Phone System Software Features For A Call Center That Are An Absolute Must
In today’s digital environment, many consumers still prefer to speak with a customer care representative over the phone when contacting a business. According to a Clutch survey in 2019, 88% of consumers prefer speaking to live support rather than working through an automated menu.
Having a genuine person on the other end of the phone helps to develop trust between the consumer and the customer support representative.
Managing phone support, on the other hand, maybe a significant financial burden for many expanding businesses. Even though it is often an excellent method of assisting clients, phone service support is also the most time-consuming, least cost-effective, and most difficult to quantify of all support channels.
To provide excellent phone assistance to your consumers, you will need a phone system that enables your service staff to perform at their highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
It makes no difference if you have a staff of 10 or a few hundred people; selecting the correct tools to develop your contact center is crucial.
Call center software has many functions, and this article will go through the most popular features and the top call center software solutions available this year.
What Is Call Center Software?
Call center software, also known as contact center software, is a technology that allows companies and organizations to manage their incoming and outgoing interactions more efficiently and effectively.
As a customer service tool, agents utilize this software to conduct inbound conversations with customers and contact them via outbound messages. To increase agent productivity, the call center software includes capabilities such as intelligent call routing, predictive dialing, voice recognition, analytics, and other tools, among others.
Traditional contact center systems routed calls to agents using a piece of hardware known as an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). With the introduction of software-based call centers, the ACD transitioned from hardware to software, allowing greater connection with customer relationship management systems (CRMs) via Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) interfaces.
Today’s contact center software, on the other hand, is hosted in the cloud, which means that it communicates with the software provider’s data centers over the internet.
Physical telephones are no longer required since connections are made over SIP and WebRTC softphones, which allow agents to make and receive calls straight from a browser or customer relationship management system.
As a result of their connection to the cloud, contact center agents may be stationed anywhere on the globe, contrary to the classic picture of rows of workers in cubicles.
What Are The Features Of Call Center Software?
Call Center Software Features: Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
The automatic call distribution (ACD) system is a critical component of contact center software. incoming contacts are assessed and organized by the brain, which then routes them to the appropriate destination – either an agent or a queue – according to rules that have been set up by the user.
An ACD routing system’s primary purpose is to connect consumers with the agent, whether at a contact center or at home, who can best fulfill their requirements, resulting in an optimized customer experience in the best possible way.
A remote agent model may be supported by the appropriate ACDs. Here are some of the highest level characteristics of ACDs.
1. Omnichannel Routing
Omnichannel customer service is distinguished by the ability for customers to move effortlessly across support channels throughout a single encounter. The finest ACDs use a universal queue, which collects contacts from all channels into a single “basket” and then routes them as appropriate.
As an added benefit, when a customer changes channels, for example, when a customer is chatting and then chooses to switch to a phone call – an ACD that employs omnichannel routing can smoothly elevate the consumer from chat to phone with the same agent, reducing wait times.
This improves the client experience while also demonstrating the need of becoming digital.
2. Advanced Skills-Based Routing
This function is designed to improve both customer and agent satisfaction levels. Skills-based routing considers the nature of an incoming contact before looking at agent skills to determine which agent will be the most effective in assisting the consumer.
The best of the best-using capabilities such as predictive behavioral routing, which makes a customer’s behavioral profile and preferences into consideration when matching them to an agent, ACDs can further optimize routing even further with artificial intelligence (AI).
3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
An interactive voice portal, often known as IVR, is a feature included in the majority of automated call distribution systems. This feature allows consumers to engage with menus or prompts through an automated system at the start of a phone conversation. This facilitates the process of pairing customers with agents.
Callers may engage with the prompts by using the keypad on their phone or speaking into the phone. Making use of the voice minimizes friction and enhances the possibility that consumers will not quit their contact during the first stage of their interaction with a company.
4. Ease With Integration
ACDs must be able to communicate with telephony systems to perform their core function of call routing. Additionally, when ACDs are coupled with customer relationship management (CRM) software, their effectiveness is increased even further.
Customers and agents will benefit from features such as automated screen pops, which accelerate the start of the conversation and make it more pleasant for both parties. Call center software that has out-of-the-box APIs makes integrating with other systems a breeze.
5. Intuitive Design Tools
ACDs are only as good as the call centers that use them to be. Legacy ACDs are well-known for being difficult to configure, necessitating the need for vendor assistance for more extensive modifications.
Find design studios that are easy to use and that allow end-users to easily modify rules and call flows by dragging and dropping features – whether they are from the IT team and have development experience, or they are a contact center supervisor who has found themselves in the position of “accidental admin.”
Read up on the parts of call flow here!
Call Center Software Features: Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
6. Natural Speech Recognition
Customers recognize interactive voice response (IVR) systems by the vocal instructions they provide, such as “Press one to book a reservation.” IVRs that use natural voice recognition removes the need to press any buttons or pronounce any particular words or phrases.
As an alternative, clients may just say, “I want to make a reservation,” or any other phrase, without having to be provided with a list of possibilities, and the system will recognize and process their request.
This may result in a more positive customer experience since it allows individuals to express themselves more inherently when they need something.
7. Call Backs
Waiting in line to talk with an agent for an extended period might negatively affect the customer experience. Even if the agent fixes the problem promptly and competently, the chances are strong that the client will not forgive or forget the extended period that preceded their engagement with the agent.
That is why the finest IVR systems include a function that notifies consumers of the expected wait time and then enables customers who are waiting in line to have an agent instantly call them back rather than having to wait any longer.
8. Capabilities For Outbound Communication
IVRs are not merely for handling incoming calls. They may also automate outbound phone calls and send digital communications such as SMS and emails to recipients.
Business owners may use this feature to tell clients about things like impending appointments or cancellations due to adverse weather in real-time. An outbound IVR may also be designed to display menu choices to consumers so they can self-serve or connect to an agent when they answer the call.
Proactive communications improve the customer experience, and outbound interactive voice response systems make it a highly cost-effective approach to communicating information with customers.
9. User-Friendly Design Studio
IVRs, like automatic call distribution systems (ACDs), should be easy to set up. To get the full advantages of IVRs, they must be regularly optimized.
It should not be necessary to have programming abilities to make changes to IVR settings, therefore contact centers should opt for companies that have intuitive design studios that are common across platforms (ie, the same design tool for the ACD and IVR).
Learn more about how VoLTE works here!
Call Center Software Features: Workforce Management
The solutions for workforce management (WFM) are yet another important component of contact center software packages. To achieve the aim of having the appropriate agents in the right location at the right time, workforce management software automates complicated activities such as forecasting, agent scheduling, and intraday modifications, among others.
Because staffing levels influence service levels, customer and agent satisfaction, and labor costs, Workforce Management (WFM) processes must be as precise as is feasible.
Here are a few features that you may find handy.
10. Omnichannel Forecasting
If your company decides to go digital, have you considered how you would anticipate the number of contacts generated by those new channels?
Best-in-class workforce management (WFM) software not only enables multichannel forecasting but also goes a step further by incorporating omnichannel ideas to guarantee that the right-skilled agents are available across all of the channels that are supported.
11. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence has the potential to make intelligent forecasting even more intelligent. By using past volume data, forecasting may be done by using one of many methods to estimate future volume levels.
Alternatively, if the workforce analyst is unsure which algorithm to apply, Workforce management (WFM) software with AI may utilize “Best Pick” technology to choose the algorithm that is best suited for the task in question.
12. What-If Situations
Planning is essential in the field of workforce management. Not only must previous volumes be taken into consideration, but analysts must also account for known future events that may influence volumes, such as promotions and media events.
13. Intraday Reforecasts
Even the best-laid plans may go bad and need revisions in the middle of the process. A failure to make coarse adjustments will result in a negative impact on the customer experience or the budget when the volume is significantly over or under the plan.
Staffing levels may be promptly restored with the use of best-in-class workforce management software, which can execute intraday reforecasts and make schedule modifications.
See the reasons why call flow is important here.
Call Center Software Features: Reporting And Analytics
Call centers are high-volume enterprises that need regular monitoring and management. These organizations also generate massive volumes of data, which must be converted into useful information for decision-makers.
The best call center software offers reporting and analytics capabilities that assist executives in managing operations, identifying trends, understanding drivers of outcomes, addressing some of those macro concerns, and many other tasks and responsibilities. Here are some characteristics to watch for.
14. True Omnichannel View
If a contact center adds digital channels to the mix, it might suddenly be without a comprehensive perspective of operations if the appropriate reporting and analytics tools are not in place.
For want of a better term, the company might be required to piece together information from numerous distinct systems. True omnichannel reporting and analytics systems alleviate this issue by giving a consolidated source and perspective of contact center performance data.
15. Configurable Dashboards
Using a dashboard, you may quickly identify patterns and issue areas in your data by looking at a visual depiction. Different positions in a contact center would be responsible for monitoring specific key performance indicators (KPIs). End-users may design dashboards tailored to their requirements by using reporting tools that allow for dashboard customization.
16. Simple To Exchange And Consumer Data
Call center data is useful for a variety of different organizational endeavors outside of the call center environment. Using the data in conjunction with customer experience management (CEM) systems, for example, firms may get an even better understanding of the customer journey.
The fact that the reporting data is locked up and unavailable prevents this from happening. Data should be freely accessible to all parties. As an example, contact center reporting solutions should be able to readily import data from other systems, allowing for more reporting flexibility.
17. A Large Of Reports That Are Ready To Use
Call centers have a set of KPIs that are generally common across the board. Out-of-the-box reports are designed to represent these common standards, saving users the time and effort of having to recreate the wheel.
Complex call center software systems are made a little easier to understand as a result of this. Of course, if a user has a specific reporting need that is not satisfied by the regular reports, they should be allowed to create it on their own as well.
Call Center Software Features: Analytical Tools For Quality Management
Every effective contact center has a standardized quality assurance procedure that is used to evaluate agent performance, identify problem areas, and promote continuous development across the organization.
Software for quality management automates the process, making it simpler to train and engage agents while also improving the overall customer experience. The following are some of the characteristics to look for in a quality management analytics system.
18. Using Analytics To Keep Track Of Product Quality
A common quality management procedure looks something like this:
- Quality Analysts take a sample (about 2-3 percent) of each agent’s call records and analyze them.
- Assessment is made following the criteria set forth on a scorecard
- The agents are instructed on how to get the desired outcomes.
- Each of the scores is recorded, then chopped and diced
- Repeat the lather, rinse, and pat dry process.
Most contact centers are unable to provide representative and relevant samples for assessment since identifying the “correct” encounter may be time-consuming and difficult, akin to searching for a needle in a haystack in certain cases.
In addition, limited sampling may not always offer a thorough or fair picture of an agent’s effectiveness. By Incorporating analytics into the quality management process, it is possible to identify and resolve these issues by examining 100 percent of all calls. This offers a more thorough picture of the overall quality and identifies calls that need additional investigation.
19. Streamlining The Coaching Procedure
Quality assessments are only beneficial if agents are properly taught throughout the process. Agents will not be satisfied with merely emailing quality ratings to them and sending them on their way.
Not only is coaching critical for customer experience enhancement, but it is also a critical component of agent growth, engagement, and retention strategies. The most effective quality management software has routines that expedite the coaching process, increasing the possibility that it will take place in the future.
In addition, they enable means to assess the efficacy of coaching by monitoring coaching sessions and subsequent quality ratings providing a visual indication of the cause and effect relationship between coaching and performance.
20. Screen Recording
Although call recording is an important component of any quality control program, it only gives one facet of a multi-dimensional interaction. Exceptional contact center software has the capability of recording agent screens, allowing reviewers to hear and observe the whole interaction.
Additionally, this may give additional insight into what the agent encountered and the cognitive process he used when supporting the client. Increased knowledge may pave the way for more substantial process and customer experience changes.
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What Should I Look For In A Call Center Phone System?
Choosing a contact center solution should take into consideration many factors, including ease of setup, contemporary technology, modifications, and interaction with CRM systems.
It does not matter how advanced the features are if they are impossible to put into practice. Prioritize a solution that is quick and easy to implement so that you can shorten the time it takes for your contact center to go to market, eliminate customer service disruptions, and lessen the load on your IT staff and other stakeholders.
In the previous several years, the field of call center technology has significantly advanced. Look for software solutions that have many (if not all) of the following software capabilities:
- Intelligent Routing
- Interactive voice response (IVR)
- Automatic call distributor (ACD)
- Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) Screen Pop-up
- Monitoring of phone calls
- HD video calls are recorded and transcription is provided.
Find out more about Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): What is it? How Does it Work?
What Are The Features Of A Telephone System?
The majority of phone systems have fundamental telephony services that allow your company to be more flexible while making and receiving calls. Along with the ability to make and receive calls, additional significant small business phone services include the following:
- Caller ID
- Call Waiting
- Cancel Call Waiting
- Call Return
- Call Forwarding
- Call Forward Busy
- Call Forward No Answer
- Selective Call Forwarding
- Per Call Block
- All Call Block
- Selective Call Acceptance
- Selective Call Rejection
- Anonymous Call Rejection
- Speed Calling
- Last Number Redial
- Selective Ring
- Conference Calling
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Which Software Is Best For Call Centers?
It is important to choose the appropriate software to aid in the expansion of your organization, whether it is a contact center software or a contact center software. It should be able to scale seamlessly with your needs. Call monitoring, call barging, and real-time dashboards are some of the capabilities available with this program.
And although technology alone cannot entirely solve the present contact center difficulties, the correct call center software will be able to make a big contribution to resolving them.
To summarize, adopting software that is capable of operating across several channels may help to reduce the pressure to become digital. Features such as skills-based routing, CRM connections, natural voice recognition, callbacks, outbound IVRs, quality management analytics, and omnichannel forecasting may all improve the customer experience.
Many of these capabilities also have a good influence on the agent experience and meet the expectations of today’s agents when it comes to working with current software. Agents that use strong ACDs may operate from home, and omnichannel planning combined with effective reporting can assist executives in managing budgets under pressure from a pandemic.
What Should I Look For In An Office Phone System?
The capabilities and services you require are vital in a world where technology gives you major competitive advantages.
Choose a new business telephone system or provider based on the following ten critical aspects:
Pricing is a crucial aspect of incorporating phone systems and varies greatly depending on the system used. However, the degrees of capability will also be vastly different between an analog phone system and a hosted PBX.
With a basic budget in place, the next stage is to assess which phones each office employee needs. Many providers will help you create a phone network that meets your specific needs.
Sort your employees based on job title, duties, and calling preferences. So, a major corporation’s customer care agent will require numerous phone lines, loudspeakers, hands-free, and hold/transfer options. Unnecessarily complicated phone systems are not suitable for interns who make or receive few calls.
Plan for the future of your business and consider if the phone system you are contemplating can meet future company expectations. You need a phone system that can handle new technologies and extra lines if your business grows rapidly in the next months or years.
Many businesses may choose a mid-level solution that can scale up. Although your organization just needs basic services today, in the future you might want conference calls, advanced calling options, and several extensions. Rather than beginning from zero, it is preferable to be able to gradually add features and equipment.
4. How Others Connect With You
Consider how you and your staff will utilize a new phone system. Remember to think about your consumers and clients while answering the phone.
Investigate how your competition uses phone systems. Be mindful of other firms’ automated systems and prompts. How did you feel? What irritated you? With this list, you may easily identify what you want in your system and what you don’t.
You would be negligent not to compile a comprehensive list of phone function possibilities. Imagine your company’s non-negotiable needs. Determine which features are most often utilized and which choices might expedite or simplify operations inside your business.
6. Your Network and Hardware
Phone systems and networks are always developing. Look for a supplier that can give expanded features and trustworthy services that help your company develop and be more productive.
Based on your company’s size, many phone system options exist. Choose a service that will advise you on the finest solutions for your company.
You might not need a complex phone system if you operate a small company. A provider with administration tools and calling capabilities compatible with your present system or a simple setup that matches your company’s demands is a good choice.
7. Customer Care
The influence of a service interruption on your company’s reputation may seem odd when selecting business phone services. What happens if your customers can not contact you because your phones are down? Will they re-call later or contact a rival? A reliable business telephone supplier can help you give the finest possible service to your customers.
Ensure that you can reach your service supplier if anything goes wrong with any phone service. In certain cases, a greater price tag is worth the peace of mind that comes with working with a local provider that provides 24/7 onsite support.
Consider scalability while creating a new service. What will it cost to add more employees to your business phone plan if your company grows? Consider not just the equipment but also the additional phone service for your new staff.
The basic tariff for up to 25 workers or seats is one example. Get quotes for the next tier if you are nearing the top limit of a prospective business phone plan.
Following your selection, evaluate the provider’s worth to your firm. Compared to the service cost, how much value is added? You receive the phone service you need to keep in touch with consumers, plus much more.
If you are wondering how much time the new capabilities of the phone system will save your staff, or how much time callers would save, consider the following: How does the phone system help you and your staff? So long as your clients and staff benefit from your company phone system, you have discovered a suitable fit.
10. Business Culture
A company’s culture should always be considered when picking a technological service provider. Why? Consider what your corporate culture says about you to your customers. It conveys your expectations, formality, dedication, purpose, and values. You can not express your wants properly unless you share beliefs and expectations with your business phone supplier.
Miscommunications may prevent you from effectively communicating with customers, doing business, and growing. A suitable culture is important after you have established the features you require and what your budget allows.