For years, call centers have been the primary mode of communication for customers who want to reach out to businesses. However, in recent years, the focus has shifted from customers calling companies with their problems to messaging them.
In order to keep up with the trends and latest public demands, call centers need to update their technology. It has become imperative for existing call centers to integrate with an efficient call center software solution.
All modern call centers today are software centric. The big old pieces of hardware in call centers are now becoming obsolete. Before we talk about how to choose the best call center software solution, let us understand why it is necessary to integrate with one.
Why is integrating with a call center software solution a necessity?
As we all know, the world of business communication has come a long way. With the advancement of technology and the heavy influence of social media, the way we get in touch with our customers has drastically changed.
Most of the old and traditional call centers do not have the technology to integrate new communication channels like SMS into their system. However, communication channels like social media messaging and SMS have become a major source of communication for the new generation.
According to BusinessWire, a recent survey reveals that around 53% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 prefer to use some form of digital media – social media messaging, email, web chat – to get in touch with a company rather than calling them.
It was also observed that 52% of the respondents are more likely to text a customer service agent rather than call him.
At present, there are people of the older generation who still call companies for any queries that they may have. However, the younger generations are heavily inclined towards digital text conversations with a company.
These younger generations are the future clientele of every business. Hence, it is imperative for call centers to integrate with a call center software solution in order to access these digital communication channels efficiently.
How to choose the best call center software solution for your call center?
There are a lot of software solutions out in the market today. Choosing the correct call center software solution to integrate with is absolutely imperative. Every call center fulfils different needs and demands. Hence, different softwares are best suited to different types of call centers.
So how do you determine which software is best for your call center? The first step is to understand what functions you expect your call center to carry out. You need to think about which channels you want to use to interact with your customers.
After you figure out your needs, you need to determine what type of call center you need or have. For example, if you need a call center for primarily attending to incoming calls and for providing customer support, then you require an inbound call center.
On the other hand, if you need a call center for cold calling leads and marketing, then you are looking for an outbound call center.
Once you have figured out what type of call center you need, you need to move on to the features. Each call center software solution provides a unique set of features. You need to filter and determine what feature set is best suited to your needs.
Features to look for in softwares for inbound call centers
Inbound call centers are expected to deal with a huge bulk of incoming calls. Thus, quick resolution times and agent productivity are the two most important factors that need to be taken care of.
Keeping this in mind, the call center software solution that you choose must provide intelligent call routing and an interactive voice response (IVR) feature.
Apart from this, it is favourable if the software has some features that can track the productivity of the agents. For example, some softwares can track the on-call times of various agents. If we analyse this data, we can find out which agents are working and which ones are slacking off.
Features to look for in softwares for outbound call centers
Outbound call centers are mostly used for marketing purposes. When pursuing leads, adding a personalised touch can go a long way in converting customers. However, it is difficult for agents to keep track of all their leads due to the sheer volume of calls they make.
This is why a call center software solution for an outbound call center must support integration with the CRM, or customer relationship management software. The CRM software helps agents keep track of all their customers.
In outbound call centers, agents get a long list of leads that they are expected to cold call. Hence, the call center software solution should support integration with a predictive dialer software. This will increase the efficiency of the agents and save a lot of their time.
Features that are imperative for any type of call center
As discussed earlier, a call center software solution must facilitate the call center to integrate multiple channels into the existing systems. Such channels include SMS, social media messaging, video, web chat and so on.
The call center software solution should be reliable and maintain maximum uptime. Call centers cannot afford to have their systems going down every other day. This is why it is important to look for the optimum “99.999%” uptime when choosing a software.
Every business wants to scale and grow – both nationally and globally. The call center software solution should provide on-demand local phone numbers of various regions across the globe. The business should not have to deal with the hassle of negotiating with carriers and paying expensive phone bills.
In the day to day functioning of your call center, a lot of data is collected. And I mean, a lot. This data can be used productively to improve your call center. The call center software solution must be able to monitor daily activities and collect such data. It must also be able to generate proper reports with the data collected.
Needless to say, the call center software solution that you choose must provide tight security. In this digital age, one can never be too careful on the internet. The software should also have methods to detect any intrusion in the server. Thus, one needs to thoroughly analyse the security measures that are provided by the software before opting for it.
Integrating your contact center with a software solution is a big decision for your company. These guidelines will help you choose the software that is best suited for your business. If you opt for a software that later turns out to be a misfit, then it could seriously cost your business.
Research, analyse, shortlist and choose the best call center software solution for your business!