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What is a Call Center Software?
A program used to automate and standardize call center operations such as receiving and making calls.
Good communication is essential for any business. Your effectiveness in managing inbound and outbound communications is the key to growing the business. Call center software can help you quite a lot regarding managing communications. Call center software refers to a system that allows you to manage a variety of communication channels. Examples of the channels include phone, live chats, emails, SMS texts, and instant messaging. It works for both inbound and outbound communications, making it part of the overall customer relationship management of a business or company. Call center software can do numerous other things. Examples include recording customer complaints, tracking productivity of agents, and monitoring customer experience, among many others.
Sales marketers can use call center software to make promotional calls and increase sales. Support teams can also use the software to receive and resolve complaints, assist customers in processes, provide post-purchase training, or any other customer service.
When looking for call center software, you need to ensure you choose one that will meet all the needs of your business. The vetting process requires you to do some due diligence on your part, which entails considering a variety of factors.
There are several types of call center software, which you should consider. The main types include on-premise, hosted call, cloud-based, and browser-based call center software. Cloud-based is by far the most popular type for modern businesses. However, there are various situations in which it might not be the best solution for a business. Consider all the pros and cons of each concerning your particular business to make the right choice.
The call center software should not be a stand-alone system. You will have to integrate it with various other tools that you use in your company, such as CRM, helpdesk software, social networking tools, and marketing tools, among many others. You should, thus, ensure that the call center software you choose can integrate with other relevant software so that everything works smoothly.
The size of your business will keep changing from time to time. That means that the amount of communication will also keep changing as your business experiences the ebbs and flows. The software you choose should be able to accommodate any such changes seamlessly. Scalable call center software is one that allows you to adjust the number of calls that you can handle and to add or remove features based on your needs.
The number of features is another top factor to consider when choosing call center software. Different venders usually offer varying features with their software. You should start by listing all the features that you need from the call center software, then choose one that has all of them. Some examples of the features to consider, include automatic call distribution, skills-based routing, interactive voice response, disposition codes, call control, call recording, call queues, and whisper coaching, among others.
Choose call center software that is going to be easy to deploy in your business. For some, the process can be as easy as logging in before getting started. For others, you might need to hire a consultant to meet with your workforce for training purposes. The easier it is to deploy and use call center software, the more convenient it will be.
You should opt for a vendor with proven excellent technical support. That will come in quite handy in case you run into a technical issue, which usually happens from time to time. Good technical support will reduce the number and duration of downtimes as all issues can be addressed or resolved within a short time.
Eventually, your choices will be limited to those that you can afford. However, when allocating a budget for call center software, try to be a little generous for you to get the best one for the needs of your business. Get quotations from different vendors so that you can compare prices and choose accordingly. The price of the software you choose should be a good reflection of its features and should offer you great value for your money.
If you are investing in call center software for the first time, you should choose one that offers a free trial for a reasonable amount of time. The free trial period will allow you to assess all the features of the software without having paid for anything. You can then invest with confidence, knowing what you will be getting.
Your call center is among the first places that your customers will look for assistance whenever they are facing any issue with your products or services. Your business should be able to provide professional support on time. Utilizing call center software will help you to achieve precisely that.
The software can route a call depending on the nature of assistance needed, including product category and customer’s location. That helps to ensure that the best or specialized agent handles the issue without the need for call transfers. The agents will also be able to access and collect a variety of information while handling calls.
Much of the top call center software offers enhanced reporting features, which comes in handy for management. The reports will provide managers with all the relevant details that they can use when coming up with strategic plans or making crucial business decisions. A few examples of the reporting features you can get include the upsell rates, case categories, case times, revenue per call, and call volumes.
A call center software system can help to boost productivity in your company by enabling efficient handling of calls. The software will allow your agents to handle both inbound and outbound calls conveniently and quickly. Tracking calls, when needed, will also be a lot easier and faster. Call center software will allow agents to exchange relevant information amongst themselves a lot more efficiently, which also helps to boost their productivity.
Call center software gives agents much better access to relevant client’s data. The software can organize and store the data of clients centrally. Such data can range from the purchase and service history of the clients to their personal information. Having easier and faster access to the data will allow the agents to offer more timely, customized, and comprehensive assistance.
Given that call center software uses a centralized database, it can allow the sharing of information and communication among employees from different departments. For example, it will be a lot easier for a sales associate to share any sales-related update with the members of the sales team. Additionally, it increases accountability. All the employees will understand personal responsibility and be answerable for failure or success.
Enhanced efficiency and productivity will eventually decrease a variety of call center-related costs. That is because fewer resources will be needed, and less time will be used to handle customer services. The costs that you can save by using a call center system will significantly depend on the particular software that you use. One with a predictive dialing feature, for example, will reduce more costs compared to one that does not have it.
Call center software can do quite a lot regarding increasing sales. You are likely to see a difference in the number of sales almost instantly after installing the system. That is because the managers will be able to handle any pre-sale queries a lot more efficiently. Managers can also access more data, check warranties, process orders, issue credits, and efficiently deal with after-sale services.
The centralized database will also allow for cross-selling, as sales managers can access information regarding buying habits and preferences. Increased sales mean increased profits for your business, which will lead to the growth of the business.
A call center software system will allow your agents to deliver accurate and customized information to clients, which dramatically improves their experience. That is made possible by allowing for observing, recording, and evaluating customer feedback regarding services and products. Great customer experience helps with brand loyalty and customer retention.
Security is always a top concern for all call centers. Having a good data security system will help to minimize the chances of losing vital information related to your company and customers. A good call center software will have the latest and virtually impassable security features, ensuring that your company and client’s data remain safe. Only individuals with granted authority will be able to access the data.
Prioritizing calls is essential for business, as it helps to enhance customer experience and reinforce loyalty. Prioritizing is necessary for most businesses, as agents can’t respond to all customer issues simultaneously. Prioritizing thus allows your agents to respond based on urgency. To benefit the most from this, you should choose a call center software that has the relevant call prioritizing features.
Your business should offer your clients a cross-channel experience whenever they need assistance. The customers should be able to alter channels based on their preferences and convenience. A call center software system will allow you to meet this objective as it delivers support across a variety of channels.
With a virtual call center software, you will be able to hire remote agents. The agents can manage the call center business from wherever they are across the entire globe. That allows you to choose from a broader range of agents who are interested in working in your company, as the geographical limitations will no longer apply.
Understanding how call center software works will help you to choose the best one for your business and allow you to leverage its benefits a lot better. Below are some of the main steps of how call center software works.
The system browses the database and identifies the caller in case of inbound calls. If there is no information present in the database that is relevant to the incoming call, the customer is listed as a new caller. If the call is from an existing customer, the records will be available to the agent. The agent can thus get relevant details of the calling customer and history of the issue even before he handles the call.
When making a call, the customer has to reply to some automated responses. The reply is then used to queue the call based on the database mapping. When the call is pushed further, the agents mapped to the queue will get access to pick the call.
The agents can choose to offer assistance via the call or via an email after picking the call. If needed, the agent can get senior agents or supervisors in on the call. In case the agent is unable to resolve the issue immediately, he can record the interaction and then keep track of the request and do follow-ups. The recorded interactions can also be used by the managers to ensure that the agents are attending to customers professionally.
The agent can then mark a call as closed, open, resolved, or follow-up, depending on the final response that the customer gives. In the case of a closed call, the agent can request feedback from the customer via an automated survey email or call. The company can use the feedback for reference and improvement purposes.
Most call center software systems can do a variety of other things other than the basic ones explained above. It all depends on the features of the software.
Telephony is the main feature of all call center software. Ideally, it refers to the telecommunications technology that allows two or more people to interact. A call center software solution can have its own telephony or allow a client to bring in his own.
The automatic call distributors (ACDs) perform a variety of functions and make up the backbone of the call center. The ACDs are a telephony system, which automatically routes any incoming call to a mapped agent. The ACDs are also used to acquire various usage data such as calls handled, call volume, and wait time, among others. Call monitoring, call barging, whisper coaching, and call conferencing are some of the other things made possible by ACDs.
The functionality of skills-based routing comes in handy for a call center that wants to optimize its service. The feature sends the incoming calls to specified teams, departments, or agents, based on customized rules regarding the area of expertise, skillset, demographics, language, location, and others. The calls can also be routed based on the number dialed to reach the call center, caller’s telephone number, previous interactions, and interactive voice response selection.
An interactive voice response (IVR) is quite a useful feature. It is a telephony menu system. It helps to identify, segment, and route incoming calls to an appropriate agent or department, offer a pre-recorded message, or add to the waiting queue. It comes in quite handy for any call center that handles different call types.
This feature is used to hold callers who are in a waiting queue. That usually happens when all the agents are tending to other calls. Using the feature, you can configure various unique call queues for different departments, agents, or teams. The agents who can access metrics on their dashboards can view the statistics of call queues and can thus use real-time data to make informed decisions.
This feature displays relevant information on your screen regarding the caller as the phone rings. You can customize the information to be displayed based on the needs of your business. Examples of the information that can be displayed automatically include the caller’s name, phone number, picture, address, company position, call history, and email address, among many others. The agents can use the information to offer a more customized experience to the callers.
The call control feature helps with most of the basic call functionalities, including mute, hold, transfer, conference, and hang up. Some of the more advanced call center software includes all call control functionalities on the browser, allowing agents to handle all controls with the mouse.
Disposition codes are the outcome of a call. They include not interested, escalated to a manager, follow up required, refund requested, transfer to tech support, and many others. The disposition codes appear in the profile of the contact as soon as the agent applies it. The managers can also view the metrics for the disposition codes.
Using call monitoring, a manager can listen in on any live call without the caller or agent knowing. Doing so is an effective way of ensuring your agents are doing their job as per the requirements and tracking the team’s performance. With the cloud-based call center software, call monitoring is possible from anywhere, as long as there is a connection to the internet.
Call center software is a worthwhile investment for a business with a customer service department. There is a little cost involved, but the value you get and the money you eventually save by using call center software will be a lot more. Make sure you choose the right one based on your business needs to derive the most benefits from it.
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