As your business becomes larger, it’s easy to assume that, at some point, you have to sacrifice the personalized customer service that you used to provide.
But by automating and standardizing the right processes with appropriate knowledge base articles, you can give your agents the support they need to spend less time routing calls and spend more time with your customers.
Let’s look at the benefits of calling tools for your customer happiness and sales teams and see how you can pick the best from the different types of call center software for your business to have a positive customer engagement strategy.
What is call center software?
Call center software is a tool that helps you handle inbound and outbound calls by providing a central platform for calling, messaging, routing, queuing, reporting, and measurement.
Why use call center software?
Call center software has several benefits, most of which come down to saving time for your agents and improving the customer experience.
Types of Call Center Software
Call center software solutions come in with different functionalities, and it’s essential to choose one that works for your business.
Once you’ve made sure that your call center solution offers all of the benefits we covered above, think about where you would like your software to be hosted.
1. On-premise call center software
On-premise call center software is entirely maintained and operated by you. All of the physical infrastructure that your team needs to make and receive calls is located on-site.
Advantages of on-premise call center software:
- No monthly operating costs – Once you have your software up and running, you won’t need to pay a monthly fee for management or maintenance.
- More control over features and functions – You can tailor your software entirely to the needs of your team without investing in any features you don’t use.
- Confidential data stored in-house – Some companies find being in complete control of their data reassuring regarding security and privacy.
Challenges of on-premise software:
- Significant upfront investment – You’ll need to spend a substantial amount on labor and components to install your software on-site.
- Specialized IT staff required – You’ll need to hire or train staff to set up the software and keep it running smoothly.
- Integrating software with third-party technology is complex – All integrations need to be built from scratch, making them difficult and time-consuming.
- Team members must be on-site to use the software – This makes remote or flexible working very difficult.
- Lack of scalability – As you maintain all of your infrastructure on-site, you’ll need to invest lots of time, effort, and money in installing new equipment when you want to scale. This also complicates adding new or more advanced features as your needs evolve.
2. Hosted call center software
Hosted call center software is installed and hosted on remote servers owned and managed by your software vendor. You pay a monthly rent to use the software you connect to over your internet connection.
Advantages of hosted call center software:
- No upfront investment or specialized IT team is needed – The software is built and maintained off-site, so no upfront capital investment is required.
- Most providers offer pay-as-you-go – This means you only pay for as much of the software as you use. Hosted call center software is a popular option for start-ups and smaller companies.
Disadvantages of hosted call center software:
- Disruption is more likely – Since your software servers are usually housed in one place, if one server goes down, the rest are likely to go down too.
- Scaling can be tricky – Hosted software is stored on much smaller clouds than those used by cloud-based call center software. This poses a threat when it comes to accommodating your business needs as it expands.
3. Browser-based call center software
As you might expect, browser-based call center software is hosted on the cloud but accessed via your web browser. Instead of opening a mobile or desktop app, users enter a URL into their web browser and log in.
The advantages of browser-based call center software are very similar to those of cloud-based software that runs via an app. The main benefit of accessing the software via a browser is the setup speed; since users don’t need to install an app, they can get up and running immediately.
However, there are some disadvantages:
- Loading speed – Web-based apps are much larger than desktop or mobile apps and have much slower load times. This can cause real problems if customers are forced to wait while your customer service team members load their information.
- Connectivity issues – While desktop or mobile apps can run some functions offline, web-based apps must be connected to the internet to function.
Why Cloud call center software?
Cloud call center software, sometimes known as virtual call center software, is hosted off-site in the cloud by your service providers. Agents can access everything from phone service to analytics through a desktop or mobile app to optimize and analyze customer relationship management.
- Access your software from anywhere – As long as users have an internet connection, they can access your software. This allows your team to work flexibly across multiple locations and makes cloud call center software an excellent option for remote workers.
- No upfront investment – Although you’ll pay a monthly fee for the software, there’s no upfront capital cost.
- Scalability – Unlike on-premise software, cloud-based software doesn’t need to be rebuilt or redesigned when your call volumes grow.
- Faster deployment – You don’t need to spend time building infrastructure on-site. Since everything is on the cloud, software setup is hassle-free.
- Integrations with third-party applications are easier – These are handled by your software provider, thus saving you a considerable amount of time. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are also used to make integrations smoother and simpler.
Build a complete picture of your customer and their needs
When your customers call your help desk with a query, they want to get it solved as fast as possible. However, in some cases, your support agents need to dig deeper to fetch your customer’s details before getting started on the solution. This will have a direct impact on your CSAT scores. Be it a small business or a well-established mid-market company, handling customer calls and all the communication channels with ease will be the number one priority.
A call center software can help you avoid these frustrations by integrating with your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Your agents will have the customer details at the tip of their fingers, and should a query come in, their CRM information will pop up on the screen as soon as their call comes through. Your customer support team will automatically comb through all the relevant information they need to see, from order history and marketing preferences to customer service call logs.
1. Omnichannel Communication
Email, phone, support chat, social media, etc., customers might reach out to you for help from any of your channels. From a customer’s point of view, it’s all one omnichannel conversation between them and your brand. But from your point of view, these conversations are often disconnected, with messages on each channel handled separately.
This makes it easy for your customers to feel like they’re not being listened to, as they’re asked to repeat the same information multiple times on different channels. This contributes to a poor customer experience and low customer satisfaction scores. If you wish to run a contact center across multiple channels effectively, a call center software can help by logging everything from social media DMs to calls, SMS, and emails in a central system.
2. Interactive voice response
You’ve probably experienced interactive voice response (IVR) first-hand, even if you didn’t know it by that name. IVR automatically segments a customer’s call by asking them to provide more information about their query through either voice commands or keypad dialing.
In the past, many customers have found IVR confusing and frustrating, thanks to the indefinite wait time. They had to spend minutes together navigating through layers of questions before they could get a solution to their problems making IVRs a not-so-popular contact center or cloud center solution.
However, IVR can make the service experience much more straightforward for you and your customers when done correctly and positively impact your customer support channels. Instead of being transferred from one agent to another, it’s a valuable way of making sure customers swiftly connect to a team member who can help them.
3. Real-time reporting
The quality of conversations your agents have with your customers directly impacts your deals, resolutions, hiring, etc. By using a dashboard that facilitates real-time reporting, team leaders can analyze the health of the entire call/contact center. It is also easier to spot call trends, volume trends, thereby helping you ideate and undertake remedial measures to keep your customer experience exceptional.
4. CRM Integration
Using a highly supportive CRM–call center software integration helps in automating manual data mapping and scheduling. This way, managers can look into the problems that need human intervention rather than solving time-consuming, ad hoc tasks.
With the Freshdesk Contact Center Freshworks – CRM integration, managers and team leads can keep track of all your strengths and bottlenecks with the call activity reports. These reports give you a clear picture of call metrics like handle time, hold time, number of calls per day, the best day of the week, etc.
5. Call routing
Call routing is a process that automatically assigns incoming customer calls to the right agent in your customer support team to resolve issues faster and optimize your team’s workflow. Legacy call management features like call queues and ACD and modern features like split-business hours and speech-enabled IVR are essential for call routing.
Businesses can employ different call routing strategies to reduce call hold times, control endless call transfers to multiple agents, and enhance customer experience.
6. Call Recording
Call recording provides prominent visibility into your team’s performance. It offers you insight into the quality of your customer conversations. You can listen to recordings, train your support agents to serve customers better, or provide practical selling tips to your agents.
With Freshdesk Contact Center, you can configure your recording preferences for a phone number with a single click. You can also easily access your recent calls and their associated call recordings in the call logs section.
7. Call Monitoring
Call monitoring is when team leads and managers listen to their agents’ phone calls to track and analyze their communication skills and improve their customer support performance.
While call listening only concerns listening to outbound/live calls, call monitoring encompasses all agent-related information like availability, number of agents involved in a conversation, number of agents online, and committed service level adherence. Call center/contact center supervisors can monitor and track these metrics through the live dashboard integrated into their phone system.
8. Call Barging
Call barging is an advanced telephony feature. Call center applications enable the supervisor to listen and track live agent calls and “barge-in” if required. This is primarily done to maintain high-quality assistance in customer support and sales team calls. Features like call monitoring and call barging are necessary to ensure the customers are satisfied and their needs are met.
9. Call center management
Call center management refers to the way businesses operate their everyday call center operations. It involves agent hiring and training, workforce scheduling, and handling customer interactions. How your team drives these processes will directly impact your call center’s performance.
10. Cloud-based calling
With remote and hybrid work taking center stage, cloud-based call center software means your team can make or receive calls and access information anywhere.
If some of your customers are based in a different country, cloud-based calling can also help you build trust and engagement with them by localizing your caller ID. When customers see a local number on their phone, they’re more likely to pick up and engage with your people.
Find new ways to delight customers with call center software.
Call center software can be a powerful tool for making customer service faster, easier, and more intuitive. However, with the availability of various types of call center software, it can be tricky to choose the best one. But fret not, we’re here to guide you.
Freshdesk Contact Center ( Formerly Freshcaller ) is a business phone system that’s designed to make customer service as smooth and straightforward as possible across product and saas companies. With everything from intuitive ticketing, intelligent routing, quality management to advanced automation, automatic call distribution, and seamless self-service options for customers, we’ve worked hard to build a call and cloud center tool that lets you meet your high standards for customer service while scaling your agent performance.
The result? More time for your support teams to build attentive, personalized relationships with your customers.
Illustration by Mahalakshmi Anantharaman
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