Predictive dialers, at their most basic, are Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) hardware or software devices that dial a list of telephone numbers, and, when a call is answered, pass that call to a human calling agent, who initiates a conversation with the person answering the call. Beyond this basic function, predictive dialers also manage the distribution of calls to agents, manage unanswered calls by applying rescheduling algorithms, minimize agents’ wait times, and generally make the most effective use of telephony assets, including phone lines, agents, and calling time windows. They also ensure that calling complies with local regulations on frequency of calls, time delay after a call has been answered, and percentages of “abandoned” calls: those where the phone, once answered, has no agent available to handle the call. Predictive dialers will also store and play automated messages when appropriate, and integrate phone call information from calls or Private Branch Exchanges (PBXes) with databases for call analysis and record keeping.
Predictive dialers are a highly useful telemarketing tool, as they can greatly increase the amount of time that telemarketing agents spend on the phone in actual contact with those who have been called, improving the utilization of agents in actual calls from 40 minutes per hour to up to 57 minutes per hour. Agents do not lose time in dialing and redialing, managing phone lists, and waiting for someone to pick up a call.
At the telephony level, predictive dialers need at some point to connect to either a Voice over IP (VoIP), digital, or Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) telephony system. In the case of POTS dialers, a modem has typically been the dialer, and modem interfaces are RS-232 serial. In modem pools with numerous phone lines, banks of modems are integrated with computers using multi-port serial interfaces.
One of LAVA’s customers, MarkeTel Systems (http://www.marketelsystems.com) is a leader in CTI predictive dialers, and uses LAVA serial cards to complement their systems.
Numerous other predictive dialers also interface on RS-232:
http://www.way2call.com/scripts/openExtra.asp?extra=41: dialer with host interface RS-232
http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Business/Misc__Phone_Tools/Phone_Dial_by_PC.html: software that uses serial RS-232 for modems
http://www.kolkersystems.com/: Gemini-2000 hardware predictive dialer
http://www.vikingelectronics.com/products/view_product.php?pid=193: PB-100 predictive dialer hardware and software
http://filedir.com/communications/telephony/phone-dial-by-pc-935381.html: Phone Dial by PC software