An autodialer — a word that blends “automatic” and “dialer” — is either an electronic device or a piece of software that calls people’s phone numbers. If someone answers the phone, then they are connected to a live person. If the call goes to voicemail, a recorded message is left for the person.
A predictive dialer will connect the person who answers a call to a live agent. It is sophisticated enough to use real-time analysis to figure out the best times to call more numbers. A power dialer is similar to a predictive dialer, with the exception that after the telephone conversation, it will call the next number in a pre-set log of numbers. Finally, a robocalling autodialer simply plays a pre-recorded message. It may, for example, ask the person who answers the phone an opinion poll question and direct them to press a certain digit if they are on one side of an issue or press another digit if they are on another side of it.
While autodialers are usually used for cold calling, other creative uses include following up with people who are in the sales process, following up after the sale and following up with people who have unresolved issues in customer service.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of these types of follow ups.
- Why you should follow up with people who are in the sales process.
Instead of thinking of each call you make to a prospect as having an acceptance or rejection outcome, think of each call as a relationship builder. If they don’t buy anything when you first call, this call was not a failure—it was introducing them to the idea. Consequently, all your other calls are continually warming them up to the idea. People will not buy anything from you when you are ready to sell them on something; instead, they will only buy from you when they are ready to buy.
- Why you should follow up after the sale.
Many businesses make the mistake of not calling customers after a sale is made. They see the whole transaction as a done deal and they move on to find new customers. However, somebody who has bought from you once is much more likely to make a return order after they’ve consumed the product or buy something else from you related to their interest if you stay in touch with them.
Making a follow-up call after someone has purchased a product to find out if they liked the product and if they need any help with using it provides four big benefits.
- First, it builds trust and goodwill.
- Second, if there are problems with the product, it heads off problems related to returns or warning family and friends never to buy from your company.
- Third, it opens the door to future sales possibilities.
- Why you should follow up with people who have unresolved issues in customer service.
The best businesses offer excellent customer service. The quicker you get back to someone who is having trouble with your product or service, the sooner it can be satisfactorily resolved. Calling is faster than emailing, and far more personal. You become aware of any objections and can answer them on the spot. If your company has made a mistake, then a customer will appreciate your apology and reassurance that you will set things right.
If the issue is a protracted one that can’t be solved quickly, calling customers back reassures them that you have not forgotten the issue and that you are still working on it. And, sometimes the fault is not your own, but a customer’s due to unrealistic expectations. The marketing department may have done such an excellent job that the customer is disappointed by getting the actual product. In other words, the sizzle may have been exciting for them then the steak. By talking to them in person, you are able to keep things real and help them understand the benefits of the product.
In closing, following up with people who are in the sales process, following up after the sale, and following up with people who have unresolved issues in customer service has usually been done with emails. However, in a small company, it can be overwhelming and tedious for one person to answer hundreds of emails a day every day of the work week. A predictive dialer will make it easier to call a large number of people for follow up calls.