Automation and AI, two recent advances in call center technology, greatly improve the organization and manageability of the daily call flow for your small business. To keep support and sales teams productive, lucrative, and to reduce frequent call center issues, new call center software features must be utilized.
Over time, these tools have changed and risen in numerous trends, and as a result, providers have updated their own services to stay up.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for call center needs. Your software tool should take into account that each member of your support staff has specific requirements and priorities.
The history of these tools, current trends in call center technology, advanced call center technology, and which vendors are the best in this field are all covered in this article.
What Is Technology for Call Centers?
Call center technology includes all the computer programs that automate, manage client relationships, examine consumer behavior, and otherwise support the seamless operation of call center departments and agents. Its objectives include better client experiences, lower operating expenses, and enhanced productivity through teamwork and more effective communication.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), for instance, connects your office’s computer and phone systems, enabling capabilities like client data screen pops.
The Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which automatically routes incoming calls using pre-recorded menu options, and automated call center dialers that increase lead list penetration are more examples.
Automatic call distribution (ACD), omnichannel routing (ACD), team chat messaging, and call recording are further features that are common to all call center software platforms.
Which Call Center Technologies Are Important?
Here is a list of the key call center technology and an explanation of their significance for your company.
Voice Response Interactive
Through the use of a self-service menu, call center IVR (Interactive Voice Response), also known as hosted IVR or multi-level IVR, can improve the quality of your customer service.
The system starts the call routing procedure to transfer your caller to the appropriate department or send them the required messaging based on their responses. You can more effectively manage your contact center with the help of this technology.
What makes IVR crucial for call centers?
By providing callers with a sequence of automated prompts, this software automates your customer support offering. Your callers usually find solutions to their own problems with the help of these communications. However, they will be immediately forwarded to a helpful agent if problems can’t be resolved by themselves.
This allows your agents to spend more time on difficult requests while yet providing a swift and efficient customer journey for your callers. It is a crucial component of your customer care program as a result.
Distributing calls automatically (ACD)
ACD is a function that routes incoming calls to the department or agent best suited to respond to the inquiry.
The ideal call path is chosen using predetermined criteria and routing plans. Time-based, round-robin, idle, skills-based, and even VIP client status are common types of routing.
What makes ACD vital for call centers?
One of the most common complaints from customers is having to again explain their issues to different customer service representatives after being transferred since the initial representative they spoke to was unable to help them. ACD eliminates this problem.
Instead, the best agent is matched with each consumer, frequently doing away with the need for a follow-up contact. Furthermore, utilizing various routing techniques guarantees that each agent working for the same department has an equal opportunity to sell or offer help to each incoming caller. This strives to be both fair and prevent agents from becoming frustrated.
According to Hubspot, 40% of customers want customer service representatives to attend to their needs more quickly, and over 60% of them anticipate that an agent will be able to attend to their particular demands.
Making that feasible is ACD.
Call recording is a common call center function that can automatically or manually record phone or video calls.
These call records may be used for quality control, employee training, or to resolve misunderstandings.
What justifies call centers’ importance of call recording?
To regularly track the effectiveness of customer care agents and the level of customer satisfaction overall, 69% of organizations record calls.
Data from call recordings can be used to identify typical customer support issues, customer complaints, and even future product requests from customers.
Call monitoring, which enables managers to hear calls in real-time, is a function that many call recording services also offer. During the chat, management can give advice to the agent through the call whisper function without the consumer being able to hear them. When necessary, the call barge function enables a management or higher-up to take over the current call.
Analytics and Reporting
By gathering both real-time and historical data, call center reporting and analytics provide the singular chance to track a variety of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Call center data such as average call time, call abandonment rate, initial call resolution, daily or agent-level call volume, CSAT, call quality, customer retention rates, and more can be tracked by users.
The best call centers also give pre-made or configurable report templates and schedule the automatic issuance of new reports at predetermined intervals.
Why are call centers vital for analytics?
You can see where a team, agent, or department needs to improve via reporting and analytics.
You can use this knowledge to coach particular agents or carry out new objectives. On the other hand, you can make use of this function to determine your areas of strength and validate that you are accomplishing your objectives.
Workforce management software, also known as workflow management or workforce asset management, boosts staff efficiency by controlling schedules, distributing workloads evenly, predicting future customer trends, and other factors.
Additionally, by using features like pre-filled form fields, automatic data validation, sending out automated reminders, and more, it facilitates the process of onboarding new employees.
Administrators can modify access control, specify criteria for validation, and give some actions priority over others.
The importance of it for call centers
A bird’s eye view of current staff activities, projects in progress, customer/agent behavior, and trends from KPI analytics are all available with the aid of workflow management solutions.
It guarantees that tasks are assigned to the best and most available agents, boosting overall team productivity and preventing overworked key players.
A sudden increase in call volume or the start of an escalation matrix are two more circumstances that WFM aids in managing.
The daily “busy labor” of agents scheduling, obtaining PTO, entering data, and other tasks is streamlined by workforce management solutions, saving a considerable amount of time.
Integration of Computer Telephony (CTI)
Computer telephony integration (CTI) is the technical term for the technology that enables computers to communicate with your phone system and other channels of communication, like texting, social media, and live chat.
Calls can be placed using a desktop phone, computer softphone, or mobile device in this way.
Why are CTIs crucial for call centers?
Your team’s phone calls are more productive when CTI tools are used.
Every day, a lot of calls come into call centers. CTI offers fast access to previous client data, such as order history, previous agent notes, contact information, and more, allowing for more productive conversations. To provide as much client data as possible, these “CTI Screen Pops” interact with your current CRM system.
The call transfer and click-to-call functionalities of CTI also increase agent productivity.
A conversational AI
Conversational AI, commonly referred to as chatbots or customer engagement AI, enables computers to understand a variety of human languages, process spoken words, and decide how to answer in the most natural way. As seen below, this process begins when a consumer calls in or even makes a social media request online.
Natural language processing (NLP) is used by the AI solution to interpret the meaning of the sent words, and natural language understanding (NLU) is used to interpret the intent of the customer’s query.
The importance of conversational AI for contact centers
According to Juniper Research, by 2023, AI technology is predicted to lower company costs by more than $8 billion yearly.
Due to the fact that conversational AI doesn’t have the same limits that even your best agents do, you can scale your team and avoid having to make new recruits.
By using these tools, you may provide a more customized customer experience without overtaxing your team and automate daily chores with ease.
Leading five call center technology trends
Although call centers have come a long way, in the modern world, customer service quality isn’t enough to keep up with, much less outpace, rivals.
The top 5 call center technology trends we’ve listed below will keep you on the cutting edge without costing the earth. They not only raise client satisfaction levels, but they also assist keep your staff from getting overworked or burned out.
In the next year or so, experts anticipate that call center systems will increasingly use AI. That’s as a result of the numerous advantages that these solutions provide.
Leading AI technologies can first automatically route an inbound call to the most qualified agent, not just the first one available, increasing first call resolution rates and personalisation levels.
Taking things a step further, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Speech Recognition AI frequently eliminate the need for a caller to talk to a human agent at all.
AI-powered machine learning can comprehend a customer’s specific issue by listening to their speech, attempt to offer advise, automatically transfer the call if necessary, and in some circumstances, even assess the customer’s speech and cadence.
AI solutions can help agents in addition to consumers by automatically presenting pertinent information from a knowledge base based on the discussion, assessing the overall quality of the agent’s call by looking at the frequency of “filler words” (like, hmm), and more.
Virtual assistants powered by AI can take payment information, manage accounts, aid consumers with scheduling appointments, and more.
With time and use, AI only grows more effective because it is always “learning” and developing based on recurrent patterns of consumer and agent behavior.
Universal Call Centers
If your company hasn’t already implemented omnichannel call center software, you’ve already fallen behind.
People expect to be able to contact your business through a variety of various communication channels, not only by phone, thanks to the advancements in technology.
Added channels offered by omnichannel contact centers include:
- SMS messaging
- Visual conferences
- Website communicating via live chat
- Integration of email
- Facebook messaging (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
- Messaging in internal team chat
These channels don’t, however, run independently. Instead, every engagement results in an automatic sync and update of every conversation across every channel.
Customers and agents can “take up where they left off” in a conversation that began on Facebook Messenger and finished on a video call thanks to this feature. Multiple agents can help with a support ticket because they can all see the history of the most recent conversations.
Customer support using social media
Modern call center technology has changed to reflect the fact that offering customer care via social media is now expected rather than an option.
In fact, almost half of all consumers who contact brands on social media anticipate a response in a half-hour or less.
You’ll not only give customers another way to contact you by integrating the social media accounts for your company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (with TikTok expected to come shortly). A timeline for an anticipated response might be included in automated responses that inform clients that their question has been received.
It’s simple to make sure that crucial social media message consumer inquiries aren’t ignored because agents can choose to get contact notifications, just like with any other communication channel.
We’ve all experienced the shame that comes with sending a message or email to clients that is full of typos or contains out-of-date information.
Recall technology, a feature of contact centers that enables agents to instantly remove and alter delivered messages in real-time, aids in preventing minor errors from leading to further wrongdoing.
In other instances, recall technology even waits a brief period of time before sending a message to a customer in order to allow the agent enough opportunity to correct any mistakes.
As a relatively recent addition to contact center functionality, recall technology will likely advance significantly by the end of 2023. It’s a great tool right now for reducing human mistake in your call center.
Real-time transcription delivers an even greater level of rapid insight into customer and colleague dialogue than call recordings and transcriptions, which allow call center agents and management to assess their performance or revisit key meeting points after the call.
Meeting participants can instantly examine prior conversations to clear up any doubt thanks to real-time transcriptions, which also eliminate misunderstandings, allow for more accurate meeting notes, and make meetings and conversations accessible to everyone.
Even better, today’s modern transcription technology can deliver rapid post-meeting highlights and action items, discriminate between presenters, and provide searchable transcripts for later use.
How much does software for call centers cost?
Each month, SMBs should budget between $65.00 and $170.00 per agent, while precise costs vary depending on features and providers.
What distinguishes a call center from a contact center?
Although the terms are frequently used interchangeably, a call center and contact center software differ in that a call center relies primarily on phone communication while a contact center offers omni channel communication.
What tools do I require for a call center?
Theoretically, all you require to use a cloud-based contact center is a functioning Internet connection and a phone that you can use to place and receive calls.
The majority of call centers do, however, invest in supplemental hardware and/or equipment, such as microphones, webcams, conference room supplies, and more.
What various call center types are there?
Call centers can be divided into two categories: inbound and outbound.
Agents working in outbound call centers generally place outgoing calls (prospecting to sales leads, calling existing customers, etc.) These call centers frequently employ automated dialing techniques to efficiently navigate lead lists.
The majority of the time, inbound call center agents answer incoming calls from customers who frequently need customer service or product recommendations/renewals.
Today, a lot of call centers incorporate both incoming and outbound dialing, making them hybrid. There are frequently choices for both inbound and outbound call centers in contact center software.