Customer service is an ever-growing concern in today’s business landscape. It’s no secret that customer happiness is a crucial indicator of company growth and success. Yet, it’s surprising to see that not all companies invest heavily on improving customer experience. It could be because it’s hard to measure the value of customer service or they find it difficult to set up and maintain customer service channels.
Despite these challenges, companies must make a deliberate effort to improve customer experiences. Many companies now rely on call centers for their customer support. These business process outsourcing companies (BPOs) have an enormous responsibility to help companies grow by improving their customer service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise of virtual call centers. The whole industry is predicted to grow to over $496 billion in 2027. The challenge is upon call centers to sustain growth and provide better services to their clients and end-users.
Mixing tools with talent
There’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to call center experiences. Only 26% of customers believe that contact centers provide satisfactory support. This reality should challenge BPOs to step up to the plate and improve call center services.
Overall, call center quality growth depends on this formula: mixing the best call center tools with the best available talent. Hiring the best people from the best online communication degrees to train and using reliable systems are a great way to improve customer experiences.
There is a growing pool of technologies that can help streamline and improve customer support. Using these call center tools can help shorten wait times, present ready solutions, and allow you to connect customers to the agents most likely to help with their call.
Essential call center tools
Here’s a list of essential call center tools and some reasons why they make great investments for client-facing BPOs:
1. Contact center software
Contact center software allows companies to manage and optimize high volumes of customer interactions. Aside from handling voice calls, agents can also interact with customers using SMS, MMS, email, and more. Many of today’s best contact center calling systems are cloud-based, meaning they can operate in any location with an internet connection.
These contact center software platforms can also provide call recording features for call tracking, evaluation, and coaching. In addition, it tracks essential call center metrics such as average handling time, average talk time, and number of abandoned calls, among others.
Aloware is one of the best cloud contact center software providers, and it supports unlimited calls plus SMS/MMS. It also lets you automate your workflows to improve efficiency and productivity of your agents.
2. Call routing system
Crucial to smooth inbound contact center operations is a call routing system that can triage customer calls. Also known as automatic call distributor (ACD), a call routing system will send voice calls to a specific queue based on predetermined criteria. It will also put callers on hold when the volume gets too heavy. ACD makes it easy to set up automated call routing rules and manage incoming calls from customers.
When an ACD routes inbound calls by transferring it to the most qualified agent, it can improve the chances of first call resolution. Investing in an ACD also reduces the time taken to answer a call and could reduce the cost-per-call of the contact center.
3. Internal communication tools
Using cloud call center software for external communications alone isn’t enough. There must be intra-company communication channels, too, for collaborations. These channels will serve as feedback and discussion boards for clarification and collaboration within the company.
Some of the most popular internal communication tools include Slack and Facebook Workplace. Aside from allowing one-to-one and group communication, they also facilitate knowledge sharing. They can also integrate with other productivity apps and human resource tools.
4. Live chat
Not all customers prefer call-based interactions with call center agents. There’s also a growing need and demand for chat-based support. Accordingly, call centers should have chat support systems to provide another way of communicating with prospects and clients.
A chat support system should seamlessly connect with a client’s website with a chat box that feeds to a central call center system. By providing live chat, customers can get support at the exact moment that they have questions or issues they can’t solve.
5. Ticket management system
A ticket management system allows you to promptly and seamlessly resolve customer inquiries. The system creates a ticket each time a new case is submitted. Without it, keeping track of technical issues would be highly difficult. Hence, companies that need technical support, such as telecommunications, software as a service (SaaS), and gadget-based companies will want to work with a call center with a ticket management system.
The best available ticket management systems will allow agents to log technical issues and forward them to the company’s tech team for resolution. They should also have a prioritization system to queue requests that are more urgent.
6. Time tracker software
Time trackers serve call centers by giving them access to a system to manage agent attendance. This tool has a human resource aspect to it, something that call centers should also prioritize. BPO companies are some of the most significant job providers in the world today. Tools like time tracking and attendance monitoring can help call centers be more proactive in employee evaluation and monitoring.
Use a time tracker software that will also allow for leave management and absence tracking. The data analytics portal for the time tracker will also be handy as it provides summaries for call center staff performance.
7. Knowledge hub
A lot of customer service providers are now utilizing knowledge hubs and artificial intelligence tools to improve their performance. By the end of 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be handled by artificial intelligence.
Knowledge hubs are smart FAQ pages that provide a search feature and a contact form for more clarification. These systems often go hand in hand with a chatbot software that can automate simpler queries and requests by customers.
8. SMS platform
As businesses move towards a more omnichannel approach to customer experiences, SMS platforms have significantly increased in usage. An SMS platform can automate text messaging and provide end-users with another channel for contact and support.
Choose a platform with SMS autoresponders so that you can send instant, automated text messages to prospects who are interested to know more about your products and services. Aloware allows you to send SMS messages at scale and makes compliance as easy as filling out a form inside your Aloware account.
Embracing hybrid work in call centers
Today, 83% of professionals believe that a hybrid work arrangement is optimal, especially in the midst of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19. Embracing a hybrid work model entails that executives start investing in call center tools that will give their employees a distinct edge in this new normal.
As the workplace evolves, the BPO industry must evolve with it, and investing in these essential call center tools — even in an uncertain environment — can reap dividends for years to come.