There is a lot of confusion over what an autodialer is, and particularly in the United States, with the FCC and TCPA definitions thrown in the mix; the term autodialer could include an even broader range of equipment and devices.
Traditionally, the function of an autodialer was to automatically phone through a list of numbers and play a recorded message to the recipient. No live agents or telemarketers were necessary with this sort of autodialer. In comparison, live agents in a call center making outbound calls may use a progressive dialer, also known as a power dialer, or a preview dialer. Here the next lead is not dialed until an agent is available and usually the contact details would also be displayed on the agent screen so the agent can preview the information while it is being called.
The most sophisticated type of dialer is the predictive dialer which statistically calculates when the next agent will want a call and then it dials out, ahead of time, on multiple lines in an effort to reach someone. When someone does answer the call they are then transferred to the next available agent. These devices are often combined with the ability to distinguish between a live person and a voice mail system and then on the occasions when they reach a voice mail system they can leave a pre-recorded message. In this way they have a semi-autodialer function built into them. Although this yields great productivity it has the negative aspect of potentially reaching people when there are no agents available, in which case the dialer usually drops the call, effectively hanging up on the called person. They are also the most complicated of dialers and need an operator who is technically skilled and has a good understanding of the rules and regulations that govern the use of this sort of technology.
We have been working with telephony equipment for some 15 years and over this time we have had many requests to develop a predictive dialer or to add this sort of functionality to Acarda Outbound, and its predecessor, TeamMax. In the current regulatory atmosphere, we are thankful we never went down this path. Now-a-days, predictive dialers are likely to land you in a lot of trouble if not strictly used within the regulations.
Acarda Outbound has no predictive dialer ability and is not an autodialer. Rather it functions as a call manager with the Acarda Outbound Agent software acting more precisely as speed-dialer in a similar way to the speed-dialer capability of your memory dial handset telephones.
Further, Acarda Outbound does not dial the telephone number itself but rather relies on another application or device to dial the number. For example, when using a softphone such as Zoiper or Skype, Acarda Outbound tells the softphone, “dial this telephone number”, then the softphone dials the number. Acarda Outbound cannot automatically work through a list without human interaction and call people any more than your deskphone can start dialing a list of numbers without you pressing buttons on the deskphone.
Acarda Outbound has a preview and a demand dialing mode however in both cases you must click a button to initial a dial out to the telephone number and that dial out functions like a speed-dialer (or click-to-dial) not an autodialer.
Please note, this blog is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. For more details on Acarda Outbound please see http://www.acarda.com/live-outbound-calling/. You can download an Acarda Outbound trial via http://www.acarda.com/outbound-calling-downloads/