors like dropped calls, the average call length, and the number of free agents.  

Calling control

  • The Power Dialer gives the agent full control over the calling rate, the length of each call, and when the next call occurs. 
  • The Predictive Dialer makes the calls itself, dramatically increasing the rate of calls and pushing agents to complete calls. This frees the agent from taking on this additional task and leaves them free to get through their script quickly. 

Agent set up

CallHub lets you add (or remove) as many agents as you wish, with billing occurring for calls made only. Therefore, you can set up your team to the size you need for each campaign. 

Especially regarding sub-accounts, you can empower smaller teams in varied locations and use the appropriate dialer for your team size.  Your agents can sign up for the role or be added by you to the calling campaign. 

They can also enter the calling campaign using a desktop login or even their own smartphones via the CallHub mobile app. The app allows them to take up calls assigned to them from anywhere in the world. 

Though, do keep in mind: 

  • Higher call volumes need a high agent-to-dialer ratio to maximize call capacity. For example, if you want to make 1500 calls daily, you must have at least three agents answering one call every minute for nine hours. 

Realistically, it is recommended to use the Predictive Dialer only if you have six or more agents for a single campaign – to allow for their full utilization.

Drop rate

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The ‘drop rate’ refers to the percentage of calls terminated before being connected to a contact or answering machine. The drop rate includes factors like: 

  • If the dialer reaches a busy number
  • If there’s no response after a certain number of rings
  • If there is no free agent to speak when the call connects

Your campaign has to balance the drop rate with other metrics, such as the connect rate (the percentage of calls successfully connected to a live person) and agent utilization.

The drop rate may not be a major concern if your campaign speaks to enough people and your agents are fully occupied. 

However, a Predictive Dialer must have a maximum 3% drop rate, which is a regulatory requirement in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

It is best practice to upload a pre-recorded message to leave as a voicemail for drop calls. 

If you are facing many dropped calls, switching to the Power Dialer from the Predictive Dialer is best. The Power Dialer ensures an agent will attend to each connected call.  

Answering machine detection

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CallHub’s dialers are programmed to detect answering machines automatically. And you can choose to drop the call or leave a message you recorded earlier. 

Leaving voicemails on answering machines is a best practice rather than just hanging up. This will ensure that no calls are suspicious to the recipient.

You need to enable Answering Machine Detection (AMD) from your Call Center campaign’s ‘Targeting’ section. You must select the ‘Automatically Detect answering machines’ checkbox to enable AMD on your campaign.

Don’t forget to select an Answering Machine Audio to play a pre-recorded audio file when using the Predictive Dialer. When using the Power Dialer, the agent can leave a message themselves.  

Use cases: Power Dialer vs Predictive Dialer

Let’s examine some real instances of organizations using a Power or Predictive Dialer and how they benefitted.

Power dialer use case

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Let’s review the example of Democrats Abroad using a Power Dialer for their calling campaign. 

Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm catering to the millions of Americans living outside the United States. It works to inform and mobilize overseas votes to provide expats with the means to participate in American elections. 

They realized that the reasons for low voter turnout abroad are:

  • A complicated voting process.
  • Issues with shifting addresses.
  • Lack of awareness about voting rights.  

To change this, volunteers called people to understand precisely the kind of problems they were facing. After noting them down, they followed up with voters giving them exact solutions. 

By having personalized conversations with each voter, the organization increased overseas turnout by 300% for the 2018 US midterm elections.  

Takeaway

Power dialers are great for teams working on campaigns that require highly personalized conversations. Since there are no one-script-fits-all options for this, agents need time to prepare themselves for the next call. 

They also need some room to make notes of the conversation for the follow-up (like in the use case above).

Plus, you can never estimate the duration of such a call, which is why Power Dialers are perfect. 

Predictive dialer use case

Now, let’s review the example of Organizing for Change using a Predictive Dialer for their calling campaign. 

Organizing-for-Change

Organizing for Change (OFC) is a nonpartisan strategic initiative of environmental groups based in British Columbia. The organization works to advance policies beneficial for both the environment and the locals. 

A while back, OFC and others got together to run a distributed phone banking campaign using CallHub. The objective was to run a survey to accumulate voter data and then use it for GOTV. 

OFC, along with 24 other groups, such as Dogwood Initiative and STAND, came together to make calls. They used CallHub’s volunteer management setup to facilitate collaboration between different groups on one platform. 

They had to cumulate voter data before figuring out the best strategies for GOTV. To accomplish this, each organization began calling its members to fill out a survey. 

While the survey questions were common, each group followed a unique script catering to its members. Volunteers didn’t have to read up on the prospects’ backgrounds (since most of it was unavailable). They only had to follow the script and get them to answer the survey questions. 

After collating voter data and using that to plan their GOTV efforts, the OFC and its partner groups increased voter turnout by 7%.

Takeaway

A Predictive Dialer is perfect for teams working on campaigns prioritizing volume over personalization. This is especially true when you don’t have a lot of background on the prospect or have a straightforward call center script. 

Power Dialer vs. Predictive Dialer: Things to consider when choosing the right dialer

Everything we have discussed so far should convince you which dialer is right for you – with considerations ranging from TCPA regulations to your number of agents. However, beyond those, here are a few additional factors that should help you seal the deal: 

Call ring time

The call ring time is when a call starts ringing and when it is answered or dropped. 

For your campaigns, this means productive time lost for your agents. There is nothing that you can do about this when using Power Dialers. 

A Predictive Dialer stops agents from waiting during call ring time by setting the calling ratio to keep more active calls ready. 

Average call duration

When using the Predictive Dialer, there is a risk of multiple prospects picking up simultaneously and some being dropped. Also, hanging up may reduce the chances of the prospect picking up the call again. 

This is not helpful if you are trying to build a meaningful connection with your contacts, not just getting in touch with them for an anonymous survey. 

If your average call durations are high or unpredictable, it’s best to use Power Dialers with a 1:1 dialing ratio. 

Purpose of calling

The purpose of your calls dictates a lot of factors that affect your decision. 

For example, if your call is to conduct a small survey, you know your call duration will be short, and callers will not have to prepare (or plan) for the conversation. 

Hence, a Predictive Dialer would be perfect for short calls with little engagement.  

On the other hand, if your objective is sales or fundraising, conversations may be longer (due to improvisation). Also, dropping too many calls might result in losing good leads. 

Therefore, a Power Dialer would be ideal for building relationships and leads. 

Database quality

Typically, a good-quality database with a clean contact list comprises few to no invalid numbers, wrong contact details, or prospect information. It also usually has a higher call-to-conversation rate. But this is not usually the case. 

A Predictive Dialer is perfect for low-quality databases. Connecting agents with only live calls reduces time spent sitting through invalid numbers.

However, if your database is from a trusted source and you know invalid numbers won’t be an issue, you can use a Power Dialer.

Note: Database quality is often a problem for most campaigns. Using a tool like CallHub that has automated phone number verification is the perfect way to clean up your database before you start calling. 

When caught at the crossroads, you can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How personalized are my conversations going to be?
  • How massive is my database, and how many callers do you have?
  • What kind of campaign will I be running?

The answers to these questions will give you a basic understanding of the dialer most suitable for your campaign. 

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