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The call center as we once knew it was designed to service outgoing and/or incoming calls. Back then, phone conversations were the only way to interact with customers. Today, when more and more people prefer texting over talking, businesses are starting to explore alternative channels to reach clients in a way that is convenient to them. Transitioning to a contact center that supports messengers, email, and website chats can’t be accomplished overnight, but there is a simple step you can take to start significantly expanding your call center capabilities—and that step is supporting follow-up SMS.
Follow-up SMS are messages manually sent by an agent during or after a call. SMS has been around for several decades now, and in that time it has built up a lot of resilience and gained trust across generations. It is a relatively inexpensive way to reach your customers, allowing agents to deliver all kinds of information to customers by adding text to the voice exchange. Below, we explore a few of the typical scenarios in which follow-up SMS aid your agents in their routine, increase retention, and improve customer satisfaction.
Have you ever wondered why most medium-sized and large businesses use a hierarchical organization structure? In a small company, the lines between different staff roles can be blurred, and employees may have similar workloads and levels of clearance. As the team grows, this inevitably changes: some workers, however essential their functions, may have their access to data limited (for both convenience and security reasons), while others might take on additional access rights and management authority. The result is the hierarchical workplace as we know it: different people with different roles, each with its own area of responsibility.
The most common roles for a call center are also among its most essential: agent, supervisor, and floor manager. Each of these roles employs a specific set of tools provided by modern call center software. Whether you’re looking to start a call center and want to learn about the basic staff roles required to keep it running, or are curious about the features your software needs to support each of them, our guide will be the perfect start. Still, keep in mind that no two call centers are identical, so some adjustments in the distribution of duties may be necessary.
It’s hard to imagine a present-day business without a customer relationship management (CRM) system—a constantly evolving data archive that contains information on past, current, and potential customers. For call center companies, the CRM not only provides access to each client’s account and interaction history, but can also be used to automate agent routine and organize data intelligently. Closely working with a CRM system, therefore, allows for an improved customer experience and a more cost-effective operations model.
Every business deals with turnover: workers leave, and their positions have to be staffed again. Call centers are no exception, and in fact have shown a significantly higher turnover rate: 30-45%, compared to an average of 22% for other industries. The money and resources this process requires can overextend a business, and negatively impact customer satisfaction along the way. The more employees are lost, the harder it becomes to replace them, and to keep the current staff from fueling even more turnover. Once started, this vicious cycle is difficult to break.
There is a way out - but it requires taking a look at things from a call center agent’s perspective. The job itself is quite fast-paced and stressful as it involves being on the frontlines of communication; interacting with all kinds of customers, some more emotional than others; and working with high call volumes and long shifts. Call centers that want to build long-term relationships with their agents need to make their workspace as comfortable and modern as possible - with the help of call center software.
During an outbound campaign, calls centers are often challenged by unsuccessful attempts to reach certain numbers on the calling list. The reasons for this may vary: some numbers turn out to be incorrectly formatted, not allocated to an operator, or not assigned to any subscriber, while others, though valid, are temporarily out of coverage. In each of these cases, the call will fail, and it is usually hard for the agent to pinpoint why. HLR Lookup is a service that allows for real-time phone number validation and can help determine the subscriber’s current status in the mobile network.
Medium-sized call centers, typically defined as those having from 50 to 1,000 agents, deal in many diverse industries with varying revenues: healthcare, hospitality, finance, customer support, and more. Still, the challenges they face, and the characteristics they need in their software solutions are very similar. Scalability and flexibility are essential for potentially expanding operations and adjusting to any changes in traffic. The product is expected to be turn-key and of high quality, with an extensive feature list in line with the market, and new innovations added regularly by the provider. A solid support team that is easy to reach can also become a factor when finding the right solution to commit to.
A remote work environment challenges call centers all over the world to deliver the expected security standards. Despite the growing popularity of digital services, more and more phone calls are being made today, especially for business-customer interactions. This new normal implies an additional focus on data protection. Any breaches or security incidents can not only harm a call center’s reputation and frustrate clients but attract serious regulatory fines as well.
The desire to control every aspect of your call center comes with hidden costs. Taking an open-source telephony solution and adding several SIP trunks, a custom CRM, and some in-house dialer algorithms may seem like an adequate alternative to a full-fledged SaaS. Сertainly, several small and medium-sized businesses turn to self-made call centers, hoping to lower their maintenance costs and gain more control over their operations. But while experiences vary from company to company, most end up getting the opposite of what they were looking for.
Why is that the case? Below, we dig deep into the common myths surrounding fabricated call centers, examine the consequences of opting for one, and explore an alternative. Whether you’re just looking to start a call center or already using a framework based on Asterisk or a similar solution, the following research will help you make a fully informed decision.
Choosing the right call center software means carefully considering the range of features you need for your specific use case. For call centers dealing primarily with inbound traffic, it’s the ability to manage queues, introduce call routing strategies, and monitor conversations in real time. Outbound-oriented call centers look for powerful dialers, answering machine detection support, and CRM integration. BPOs require a service suited to a remote workforce, while their contracting companies expect reporting transparency.
There are other factors that can influence your choice, including but not limited to pricing, security features, user reviews, and general ease of use. Caught up in the numerous differences between available software solutions, companies tend to overlook another very important consideration—the support provided by the vendor. The modern call center is equipped with several built-in analytics tools, including the ability to monitor the quality of network connection during or after calls and track performance metrics via real-time widgets. Still, for issues that go beyond self-management, live support from specialists with field expertise remains essential.
For inbound call centers, monitoring the quality of customer service is an essential aspect of day-to-day operations. With thousands of interactions between agents and clients, supervisors responsible for quality control face a rather difficult task of finding ways to identify calls that failed to meet the predefined standards of customer care and assess the underlying reason for the lapse in quality.
2020 has changed all of our digital and live interactions, and voice services have been affected as well. As our opportunities for face-to-face communication are limited, phone conversations are becoming more important for customers and companies alike. The growing demand leads to an increase in call volume, and call centers need to be prepared to take on new clients and projects to stay relevant as a business.
Have you ever called someone and got excited to hear their voice saying a familiar “Hello”, only to be followed by a common “Sorry, I can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave a message…”? For call center agents, this is not a rare experience but a routine reality, as about 70% of all outbound calls go straight to voicemail.
If your agents are manually handling every single call, they are inevitably spending more time listening to IVR systems or answering machines than actually talking to live customers. Provided within advanced call center software, Answering Machine Detection is the solution that can change this work routine and drive better outbound campaign results.
The days when you could run your business confidently with a multi-channel phone number, an advanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu, and a call queue with average waiting time announcements are becoming a thing of the past. Considering generational characteristics of your customers, operational cost reduction methods, and overall business digitalization, we will explore why customer communications are heading towards fewer phone calls and more emojis.
While most client-oriented businesses have call centers, there is no universal formula that could be applied to each inbound use case. A winning approach starts with getting your performance metrics under control, but it does not end there. In the constant race to answer calls faster and resolve most of them successfully, you may be lacking resources for regularly coaching agents and correctly interpreting call content.
Introducing the right workflow automation tools can help by providing the time and resources for deeper insights into the context of your calls. In this post, we will break down the different components of an incoming call and explore how you can utilize call center software to improve them.
How do call center executives know where to direct resources for managing performance? To introduce changes that ultimately generate more revenue, you first need to assess the current state of operations. Data-driven decisions start with introducing powerful call center software that can provide insights on several measurable parameters for your calls, agent teams, and inbound or outbound campaign settings.
However, tracking all possible metrics and comparing the numbers to industry standards may actually turn out to be counterproductive. Keep in mind that any call center reference percentages you may find on the internet strongly depend on the business profile and may not apply to your case.
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all of our live and digital interactions, and call center operations are no exception. While most of the market trends were starting to form long before and only escalated with the pandemic, other demands on performance and expectations of BPOs may come as a surprise for those not properly prepared. Read on to explore what the future holds for BPO call centers with customers in the US.
In a complex ecosystem of various roles, responsibilities, KPIs, and countless acronyms, finding the right tools to drive call center performance can be challenging. To advance in the areas that mean the most – like delivering stellar customer service and increasing revenue – you need a bulletproof operations structure to fall back on. A reliable, predictable, and powerful system to support all your business needs now comes in the form of a call center software.
Automation and artificial intelligence are not designed to replace the human element in call center operations. Rather, they will enhance the experience for your agents, supervisors, and managers, allowing them to reach their full potential.
For a call center agent, a call isn't simply a conversation on the phone. Most of the heavy lifting goes on behind the scenes: fetching relevant client information, keeping it up-to-date, checking previous interaction history, and leaving notes based on the call outcome. All this data is reflected and stored in the customer relationship management (CRM) system.
If your call center software of choice does not support CRM integration, the described pre- and after-call work time increase dramatically, with the possibility of compromising sales and customer service.
Many business professionals will agree that customer needs and satisfaction are top priorities. Apart from the
fundamental need to address client concerns, disgruntled client reactions can negatively impact your business’s
reputation. So it’s no surprise that you’re in trouble when customers get angry.
No one wants to upset their customer in the first place. But it can, and most likely will happen, so how should
you deal with this sticky situation?