What is an Auto-Dialer?

Auto-dialers, defined.

Auto-dialers are electronic devices—most commonly computer-based or software-based—that automatically get numbers from a list and dial them. Depending on the company using them, upon the call being answered, auto-dialers can either connect the person on the other line to an interactive voice response (IVR) system or to a live person.

Advantages of Using An Auto-Dialer

In outbound selling, auto-dialers help sales agents in filtering and making calls, eliminating some of the physical effort need on the side of the sales agent. An auto-dialer can identify which calls were answered, which calls were transferred to answering machines (though not accurately), and which calls were not answered at all. Calls that are answered are then immediately connected to an open sales agent.

In some settings, an auto-dialer only dials a number upon detecting the end of an agent’s call. This helps in reducing dead-air periods after calls and greatly increases the rate of customer engagement.

In customer care settings, auto-dialers are employed in customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys. Upon the end of an inbound care call, an auto-dialer will dial the customer’s number and connect her to an IVR system that allows her to rate her assigned care representative via a touch-tone system. In this regard, the company can log and record any feedback issues in real-time.


In the USA, Auto-dialers are subject to the same rules as live telemarketers: they should follow the Federal Trade Commission’s policies in telemarketing and any industry-specific protocols when calling leads. Likewise, they are subject to the National Do Not Call Registry.

In addition to external restrictions, auto-dialers are subject to technological constraints. For example, they cannot identify with 100% accuracy if a real human or an answering machine answers on the other end.

Additionally, software-based auto-dialers can only handle as much as the hardware that hosts them allows. With systems that use VoIP to route calls to agents, there is also an additional complexity due to bandwidth and latency issues with the connection.

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Patrick Hogan

Patrick is a Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Tenfold.