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What is Answering Machine Detection?

What is Answering Machine Detection?

Answering Machine Detection (AMD) screens out calls that get sent to voicemail inboxes or answering machines. In ratio or predictive dialing modes, it detects whether or not there is a live call based on three main principles:

  • Background noise associated with a pre-recorded message
  • Long strings of words such as “Hello, I am sorry I missed your call. Please leave a message….”
  • A live call saying something similar to “Hello, hello?” followed by a post-greeting silence


Note: While AMD should eliminate the number of answering machines encountered and increase the number of live human answered calls, the technology is not perfect. We recommend keeping AMD off, however, if you decide to turn AMD on, be aware of some of the issues you may encounter.

A few issues include:

  • A delay while the system connects the call to an agent. The system takes about 3-4 seconds to recognize whether the answered call is an answering machine or live person and then to connect to an agent which could result in the lead possibly hanging up or a dropped call.
  • The voicemail is not a long string of words or includes a pause, confusing the system into thinking it’s a live caller (also known as a false negative).
  • The dialer incorrectly guesses a a live call as a voicemail and hangs up (also known as a false positive).
  • The number is a PBX (private branch exchange) with multiple levels of voicemail prompts.

As a result of the delay mentioned above, AMD can increase the drop call rate permitted by the FTC.


Consider the following options when thinking about using AMD: