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It's an ongoing challenge for customer service agents to juggle multiple customer questions, support requests, and calls at once. And if a company as a whole is unable to effectively manage customer inquiries, it can lead to decreased customer satisfaction and ultimately reputational damage.
Call center software helps businesses restructure their customer service operations by automating key processes. These solutions assist agents by routing calls to the appropriate representative, monitoring calls, offering prerecorded menu options, tracking pertinent call center metrics, and more.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
Call center software automates and standardizes the process of receiving and responding to customer phone calls. These solutions improve overall monitoring of the customer experience, workflow management, and employee performance evaluation. Whether designed for virtual workspaces or site-based locations, call center applications manage and catalog the handling of customer calls and often allow customers to track the progress of their request via the internet.
Call center software is used to automate the flow of incoming and outgoing calls, ultimately improving customer service. Call center software allows callers to access general business information through interactive voice response systems, such as business hours or frequently asked questions.
This frees up time for customer service agents, allowing them to maximize their productivity and focus on customer inquiries that require more complex solutions.
Businesses also use call center software to monitor their agentʻs service and customer satisfaction. Managers may use call center software to listen in on calls and apply corrective action where necessary to ensure each customer inquiry is properly handled. Call center software also allows managers to record calls for training purposes or to identify training needs for current employees.
The first step when investing in call center software is to know whether you want an outbound, inbound, or blended call center solution.
Outbound call center: Outbound call center solutions help agents engage with customers on behalf of a business or client for telemarketing, sales, fundraising, or surveys.
Inbound call center: Inbound call center software helps customers get in touch with a company to resolve queries about a product or service. Such software can also help businesses schedule appointments and dispatch technicians.
Blended: This type of call center software allows customer service agents to take care of both inbound and outbound call operations. Agents can fill in for each other while handling all calls to boost overall call center productivity.
Automatic call distribution: Ensure that all incoming calls are routed to appropriate agents, depending on their availability and expertise. Manage a large volume of calls without overwhelming customer service agents.
Computer telephony integration: Use a computerized system to bring together all active channels of communication. Hold, transfer, and mute calls. Host live chats, conference calls, send emails, and respond to customers via social media.
Call logging: Automate the record-keeping process for inbound and outbound calls. Create a database of sales calls for future reference.
Call monitoring: Allow call center managers to listen in on live phone conversations to train and assess agent performance.
Call recording: Record customer-agent phone conversations so managers can ensure calls are handled appropriately and use them to train new agents.
Call scripting: Add content to call script templates to provide agents with standard responses for common topics and questions.
Queue management: Monitor how long it takes for customers in the queue to be connected with a customer service agent. Track call abandonment for incoming customer requests that haven't yet been routed.
Reporting/analytics: View, track, and analyze call center metrics such as calls per day, average call duration, average call abandonment rate, waiting time, and service level.
Campaign management: Create marketing campaigns and tailor customer treatment to your target audience. Organize call processes by purpose, such as sales, retention, inquiry responses, etc.
Interactive voice responses (IVR)/voice recognition: Read and accept a combination of customer-initiated touch-tone keypad selections and voice inputs, and then provide the appropriate response via IVR technology.
Real-time chat: Connect with customers via instant messaging to answer inquiries and provide direct support. Add surveys before or after a live chat session to evaluate agent performance.
Integrations: Call center software needs the support of other software solutions to help businesses provide top-notch service.Most businesses also use CRM software, social networking tools, and helpdesk software to support their customer service efforts. Look for a call center solution that seamlessly integrates with the systems your business currently has in place.
Security and compliance: Whichever call center solution you choose, be sure that it offers top-of-the-line encryption to keep your customer data secure. When handling inbound customer calls, call center agents may handle sensitive customer information to solve any issues and properly answer customer inquiries. Before purchasing call center software, ask software vendors if their solution complies with the most recent data protection laws and regulations.
Easy implementation: Restructuring call center operations by implementing a call center system may seem like a daunting task to some businesses. However, after the initial planning process, call center software should only take a few hours to go live. Find a solution that requires minimal training and a vendor that offers ample support to ensure your call center agents and managers are set up for success.
Most products in this market are priced on a per month basis, billed annually. Pricing can be divided into three pricing tiers based on the starting prices:
$11 - $15
$15 - $25
*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering found on vendor websites on April 18, 2022. These ranges correspond to the 25th, 75th, and 100th percentiles of pricing information gathered from vendor websites of sample products.
GetApp’s Category Leaders ranks the top software in a market based on user reviews in five key areas: ease of use, value for money, functionality, customer support, and likelihood to recommend.
Visit the call center software Category Leaders page to compare top-rated software now.
Most call centers implement the following systems to streamline their customer service efforts:
Automatic call distributors (ACD): Automatic call distributors are telephony systems that allow call centers to automate incoming and outgoing call processes. Inbound calls enter through the system and are then distributed to an available customer service agent. These systems help call centers sort a large volume of calls, improving customer wait times and overall satisfaction.
Automatic dialers: These types of dialers eliminate the need for manual dialing. Automatic dialers systematically place outbound calls and (if the customer answers) connects the customer to an available agent. Automatic dialers improve call center efficiency by only routing answered outbound calls to agents, improving call center productivity.
Predictive dialers: A predictive dialer is an automated call dialer that places incoming customer calls in a queue before agents are available to answer them. These dialers help call centers improve their call rates by answering multiple calls at once.
Interactive voice response (IVR): IVR systems are automated answering machines that attend to customer calls before they are rerouted to a customer service agent. These systems determine the nature of the customerʻs inquiry, then assign appropriate assistance. Next, the IVR sends the collected customer data to the ACD, which reroutes the call directly to the appropriate agent. This is how IVR systems streamline the customer service process for both customers and agents.
Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from GetApp’s call center software Category Leaders report. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in GetApp’s directory that offer them.