Once you have decided on the software that you would like to use, whether it’s browser based, hosted or something else, you need to factor in to your decision the various call center phone system features.
At a basic level, a call center operation will not be able to function without an adequate telephony system. The majority of call center software solutions will allow users to connect their own telephony equipment to the system.
Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
This is an important tool which is at the core of any call center operation. In essence, they are systems which effectively route incoming calls from customers to representatives within the call center. When calls are made, the ACD will also collect important pieces of information such as total calls handled, calls made, length of call and wait times to name a few which provides managers with valuable data to assess performance and identify improvements.
This means ACD uses a set of instructions – programmed by you – to assign inbound calls to the most relevant agents. Using an algorithm, the software routes calls based on agent skill, an idle phone, or other specifications. ACD can also provide call agents with relevant data about their callers.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
As an extremely useful call center feature it is a menu system which will identify, segment and then direct a caller to the most suitable representative, department, queue or automated message. In an IVR system the caller will receive a variety of options when they call the business such as press 1 for or press 2 for. Based on the options that the caller enters into their keypad they will be directed to the most suitable representative.
When representatives are busy helping other customers, callers will be placed into a queue. The majority of call center solutions enable managers to configure queues for each department and is a great tool for managers and staff to evaluate performance.
Automatic Screen Pop
This feature will collect information about the caller so the representative can provide a more tailored customer experience. When the caller reaches the representative information such as their name, telephone number, email address and other data will be displayed on a computer screen when the representative answers the call.
Integration with Business Tools
The more advanced call center software offers a variety of options to integrate the system with key business tools such as customer relationship management systems, marketing software, live chat facilities, helpdesks, ecommerce solutions and more.
Once integrated with the call center software when a customer calls the business a range of information will be displayed about them such as their purchase history, any notes on their account, support tickets, transcripts of previous live chat conversations and much more. This type of feature allows businesses to provide an improved standard of customer service while streamlining workflows and reducing duplicate or inaccurate information stored on multiple systems.
As one of the more basic features of a call center system, call control is basic call handling functionality including transfer, hold, mute, hang up and conferencing. With some of these systems representatives are able to place a caller on hold or transfer a customer in a couple of clicks.
Available in some call center systems, these codes allow representatives to indicate the outcome of a call using a pre-determined code such as ‘follow up required’, ‘ logged with technical support’, ‘Escalated’ or ‘Refund Processed’. Once the code has been assigned, a representative or manager will be able to immediately determine what stage the call is at if they access the customers record at a later stage.
A call recording feature is one where the representative can record the call for future reference.
This allows a manager to listen to live calls without a representative or caller knowing they are doing so. This is an effective method to ensure that staff are performing effectively and delivering the required standard of customer service.
When this feature is integrated with a call center software solution it means that a manager can join a live call so they can speak with both the representative and the caller.
Often used during training, whisper coaching is a feature that allows the manager to speak with a representative without the caller knowing.
Now that you have decided on your software and what features you need to run your operation successfully, it is important to explore the different types of headset that are available for your representatives.
As a business owner managing a call center environment there are lots of things to take into consideration. From hosted software to browser based and deciding on the many features that you want to integrate into the system, the ultimate goal is to enhance customer service, improve communications and optimize workflows which is exactly what you can achieve with the right call center phone system.