If you’re struggling to keep pace with all the incoming calls, emails, chats, and other communications, it’s a good problem to have. But even good problems are problems that must be solved, and call center software just might be the answer to your dilemma. One of the challenges businesses face as they grow is to balance operations and customer support. High-quality customer support is even more important as your brand grows.
When your customers are left waiting on hold too long and the cost of adding staff is too much, more effective call center software may be just what you need to better manage customer support. Efficiency and effectiveness are part of every good business and sales development plan. Whether your company is large or small, the right call center software is a valuable tool for trained agents as they handle your incoming support calls, research projects, or post-sale follow-ups.
The Pros & Cons of a Call Center for Business Development
Businesses are multi-faceted operations. Business leaders have many decisions to make about the types of tools, equipment, and processes they need to ensure that the business hums like a well-oiled machine. It’s always prudent to consider the pros and cons of adding anything new before making an investment. See the following pros and cons of a call center to determine whether it’s a good fit for your business development plan.
- Incoming calls go to someone trained specifically to handle them as their primary role, reducing the workload on administrative and operational staff.
- When you use cloud-based call center software you save costs by not having to pay for equipment and maintenance.
- Can hire a distributed team to cover customer service hours 24/7 or during off-hours for inbound or outbound calls.
- If your customer base speaks another language, a call center can provide access to multilingual call representatives which will alleviate communication barriers and expand your target market.
- It takes time to get call representatives up-to-speed on product knowledge, problem-solving, price changes, and policies, etc. Clear, consistent communication and good training will help to resolve this objection.
- Workers that you have never met are handling the exchange of confidential and personal information. To alleviate this concern, inquire with call centers about their security measures and practices.
- Having a tiered support structure could lead to longer wait times due to delayed authorization. For this, it’s beneficial to have a field manager on staff.
Generally, the pros of a call center far outweigh the cons. Before choosing a provider, address your apprehensions and see if the call center can mitigate them.
Choosing the Right Call Center Software for Business Development
The first step in searching for the right call center software is to think about your goals and activities as they are now and what they may evolve into in the future. By answering the following six questions, it will guide you to the right call center software solution.
- 1. What kind of phone system do you have? PBX, IP PBX, VoIP?
- 2. Is it time to upgrade your current system and will your budget support it at this time? Review your strategic plan to determine if your current phone system will support your current and future business goals.
- 3. What does your call volume look like? If you’re already using a PBX system and you have heavy incoming and outgoing call volume, it may be best to stick with a stable analog connection. You could use a digital system as a back-up plan.
- 4. How reliable is your internet? Internet reliability is necessary for a fully virtual system to provide clarity and stability. It will prevent the frustration of your call representatives and your customers.
- 5. Which features are your “must-haves” in a call center software solution? Click to dial, call waiting, transfers, call routing, integrations with CRM, helpdesk, etc.?
- 6. How well will your software integrate with other systems? A virtual phone system will interact with other digital tools you’re using and those you may need in the future.
What Call Center Integrations Are Important?
Call center agents use many different processes to handle their calls, depending on the type of business. The right integrations will improve the efficiency of your call center.
Think of the integrations that you need in terms of the following categories:
- AI and transcription
- Data and reporting
- HR and recruiting
- Live chat
- Payments and billing
- Quality assurance
- Sales automation
- Social and Fun
If none of these solutions fit the bill, consider creating your own with an open API.
Business Development Best Practices
Business development refers to high-level decision-making about a company’s potential for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When business leaders put together a sound business development plan it forms an ecosystem that drives growth and sustainability.
The following five best practices for business development will support your efforts:
- 1. Outline the ways that you’ll take your business to the next level including researching your prospects’ purchasing behavior, identifying your target market, increasing production, delivery of your product or service, and following up after the sale.
- 2. Leverage strategic partnerships. Build lasting partnerships based on trust and integrity.
- 3. Share your business plan across your company. To get support from your team, you’ll need to demonstrate how the company’s activities align with your business development goals.
- 4. Grow your company by creating long-term value. This will require your business leaders to adapt to the stages of your business cycle.
- 5. Focus on quality in every aspect of your business and make it a part of your corporate culture.
Evaluating Call Center Performance
Your call center is interwoven with every other aspect of your business. For this reason, it’s fundamentally important to evaluate your call center’s performance by consistently tracking and measuring metrics. A few key metrics will help to determine the success of your call center.
It’s common for companies to evaluate whether the customer’s need was resolved on the first call and if it also occurred with a low rate of talk time. It stands to reason that call centers with high first call resolution rates have lower operating costs and higher rates of employee satisfaction.
It’s important to evaluate how quickly call reps handle customer interactions and follow up with customers to ensure their satisfaction.
Get feedback while your brand is still on the customer’s mind.
Quality of Customer Interactions
Evaluate whether call representatives are using the right dialog and providing the right information and that they’re speaking professionally and courteously.
Evaluate the Caller Load
Consistently compare your forecasted caller load to the actual call volume which is critical for determining staffing needs.
Review Social Media Comments
People don’t always complain directly to a company about a call center. They may be more inclined to comment or complain on social media which can impact your long-term business plan.
The right metrics will provide insight on how to reduce operational costs, reduce customer churn, enhance the employee’s experience, and give your company a competitive edge.
Consider the many advantages of using Aircall, a cloud-based phone system that integrates easily with other applications. It’s a cost-effective, modern phone solution that will aid you in evaluating your call center and supporting your business development plan.