The Automated Telemarketer

by : Gloria Moore

Have you ever picked up a phone call only to find no one on the other end of the line, and then after you say hello a few times, an automated sales message suddenly kicks in? This automated sales call is another form of telemarketing and is known as an auto-dialer.

An auto-dialer, also known as an automatic calling unit, is an electronic device that automatically dials telephone numbers to establish communication between any two points in a telephone, cellular phone, or pager. Once the call is established via the telephone exchange, the auto-dialer will present an automated verbal message or transmit digital data, such as an automated text message, to the recipient of the intended call.

How does an auto-dialer work? Over the years, auto-dialers have improved, and today, most of them feature a technology that enables them to detect if a person picks up the phone, or if the call is picked up by an answering machine/voicemail. Due to the fact that there is no specific indication signal that tells an auto-dialer if the call was answered by an answering machine/voicemail, an auto-dialer system must analyze incoming audio in order to predict how to respond. No auto-dialer is perfectly accurate.

There are different types of auto-dialers that telemarketers can use such as:

Smart auto-dialer - This is an auto-dialer with the ability to customize messages and collect touch tone or speech feedback. A smart auto-dialer system uses a message template to customize messages. This message template contains variables that can later be replaced by real values. For instance, a time variable within the message template can be replaced by the real time the phone call was made.

Semi-automatic dialer - This is an auto-dialer controlled by a person and is a productivity tool for telemarketers. Every action, I.E. dialing, recording, playing the audio message, etc. is controlled by the individual making the call. Usually, by simply pressing a key, the person initiates the semi-automatic dialer.

Enterprise grade automatic dialer - This is an auto-dialer that has the ability to make a significant number of simultaneous phone calls, as well as provide an API (application programming interface) for system integration. Virtually all enterprise grade auto-dialers utilize computer networking technology. Thus, in order to make 1000 phone calls simultaneously, a group of computers are linked together to give the support that is required for this many telephone lines.

As the recipient of the call, it doesn't really matter which auto-dialer method is used, because every auto-dialer is essentially designed to perform the same function - deliver some type of marketing message.