Customer support is continuously evolving. However, phone calls remain the easiest and most direct means of communication.
Hardware telephony systems had given way to software-based call center solutions and became a thing of the past. There are lots of call center software vendors at the market and it’s not easy to choose one that suits the needs of your customer service department. What are the factors that you should consider while doing it? Let’s try to find out in this post.
1. Types of call center software
The first thing you should do is to define what type of software you need. Generally, there are four of them: on-premise, hosted, browser-based, and cloud-based solutions. The latter ones are becoming increasingly popular and for a good reason. For example, a cloud-based call center software solution from Voiptime can be used for different industries (e-commerce, telemarketing, insurance, etc) and does not require sophisticated training from your agents. Also, your employees can work from different locations that is an essential advantage at the age of remote work. And last but not least, cloud-based solutions increase your company’s flexibility. You can easily scale the number of seats, just buying new licenses for agents. This feature is really important for seasonal contact centers.
2. Key call center software features
Now, let’s list and outline the call center software features that are crucial for customer service:
- Omnichannel agent interface. Your customers will contact your customer service department via different channels: phone, webchat, email, etc. Handling all these interactions in a single interface is a real time-saver for customer service representatives since they don’t need to switch between different apps.
- Automatic call distribution (ACD). This tool is crucial for call routing. The ACD system assigns calls to individual agents or teams based on pre-established criteria. It may be a preferred language, time, day, agent availability, etc. It also provides you with effective queue management. For example, the Voiptime Cloud call center solution puts all requests in one queue, thus ensuring that you won’t miss any customer query.
- Computer telephony integration (CTI). It is a feature that allows you to combine your telephone system with your database. Thanks to CTI, your agents will be able to see the caller’s details when the call connects (Screen Pop). It also can be used in call routing.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR can be a good self-service tool for your customers. Using a voice menu, they can learn the information they need without your agents’ involvement. If the customer’s request cannot be answered via the menu, they can choose the option “Connect with an agent” or to request a callback to be contacted later.
- Call scripting. Call scripts are useful both for inbound and outbound calls so that’s great when you can upload them into your call center software and make them available to your agents during the calls. Voiptime Cloud call center software allows you to create call scripts that may contain different blocks for performing specific tasks (poll, knowledge base, proposal, HTML iframe).
- Call monitoring tools. These include such features as live call monitoring to join live calls in three different modes (call center barging, hidden mode, call whispering); call quality scoring when you can assess your agents’ performance, using customized scorecards; and call recording that allows you to use recorded calls both for training and solving customer problems.
- Reporting tools. You can track your employees’ performance by using real-time dashboards or creating historical reports to analyze their work within some period of time. These reports can be easily exported as .xlxs files for further processing.
3. Factors you need to take into consideration
Integration with other business tools
Making or taking calls isn’t the only task your agents will do. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you can seamlessly integrate your call center solution with other business tools, such as CRM, a help desk software, or maybe even some marketing tools. It will save your agents’ time because they won’t have to switch between all these applications.
Ease of use
It is not enough to choose the right type of software with the right features. You should also check if it is easy to use. How long will it take to become proficient in handling it? An intuitive and user-friendly interface is what you need to succeed in customer service. Otherwise, you will have to invest extra time and money in your agents’ training.
The next factor you need to pay attention to is the price. What does it consist of? Here are the main questions you should ask before implementing a call center solution:
- What is the cost of a monthly subscription per user?
- Do I have to pay any setup fee?
- What is the cost of telephony? (Typically it means the price you have to pay for purchasing telephone numbers and call cost.)
- Are there any additional services (for example, assistance with migrating to the cloud)? How much do they cost?
- Do I have to pay for my agents’ training and onboarding?
- Is it possible to buy an extended package in the future? Is your solution updated for free?
All these questions have to be answered before you migrate to the new software. Doing this will help you to understand the exact cost of a new solution and make a more informed decision.
It is also worth mentioning that some vendors provide access to their solution by selling you separate modules of features. In the beginning, it may seem to be a good deal. But when your business starts growing and you buy additional modules, the cost of the solution may become way more expensive.
In this case, you are the customer. Pay attention to the service level agreement (SLA). What support does the vendor provide by default? Can they provide round-the-clock support? How much does it cost? It is also important to know what their response time is in the case of an emergency.
Every business has its unique processes. That’s why a free trial is not always an option. When you launch a pilot project, a vendor’s specialists configure their solution according to your requirements. This is a paid service but it is cheaper than a monthly subscription and allows you to test the business processes in your call center.
The servers’ location (if it is important)
In some regions, it is required by law that your customers’ data has to be stored in their country. So if it is your case, specify the cloud servers’ location.
Make sure that the migration to your new solution won’t last for ages. Every additional day of implementation costs you money and customers so pay attention to the solution’s deployment time. Voiptime Cloud call center solution can be deployed in 48 hours that allows you to maintain your business continuity.
Choosing the right call center solution for your customer service department may be a tough task. By following the tips mentioned before, you can make this process less stressful and complicated. Good luck!