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What is a predictive dialer?

Published: Mar 14, 2017

A predictive dialer is an automated outbound voice calling system designed to increase the efficiency of call center agents in a contact center. A predictive dialer calls a list of telephone numbers and connects only answered calls to the agents waiting to get bridged. As the dialer only connects agents to answered calls, an agents time isn’t wasted on listening to dial tones of unanswered calls, invalid numbers and fax machines. Some predictive dialers are smart enough to detect calls picked by answering machines and filter them by dropping a pre-recorded voice message.

What is a Predictive Dialer

A predictive dialer increases the amount of time an agent spends talking in a hour, drastically improving the agent occupancy rate.

Agent Occupancy Rate = Agent Total Talk time / Agent Total connect time

How it works

Managing the number of answered calls to available agents can be tricky. While a predictive dialers bridges answered calls to agents, if an agent isn’t available, a pre-recorded audio message is dropped instead ( these are termed as dropped calls ). The dialer needs to keep the drop rate at minimum.

Predictive Algorithms

A Predictive dialer calculates the average ring time ( time taken to pick up calls ) and talk time. This is fed into a statistical algorithm to predict when an agent is next available to answer calls. It keeps a track of all picked & dropped calls in a dialing session. Anticipating the number of free agents and the drop rate, the dialer adjusts its dialing rate. Based on these parameters, the predictive dialer speeds up and slows down the dialing rate to maximise the agent talk time and minimise occurrence of someone answering when no agent is available.

Benefits of a predictive dialer

  1. Increase talk time to 45 minutes per hour
  2. Maintained a high occupancy rate for your agents
  3. Increases Return on investment as you reach more contacts in same time

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As the answered call is bridged to the agents at run time, contacts may experience a delay between when they pick up the calls to the time when an agent answers. This delay is typically of 1-2 secs, which is an acceptable delay.

Dropped calls are kept at a minimum with Predictive dialers. The dialer drops prerecorded audio message to answered calls, so, if the cost of not reaching a contact is high, a power dialer may be a better option.


In the USA, if someone answers but no agent is available within 2 seconds of the person’s greeting, FCC regulations consider the call “abandoned” and requires the dialer to play a recorded message. The FCC requires that predictive dialers abandon less than 3% of answered calls.

In Canada, the maximum abandon rate is 5%, and calls cannot be made to numbers registered with the National Do Not Call Registry, emergency or health care providers.

In the UK, Ofcom requires that predictive dialers abandon fewer than 3% of answered calls on a daily basis. Ofcom also requires that if an agent is not available within 2 seconds the call is considered “abandoned” and an automated message is played.


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