The Benefits of Answering Machine Detection for the Outbound Call Center

Outbound call centers aim to reach customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whether agents are placing customer service calls, contacting leads, or working in debt collection, they need access to advanced call center technologies that allow them to save time and reach the right people at the right times. One essential feature of a robust call center solution is Answering Machine Detection. This feature is used by both human agents placing outbound calls and outbound call campaigns that use recorded voice messages. When human agents place outbound calls, voicemail detection can be used to gain productivity.

If an answering machine is detected, the agent’s call will not be connected. For this reason, call centers often measure Answering Machine Detection rates. This metric allows call centers to determine if the phone numbers they are using have a good reputation with customers—as discussed on social media, for example. The metric also allows them to determine when customers are most available. By identifying an Answering Machine Detection rate, outbound call center agents can plan to contact customers when the rate is the lowest and the chance of connecting with customers for a real conversation is highest.

How does Answering Machine Detection work?

Answering Machine Detection works by distinguishing between human speech and other sounds. It functions by using a power dialer or a predictive dialer.

  • A power dialer—also known as a progressive dialer—places calls automatically using a preset list of phone numbers taken from a CRM, web leads, or CSV files. Once there is a live connection, agents are put in contact with the customer. When the call ends, the dialer calls a new number. New calls are only placed when an agent is completely finished with the previous call. Agents may also leave voicemails and schedule callbacks easily when using a power dialer.
  • A predictive dialer, on the other hand, places calls differently. It uses predictive algorithms to connect agents with customers using factors such as voicemail detection, phone number type, time of day, the number of callbacks, and agent availability. This kind of dialer calls many phone numbers at once to connect with as many customers as possible, determining the best call and callback strategies.

Predictive dialers typically offer more connected calls than a power dialer. However, both are excellent at driving outbound call campaign efficiency. Answering Machine Detection as well as detection of busy signals and disconnected phone numbers ensures that agents are only connected with a person. Call center costs decrease, as agents do not waste time on the costly voice channel. Increased agent productivity also leads to stronger sales.

What are the benefits of Answering Machine Detection for the outbound call center?

Answering Machine Detection offers many benefits for the outbound call center. Most significantly, it allows agents to spend time actually interacting with customers rather than making numerous failed attempts at a live connection. This is important for any outbound call center, regardless of its business activity. However, it is especially critical for agents calling leads—a larger volume of live connections means increased sales. Agents also save more time and gain more productivity with voicemail detection. Eventually, this leads to greater agent engagement and confidence as their time and skills are put to optimal use for the greatest success. Using Answering Machine Detection for your contact center helps agents save time and gain productivity. On average, telemarketers lose 10 to 15 seconds per customer case unanswered (call hang-up on the answering machine). With this technology, the call is only transferred if there is an answer, so call center agents don’t lose time waiting anymore.

Answering Machine Detection also allows call centers to have a true reading of call pickup rates. When call center agents place calls that lead to Answering Machine Detection, the call pickup rate may be appear to be high despite the fact that the agents have been connected to machines and not customers. Indeed, the automatic dialing system reads voicemail as a contact (an interaction) and will therefore dial less since this will reduce the predictive power of the calls.

Answering Machine Detection is a powerful tool for driving agent efficiency as well as brand growth. When used with the other advanced features of a robust call center solution, Answering Machine Detection can help ensure that outbound call centers are always performing at their best.

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