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What Is Predictive Dialing?

What is predictive dialing?

Predictive dialing software selects a phone number and dials it for a call center agent, reducing the time spent manually dialing phone numbers each day. The predictive dialer uses algorithms and mathematical formulas to predict how long it takes an agent to answer a call and their availability. The system then modifies the dialing rate. This allows agents to spend more time speaking with customers, addressing their needs and closing sales.

An effective predictive dialing system also evaluates the number of unsuccessful calls and determines if that number should be called back.

Without predictive dialing, agents must deal with:

  • Unanswered calls
  • Busy signals
  • Fax machines
  • Disconnected lines
  • Other phone-related issues

The predictive dialing system connects agents with already live phone calls. It can improve the number of outbound calls your agents make as well as their overall productivity. It also connects them to proper contacts.

History of predictive dialing

During the 1980s, there was an upturn in debt, spurring the need for debt collection companies. Collection agencies, banks and finance companies had to expand their call centers to collect overdue payments. These companies needed technology to increase call agent productivity while they made payment arrangements with debtors.

Douglas Samuelson developed software during the late 1980s that specifically directed the computer dialing systems to only dial calls during the optimal time frame. This software, which updated in real time, identified the best time to call people for payment collections, maximizing debt collection success. Other benefits included:

  • Anticipation of when agents would complete their phone calls
  • Fewer calls abandoned by agents
  • New calls strategically timed to coincide with an agent’s availability

This new technology enabled companies, especially large call centers, to save money and increase payment collections. Telemarketing companies also implemented the software to increase their phone sales.

Benefits of predictive dialing

The benefits of a predictive dialing system aren’t limited to increased productivity and sales. Here are a few additional advantages.

Blended call centers

In addition to being used to make outbound calls, predictive dialing is also useful for answering incoming calls. When customers call your company, they’re put in a virtual phone line. As soon as an agent becomes available, the predictive dialing system connects a customer with the first person in that virtual line.

The system connects an agent with an available customer almost instantaneously. Agents aren’t sitting idle, waiting for someone to call. Instead, they’re consistently on the phone with customers throughout the workday.

Lower operational costs

Choosing to run a call center without modern and technologically advanced software can be costly. An outdated call center is equipped with a PBX setup and multiple landlines.

If your company doesn’t handle too many incoming and outgoing phone calls, you could hire an operator to distribute phone calls to available agents. However, this is an antiquated career and one that carries additional expenses of hiring a new employee. In this case, a predictive dialing system can tap directly into your current computer network. Using a cloud-based predictive dialer also eliminates the need to purchase additional hardware.

Intelligent call assignment

If agents receive a printout of phone numbers to call, it might contain duplicate phone numbers. Calling customers multiple times increases the chance you’ll anger them — and it wastes your agents’ time. A predictive dialing system eliminates the likelihood of duplicate phone numbers.

The system can access all of the customer phone numbers you want to dial each day or during a specific campaign. Once the call is completed, the phone number is removed from that day’s lead sheet.

The software can also recognize when an agent is nearing the end of a phone call. A few seconds before they end their current call, the predictive dialer will connect them to the next lead. The next call is ready to go as soon as the agent hangs up.


Call centers must meet certain Federal Trade Commission rules and regulations. These rules are in place to ensure companies don’t call people to scam them.

For example, people can block their phone numbers from call lists. But companies that work off a printed list of phone numbers have difficulty keeping that list updated with recently blocked numbers.

A predictive dialer system can access a database that doesn’t include any blocked numbers. This increases your company’s ability to stay in compliance — and avoid expensive fines.

Implement predictive dialing into your call center

Predictive dialing software can save your company money, increase profits and improve your agents’ productivity. It’s one of the most modern and advanced phone systems available. Maximize each moment of your agents’ workday with predictive dialing.

To learn more about how to improve your outbound communications, download our “Interaction Dialer” PDF.