According to a report from Statista, 44% of customers in the United States prefer phone support over other customer service platforms. Phone calls offer customers a direct and immediate way to get in touch with a company. On the other side of the coin, providing phone support allows companies to build a loyal following and extract more value from their customers. (1)
While it’s true that the majority of customers prefer to seek help via phone support, call centers are often plagued by issues such as constant rerouting, long wait times, and inadequate real-time engagement. These problems and challenges, if left unaddressed, may lead to the loss of customers, profit, and reputation. For this reason, businesses and their call centers need to actively leverage technology to enhance customer experience.
Here are four call center technologies that can help improve customer service:
1. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)
The Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based software deployment model that allows businesses to only pay for the technology they need. The CCaaS providers typically offer their services on a monthly subscription basis, ensuring flexibility as operational needs change.
Here are some of the top benefits of CCaaS solutions:
- Centralized customer interaction: The CCaaS platforms allow businesses to consolidate all customer data in one data center. Regardless of the support channel the customer is using, agents can access customer information and history, reducing uncertainty when providing assistance.
- Speed: The CCaaS platforms typically come with self-service options. Response times are faster when customers are first allowed to find the answers they need on their own.
- Cost savings: The CCaaS solutions cost far less than on-premise infrastructure. Businesses that opt for CCaaS save on depreciating proprietary hardware, rental payments, IT staff wages, licensing costs, and maintenance expenses.
2. Speech Analytics
Speech analytics assesses recorded conversations between customers and agents. It can identify keywords, phrases, and voice attributes such as frustration or anger. The technology then extracts and parses data that the business can use to drive efficiency and enhance customer interactions. (2)
Speech analytics tools can also determine the following:
- Which topics need to be included during agent training to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction
- Which agents need additional training or coaching, and which agents are doing an exceptional job
- The common reasons people contact the call center
- The common reasons agents drop a call or put a customer on hold
3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a telephony software technology which allows callers to use dial pad selection or speech recognition tools to get their call routed to the appropriate department or agent. Once a call comes in, the system plays a pre-recorded message to direct the caller to respond to the menu prompts.
A well-calibrated IVR offers the following benefits:
- First contact resolution: Callers are always routed to the agent or self-service application that can best address their question or problem. As a result, the agent will also be less likely to transfer the call to another agent.
- Reduced labor costs: Self-service options free up agents from repetitive, mundane tasks such as confirming appointment times or checking account balances. Instead, the agents can focus on handling complex calls and tasks.
- Improved customer journey: With a well-planned IVR, an organization or business can significantly reduce wait times and, in turn, caller frustration. Callers get time-efficient and informative responses, so they feel they’re better attended to.
4. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
Computer telephony integration (CTI) refers to a type of technology that allows computer systems to integrate with telephones and other forms of communication such as fax, text messaging, or live chat. Agents can receive and make calls directly from their desktop, laptop, or mobile device—even without an actual telephone. (3)
Computer telephony integration allows companies to have a single interface for all business communications. Below are some of the top reasons to invest in this type of technology:
- Automated screen pops: Screen pops are windows that appear on the agent’s screen once a call gets connected. These windows contain information about the caller such as their name, contact details, previous call history, and others.
- Automated caller authentication: The CTI systems automatically authenticate the caller’s identity by matching the phone number from the incoming call with the information on the company’s database. This means the customer doesn’t have to repeat their information every time they call the company.
- Analytics and reporting: Comprehensive CTI reports provide managers with data-driven insight for agent training or assessment. Additionally, these reports supply businesses with detailed information on their call center’s strengths and areas for improvement.
Providing outstanding customer service is the primary objective of call centers. Enumerated above are the key technologies that businesses should consider to provide better service and use their resources more effectively. With these four in place, businesses can ensure that customers get a brand experience worth repeating.
- “Communication channels preferred to contact customer service in 2018, by country” , Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/809772/customer-service-communication-channel-used-by-country/
- “How Analytics, Big Data and AI Are Changing Call Centers Forever” , Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/09/06/how-analytics-big-data-and-ai-are-changing-call-centers-forever/?sh=21738b3b3a32
- “Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) With Customer Relationship Management (CRM)” , Source: https://expertincrm.medium.com/computer-telephony-integration-cti-with-customer-relationship-management-crm-392587cb82d8