How new call centre technology can improve your business
If your business is either making or taking more phone calls and you’ve been considering purchasing call centre technology, or you’ve already got a call centre that is due for an upgrade, this article will help provide you with some insight into what’s available in the call centre technology market.
From the basic call routing options through to some amazing technology available to the modern contact centre (as they are now called), call centre technology solutions are now surprisingly affordable and are easily accessible to small businesses.
But it’s not just your business that will realise the benefits of having a modern contact centre platform.
Your contact centre agents will also benefit as the modern call centre platforms are designed to make life for frontline agents a lot easier to manage customers across multiple channels.
System issues are one of the biggest causes of frustration for frontline staff so giving them the tools they need to do their job more effectively will help improve employee engagement and reduce turnover.
Of course, customers are also the big winners making it easier and quicker to do business with you leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction which has a proven link to improved profitability.
So to ensure you are armed with the necessary tools to effectively manage your business and customers efficiently, we explore the benefits of new call centre technology below.
5 Benefits of Call Centre Technology
1. Better customer experience
When a customer is making the effort to contact your business, it’s normally to either to get more information about your products and services (part of their buying process), to make an order or payment (important for obvious reasons) or perhaps they need some support when things aren’t quite going to plan.
Either way how you handle that customer experience can have a massive influence on whether or not they become, or stay a customer.
Call centre phone systems enable you to handle that moment of truth using purpose-built technology to improve the customer experience.
- Call routing – enabling you to direct the calls to the most experienced agent which is better for your productivity and much better for the customer getting straight through to the person who can help them. This is normally achieved by a customer selecting an option (e.g. Press 1 for sales, Press 2 for service) although now this can also be done by using a natural language IVR where the customer just says what they are calling about.
- CTI – placing information about the customer on the call centre agents screen to help with the enquiry (e.g. previous orders, address details etc). CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) can also help with determining the most important customers to your business and how to automatically route them to the right person along with a bunch of other cool features.
- Intelligent callback and automatic callback – if things get a bit busier than planned you can enable the customer to request a callback (or hold their position in the queue) and not have to keep physically waiting on hold.
- Voice Biometrics – gaining popularity it enables the customer to be automatically identified without having to go through the usual ID checks that waste valuable time (both yours and the customers).
2. Multi-channel and omnichannel
Gone are the days when customers just contact you by phone.
Modern contact centres enable your staff to handle emails, SMS, social media, live chat, video and more.
You can choose to decide if one or more channels are given priority or you can opt for universal queuing where any waiting for services is put into a single queue regardless of the channel the customer used to increase consistency and efficiency.
What’s the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?
In an omnichannel environment, it makes no difference what channel or how the customer engages with your business, all the customer information, previous interactions with your business etc. are all connected so the conversation can easily move between channels even during the same interaction.
In a multichannel environment, those channels aren’t integrated, so in the email and phone example the customer will most likely have to repeat all the information, the phone agent will have no idea what happened via email, wouldn’t know what pages the customer has visited on the website etc.
3. Improved productivity
One of the main advantages of implementing call centre technology is improving productivity.
In addition to some of the items I mentioned above, there are some specific technologies that come with modern call centre phone systems that are specifically designed to improve productivity:
- Workforce management software enables you to forecast call volumes and design your staff rosters/shifts to ensure they align with the lows and peaks of the customer demand.
- An Automatical Dialler will automatically dial outbound calls for your team substantially improving productivity for outbound sales/telemarketing teams.
- Self-serve technology – From simple solutions where you can play pre-recorded information if a customer presses a button (e.g. Press 1 to hear our latest delivery times) through to intelligent chatbots, there are a range of options available.
4. Improved quality
It’s one thing to answer the calls or enquiries but how you handle them is when the rubber hits the road!
Call centre phone systems enable you to access technology that can help improve the quality of the customer experience.
- Quality management – How well the agents are following your policies and procedures.
- Post-contact surveys – Survey your customers at the end of the call or transaction to get a sense of how satisfied they were with the experience. If you’ve been hearing the term NPS a lot this article will help explain what it’s all about.
- Call recording – There is nothing more powerful than listening to a call from a real customer. It can be used in a variety of ways from playing a call during a board meeting through to using it to provide feedback/coaching to your staff.
- Knowledge Management Systems – Providing agents with fast access to answers, acting as a GPS to guide an agent through a call. Especially beneficial in complex environments a KMS system can save weeks off your induction training and dramatically improve the customer experience and productivity.
- Speech analytics/text analytics software – Whilst listening to calls can be powerful, it’s simply not possible to listen to every call. But imagine if you had software that did it for you? You could, for example, opt to listen to every call where a customer said “I want to cancel my account” or if they used the word “angry”.
5. Better reporting
There is a saying that ‘what gets measured gets done’ and lots of variations of it!
Modern call centre technology platforms will enable you to measure every element of the customer experience enabling you to make informed decisions including:
- Number of calls/emails/chats etc handled by agent, team, queue etc
- Average and longest wait times
- Average Speed of Answer
- How many customers hung up waiting to speak to someone
I hope the overview has provided you with some insight into the range of benefits installing call centre technology can provide your business.
With the advent of cloud call centre technology, you can access most of the technology above far cheaper than ever before.
In fact, many technology vendors offer a simple per agent per month solution where you can scale up and down as you need it.
That said, like most things in life there is a multitude of nuances that will determine what is the right solution for your business and sadly there are still vendors out there that will promise the world but when it comes to delivering, pull up short.
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