At Wildix, it’s important to think about all the areas of our business where a positive impact can be made by making thoughtful and educated decisions. Considering call center solutions is one of those decisions. The technology you use for your call center should provide real time insights into when your clients are calling, what they want and what times you need to have more skilled agents available. Once an agent engages a caller, they need to be able to access that individual’s account history and data, including all historic information, previous interactions and notes. Fail to supply this data or make your agent hunt for it between multiple systems and they simply won’t be able to efficiently answer questions or provide solutions.
The right call center software is essential, whether you are setting up a new center or hoping to revitalize one that is not performing as you’d like. Your callers should be able to phone in, answer some simple prompts and be directed to a skilled agent who can serve their needs without unexpected delays or long wait times. Since your call center is a direct reflection on your brand and a huge part of your customer experience, hiring the right agents and supporting them with the right technology is essential.
Must Have Call Center Features
The right features and technology can help ensure your center runs efficiently and that your team is providing the best possible service to customers. Some key features to look for include:
Efficiency Automatic Call Distributor (ACD): This technology ensures that callers can be routed to the correct department or agent based on your preferred criteria. ACD serves as a base for many other call center features and can boost efficiency and performance considerably.
Multi-Level Interactive Voice Response: Allowing callers to choose from a selection of prompts ensures that calls are directed to the correct departments and agents. Multi-Level IVR ensures you can set up greetings and prompts that minimize confusion and cut wait time for your inbound callers.
Skills Based Routing: Your call center should automatically route callers to the right agent to support their needs. From the customer’s history to the number they are calling from and even their IVR choices, each customer can be directed to the right agent the first time, reducing wait time and frustration.
Customized Queues for Inbound Calls: Separate queues for each department, along with a defined maximum line size and even a callback function can help you avoid caller frustration and boost efficiency, too.
Built in CRM Software: Your call center software can allow agents to access all the rich data they need to properly care for customers and complete calls. When they can view the entire history of a customer’s interactions, they can handle calls more efficiently and ensure the customer’s needs are truly being met.
Dedicated Agent Numbers: The ability for individual agents to offer a direct line or dedicated number ensures customers can get back in touch with the person they originally spoke to, frustration-free. A dedicated number is an ideal way to treat high value or VIP customers to a professional, frustration free service experience.
Real Time Metrics: What’s your average wait time, average call time and even the number of agents available right now? The ability to access these important metrics in real time ensures your management team can make strategic decisions on the go and in the moment to improve your efficiency and enhance the customer experience.
Full Historic Reporting: Your management team needs to be able to access metrics easily and to evaluate the performance of your team. The more information and data they can review the better; regular review of performance based data ensures your team is truly providing the best possible service and results for your organization.
Setting Up an Effective Call Center
From your physical center layout to the technology and hardware you choose to your actual agents, you’ll need to pay attention to these details to ensure your customers are in the best possible hands:
Physical layout: Comfortable seating, workstations that are up to date and easy to use and clear lines of communication allow agents to interact with one another as needed.
Your call center needs to do more than just field customer calls; you need to staff it with knowledgeable agents who can improve the customer experience and provide those agents with the support and technology they need to do the job. Even the best trained agents can’t serve your customers adequately if they do not have an on-board CRM to work with – and callers will arrive frustrated if they get bounced around between departments, are asked multiple times for the same data or even subject to long hold times.
Estimate size and staffing needs: Determine how many agents you need and how many workstations you’ll need to set up both for your immediate needs and as your business grows. Thinking about not only your current needs, but potential future issues as well can help you make the best hardware and furniture choices.
Choose call center hardware and software:Having the right technology makes all the difference. The agents representing you need to be equipped with advanced capabilities without being bogged down by extremely complex, burdensome tools.
- You’ll need to have a secure Local Area Network in place to keep inbound calls flowing and ensure your agents can actually serve customers.
- Each agent needs a secure workstation, comfortable seating, headphones and peripherals
- You’ll need call center software to properly route calls; consider using skills based routing to improve accuracy and ensure an ideal customer experience.
- IVR can capture caller information and provide detailed information for your agents and allow them to properly and efficiently serve customers.
- Call recording, which allows you to monitor calls for quality control and training purposes
- Added features to cut customer hold times, properly route calls and provide a compelling, frustration free experience for callers.
Call Center Mistakes to Avoid
The longer you make a caller wait and the more steps they need to go through to get their problem solved, the more frustrated they will become. Failing to train your agents and support them with the right technology for the job can lead to angry, dissatisfied customers who end up with a negative view of your brand. These call center mistakes are some of the most common and are often linked to outdated systems or poor-quality call center software:
- Untrained or under supported agents: Getting through to a real human agent is just the first part; if the agent reached is unable to serve the caller’s needs and constantly puts them on hold, frustration and anger will be the result. Make sure your agents are properly trained and that your call center software is up to the task. Even a trained agent will have to put customers on hold frequently if the data they need is not readily available via CRM.
- Long waits: Heavy call volumes, long queues and even repetitious messages frustrate customers and even lead to complaints about your business online. VIP routing and monitoring real time metrics to ensure you have enough agents on at peak times can help avoid those long wait times that make callers crazy.
- Redirecting callers to your website: They picked up the phone for a reason and have likely already seen your site. Directing callers to visit a website instead can annoy and frustrate customers; even automated hold messages that take this step can anger callers and derail a call before your agent even picks up the line.
- Too many transfers: Your caller has already entered their account information and IVR responses – and they still get bounced from agent to agent. Cut down on these annoying transfers by investing in high quality software that allows for skills-based routing and training specialized agents to handle a variety of issues in a single call.
- Asking for information multiple times: Once callers have revealed key information about themselves, their account and their reason for calling, they don’t want to go over it again and again. While you do need to verify account information, you don’t need to do it multiple times – streamline the way you intake information to avoid annoying your customers.
The choices you make in your business matter. From the people you hire and train to the hardware, software and data you provide for them to work with, your call center can be a true asset for your brand and help you engage with customers and callers in a positive way. Wildix offers true value when it comes to Unified Communications solutions and we believe this is due to our ability to take quality care of our business and our customers. Contact us to learn how easy it is to set up a call center that gets the results you want and serves your caller’s needs every time.