Call blending, although a part of outbound calling, revolutionizes some of the ways that orthodox and older call centers have established. Nevertheless, it is quickly becoming one of the main elements in the package while choosing for the best call center software for the company.
Call blending is a feature by the application of which both outbound and inbound calls can be delivered in a seamless manner to the call center agent, while regulating the call volume of outbound based on the inbound traffic at the same time.
When the inbound traffic is not much for a specific campaign, it spontaneously generates outbound calls. When the inbound traffic rises up again, the dialer acts to slow down the outbound call count.
This is a feature that is not available with all software, so selecting a software that will meet your needs is important. A call center solutions comparison can be done to help with this.
There are many advantages of call blending. It can result in an increase in the productivity of the call center agents, efficient and organized staffing, and even improve the customer service of the company.
However, since this is not a traditional process, proper understanding and tactful management of the procedure is important. This is because you cannot expect every agent to be experts in handling the inbound as well as outbound calls.
Of course, there are many reasons why companies are still using outbound call services, but boosting sales through both the old and newer customers is the main reason.
The hybrid method of handling customer service leading to a cross-sell opportunity is a good way to make the path for increasing the number of customers. But companies should also take care not to irritate customers with frequent calls.
The purpose of the call blending solution is to find the optimal mix between staff and call direction automatically. The main challenge for call blending is finding good agents that will not only be effective in handling both inbound and outbound calls, but also comfortable with the position. This is a different sort of skill set that not all agents are adept at.
With this information in mind, I will now provide you a list of tips that will help you utilize this feature for better customer service.
1. As mentioned before, this feature can be used to effectively increase the productivity of the company. Outbound call centers are one of the most important features for a call center company in this age of constantly evolving technology, but newer, smaller call centers cannot always afford different groups of agents, even if they are using the best call center software for smaller businesses. In such a situation, having this feature is immensely helpful.
2. Selecting a software to do this job is important. The software should determine when an inbound agent is available or idle and transfer the calls to him or her instead of logging the call on to the queue list of a busy outbound agent.
3. This feature can be used to determine the hours where the call centers are at their busiest, and to stop the inbound agents from overworking, enlist the outbound agents so that they can share the workload.
4. Call Blending requires agents who specialize in handling both inbound and outbound calling. Hence, company managers should be able to select better agents with multiple skills because this feature will not be easy to handle by the usual agents. It will make sure that your agents are more productive in the company.
5. With the rise of social media, it is important to take note of how customers are reacting to the customer service of the company. Repeating information to agents, getting stuck in queues, getting passed around in multiple departments is going to give your service a bad reputation. To avoid this, call blending can be really useful.
6. For call center efficiency, it is important to assign the staff in your company in an intelligent manner. Your staff must be divided into three sections to properly handle the call center.
One group must be solely dedicated to inbound calls. The other group must be dedicated to handling outbound calls. The final group must be blended, that is, it should consist of agents who are trained in both inbound and outbound calling.
7. Routing of calls should be skill based for maximum efficiency and full software utilization. This is essential because even if the call is not being answered immediately, it can get answered eventually, thus preventing the customer from dropping the calls, or being asked to repeat the same thing over and over again.
8. With this feature, the customer can use any channel they want to contact the company. This feature will give the customer the power to choose and get seamless service in return. Call blending software can help immensely to maintain the superior standards of the company.
9. Consistency is the key to success, and this holds true especially for call center companies. Consistently providing the customers with superior service, regardless of the number of times they call, will give a great boost to your company. Call blending can help in providing such consistency to your customers.
10. Call blending will greatly reduce the operating costs of the company. The same agent will stay with the customer when the channels are being switched, hence it is important to utilize this feature to its fullest. Saving resources on this part of the call center will make the managers pay attention to other problem areas effectively.
11. Using a call blending feature may not be easy and it may not be for everyone to handle, but it makes sure that there is integration in between the channels. This integration makes it possible to share information between agents and prevent mistakes when handling calls.
12. This is the age of technology, and of course, the newer generations of call centers must not only be smarter but also highly innovative and tech savvy. Call blending is not only newer and smarter, but it also provides room for great experimentation and can help you in finding a niche in the business.
13. In order to utilize this feature, you must update and enhance the quality assurance programs. This is to be done to incorporate the handling of newer channels for outbound calling and other additional forms of communication.
14. While beneficial, it needs to be proactively incorporated with the serving fabric for maximum results. Outbound dialing is evolving into better and bigger status, but there are areas that can cause a disruption while using this feature. Therefore, multiple channels, analytics and intelligent call center infrastructure must also be taken care of.
15. Maintaining Proactive Customer Care or PCC is important for the company if call blending is going to be an option. PCC uses multiple channel servers to interact with customers regardless of the channel they chose to communicate with the company.
16. Sometimes, in order to resolve inbound queue length and wait times, you may end up over staffing your company. This can create ‘dead air’ times, where after the influx, the agents remain idle. To avoid this, selecting a call center management software can be helped by providing call blending features.
17. While using call blending tools, it is important to take into account the real world functionality. It should be helpful even when combined with outbound solutions, and also help the company in training the agents.
18. Call blending has advanced reporting capabilities, which makes it easier for them to be used now as against ten years ago when it first evolved. Reporting capabilities make it more efficient and reduce the scope for mistakes.
19. It is inevitable that outbound call centers will get some inbound calls. Inbound calls are different hence companies who do get into these situations should at least think about exploring call blending and blended agents.
20. Call blending can be used to manage callbacks. However, callbacks made by blended agents must not be lost in the transitions. This is because it can have an adverse effect on your business if applied without the proper software. Therefore, one should opt for quality software only. Looking for call center software pricing can help you select the best one for your company.
The Case Study
I hope that reading through the above list will give some idea how call blending works and why it should be given a chance despite the few risks involved. If the call center software is chosen correctly, it can be beneficial in the longer run.
However, if you are still not sure and want to carry out further research, you can always take a look at examples based on real life to understand the risk and rewards of such a feature.
To round of your research, let me present to you a case study based on a real life situation of a company. Here, the company will be anonymously named BTS. BTS is a call center company who provides telemarketing services for a well-known company.
In this case study, we will study about the problem scenario of the company, the challenges that the company faced and the solutions that the company leaders managed to come up with. We will also discuss in brief the results that the call center company gathered after implementing the solutions.
The Problem Scenario
BTS is a call center company which decided to modernize their software system to present themselves as a tech savvy company with the aim of providing the customers with the best support they could get.
However, there were problems with maintaining the customer calls with the arrival of the newer software. They decided to opt for cloud call center solutions with the call blending features to help with the customer calls.
The challenges that the company faced were numerous, but here I will only talk about the few that is related to the topic in this article.
1. The software did not have a timer to determine the busiest hours of the day, hence they have no idea about queues overloading with customers. Even during these busiest hours, a few agents remained idle while customers dropped out.
2. There was a lack of division amongst the staffing, and hence the agents did not have a set goal. They were unmotivated at the end of the day as they were not being given the opportunity to improve.
3. They were not using the proper call center software solutions for using the call blending seamlessly. Some information was always lost in the process of communications which caused confusion.
4. There was a lack of call routing in the company which was hampering the way calls were being handled by the agents.
The managers decided to watch the company for a couple of months after they implemented the newer software. Then they drew up a list of solutions to counter the problems.
1. The new software determined quite easily the number of hours a day that remained busy. This helped them to understand when to implement call blending into the system.
2. The staff was divided into three sections that handed customers differently. The three groups were inbound, outbound and blended who handled both types of calls.
2. For proper call blending to happen, they cut back on some of the unneeded features and provided customers with multiple channels. Due to this, customers could contact the agents and receive services in a smoother fashion.
It took a while for positive results to show, because this smarter system is relatively newer in the market. Though the upkeep is slightly costlier than the traditional methods, it was, however, beneficial in the longer runs. Customer service was seamless and quicker, with more customer retention due to the excellent response time.
Used correctly with the correct call center software, this can be a very good feature to improve customer service. If your company manages to find talented agents adept at handling call blending, half the battle has been won. Call blending is a feature that smarter call centers should absolutely try to implement.