We all want customers to have a great experience when they call for help. However, we often times don’t know where to start when it comes to providing that experience. We feel that the easiest way to ensure a positive experience is by installing a good contact center solution. Contact center software allows companies to manage a high volume of inbound and outbound customer communications across a range of channels.
There are hundreds of solutions on the market. Choosing the right one can feel like an insurmountable task. Below is a list of common contact center features that my customers find to be the most useful.
- Automatic Call Distribution (ACD). Having a system in place that automatically routes callers to relevant individuals cuts down on wasted time and resources. ACD systems distribute calls according to user-specified criteria, such as sending the call to a phone that is idle, or sending calls about billing to the accounting department. Nearly all contact center systems have some form of ACD. They vary from simple push-button virtual operators to those that use caller ID or voice recognition.
- Contact Center Monitoring and Analytics. Being able to scrutinize call durations, costs, and other useful metrics can help supervisors and managers make informed decisions on issues such as employee performance and staffing or training needs. Some of the best systems allow real-time statistics, letting you know what’s going on in the contact center second by second. Historical reporting allows you to compile hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and annual statistics for detailed long-term analysis.
- Call Recording. Useful for training and monitoring, call recording allows supervisors and operators to record and store phone calls as audio files on the server. However, the storage requirements for call recording can be quite large. Third-party hosted systems and cloud-hosted systems are better suited for this function because it’s easy to upgrade the size of your storage space without buying new hardware.
- Contact Management. These systems enable different calls to be tagged and stored with relevant information attached to the call file. This permits better management of customers, as it provides historical records of all calls by an individual account holder.
- Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). CTI systems use desktop PCs as telephone systems. These software packages enable a desktop computer to serve and display all call-related functions-from providing caller information, routing calls to other workstations, and controlling the phone system. Most contact center systems utilize some form of CTI. Usually, a simple USB headset is all that’s required to turn a standard PC that’s running CTI into a complete contact center workstation.
- Workstation Recording. Workstation data recording enables you to make a movie of what’s happening on an operator’s screen. The recording can be analyzed to learn how operators are using the system, what tricks they know that could help others, and what problems they’re having that could be addressed.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR uses voice-recognition software to allow callers to route themselves to specific departments. IVRs vary in sophistication-from the very basic, which enable simple routing functionality, to systems that allow customers to access their accounts. At the high end, IVR empowers customers to serve themselves, reducing the workload on human operators.
- Live Call Coaching. This allows a third person to interact with an operator without the caller hearing, thereby enabling training and mentoring.
- Performance Evaluation. By monitoring an operator’s performance, you can identify gaps in training and areas where operators need improvement. This type of evaluation can create reports, graphs, and other data while scoring an operator’s performance.
- Predictive Dialer. For contact centers that make a lot of outbound calls, a predictive dialer enables a list of phone numbers to be called simultaneously. Operators are connected only when someone picks up. These systems can save a lot of time and prevent operators from having to wait for a call to be answered. Predictive dialers also monitor the availability of operators to ensure that calls aren’t made when there are no operators available to route the call if someone answers.
When working with our customers, we get to know their business and how their customer service team supports it. We use a methodology where we help them classify contact center features into three categories, “Must have”, “Nice to have” and “Unnecessary”. This exercise reduces the list of best fit contact center vendors to a more manageable list. We then use our experience with the vendors to make recommendations on which have the best track record at meeting expectations after the sale.
As with any software platform, Call Center pricing, features and functionality change rapidly. Its important to understand your current needs and future plan so that you select the solution that can grow and change with you easily. Contact us today for a brief introduction.
Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.
John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or his team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise based solution.