Nowadays, businesses communicate and interact with the customers in a number of ways. While many companies prefer email to communicate with the customers, for a section of companies using the call center setup is the most convenient and practical option. A call center setup enables most direct and hassle free customer interactions to take place. You will find most of the present generation call centers to be software driven and the old telephone hardware systems are getting replaced by the modern variants.
Basics of Call center software
Call center software, which is also called contact center software is an application used for enabling outbound and inbound communications for companies. The agents make use of the applications to offer customer service for diverse inbound communications. They also use such setups to reach the buyers through outbound communication setups. Typical call center software has features like intelligent call routing, speech recognition, call recording, analytics, and more.
Earlier, call center setups used to rely on a type of hardware known as ACD or Automatic Call Distributor. However, things have changed after arrival of the software-based call centers. Now, these setups rely mostly on Computer Telephony Integration interfaces. The majority of call center software is now cloud based and the software is integrated with data centers of the software provider. It is no longer mandatory to use Physical telephones as the agents use browser based UIs to make and receive calls. It has made call center operations more flexible than ever before.
Ways to select apt call center software for Small businesses
There exists plenty of call center software to pick from. However, not all such solutions fit the need and budget for small businesses, as it is. You have to analyze some vital factors before you select such software solution for your business.
Features that inbound call center software should have:
- Intelligent routing- For any inbound call center, agent productivity and quick call resolution time are vital for workflow. Before arrival of advanced call center software, the calls were passed to next available agent- without considering skill level and priority. However, with intelligent routing in latest software solution, calls get passed to an agent with matching skill set. This turns out to be time saving for both parties and customer issues can be addressed faster and with efficacy.
- IVR- In any inbound call center, IVR or interactive voice response system is a prerequisite. In fact, a lot of call centers send callers through IVR system prior to getting linked with any agent. The IVR setup should be integrated with data sources to offer seamless experience for the callers or customers.
Features that inbound call center software should have:
- CRM integration- For any outbound call center, efficiency and productivity are vital for success and agents need to know when to reach the customers. The call center software should be well integrated with the CRM software. This can be utilized by the agents to track as well as manage interactions with the customers. When the data is available at their fingertips, these agents will find it simpler to learn from previous interactions and offer better experience to the customers.
- Automatic dialers- In outbound call centers, software with automatic dialer should be used. The Automatic dialers enable agents to automate dialing. Eventually, they get better control over flow of calls and logic of routing and they can engage with customers better without bothering about dialing numbers. While most call center software have automatic dialers, not all of them have same capabilities.
Features that should be present in any call center software for small businesses
- Customer Experience improvement facilities- The call center software chosen by you should have features that can be used to improve customer experience over time. It should have features like post call surveys. It should also have analytics feature. The collected data can be used and compared by the agents to learn about customer preferences better.
- Scalability- Scalability is a must have feature in any call center setup. When you start the call center setup- number of calling agents may be few but that is likely to grow over time. So, the call center software should have option to include more Phone Numbers. It is always better if the software supports WebRTC.
- Multiple Channel connectivity -The call center you choose should have inbuilt facility to connect to the customers through several channels. Not all customers prefer communicating through only phone. Some customers may also want to connect through means like chat and live chat apps. There are people who want to communicate through video. With time, software with support for social media chat apps has also become available.
- Adequate security and encryption-In any IT related process, security measures need to be adopted nowadays. The call center software chosen by you should have top notch encryption and online security measures to prevent occurrence of data theft. You should buy it from a company that offers solutions compliant with GDPR.
- Seamless integration- The call center software cannot be used to perform all tasks without using relevant and related services. So, the software should have excellent integration with CRM, top networking tools, help desk apps and tools etc. It should also have excellent RDBMS capability. This helps in saving time for the agents and workflow gets a boost too.
- Ease of training and use- The user friendly nature of call center software plays a role behind performance of the agents. It is also helpful to train new employees. Software with fluid and easy to navigate UI and self explanatory learning mechanism are always desirable. The team leaders will have to spend less time training the newbies about using the software.
- Support from the seller- Like any other software used in any organization, the call center software used in small or midsized business setups can develop snags. In such scenarios, the last thing you will want is delay in getting this setup up and running! So, you should buy such software from a vendor known for excellent service and technical support.
- Self help tools for callers/customers- With time, the customers are becoming smarter and more technology friendly compared to the past! So, it would be great if the call center software comes with inbuilt self help tools for the customers. For minor is uses or queries, the customers can use such Self Help Tools or apps. These can be used for grievance resolution or raising tickets online. It helps in saving time both for the customers and your company.
Where it all leads to?
Not all business usage call center setups will have identical needs. Budget can be a factor in choosing such software solution for small sized companies. However, such software should be chosen while analyzing some basic parameters.
First of all, you have to think of ease of usage and scalability of the software solution. The software should come with robust security features as well. Since the software has to be used in sync with social media and database apps, integration capability is must. You also have to learn about the support offered by the seller and the cost.