Predictive dialer software is a type of calling system that is automatic and dials numbers from a predetermined list. The software is able to identify when a call is answered and then route the call to an agent or rep, often in a call center, after the recipient says, "Hello." Predictive dialers are often used as a central pillar of a call center software tech stack.
It uses algorithmic-based data to determine the likelihood of a rep being available based on the total number of reps working, calls being made, and other metrics. In this way, it predicts when a new rep will be available and routes calls to those reps the second they're free.
To that end, predictive dialers will sometimes automatically dial a number if there's no live rep available. Even if the predictive dialer's algorithm expects an agent to be available once the call is answered, that doesn't always mean a rep can get on the line in time.
That leads to the dreaded "telemarketer delay." Because a predictive dialer routes the call to an agent only after it determines someone has answered live, call recipients hear an awkward pause as they wait for an agent to come on the line. As a result, predictive dialers tend to increase skepticism and hangups, which can negatively impact results.
Further, since call connections are based on an algorithm analyzing agent availability, there's no ability for reps to take charge in their prospect research and prioritize their list. They have no say in who gets called next, and reps often don't have time to catch their breath between connections.
Last, and most important, predictive dialers can get you into trouble with the FCC, who strictly regulate the use of multi-line dialers like predictive dialers. If an organization drops more than 3% of calls, they may be in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The FCC can impose fines for breaches in these protocols up to $43,792 per incident.
Power dialers, on the other hand, provide real-time, live conversations with real humans. There are never any pauses or delays. The rep is on the line the entire time with a power dialer and can begin speaking immediately when someone answers their call.
Aside from dialing pre-selected leads for a rep, the right power dialer software—like PhoneBurner—can also help with repetitive tasks. For example, reps can drop voicemails and send emails or SMS with one click, log calls, and automate post-call workflows, making it ideal for saving time.
A power dialer is more effective because the rep is in control the entire time and can tailor messages to each specific prospect based on research, notes from previous calls, or additional context in the dial window. That means personalized pitches, stronger interactions, and higher quality calls that get results.