Once a way for a small business to differentiate itself from its competitors, technology has become an agency requirement and the driver of increased efficiency, profitability and growth whether in the form of a CRM, virtual assistant or any other innovation. Those willing to evolve and adapt are far better placed to take advantage of technological advances. Historically slow to adopt change, the insurance industry and the independent agent must do nothing less than embrace it.

Efficiency is critical to profitability and the key to success for any small business, including independent insurance agencies. The manual, repetitive task work done by humans is gradually being replaced by technological solutions that enhance productivity, leaving people to focus on building and sustaining relationships.

Adding an auto dialer to your office operations is one way to reduce inefficiency. Simply put, an auto dialer is an outbound calling system that dials prospect phone numbers automatically from a list. An auto dialer puts an end to the time drain of manually inputting phone numbers, misdialing, drops, and unanswered calls. It boosts efficiency by dialing the numbers and detecting non-responses like busy signals and voicemails, connecting calls to an agent only if someone picks up.

There are three main types of auto dialers:

  • A preview dialer selects a prospect or client record from a call list, along with information, typically from a CRM, to help the agent decide whether or not they want to connect the call.
  • Predictive dialers will dial multiple numbers at the same time and using a predictive algorithm, anticipate when one call will end and you are ready for the next.
  • Progressive dialers make the next call as soon as you hang up on your current one, allowing sequential connections but without the speed of a predictive dialer.

There are some generally consistent features among auto dialers. Most offer pop-up scripts, recording and call monitoring, calendars and tasks and a Do Not Call list scrub. Many support a variety of third-party integrations. For example, it can be integrated with CRM software to segment, score and track leads.

Auto dialer systems are available as either cloud-based or downloadable software systems. Cloud-based auto dialers work as a subscription service over an internet connection. The benefit to this is portability—you can log into your account from any device. Non-cloud auto dialers require that software be downloaded and installed to your computer system, which allows you to use it whether online or not.

Most auto dialers can be either rented or purchased. Under a rental model, the auto dialer vendor handles all of the tech-related issues. Owning a system means you are responsible for all tech-related issues, including troubleshooting any problems that may arise.

Auto Dialers and the Law
Auto dialing software must meet the qualifications set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) otherwise it is illegal in the United States. It must also be in compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which limits the use of auto dialing software to make calls, deliver pre-recorded messages, and the automatic telephone dialing systems themselves. It is illegal in the United States to use an auto dialer to deliver pre-recorded calls—known as robocalling. Lastly, independent agents should also be aware of the Do Not Call Registry and comply with all provisions around Do Not Call laws.