We often use the term call center software on regular basis, but what is our understanding of this term?
Let us try to gain in-depth knowledge about the working of call center software and how it plays a significant role in any enterprise whether it is big or small.
Call center software is a management software that is used by organizations to administer the incoming calls related to product support or informational queries and also to make outbound calls to the targeted audience for the purpose of sales and marketing of the product.
We can integrate the software with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to organize customer information, activities, and conversations in one easily accessible place to increase overall customer experience and provide faster resolution.
We know that every call center needs a software to effectively manage its business process within the organization. However, with evolution playing an important part of every business, telephone industries are no different and so are the software’s used by the enterprises.
There are some types of call center software which are available as under:
1. Traditional call center software: These are also called as on-premise call center software. In this type of setup, the hardware and software is installed at one place within office premises and is maintained by internal IT team or by an external service provider.
One of the advantages of on-premise call center software is that the organization itself has control over the hardware, software and infrastructure of the environment so that the data is safe and secure from any theft.
2. Hosted call center software: In this type of call center, the software is hosted off-site which can be connected to a network using the internet or using VPN (Virtual Private Network). In hosted call center the agent’s workstation is inside the organization while the hardware and software are at a remotely hosted location.
In hosted call center software solutions, as the hardware and software are maintained by the third party, the investment on infrastructure is comparatively less than on-premise. Also, the maintenance and administration are trouble-free for the organization.
However, one of the biggest disadvantages of on-premise and hosted call center software is that all the data servers are stored in one centralized location.
In the case of any failures, the probability of losing all the data is extremely high. Along with that the software also requires a large amount of up-front investment for infrastructure, hardware, and software.
It is also a tedious and risky task to keep the software up-to-date for keeping up with market’s requirement since it requires a considerable amount of downtime causing a loss in business.
This leads us to the latest type of call center software which is currently in use on a large extent namely:
3. Cloud-based call center software: It is also referred to as virtual call center software. This is the mostly used technology in today’s call center business.
The cloud-based call center software is hosted on a cloud server. This kind of software is accessed using an application that needs to be installed on computer or mobile phone.
The biggest advantage of this type of setup is that the data is stored on a cloud server so the chances of data loss are very minimal and also, all the information can be accessed from anywhere.
Since the cloud-based software provides solutions to most of the issues present in, on-premise and hosted software like cost-effective as the resources are shared between the team members, more secure, easy to deploy, provides data redundancy and require minimal downtime for maintenance purpose.
Since now, we are aware of the types of call center management software, a company can decide the type of solution required based on their corporate requirements.
But, it is also important to opt for software that incorporates all the emerging market trends and new features which can act as a gateway to new business opportunities and build a reputation for your product in the business world.
To achieve that, it had to be made sure that your product is having all the necessary elements to have an edge over the rival products. Some of those main attributes are as follows:
1.ACD: It stand for Automatic call distributor and it is one of the most useful features which enables us to easily manage the incoming calls by directing them to most suitable department/agent to talk to. It also queues the calls.
2.Predictive dialer: It is one of the most innovative features for any calling software. As the name suggests predictive dialer automatically calls a list of a telephone number by using an algorithm to calculate the time when an agent will be available to take the call, thus reducing chances of a call going unanswered and minimizing agent wait time between calls.
It screen-outs the voicemail, busy number, disconnected & no response calls & transfers the call to an agent if any customer is available.
3.Call recording: It enables recording and storing of agent’s interaction with the customer. This can be later used for training and monitoring purposes for the growth of the agent.
4.IVR: It stands for Interactive Voice response. It is an application that helps customers get answers fast by pressing a button on their telephone keypad or verbally acknowledging a selection to get the service they want. A popular example is “Press 1 for Customer Care, press 2 for Finance, press 3 for New Enquiries…”
5.Agent Status: Visible display of an agent’s status within the team can help in increasing the efficiency so that team members will be sure when an agent is available to take a call and also helps in managing breaks as well reducing the number of dropped calls.
6.Voicemail: Routing the calls to voicemail in case customer wants to skip the waiting time and needs an agent to callback based on availability.
7.Skill based routing: This feature enables the management of multiple queues based on some unique skills of the agent and thereby directing the calls to the appropriate agent which in turn helps in reducing the overall wait time.
8.Reporting: Generation of reports based on current as well as historical data can be beneficial for analysis of an agent’s performance.
9. Live training: Live training means, training the agent while working with the customer. The trainer or manager can give trivial information to the agent, without the customer knowing it thus helping in training new agents or providing assistance during a complex situation.
10.Queue Monitoring: With the feature of monitoring of queue the manager or team members can know how many calls are in waiting, which agent is working on which call, call waiting time etc and based on all these data they can modify the business process for more effective call handling.
11.CTI: CTI stands for Computer-Telephony Interaction as the name suggests, it allows amalgamating the interaction on the telephone to be managed by computer.
Its most common and key features include Automatic dialing, screen popping with information like customer Name, phone number, option to receive or reject a call, making conference calls and much more.
Now that we are conscious about the types and some crucial features in the best call center software, it will be easy to understand the working of call center software system. Let us take a flowchart, for example to understand the call flow and its management using the software:
The first and the foremost task for any call center software is to identify the customer by checking the unique entry in the database (DB), and if the entry of the caller is not present in the DB then the software should be capable of inserting the caller’s entry in DB for future reference.
If the caller’s entry is present in the DB, the records are fetched from the Database and displayed to the agent when they get a call, so that agent will have enough information about the customer as well as the issue history before handling the call.
Now that the caller has provided the response to the automated response or by verbal acknowledgment the call is placed in the appropriate queue based on the mapping in the DB between the requested skills set and the queue name.
When the call is pushed to the queue, all the agents that are mapped to that queue can take over the call either by manually picking up the call or it will be automatically assigned to an agent based on the scheduling method in the system.
Once the agent takes over the call, based on the problem of the customer, the agent can assist the customer in multiple ways like taking remote access to callers system, providing instruction over the call or through email, or by taking other/senior agent in the conference for guidance and faster resolution.
Sometimes, it may happen that customer is unable to work on the problem at that time, in such cases agent should keep a track of customer interactions and should do a regular follow-up with the customer to keep a track of progress on the issue.
Depending upon customers response an agent can mark the status of the ticket as open, closed, resolved or needs follow-up.
As soon as the status of the ticket is set as ‘closed’ an automated survey call or email is sent to the customer for the purpose of feedback, which can be used in numerous ways.
Now that we have understood how call center software works, let’s take an example of how the usage of this software can help an enterprise in business growth.
The example we are considering today is a startup which is rapidly expanding their business. Due to increase in business, it was getting very hard for the company to keep up with market trends and also have the same team answering customer queries about the product with new features getting included in product every now and then.
Since the company was a startup they did not have enough staff members to work separately on research, designing, implementation, testing and support product related queries, and hence all these tasks were done by the same team members.
With the increasing demand, they needed a way to manage all these tasks without affecting the business process in a cost effective manner.
The higher management started to work towards finding a solution to these entire problems and came up with an idea to use cloud-based call center software for their product support.
As it seemed to be the only solution for all their problems and as soon as they implemented the call center software into their system following transformations were observed:
1. The new staffs are hired having experience in the field of customer support.
2. With the new members in the team, the workload from the other teams was reduced.
3. The new agents could handle all incoming calls related to the product support, as well as make outbound calls for sales and market research thus reducing and separating the tasks performed by each team member.
With the addition of call center software, the management of calls was easy, inside the support team by the agents with proper knowledge about that field.
This also helped the other team members to have a better focus on their work increasing the overall productivity, along with that improving the reputation of the organization.
In any business dealing with customers, a high amount of service or information related call volume is expected. Instead of staff members wasting their valuable time in answering those queries, it is better rather essential to have call center agents dealing with all those queries.
Call center software not only help in effective dealing with the customer calls; it can also meet a lot of other requirements which are very crucial for building a good business foundation with the consumer.
Some of it being a bi-lingual support that helps in expanding the product reaches. It can also gather customer feedback by doing surveys about the product which provides a new aspect of working towards filling in the loopholes of the product and achieve desired results.