Call center agent: “Ok Brenda, can you please close all windows and then restart your computer”
Brenda: “Ok, no problem”
2 minutes later…
Brenda:“Ok, that’s done. Do you want me to close all the doors too?”
Even in the current digital climate, the majority of people (not just the Brenda’s of this world) still prefer being assisted by phone.
In fact, a study by Harvard Business Review found out that 57% of customers move from the web to the phone when they need support. Not only that, but the global call center software market size was valued at $18.1 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $72.3 billion by 2027.
I don’t know about you, but these statistics were a shock to me.
With the stigma attached to call centers and the introduction of Live chat, forums and IM platforms, I thought call centers were dying a slow and painful death?
This couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re back! Better than before and here to stay, thanks to call center software.
Join me on a journey of discovery where we will look at the following topics to find out how call center software has brought call centers back from the brink:
- What is call center software?
- Why do I need call center software?
- How would I benefit from call center software?
- What are the top five examples of call center software?
- How can I use Process Street with call center software?
Ready to go?
What is call center software?
Call center software connects agents with customers over multiple platforms. It powers inbound and outbound communications. It automatically routes calls to the right agents, gives agents instant access to customer information and provides real-time reporting and analytics to improve performance.
But most importantly, call center software creates a truly integrated customer experience that effortlessly puts the needs and preferences of the customer at the center of every single conversation, message, or email.
As 41% of consumers would stop doing business with a company after a poor communication experience, businesses are suddenly looking at new call center software to revolutionize their customer experiences.
“Customer experience drives customer choice, and global businesses are investing in contact center software that focuses on customer needs and preferences” – Deloitte
In explaining what call center software is, we’ve kind of touched on the features and benefits, but let’s look at them in a little more detail…
Why do I need call center software?
To understand why every call center should invest in call center software, we need to look at how call centers used to operate without it.
Now, this is where I can bring my own experience to the party.
Many moons ago, I worked in a call center. It was an outbound sales call center that sold home insurance to the over 50’s.
Each morning I’d put my headset on, log myself into the ‘state-of-the-art’ predictive dialer system and nervously wait for my first verbal attack of the day.
The dialler system would automatically dial a randomly selected phone number from a big database of phone numbers, and as soon as someone answered, I would be connected to the call.
Well. That was the idea.
In practice, the dialler was often too slow to connect and I’d either join the call to hear a dial tone or, worse, I’d join the call to hear an (understandably) irked “Hello? HELLO? HELLOOOO?’’
Trying to pacify an already disgruntled recipient, was difficult, to say the least. What made it 100x harder was the fact that I knew NOTHING about the person I was calling. Not one thing! I didn’t know if they’d been called before. I had no idea if they already had home insurance. I had no clue if they were over 50 and therefore even qualified for the insurance I was selling. I sometimes didn’t even know their name.
When the call finished, I’d make my way to the front of the room and mark on a big whiteboard the status of the call; Callback, Not interested, Already has insurance, Not qualified, Sale.
If by some miracle I’d made a sale, I’d ring a big, old-school clanging bell, which would prompt a spatter of applause from my fellow call center victims…
Ahhh the good old days…
Anyway, enough reminiscing! I hope you can see from my brief trip down memory lane that back then call centers were detrimental places for building customer relationships.
Processes to manage calls were non-existent. The calls themselves lacked any sort of structure. Performance management and training didn’t happen, and any form of customer experience and relationship building was painfully missing in all calls. It was no wonder sales were few and far between.
I’m glad to say it’s a far cry from where we are now, and it’s all down to call center software.
“Without software, customers will be left waiting on hold while agents struggle to answer queries. Supervisors won’t be able to manage the chaos because they won’t have any insight into call volume or trends” – HubSpot
Call center software provides the processes, workflows, and structure to call centers, leaving agents to focus on providing seamless customer experiences and building deeper relationships with customers.
So how does call center software do all that?
Glad you asked! Let’s find out…
How would I benefit from call center software?
To find out how call center software has revolutionized the call center landscape and why more and more businesses are adopting call center software to improve customer satisfaction levels, let’s look at the top four benefits of call center software.
Call center software benefit #1. Omnichannel experience
Customers crave a seamless process when they reach out to customer service. They want to move between channels and conversations easily. Plus, they’d give anything not to tell their painful story time and time again. (And again. And again.)
“At its core, an omnichannel creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out” – HubSpot
Call center software joins communication channels such as emails, live chat, and social media to your call center operation. This allows agents and customers to move between different channels, pass context between each channel, and interact in a variety of ways during the course of one interaction.
For example, When Brenda calls to say she’s ordered her new sparkly Spanx leggings in the wrong size, an agent can switch from the call to an MMS and ask her to take a picture of her receipt without stopping the conversation.
Having an omnichannel creates a unified customer service experience, it reduces customer friction and increases front line efficiency. It creates a consistent customer experience no matter what channel the interaction begins on.
Call center software benefit #2. Integration with CRM
“Most customers believe it takes an average of six interactions to resolve a problem. This is a huge source of frustration for customers” – Hubspot
Being able to integrate your call center functionality with your CRM system is incredibly beneficial. The more information an agent has about the customer they’re speaking to, the more effective they can be.
Many call center software tools provide this context through CTI (computer-telephony integration) pop-ups. The system identifies a customer through their phone number and displays all previous interactions through the browser, directly from the CRM. Agents can then understand the customer better and resolve their issues quicker.
Call center software benefit #3. Performance reporting
To keep the call center running efficiently, call centers need to have their finger on the pulse of performance analytics such as call volume, call duration, wait time, agent availability, the number of missed calls, break times and wrap time.
Call center software captures data and generates reports on these key performance metrics. This enables call centers to accurately assess agent efficiency, forecast call volumes, plan shift patterns, identify customer support trends, spot gaps in support coverage, and highlight potential training opportunities.
“Call center software should provide you with detailed performance-related information so that you can check whether your call center is functioning properly and your agents are doing their jobs well” – Ruby Garage
Call center software benefit #4. Call management
Probably one of the most obvious benefits of call center software is the ability to handle calls.
Call center software allows agents to hold, mute, forward, and end calls. It provides call recording features so you can playback and assess the quality of calls. Call queue management so you can set up a queue while callers wait for an agent and automated ticket creation and tagging to make sure all issues are logged and sent to the right person.
So, we understand why call centers are still living and breathing and why the majority of people still prefer being assisted by phone. Now it’s time to see what call center options are available.
What are the top five examples of call center software?
I’ve chosen the below five call center software companies to give you a snapshot of what’s currently in the marketplace. These companies develop solutions specifically for organizations that desire to streamline their customer experience processes and are continuously investing in R&D to offer innovative products and to enhance the customer experience.
Call center software solution #1: Five9
Five9 is an all-in-one call center solution that enables management of customer support and sales through a single dashboard.
- Intelligent routing
- CRM integration with leading providers
- Focus on increased productivity
- CTI and screen pop-ups
Call center software solution #2: Genesys PureCloud
A good all-rounder, Genesys PureCloud is an all-in-one cloud-based contact center software built for small startups, large companies and everything in between.
- Singular interface
- Easy and quick to implement
- Built-in collaboration and internal communication functionality
- Data encryption and SSO options
Call center software solution #3: RingCentral
RingCentral is a cloud-based phone system designed to make business communications easier to set up and manage.
- Smooth migration from any landline or cloud system
- Advanced features without the expensive hardware and maintenance
- Optimized uptime in emergencies
- Simple user interface
Call center software solution #4: Freshcaller
Freshcaller is a fuss-free, low-maintenance phone system to facilitate customer support requirements for small to medium-sized businesses.
- Quick and easy to set up
- Customers management from a single hub
- Real-time dashboard
- Multi-level Interactive Voice Response
Call center software solution #5: Zendesk Talk
Built on one of the most extensive customer service platforms, Zendesk offers a call center solution for businesses of every size. It enables service teams to deliver personalized and efficient phone support across multiple channels and is ideal for highly engaged customers or prospects.
- Open API enabling seamless integration into your business
- Pre-built CRM’s
- Over 100 integrations with 3rd party apps
- Customer-facing web interface that you can easily brand
So, these are five big guns of the call center software world. But I do have another option for you.
Create processes, add structure and improve customer experiences with Process Street.
How can I use Process Street with call center software?
As we established earlier, call centers need strong processes in place to allow agents to deliver better service, streamline workflows and make sure customers are getting the best possible experience.
This is where Process Street comes in.
Process Street is super-powered checklists. It’s state-of-the-art BPM software that will enable you to create strong processes for everything and manage all your recurring tasks within your call center.
Watch this introduction to Process Street before I explain further:
The real beauty of Process Street lies in being able to connect to thousands of apps through Zapier, webhooks or API integration. Having the ability to do this means you can either use Process Street on its own, or you can use it alongside your call center software and CRM, to continue that seamless customer experience.
Even better than that, you can use these extra features to automate all your workflows so you can save time, money and your customer relationships:
- Stop tasks
- Dynamic due dates
- Task permissions
- Conditional logic
- Approval tasks
- Embed widget
- Role assignments
Find out more about automation by watching this webinar, hosted by our very own Blake Bailey.
So, now you know who we are and what we do, you can probably think of a thousand ways you could use Process Street in your call center. Am I right? You could implement call management processes, conduct agent performance reviews, capture key metrics, work out shift patterns, track SLA metrics, the list goes on!
As a direct example of how you can manage your call center with Process Street, check out this ready-made call center employee onboarding checklist:
This is the perfect way to introduce new agents to your call center. You can trigger a welcome email, give them key company information to read, and assign them new starter tasks for their first week and beyond. You can use this template as it is, with no set-up needed, or you can customize it so it fits your own individual processes and workflows.
If you liked what you saw with the Call Center Employee Onboarding Checklist, we’ve got another four call center focused templates for you to try:
Call Center SLA Management Checklist Template
This template has been designed for you to manage all your call center SLA’s. Add information about the companies involved, the purpose, goal, and objectives of the service level agreement and how long the agreement will last.
Call Center SLA Metrics Tracking Process Template
This template has been designed to measure the performance metrics in your call center Service Level Agreements. You can input information into each task such as SLA objectives, service provider requirements, customer requirements, and performance data and conduct an effective review of your call center performance metrics against your SLA’s.
Contact Prospects via Phone and Email Template
This template will take agents through the best practice process of contacting prospects via email or phone. As call center software has introduced the omnichannel, having a process to follow for both email and phone is essential.
Cold Calling Checklist
As the success rate with cold calling is low, it’s best to have a process in place that your agents can follow to make sure they attempt as many connections as possible without taking up loads of time.
To help you out further, check out the below blog posts and articles.
Call center software related articles and blogs
Cast your eyes over these articles and blog posts. They will take you through the basics of call center software and the processes behind running a call center that puts the customer at the heart of everything you do.
- Call Center Outsourcing: How To Boost Support Quality and Availability
- Hold Music: How to Increase Caller Retention by 98%
- Rebranding Strategy: How 3 Big Tech Companies Dramatically Changed Their Identity
- How to Automatically Generate Tweets with Images and Hashtags for Your Buffer Queue
- Here’s What Goes Catastrophically Wrong When You Don’t Follow Your IT Process
- Service Level Management: How to Manage SLAs and OLAs Masterfully
- Best QMS Software for Quality Management Systems: Which is Right for You?
- Enterprise Collaboration Software: 8 Essential Tools You Need to Use
- Should You Move from Email Support to Help Desk Software?
- What is Form Automation Software? How to Pick the Best Form Software
- What is BPM Software? The Best Business Process Management Software (BPMS)
- Help Scout vs. Zendesk vs. Freshdesk vs. Groove: The Ultimate Help Desk Showdown
- What is Customer Support? How to Improve Your Support Team (17 Free Processes)
- Why You Need Customer Service Processes, and How to Get Started Now
- 8 CRM Workflows to Destroy Data Entry and Close More Deals
- Is Business Process Outsourcing Relevant For Your Small Business?
- The 5 Customer Success Tools You’ll Need to Serve Billion Dollar Companies
- A SaaS Owner’s Guide to Managing Your Customer Support Process
- Self-Service Vs. Customer Support: Which is the Best Customer Engagement Strategy?
- SaaS Customer Support: The 4 Moments of Truth
“If you care enough to provide your customers with the best customer support and would like to efficiently manage your company’s inbound and outbound communications from multiple contact channels, then you can’t go wrong with having call center software”
We’d love to hear about your experience with call center software in the comments. Who knows? You may even get featured in an upcoming article!