A call centre for business serves a large number of calls everyday. It is virtually impossible for a person or a team to answer these calls. Therefore, we need artificial intelligence which can help agents in daily communication with customers anywhere around the world.
Call centre software lends a helping hand here. Simplify the process and establish a well-coordinated means of communication. It also allows the center to systematically manage excess calls.
With the increasing number of options available to serve customers, phone calls are still at the top of the charts. This makes it even more important for businesses to have a sophisticated system that tracks incoming and outgoing calls and offers a one-stop-shop for all the information they need.
Before we dive into the details of a business call center, here are some results that might interest you. In 2017, Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report suggests that:
– Customers use phone calls more frequent when reaching out to brands than email, in person, live chat, mobile app, self-service, search engine, social media, online community, SMS, or chatbot. – 74% of customers say they prefer customer service by phone; email is the second most popular channel with 62%.
– 34% said that “Automated telephone system (IVR) and inability to contact a live customer for customer service support whenever they need to talk to a representative “is the most troublesome part of customer service.
It is obvious that customers are the spine of any business. Regardless of the size of your business or the industry you operate in, it is important to have a dedicated customer support team. 90 percent of Americans see customer service as an influencing factor when deciding on doing business with a company. This means that 90% of Americans will not do business with you if you have a poor customer service. This was actually the main factor I considered when I wanted to buy domain and hosting for my blog.
In addition, 76% of consumers contact customer service by phone. So it is imperative to have the best call center software for your small business.
But what exactly is call centre software? how does a call centre software for small business work, what are the benefits of a call center and how to get the most out of your investments, we will answer these questions in this article as you read on.
What Is Call Centre Software?
Before you deepen your understanding of how the call center works, it’s essential to know what it is. Call centre software is a tool that helps you manage incoming and outgoing calls of your business. It acts as a centralized platform to manage all operations such as calling, routing, reporting, analysis, and improving your team’s performance.
Although there are several means of communication for businesses such as live chat, email, and social media, the phone call system remains a critical part of the business. About 90% of potential contacts contact the company’s help desk by phone. Therefore, taking advantage of call center software helps you nurture and convert a potential customer to a real customer. It also helps increase customer satisfaction.
Recent progress in VoIP software and hosting have made virtual phone systems a reality. It only requires important components: a computer, a browser and a phone. With a cloud-based phone number, you can set up a virtual call center team anywhere in the world and offer a professional image of your brand to your customers, enjoying all the benefits of a call center. Plus, you can save up to 70% on customer service fees.
Benefits of Call Center Software
There are a number of advantages to having call center software for your small business. From eliminating geo-restrictions to reducing costs, call center software has many benefits, and here they are at a glance:
1. Grow Your Team With Little To No Additional Costs
Since a virtual phone system is not tied to the physical space of an office, it allows you to grow your team effortlessly. There won’t be any need to buy expensive equipment for each new rental, or establish new landlines.
2. Set Up New Call Center At A Lower Cost
The prices of real estate vary from place to place. It costs even more to set up a real estate office, renovate it, and implement the technology. But, by leveraging cloud-based call centre software, you can use your current workspace and develop new teams in different locations.
3. Increased Flexibility
With on-site call center software, your agents will have to stay at their desks to receive and make and calls. However, virtual call center software offers a lot more flexibility. It allows your sales reps to use their personal smartphones as business phones without changing their number, offering much-needed flexibility. This means your team can work from anywhere in the world without you providing them with equipment.
According to a survey, companies that allow staff work to work remotely have a 25% lower turnover rate than those that do not. This drastically reduces the total costs and makes it more affordable for agents working in a call center.
4. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
Most call centers allow you to transfer or route calls depending on service, feature or availability. This leads to greater customer satisfaction.
5. Efficient Call Handling
Customers get displeased when they can’t reach a customer service representative. This could result in the loss of valuable customers. With a cloud-based phone number, your customers can reach any member of your team, whether they’re in the office, at home, or on their way to a meeting.
If your team members can’t join an incoming call because of reasons best known to your company, they can forward it directly to other representatives. This ensures that a customer’s call never goes unanswered. It proves to be beneficial for small business call centers.
6. Omnichannel Capability
For a good customer experience, it is essential to have call center software that enables unification with current systems.
7. Reduce Calling Expenses
Most companies today offer free numbers (toll-free) so that their customers can reach them for free. However, the costs of the call are the responsibility of the company. Just to give you an idea, an incoming call on your toll-free number would cost you somewhere between $0.033-$0.555, depending on the caller’s country. When it comes to outbound calls, the prices range between $0.045-$5.625, again depending on the country you are calling.
Most companies today offer free numbers (toll-free) so that their customers can reach them for free. However, the costs of the call are the responsibility of the company. Just to give you an idea, an incoming call to your toll-free number would cost you between $0.033 and $0.555, depending on the country of the caller. As for outbound calls, prices range from $0.045 to $5.625, also depending on the country you’re calling. But, with virtual call center software, you will not see high phone bills like traditional phone lines.
8. Ease of Installation and Maintenance
One of the main advantages of cloud-based call center software is that it is very easy to install. You don’t even need experienced technicians to install the software. Just download it and you’ll be good to go.
Here are some more benefits of call center software that may interest you:
- There are no geographic barriers. A virtual call center software allows you to hire agents from all over the world and simultaneously serve customers in different time zones.
- Offers real-time customer support that builds brand loyalty. Satisfied customers = loyal customers.
- Brings the entire range of customer data together in one place, which in turn contributes to personalized support.
- Records calls used for any purpose such as reference and improvement.
- Monitors calls that are used to identify what is working and what is not. It is also used for training new staff.
- Basic call control that allows calls to be put on hold or transferred with the click of a mouse.
- It offers metrics like call volume, service level, handling time, abandon time, wait time, etc.
- Simple utility for small remote teams
- Increased productivity
- Easy management on scalability Multichannel support
- Insight report
- Easy access for customers
How Does Call Center Software Work?
The rate at which people are working from independent places is at an all time high; So it’s time to take advantage of virtual call centers. Instead of working from the head office, agents now work remotely. Virtual call center software connects agents in different places and strives to smooth customer service performance.
In call centers where workers are restricted to one space, the organization must bear real estate costs, overhead, and turnover rates. The process is costly and time consuming, and small businesses can’t afford it. This is one of the reasons why businesses are going virtual. With a virtual call centre software setup, the costs are drastically reduced, making it a great solution for small businesses.
In a setup like this, the call center agent only needs two things, which are:
- Virtual call center software
- Internet connection
These types of call centers have become more and more popular with VoIP technology. This Voice Over Internet Protocol technology uses data network to make phone calls. This means that incoming calls arrive over the Internet, not over phone lines. In such cases, the calls do not necessarily come to a physical service but to a virtual call center.
This is very beneficial for businesses where customers often call to check on the status of their inquiries. A system for tracking these calls is compulsory here. With this system, agents working remotely can access Internet calls.
VCC employees then respond to customer inquiries, saving your business time and costs. Not only that, but they also serve as a means to interact with customers and give support without disrupting the daily running of the business.
These services are always available 24/7, this means that your customers will always be attended to.
Detailed step-by-step guide on how a virtual call center software works:
- A customer dials your support number.
- The customer is presented with a custom menu (also called interactive voice response).
- He/she enters a number (according to the customer’s request).
- The software then redirects the caller to the appropriate service and agent.
- At the same time, the software shows the agent all the information available about the customer, so that he/she can best meet the caller’s needs.
- In the event of incoming calls, the system searches the available database to identify the customer.
- If their information is not present in the database, the customer is added as a new caller for future reference.
- However, for an existing customer call, the agent accesses the records to get customer details and problem history before processing the call.
- Depending on the client’s response to the automated response, the call is queued according to the database mapping.
- Agents mapped to the queue in the context gain access to take the call when the call is transferred further.
- After answering the call, the agent assists the customer by providing the necessary instructions during the call or by e-mail. If necessary, the agent can also use supervisors or senior agents.
- If the agent is not able to resolve the problem immediately, the system records the entire interaction so that it can track the status of the request and perform regular checks.
- Depending on the final response of the customer, the call centre agent marks the status as open, closed, resolved, or needs follow-up.
- In the event that the ticket is marked as closed, the agent requests feedback from the customer via an automated survey call or e-mail.
- The company uses this feedback in the future for improvement or reference purposes.
On-Premise Call Center vs. Cloud-based Call Center Software
On-premise call center software is installed in your office. It includes telephone lines, a call management system and telephones. Cloud call center software, however, is hosted in the cloud and does not require the installation of physical equipment in your office. All you need to get started is a computer or smartphone to manage business calls.
An on-site call center has higher turnover rates, requires more hardware purchases, and higher overhead costs. While a virtual call centre software offers more flexibility, lower turnover rates and lower overhead costs
The process associated with the on-premise call center takes time and money. Conversely, running a virtual telephone system is much more convenient and less expensive.
Businesses with outbound calls end up paying around $60 per agent as a call charge. But, with a VoIP center based call, you can potentially save money every month! For this reason, most companies prefer virtual call center software to on-premise version.
Who Can Use A Call Centre Software?
It’s a myth that only a large company can set up call center. Call center software works great for small and medium businesses that need to handle large number of calls with high quality experience at cheap cost.
Typically, business sectors such as B2B advertising, education, retail, e-commerce, real estate, etc. need call center software to entice their customers. However, the giants of these industries can run their own private call centers, but small businesses cannot apply a standard call center solution for customer support.
Here are the main reasons why small to medium businesses (SMEs) can’t manage their own call center:
- Expensive equipment: A call centre requires large and costly equipment, such as a Private Branch Exchange (PBX).
- Technical Teams: To manage a call center, you need a team of IT experts to handle all your technology needs, which would eventually require you to spend more money on training IT staff and more salaries.
- Directing calls takes time: Call operators waste more time dialing customer numbers than they could have used to talk to prospects. This ultimately spends a lot of time on the agent’s ability to close deals, reducing overall productivity and wasting company money.
- Low Conversion Rates: In-house agents or contract freelancers can’t always help you reach your sales goal. By subjecting them to performance measurement, there is no practical way to examine and enhance call results.
How Does Using Call Center Software For Small Business Address The Problems Mentioned Above?
By removing the need for expensive hardware, small business call center services become affordable. The call center software is completely digital, unlike a traditional call center that uses costly phone lines. It uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology which allows communications to flow through an Internet connection. The only hardware required for customer support via the call center software is a computer with fast internet connection and microphone headset.
To explain it further, here are the advantages or benefits of call center software over old means of communication:
Call center software allows you to build a large customer base, extend into new markets, and grow your business to its maximum potential without even needing to grow your sales team.
2. Operational flexibility
The recent call centre software offers unique solutions to offer excellent customer support. These days call center software is safe to understand even for beginners. It can be adapted to virtually any level of operations – vertical, horizontal or even transverse. A business can combine call center software with it’s existing applications, such as CRM, support tickets, call script generators, and even cell phones without hassle.
3. High rates of conversion
The call centre software provides a built-in analysis system that allows you to view a performance report with immediate information on all call center teams. Reports can include metrics like the average number of agent calls per day, wait time, service levels, and more. This, in turn, can help enhance team productivity and use agents’ time to receive more calls, which greatly helps people working in a call center.
Since the call centre software backs call recordings which generate call scripts, your business can even increase conversion rates with it. Once you’ve made enough calls to optimize scripts for every word, your agents can still have a basic pattern for talking to customers. Operators can then engage prospects over the phone for an extended period of time to extract most of the information. Such scripts, in a nutshell, will help every agent work smoothly and precisely to get leads as efficiently as possible.
How Can You Use Call Centre Services To Serve Your Customers Better?
In 2015, Gartner projected that digital disruptors would make the customer experience a critical foundation for business competition over the next several years. Well, even after six years, we agree. The increase in the customer experience has been gradual but unavoidable. Businesses today can’t consider competing in just any industry if the customer experience isn’t their strong suit.
According to Oracle, 86% of buyers would willingly pay for a better customer experience. Likewise, 89% of them will move to a competitor after just one case of bad customer service. It is ultimately the choice of the company to interact constructively and meaningfully with its customers, but the path they must choose is pretty clear.
Where does customer service fit in there? It is obvious. Customer service is an important element of the entire customer experience. A buyer may have had a wonderful buying experience with your business, but if your after-sales service and customer support is poor, it will completely nullify the positive buying experience, leaving them with a bad taste in their mouth.
Coming to call centers, you might think of them as old-fashioned remnants, but they still thrive, despite many years having passed since the initial boom in call centre services. A. Kearney, 2017, said that there were approximately 3.4 million in-house and outsourced call center workers employed by US companies. Call center is an important part of any business customer service strategy.
Plus, it’s not just today’s big businesses that use call centers to improve customer service. In this technological age, VoIP-based virtual telephone systems have been one of the most versatile tools to emerge in recent times. Technological developments such as software call centers have made it easier to set up and manage call centers for a business of any size.
What Should I Look For In A Call Centre Software?
Let’s look attentively at how you can use a virtual phone system to set up your call center. Furthermore, we will see why call center software is the best solution to maximize your call center. Also, there are some factors you should consider before buying call center software for your business. They are as follows;
1. CRM Integration
Information is essential when it comes to successful interactions with customer service. Even the most experienced inbound call center customer service representative can’t capitalize on these skills if they don’t have the right information at their fingertips. Several call centers for small business provide extensive CRM integrations or integrated CRM functionality. This enables the service representative to access the full history of a particular customer with the organization.
Their previous purchases, complaints, requests, etc are all stored in the CRM module. This way, even if the representative who previously looked after a particular customer is not available, another service representative can easily stand in his place since there is no loss of information. Plus, with the help of a cloud-based virtual phone system, a customer can always get in touch with their preferred service representative, wherever they are.
2. 24/7 Availability
In addition to the loss of zero information, the Call Center software also allows 24/7 availability, which always makes an excellent impression on your customers. This is one of the biggest benefits of a call center, as it has gone from using only phones to a variety of other instruments such as email and live chat.
Additionally, many call center software provides businesses with additional tools like chatbots, which allow them to automatically address many common customer questions. With online phone numbers, 24/7 customer support can be available at an inbound call center. This is the key in today’s world where even a small response time could put the customer off.
3. Call Analytics
A great tool for any inbound call center, a top-notch virtual phone number will include innovative features like call recording and call analytics. These features are ideal for a variety of reasons. First, they are great training tools for new customer care agents. Second, they also help experienced employees learn from their mistakes, which transforms working in a call center into a learning experience for them.
4. Multi-channel Engagement
Just as retailers are looking for more sales channels, businesses need to look for more ways to connect with and engage customers. Social media has become a popular platform for customers not only to give their opinions and comments, but also to get immediate assistance with any issues they may be facing. It is common for many customers to resolve their issues with a customer service representative leading them through a social media platform.
Your inbound call center may be an online phone number. Most call center software will give your customer support team a variety of built-in social media plugins; allowing them to pay the necessary attention to alternative means of customer engagement beyond phone systems.
5. Quicker Resolution And Happier Customers
Using virtual phone systems based on call center software allows your company to build its prestige via quicker resolution of customers questions and problems. All the above-mentioned benefits of using a call centre software ensure that your customer support can do their best work to customers, wherever they are. Virtual phone numbers help them stay in touch with customers and build trust, which is always good for the business.
How Can You Get The Best Call Centre Software?
Do You Need Call A Center Software?
The answer is yes, If you are a brand that truly believes in “customer loyalty through service and engagement”. It is advisable to get call centre software for your business.
Whether you are a well-known business or have just entered the field, you need to be available to serve your customers when they need your assistance. Not only that, but you can also use it to make outgoing calls and introduce your products and services to potential customers. You should thoroughly consider these factors before purchasing call centre software for small business.
A great customer experience is the correct approach to nurture your brand, which is why you should always give room for improvement. With so many unique touchpoints available to a customer to contact with your brand, each channel should be treated as an opportunity to impress and please.
Of all your channels for a customer to contact you, the most important that will affect your business is your call center. That said, many businesses are looking for smarter solutions to change the customer experience with call center software.
Using call centre software to manage customer support is not only convenient but also cost effective to increase efficiency. It enables businesses to productively use their resources and provide better service.
With innovative features like AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning slowly finding its way across various industries, expect customer support to become even more efficient. At the moment, using a virtual phone system together with call centre software will transform the customer experience and give your business a distinct advantage over the competition.
The most important reason to use call centre software for small business is that you can divert profits towards growing your company rather than employing more staff to reach more customers manually. With an efficient business call center, you can build customer relationships faster and deliver a better customer experience, making your team more productive.