Voice broadcast -- autodialing with a pre-recorded audio message -- is one of the most common autodialing services, used predominantly for marketing and sales calls. A marketing company can save money on live operators by making its sales pitch with a pre-recorded message. Using interactive voice response (IVR), the marketing company can include an option for pressing a key to speak to a live representative.
Another useful application of voice broadcast is for notifications and reminders. Notifications and reminders can be automated and customized using text-to-speech technology.
For example, an airline can call customers to notify them of a change in an upcoming flight schedule. The auto-dialing software is connected to a database of customers and flight schedules. When a flight time changes in the database, the software automatically dials all of the customers on that flight. Using text-to-speech technology, the message can be personalized for each customer: "Mr. Johnson, your flight now leaves Denver at 6:02pm."
Here are some more real-life examples of using voice broadcast for notifications and reminders:
- A university sets up a mass notification system in which all students, faculty and staff are notified by phone of a campus emergency.
- A doctor's office uses an autodialer to remind patients of upcoming appointments, to take a certain pill at a certain time, or to check in with elderly patients.
- The hospitality industry sends reservation confirmations for restaurant reservations and hotel bookings.
- Financial services companies send automated fraud alerts, payment reminders and debt collection notices.
- Manufacturers and retailers send automated product recall alerts, order status updates and shipping notifications.
- Political campaigns and activist organizations broadcast their message to voters and remind them to go to the polls to vote.
- A police department issues a phone alert to residents in a certain area notifying them of a possible kidnapping. The message includes a physical description of the victim and the suspect.
Voice broadcast is designed for pre-recorded or automated text-to-speech messages. But there are several other auto-dialing features, including predictive dialing, that are tailored to call centers with live operators:
- Preview dialing -- Before the software dials the number, it allows the operator time to review information about the call. This is useful for customizing a script when making a sales call.
- Progressive dialing -- The software connects the call to an operator as it's being dialed to give the operator a few seconds to review on-screen information.
- Predictive dialing -- As we discussed, the software uses special algorithms to dial as many simultaneous numbers as possible while maximizing operator talk time. This saves money by allowing call centers to hire fewer employees to make more calls.
- "Smart" predictive dialing -- Calls answered by a live person are programmed to first play a pre-recorded voice message. The call is only transferred to a live operator when the person expresses interest by pressing a key. This is useful for identifying customers that are truly interested in the product or service being pitched.
Now let's take a look at a few auto-dialing service providers and what they have to offer.