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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Predictive Dialers Human Interaction Maximized

Predictive dialers are many steps removed from their predessors, the automatic dialers of the past. Whereas automatic dialing allowed callcenter agencies to dial numbers quickly and efficiently, predictive dialing also processes and makes use of a whole range of information, linking callers to live voices every single time. In fact, with predictive dialing, agents' 'talk time' has increased from an average of twenty minutes per hour to fifty minutes per hour. This is a fabulous rate of improvement - instead of wasting more than half of their time on listening to busy signals and answering machine messages, agents now spend the majority of their time engaged in producting interaction. The dialer also manages the line to agent ratio by pacing the call rate at the desired level. In this way, quotas are met, and agents are neither idle nor overwhelmed. In other words, because the hardware and software does its job, agents are able to spend much more time doing theirs. And of course, increased contact time means that the center's goals are reached much more quickly.

In many ways, it is still true that the real value of a call center depends on its 'human capital' - the agents who interact with clients and potential clients. The more the center's human capital is brought to the forefront, the more everyone benefits. The aim of technology, therefore, is to maximize the time that agents are able to spend doing what only they can do - conversing, communicating, interacting. Predictive dialing and other call center technology represents a perfect symbiosis between person and machine.

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