Call Center Software: Moving Beyond a Call Center

The right call center software provides your business the right flexibility to move beyond a physical call center.
by
Nicholas Price

Customer facing businesses know that they needs call center software to provide a better experience for their audience. Generally, when someone is looking for information, the first place they’ll turn to is the internet. While the web provides a common starting point, a large percentage of people still want to speak a live person somewhere along the way. According to Harvard Business Review, about 57% of customers make a switch from a website to a phone call at some point.

Customer experience ranks high in today’s highly competitive markets. Customers expect to be able to get to someone who can help them as quickly as possible. Call centers are the answer for many companies in creating a great customer experience. In fact, a Deloitte Contact Center Survey showed call center leaders rank customer experience (85%) and service improvement (78%) as their top priorities because they believe these goals will “set their brands apart from competitors and…improve customer acquisition and retention.”

Call center software is the key to lowering costs, boosting production, and enhancing your customers’ experience. Customized call center software is a great investment because it enhances the experience of the agents in your contact center as well as your customers, making it a win/win solution.

What is Call Center Software?

Call center software is business software that enhances two-way communication by consolidating several communication channels like phone, chat, email, text, etc. It’s a tool that’s used in a variety of industries to help agents respond to customer inquiries and problems in a quick and efficient way. 

Call center software is used for incoming calls to respond to inquiries and requests for customer support. Call center software is also a valuable tool for making outbound calls for the purpose of research and telemarketing.

On Premise Call Center           

On-premise call center systems require a hardware installation and they’re usually sold with a one-time utilization license. The company usually manages maintenance and upgrades on the system. This is one of the most expensive types of call center systems.

Cloud-Based Phone System

Cloud-based phone systems use SaaS models and the call center is hosted in the cloud. Users can access the system from anywhere without worry about downloading or installing software. Cloud phone systems are versatile and affordable.

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The integration capabilities of cloud-based phone systems make it possible for call agents to get comprehensive information about callers right at their fingertips. Cloud-based phone systems have the capability to integrate with CRMs, help desks, marketing software programs, chat systems, e-commerce platforms, and much more.

When the phone rings, rather than going into a call blindly, the call agent can pull up the caller’s contact information, contact history, notes, support tickets, and other information that will help the call agent help the customer directly or transfer them to someone that can help them in short order.

In addition to enhancing your customer experience, call center software enhances the experience for your call agents. The software streamlines many of their processes making their work experience easier, less complicated, and more productive which results in happier employees. The efficiency of a cloud system ensures prompt support and improved quality for your customers. 

The Ins & Outs of a Cloud Phone Call Center System

Here’s a basic idea of how a cloud phone call center system works. When a customer calls into the call center, a call center agent answers the call. The call center system identifies the customer and adds them to the database for future reference if they’re not in it already. 

Call center software also pulls in their information including their contact information, call history, and notes. Once the caller replies to the call agent or the automated prompts, the call gets routed to the appropriate person or department automatically. At that point, an agent can pick up the call or the caller will be queued for a specific agent or department. Depending on the call center system, an agent may also be able to respond to a caller via email, text, chat, or some other platform or communication channel. Integrations may make it possible for a supervisor to join the line or for the call agent to access the caller’s computer. Some call systems also record the call for later review and analysis. 

If the issue still isn’t resolved, the agent can take some information, record it, and do some regular follow-up to ensure the customer’s needs get addressed. The call agent can also mark the customer’s status as open, closed, resolved, or needing follow-up.

Call center systems often have the capability to send automated responses to ask for feedback which is helpful for analyzing data.

Best Practices for Using Call Center Software

The customer experience is so important that customers are willing to pay more for positive experiences. Call center best practices will pave the way to helping you keep your customer satisfaction high. 

To develop a set of call center best practices, think through your customer’s experience from their perspective from beginning to end. Start with their first encounter with your website and all the calls they make as they transition from a qualified prospect to a valued customer. Look for ways that you can go the distance for them and make their experience truly great.

In thinking through the best way to set up a cloud-based phone system, it’s important to get the right balance between technology and the human voice. Communication channels like chatbots and automated systems don’t serve every situation well. If a customer really needs to speak with a live person, make sure there is an easy way to connect them. When your agents speak with customers, train them to be personal, compassionate, and genuine.

Make it easy for your customers to reach you using any electronic device. According to VOX, about 96% of people are now using mobile phones. Almost 75% of people in the U.S. have desktop or laptop computers and about 50% also own tablets. A cloud-based phone system lets your call agents interact in the way customers prefer.

In addition, a cloud-based call center impresses callers because your call agents aren’t wasting their time getting up to speed on past interactions. Regular training will help your call agents sharpen their soft skills.

Configure your software to send feedback surveys automatically and analyze the results to identify trends and compare them with key performance indicators. Call recordings will help you train your agents on how to handle difficult situations and cloud-based technology will help supervisors measure call agent performances.

A customized communications platform, along with the right automation, lets technology do much of the work for your call agents to reach your goal of getting a great customer experience every time.

How to Create a Cloud-Based Call Center

Your cloud-based call center needs to function according to your customers’ needs, so it’s essential to spend some time thinking about how it can best work to that end. Decide what tasks you need the system to perform and which features will either address your challenges and those you can’t live without.

The dashboard of your cloud-based phone system is where your call agents will see the customer’s name, requests, and records. It’s also where they can create tasks and automated follow-ups.

Not all customers need to speak to a live person, so setting up a chat feature or chatbot is a useful addition for many companies. You may also find that it increases your productivity to use widgets. Pop-up windows will help to facilitate dialog with your customers, solve their issues, and boost your sales. 

By implementing push notifications, your call agents will get instant alerts on incoming calls, messages, and follow-ups. Look for a system that saves updates in real-time to avoid the issue of two people working on the same issue without knowing that something’s already been handled.

Be certain to set up the proper permissions for access and shared data. This will increase the security of your data. Make sure that your cloud-based phone system will integrate with other apps that you need to run your business. Where an app doesn’t exist, you may be able to create a customized app of your own.

The Importance of Distributed Teams

Distributed teams were already on the rise in 2020 when the pandemic increased them even more. Call centers quickly shifted to remote and distributed teams at the onset of the pandemic to protect their employees’ health and well-being. For example, a cloud-based phone system allowed T-mobile to transition over 12,000 employees to work at home in the space of under 30 days.

Distributed teams give companies the advantage of hiring top talent because they’re not limited by geographical locations. An electronic onboarding template gets them trained and up to speed in record time and employers can easily track their progress.

As COVID has so aptly taught us, remote and distributed teams allow for safe and happy employees. Today’s employees like having the ability to have a flexible schedule, being able to work anywhere, and being able to spend more time with their families. A cloud-based phone system fits the bill. 

Another benefit of using distributed teams is that they’re cost-savers. A cloud-based phone solution relieves the financial burden of maintaining office space. Home office set-ups bear a minimal cost as compared with the costs of running an entire office.

Companies that want or need to offer 24/7 service can easily do that with the right employees scattered in various time zones. Using distributed teams gives companies the benefit of being able to scale up or down as the company expands and to better manage seasonal ebbs and flows. 

Companies are becoming increasingly concerned with the environment and distributed teams can help them incorporate a “green” culture. Distributed teams require less paper and energy, and there is less impact on the roads, the air, and other parts of the environment.

Final Thoughts on Call Center Software and the Customer Experience 

When you meet or exceed your customer’s expectations, they’ll become loyal customers and they’ll often give you referrals. Unhappy customers will quickly go to a competitor. According to PwC, 59% of customers in the U.S. will walk away from a company after a few bad experiences. About 17% of customers will leave you after just one bad experience. An Aircall cloud-based phone is your key to a fully customized cloud-based system is the key to moving beyond the call center and maximizing your call center’s capability.

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