One of the biggest challenges in administering a call center for customer service is determining how agents use their time. It is difficult to assign duties such that all aspects of the job are equally distributed.
For this reason, many companies opt to hire specialized centers to carry out outbound and inbound services separately.
While this may be an option for the larger companies, smaller enterprises cannot afford this luxury and thus have to figure out on how to strike the balance to maximize productivity.
A blended call center is the one which simultaneously performs inbound and outbound duties.
In other words, agents answer queries of people dialing in, as well as call up leads and pitch a sale or talk about new offers.
This requires significant care in allocation of resources, since there are factors like automation, data analysis, live reporting and remote support at play for both inbound and outbound features.
However, the gains are also significant, since a blended call center is far more compact, cost-effective, collaborative and promotes better rapport between the customers and companies.
There are call center software designed to cater to this sort of simultaneous support.
In this article, we will highlight the benefits of a blended call center and talk about on how it packs features in a cost-effective manner and drives up productivity while ensuring customers have a better connect with the company as well, leading to an overall better quality of providing call center solutions.
1. Greater efficiency of operations. Efficiency is boosted not only in terms of the output of agents, but also the optimal use of resources at hand.
The ability to keep working in marketing a product and providing traditional customer support simultaneously means that agents can be scheduled to work in proper shifts at the peak of their productivity.
Moreover, integration with business tools gives the agents many utilities, such as seamless transfer of calls to experts, personalization of conversation, collaboration with remote workers, etc.
All of these factors significantly push up the efficiency of the entire work-space and help elevate the level of service being provided.
2. More flexible. Blended call centers give managers the freedom to assign as many agents to inbound or outbound calling as required based on the volume of traffic at that particular point.
When inbound traffic is low, more agents can be placed to follow up with leads and convert sales.
Some of these agents can then be transferred to inbound duties as soon as the volume of traffic rises, without disrupting any part of the operation.
This transition is determined automatically, based on the calls coming in, so managers get a better insight about the agent performance, when they can evaluate them on both counts instead of just one.
3. Better relationship with customers. For a customer, it is beneficial to have the same agent who sold them the product to be present to answer whatever queries they might have.
Doing so helps boost the customer satisfaction rates, and also fosters a better relationship between the customer and the agent, which consequently becomes the relationship between the customer and the brand.
This relationship is crucial for the company further down the line, because it is far more profitable for them to have loyal customers than to need extensive outbound marketing to find new customers every time.
For the customer as well, this relationship is beneficial because there is a mutual understanding and better clarity of communication.
4. Increased productivity. Blended call centers give businesses the option to put protocols in place that clearly define the roles and responsibilities of every individual agent.
On top of that, the technology in play is also clearly segregated in its responsibilities.
Therefore, the productivity of the entire operation goes up.
Agents are able to work more smoothly in their day to day operations, software is able to provide better patterns on customers as more and more data flows in, and managers have live reports of key performance indicators to monitor the performance of their agents and give feedback accordingly, so that productivity of the group is optimal.
5. Better forecasting. The ability to learn from historical data and predicting future trends is one of the most important features of software in blended call centers.
This forecasting helps in the development of strategies that are best fit to deal with the expected incoming issues, like countering demand and supply issues more effectively.
Their implementation is recorded and the results are mapped for further improvement in the future.
This gives businesses the opportunity to refine their procedures to perfectly suit the trends of the future.
Forecasting also helps in the improvement of individual agents, thus creating an overall positive effect for the group, and leading to greater operational efficiency.
6. Employee satisfaction. Blended call centers are ideal for the development of agents.
They have the support of technology to help them in their work, customers that they are more or less familiar with, exposure in both the worlds of inbound and outbound calling and a clear plan of action for future activities backed by the data.
All of this makes for a workplace that is far less stressful and more productive than the average call center job profile seems to suggest.
Employee satisfaction is a key driver of employee productivity as well, so it is in the interests of the company to ensure that agents are happy with their job.
7. Collaborative environment. A blended call center encourages greater collaboration between the departments. Sales, accounts, marketing, service, etc. have to come together in order to provide the best customer service.
This environment of collaborative work-spaces brings two main benefits. First, it ensures that a problem is looked at from all angles and the solutions presented take care of every department, making it the most comprehensive solution.
Second, it drives better satisfaction among the employees and makes individuals place their team’s shared goals above their own personal goals.
This keeps the company moving forward successfully.
Increased collaboration also means that agents are then able to incorporate strategies from different departments in their conversations, further increasing the efficiency of operations as a whole.
8. Increased revenue. Industry experts consider blended call centers as a factor behind successful up-selling and cross-selling.
As we have discussed, the blended call center helps in creating better bonds between the customer and the agent, which consequently means, the customer gets to trust the brand.
Repetitive buys are common, and blended centers see a far lower customer attrition rate than other outbound or inbound individual centers.
Moreover, agents can market additional features, follow-ups, upgrades and renewals based on the purchase of a parent product, which further drives up the figures for revenue generation through sale of goods.
9. Remote managerial control. Owing to features like smart metric evaluation, live reporting, close monitoring of agent activity and forecasted strategies, managers do not need to be hands-on in their dealing with the agents.
They can simply take on a supervisory role, keep an eye on the figures that are being brought in and provide feedback whenever necessary.
Such managerial control allows managers to devote the majority of their time and effort to brainstorming the development of new and improved services, strategies, innovative breakthroughs and decision making.
Thus, managers are also able to contribute more substantially and their role gets expanded from simply managing the work of the agents by contributing to the progress of the company by devising new developments.
10. Automated systems. Modern call centers apply automation to make the work of the agents more productive, easier and are directed more efficiently.
Auto-dialers, call labeling, analytical tools, predictive modeling, inventory management, report tracking, alert systems, follow ups, predictive dialers and automated routing are some of the tools in use to enhance operations at the contact center.
Automated systems have the dual advantage of ensuring maximum efficiency and relieving the stress of repetitive manual jobs from the agents.
By employing smart automated systems, blended call centers are able to discern information more fruitfully and act upon it in a more efficient manner, with the aim of drawing out more sales and increasing the revenue.
11. Better referrals from the customers. In a blended call center setting, you have the opportunity to provide an all-round service, starting from marketing your product to a viable lead, showing them the value proposition, convincing them to buy, providing support and maintenance, solving queries and collecting feedback based on the entire cycle.
All of this draws out more useful and comprehensive feedback from the satisfied customers.
For a company that provides good quality of service, this is useful in terms of advertising their quality, because a future customer is more likely to believe in another similar person’s words over those of an agent trying to sell the product.
Therefore, blended call centers can collate positive feedback about both inbound and outbound services, and use them to further generate additional sales down the line.
12. More comprehensive reporting. Live reporting and extensive monitoring features have the greater freedom of analysis in a blended call center.
Not only can they analyze the effect of a metric, based on its effect on outbound sales, but it can also take into account the inbound features that the metric might influence.
This helps the system understand its own data in a better way , and draw out more meaningful information from it.
Subsequently, this helps managers devise strategies that are more in keeping up with the requirements and are backed by the data that has been analyzed.
It also helps agents understand what they are supposed to do at an individual level, and how their actions influence the company proceedings.
13. Helps make innovative strategies. In the modern world, innovation is the driving force that keeps companies moving forward.
However, innovation can be a risky business, since you are veering into the unknown.
This is where blended call centers are a notch above the rest, since they help in figuring out a new path to take in the future which should be beneficial to the company.
Complex forecasting and data-driven decisions are the cornerstone of software infrastructure of a blended call center.
Using these algorithms, companies are able to simulate the effects of new strategies, figure out the areas that require improvement, compare and contrast different decisions and pick the best ones to implement.
14. Penetrate both markets. With a blended call center, you are essentially accumulating the customer base of both the outbound and inbound duties of call centers.
This helps in terms of having a presence in both of these markets, and trying to expand in both spheres.
This is especially helpful for upcoming companies, small and medium sized enterprises, who are looking to expand their user base and looking to tap in all the relevant markets.
15. Increased efficiency. Using all of the tools available for a blended call center, the ultimate objective is to maximize efficiency of operations.
A blended call center setup is successfully able to do so, by a combination of various factors – effective predictive analysis and forecasting, optimal distribution of resources, maximum infiltration of technological tools to aid agents, collaboration between departments and individuals, data-driven decision making, better clarity of communication, ensured consistency and customer-centric operations.
These factors, along with other specialized nuances, are meant to fine-tune the operations and make sure that they proceed smoothly, and bring in better revenue and maximize profits while ensuring the company grows in stature and establishes itself in the market.
Thus, we can see how blended call centers can revolutionize a business and change the face of its telemarketing software solutions by incorporating both inbound and outbound call systems under the same umbrella.
Eventually this is a wise decision financially as well as socially, since it keeps both employees and customers satisfied while driving up revenue generation through sales.
Employing the best call center software available at your budget helps agents find a distinct plan of action and perform even better.
Implementing a blended call center for your business would ensure that you save up on costs, make optimal use of call center software solutions and drive up your profits by a significant margins.