Voiceware improves customer satisfaction to clients, users, and administrators alike. Whether receiving calls to a series of dispatchers, pre-sales, sales, or customer service and technical support personnel or making an outbound calling campaign, managing multiple calls at one time, effectively, has always been a difficult challenge. And traditionally, designing and implementing a call center has been cost-prohibitive and difficult for all but the largest of businesses. By automating call flow and optimizing staff efficiency, all without expensive add-on costs or fees, businesses can focus on what they do best-providing their clients with the best products and services possible.
Leveraging a good Automatic Call Distribution should be priority #1 for any busy inbound call center. This will allow teams to effectively route callers to the most appropriate agent or department based on pre-defined information. ACD’s also serves as the foundation for may other call center (contact center) features and processes such as skills-based routing, call monitoring, acquisition of call metrics, etc. – making them the top must-have call center software feature for inbound call centers.
A close second must-have call center software feature to an ACD is a Multi-level Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. A multi-level IVR allows callers to easily select where they would like to be routed to based on a series of prompts. Call center managers can customize the greetings, menus, levels, and prompts so callers can listen to recordings with helpful information, chose to be routed to a specific agent, or leave a voicemail for a department. It’s easy to see that an optimally configured multi-level IVR can be a lifesaver for busy inbound call centers.
The final tool in an inbound call center call routing toolkit should be skills-based routing. This call center software feature routes callers to the most appropriate agent based on the caller’s IVR selections, the phone number the caller dialed and the caller’s interaction history with the company as well as the agent’s skill set, area of expertise and any other construct that is important to the call center such as the languages their agents’ speak, their geographic location, etc. As such, skills-based routing is essential for busy inbound call centers that would like to route callers to the best agent based on a number of important constructs.
Any manager of a busy inbound call center knows that queue happens. In order to optimize the customer experience, they must be prepared for this and configure their queues accordingly. At the very least, inbound call centers should have separate queues for each department, a predefined maximum queue size, waiting for limits in each queue and features like Callback from Queue and Queue to Voicemail to help reduce caller headache as much as possible. End caller frustration from waiting in lengthy queues by optimizing their configuration.
Routing callers to the most appropriate agent is only half the battle to providing top-notch service in a busy inbound call center. Once the agent receives the call, the real fun begins. In order to successfully resolve customer issues, cross-sell and up-sell, or simply interact with callers, call center agents must have access to accurate information about the caller. Call Center software with built-in CRM is the best tool to help agents get the job done right. With a built-in CRM and Enhanced Caller ID, agents will have detailed information about the caller (i.e., name, phone number, picture, company, and position), no matter if it is the first time they called the company or the 10th. If the caller has contacted the company before, the agent will also see their entire call history, call recordings, voicemail, and more in real-time. With comprehensive information about the caller available in real-time, agents will always know who is calling and can adjust their approach accordingly to provide a top-notch customer experience.
Call center software with a built-in CRM is great for providing agents with an overview of the customer, but call center software with business tools integration takes this to the next level. Call center software that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Zendesk, Highrise, Desk.com, and others enriches the information displayed to agents so they can have a 360-degree view of the caller. In addition to seeing rich contact information and call logs, the agent will have access to previous tickets, cases, events, notes, chat transcripts and more so they will know the caller’s entire contact history with the company. This information will help busy inbound call center agents be more organized, efficient and effective.
For inbound call centers that have agents who field specialized call types, dedicated phone numbers are a must. These agents must be able to offer a direct line to their customers so that they don’t have to navigate a complicated IVR system, search for their agent extension, or wait in a queue. Allowing agents to pass out their dedicated phone numbers is great for VIP customers, vendors, high-value business contacts, or the caller’s who need to reach an agent in a specialized department. It will not only help to reduce caller frustration but also increase efficiency and professionalism.
Inbound call centers that leverage dedicated phone numbers must also configure these phone number settings optimally. This includes making sure that they have their own voicemail so that callers aren’t confused when they call that number outside of business hours. Agent and team voicemail will make it simple for entire teams to keep track of their callers – no matter what time they call.
Real-time metrics are essential for inbound call centers. A real-time agent dashboard will provide data like service level, average wait time, longest wait time, average handle time, number of available agents and so much more so that agents can make more informed decisions with the company’s best interest in mind. Managers should also have access to this information so they can make strategic in-the-moment decisions to help improve call center efficiency and the customer’s experience.
Finally, managers must have access to comprehensive historical metrics so they can make data-driven decisions that will have a measurable impact on the call center as a whole. In order to be most effective, managers must have the ability to accurately evaluate the performance of each agent, department, phone number, campaign, team, and the entire company based on historical data. Armed with this information, they will be more effective managers and leaders – and will be capable of helping their call center excel.
Running a busy inbound call center can be tough. However, when your team is equipped with the right tools they can perform optimally, helping your inbound call center excel – and reducing managerial burdens and obstacles.