Call Center Solutions: A Super Simple Guide to Choosing a Solution that Works for You

July 25, 2017
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Choosing a call centre solution isn’t simple. There are scores of companies in the call center space and each of these solutions have dozens of features.

But what do all these features mean for your business? How will these features help you to solve the unique challenges your business faces?

Which features must you absolutely have if you run an inbound sales call center, and which matter more if you run a support call center?

In this guide, we will look at the most common challenges inbound sales and support teams face, and how different call center features will help you resolve them.

Let’s clear up the confusion – once and for all!

The Most Common Challenge

Too many incoming calls and too few people to handle them. This is the biggest challenge for both inbound sales and support teams. And what happens when you never have enough people? You get into a vicious cycle of bad productivity and dissatisfied customers.

Your associates have to try to wrap up each call as soon as possible. In trying to do the above, they might leave a customer with a dissatisfied experience. Many callers are put on hold for too long, and they often hang up. Dissatisfied customers think of switching to your competitor and many do make the switch. Prospects calling your sales team will not bother to wait and they call up your competitors. Your associates are under high levels of stress. That damages their productivity, and many choose to quit and look for less demanding jobs. Attrition is an expensive affair. Since the tenure of most associates is too short, they do not build the necessary expertise to handle several customer queries, which in turn contributes to bad customer experiences.

Your Key Objectives

Any call centre solution that you explore would have to achieve these key objectives:

Benefits For callers

Callers should have a highly satisfactory call experience. Their queries should get resolved They should not have to wait too long

Benefits For you

Your associates handle more calls in less time. Your associates should be able to close more deals. Your associates provide more satisfactory experiences for your callers Therefore, when you are looking for a call center solution, you need to look for features that will allow you to achieve the above objectives.

Here are the key features you need to look for in a call center solution

Skills-Based Routing

How often have you spoken to a support or sales associate and realized that he doesn’t know too much about your query. So what does he do when you ask him for details- he puts you on hold!

Not only does this waste your time, but it also puts off callers who are busy. Don’t be surprised if the caller hangs up while your agent is trying to find an answer!

The best way to handle this situation is through something called Skills-based routing. A skills-based routing system assigns every associate with a skill code based on A really simple example of this is language skills. If you want to speak to an agent in English, all you have to do is pick that option.

Another example is expertise in a specific technical area. If you are in the investment services business, you might have different teams for explaining debt instruments and equity investments.

Another example can be the complexity of the callers question. What if someone is a seasoned investor? You certainly want a more qualified person to be able to answer their queries. Your SBR should be able to do that based on the caller’s call history.

Skills Based Routing routes calls to the most suitable agents. This is great for your team’s productivity and you have far happier customers. But, for Skills-Based Routing to work, your call center solution needs to have an essential feature…

Multi Level IVR

Skills based routing won’t work unless you have another key feature – a multi level IVR. This allows a caller to make the right selection in order to reach the most appropriate person.

This is especially useful if your company operates in different locations. What if your customer needs to contact a specific branch or outlet? You can keep a single number, and yet the multi-level IVR can be used to speak to a particular branch. A call center system should allow you to build a complex multi-level IVR at the back end, which makes it really easy for callers to reach who they want.

Customized Call Queues

Do you know what customers hate more than waiting?

It’s the uncertainty! When will I get connected? Should I want for a few minutes or hang up? How can you spare your callers this trouble?A customized call queue is what you should look for. This is a feature that will tell your customers what their expected wait time is.

Once a caller types in her preferences in the IVR about the purpose of the call and which department she wants to speak to, the call center software will use historical data and the current capacity of your team to estimate the waiting time for that particular caller and let her know. That will help them to take a confident decision – should they wait, or should they try your call center after a while.

You could also program your call center system to offer a call back to a customer after a while. Many customers would be delighted to not have to go through the agonizing wait at all!

Real-Time Metrics

A good call center solution will give you access to several metrics to monitor your call centre activity. A great call center solution will also give you access to real time metrics.

Real-time metrics like service level, average wait time, average handle time, longest wait time, number of caller waiting in-line, number of available agents and much more. In addition, you should have access to daily and weekly reports that allow you to monitor periodic performance and trends.

Integration with Other Tools

What if your agent can see all the details of the customer on their screen during the call – including purchase history, call history, previous tickets, account information, contact details, location and more? This can help you in several ways.

Benefits for Support Teams

A good call center solution will allow you to integrate with support desk solutions such as Zendesk, Freshdesk, etc., and has several benefits.

First, this would make it unnecessary for your agent to ask the caller for those details. Not only will that save your team a lot of valuable time, it will also give customers a better call experience. No one likes to repeat their personal details every single time they call you.

Second, having details like previous tickets, chat history, earlier technical problems, etc. will make it easier for the agent to understand what the current problem might be and present a possible solution.

Next, having a profile of the customer gives your agents the opportunity to upsell to them. If you know what they have bought earlier, you are in a position to recommend other products that they might be interested in.

Benefits for Sales Teams

Good call center solutions also integrate with CRM tools such as Salesforce, Zoho, etc. A CRM integration will save your salespeople the trouble of typing in information manually into the CRM at a later stage and save them a lot of time.

An integrated CRM also helps maintain call recordings which can be referred to by your sales team to go over the details of the prospect’s requirements.

Call Recordings

What if you could listen to recordings of every single call? This has several benefits.

Training

This is one of the simplest ways to train your agents. You can play back the recordings to them and point out how they could have handled the call better. You could also select recordings where calls were handled very well or badly and use them as case studies.

Sales

Salespeople can refer to call recordings to go over the details of prospects’ requirements. This is an easy way to look for specific terms that the prospect has used and incorporate those terms within your proposal. This will make a very favorable impression on your prospects and increase your chances of winning deals.

Call-Monitoring, Call-Whispering and Call-Barging

You want your new associates to start taking calls as soon as possible. But how do you maintain quality levels and make sure that your customers are satisfied?

Look for a solution with these three features:

Call-Monitoring:

If you want to keep an eye on your customer support quality and monitor ongoing calls, you can do it by using the call monitoring feature. This is possible even without your agent or the customer being aware of it. This allows you to observe how well people are performing on the call.

Call-whispering:

Sometimes you agents might get stuck and very unsure of what to say to the caller. This is hardly uncommon with new agents.

Call whispering is a feature that acts as training wheels. A manager can guide the agent during the call and tell them what to do or say. These instructions would not be heard by the caller and hence it’s called call whispering.

Call-Barging:

Every now and then call whispering won’t work and the conversation might be in jeopardy. The last thing you would want is an angry customer. That’s when the best thing to do would be for a manager to intervene and take over the call. Call barging allows a manager who has been monitoring the call to step and in and continue to conversation. The feature switches the call over from the agent to the manager.

Even if you feel to takeover a call and talk directly to the customer, you can simply switch the line and get connected directly to the customer with just a click of a pre-defined key on your phone and let him know about how you can provide solution as per their requirements.

Cloud Based Solution

The easiest way to access all these features is to choose a cloud based call center solution like Knowlarity.

A cloud based call center solution allows you to do all the above at a fraction of the cost of a traditional system. There are no hardware costs and you just pay a monthly subscription – which translates into huge savings. Additionally, you don’t have to hire and in-house technical team to manage your call center or rent space to store your own servers.

Cloud based systems are easy to scale up or scale down depending on your needs. It’s also really easy to deploy them and just takes a few days rather than a few weeks!

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