While outbound IVR systems are being widely used now a days for many promotional activities, but outbound IVR potential as smart predictive dialer is still to be tapped.
While many acknowledge that, outbound IVR has many advantages over predictive dialer, call centers still deploy predictive dialer for making outbound calls and then transferring the calls to human agents.
History of predictive dialer shows, it came to be used in call centers for increase efficiency of human agents, as well as effective monitoring by supervises. Predictive dialer increase productivity by automating the dialing, then detecting answering machine, FAX tone or human answering and then connecting to human agent. Any outbound IVR with small computation power using CPA ( Call Progress Analysis) can achieve these and much more!
Another major advantage of outbound IVR ( or any IVR for that matter) is its availability in both on-premise and hosted environment. Hosted environment provides many advantages like low initial cost as well as sudden spike in call volume! Predictive dialer are normally on premise and sudden spike of calls can only be served by increasing number of ports in it.
So, why call center owners are still having separate predictive dialer and not using their inbound IVR as predictive dialer in outbound IVR configuration ?
As I had interacted some call center owners as well as few vendors for call center industry, I think, in India, only two reasons for not using outbound IVR as predictive dialer :-
1. Lack of information
Not many people are aware that IVR can be used for making outbound calls and then transferring it to human agent along with call whispering or agent pop up with the connected call. Many call center owners include inbound IVR, but they are not aware or made aware that the same IVR could be used for making outbound calls as well as it can eliminate predictive dialer all together.
IVR being based on a PC, it has many options for monitoring, accessing data from various sources as well as present status of calls and activity of human agents.
2. Lack of confidence in IVR applications
While predictive dialer is a proven product, but many consider IVR applications to be just add-on and stand-by arrangement in India. Most probably, this has to do with technology adoption problem! Also, many people cite example of ‘hard coded’ IVR applications and lack of support and maintenance by IVR companies. Most of the IVR companies in India uses CTI boards APIs to develop IVR applications instead of open standards or tools. It may create problem in upgrading the application as well as maintenance.
So, it looks like outbound IVR will not be able to replace predictive dialer as preferred ‘smart dialer’ in call center in near future in India.