8 equipment and tools you must have in your call center
You’ve decided to set up a call center? Congratulations! Preparing a solid plan to run the center, getting the office ready, and hiring the right team is half the battle. The other half is finding the right equipment and tools.
It doesn’t matter if your customer service team is small. If you hire the right people and give them high-quality tools and equipment, you can empower them to do great things. To paraphrase Jeff Duntemann, a good tool can improve the way you work. But a great tool can enhance the way you think.
Apart from boosting employee efficiency and productivity as well as customer satisfaction, the right equipment and tools can enhance security and cost savings. In this blog post, we have listed eight tools you must have in your call center.
1. Necessary hardware tools
Hardware tools such as computers, headsets, web cameras, printers, and scanners are extremely vital for call centers. Let’s discuss those concisely. While desktops have predominantly been used in call centers, in the last few years, laptops are gaining popularity due to their size and convenience. While investing in a computer, make sure the system is powerful enough to handle your call center or contact center’s needs.
It must have either the latest Mac OS operating system or Windows operating system. Computers need to have adequate memory, which is a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. The hard disk capacity/space must be more than 280 MB. It must be secure to protect all sensitive customer data and should have spy protection and antivirus software.
Now coming to headsets, equipped with headphones and microphones, enable agents to listen to customers and answer their queries. That’s why it’s extremely crucial to choose high-quality ergonomically-designed headsets, which would enhance employee comfort and customer satisfaction. Investing in noise-canceling headsets can cut the background noise and ensure clear communication.
2. Call center or contact center software
If hardware is the body, the software is the soul. Without the right software, the hardware won’t be effective. Suffice it to say that call center or contact center software is the most important tool for call centers or contact centers. The right call center software can effectively handle outbound and inbound calls and the suitable contact center software can handle multichannel customer interactions and communication, including SMS, email, live chat, instant messaging, and social media. The software can be on-premise, browser-based, cloud-based, or hosted.
When it comes to finding the right call center software, it’s easy to be overwhelmed due to a wide range of choices. Don’t worry, Google is here to help. Just type some search terms “top call center software 2023,” “best call center software for small businesses,” “cost-effective call center software,” and more such high-intent search terms. Visit the website of reputable companies such as Software Suggest and contact some select service providers.
LiveAgent’s ‘The Current State of Industry’ research revealed that almost half of the customers on average use between three and five different communication channels to contact customer service. As per Cisco, more than 90 percent of contact centers believe an integrated omnichannel experience is the top capability of any call center. These stats suggest that a solution that can support multichannel communication is a much better choice in the present time.
3. Auto attendant and IVR
Even though the very purpose of your call center is to enable your customers to speak with customer service representatives, you must consider using auto attendant and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to enable them to solve their problems. “Why?” you ask.
Well, as per Harvard Business Review, more than 80 percent of customers prefer to solve their problems on their own before connecting with a live customer support agent. Many reputable and trustworthy software providers have IVR integrated with their call center and contact center software. While choosing call center software from a solution provider, ask if they can provide a sophisticated IVR system.
Depending on the capabilities, features, and type of system auto attendant and IVR can vary widely in cost. Generally, the cost of an auto attendant and IVR system can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
4. Customer service tools
These include CRM (Customer Relationship Management), knowledge base software, live chat software, and more. CRM software is indispensable for call centers and contact centers as it helps to track customer information, automate various repetitive tasks, as well as understand and manage customer relationships.
As per the latest statistics, a majority of businesses said that CRM provided them with higher access to customer data and enhanced agents’ productivity, process efficiency, and sales revenue. In the present time, when more than 90 percent of businesses with more than ten employees use some type of CRM, not leveraging the tool can be a major disadvantage.
5. PBX Switch
Apart from managing incoming and outgoing calls, a reliable and sophisticated PBX (Private Branch Exchange) switch provides a wide range of features such as call waiting, call forwarding, and voicemail. When it comes to choosing a PBX switch, you can choose any one of the three options—IP PBX, hosted PBX, and on-premise PBX. Now, you may ask “Which one is the best type of PBX for my business?”
To select the best PBX for your call center, find out your specific needs as well as your budget and the size of your business. Partnering with the right PBX providers can enable you to find a flexible, scalable, and superior PBX switch or software. You can leverage the internet to find the right provider. Type “best PBX for 2023,” “best IP PBX for small business,” or “best PBX providers in (your locality)” and look at the top search results on the first page.
Visit the website of some list aggregators such as softwaresuggest.com or reputed companies with an impressive track record and look at their PBX solutions. To know more about their products, contact them and ask more about the features and prices.
6. Call recording software
As the name suggests, call recording software collects the audio from all calls and saves it for quality control, accuracy, and compliance. Using the software, you can check the quality of the calls and know agents’ performance. Leveraging the software, you can also make sure that your customer service representatives provided accurate information and adhered to the workflows.
Call recording software can help in de-escalations and prompt responses to complaints. This is especially useful at a time when escalations increased by nearly 70 percent in just one year—2020, a study by Harvard Business Review. Call centers can review recordings to know areas of improvement as well as identify trends.
7. Workforce management tools
Workforce management tools are extremely useful for call centers with high call volumes. Sophisticated workforce management software can help in predicting call volumes, forecasting agent staffing, optimizing employee schedules, monitoring schedule compliance, and many more. Apart from workforce management software, workforce optimization software can help in optimizing operational efficiencies, and staff levels, as well as minimizing operational costs.
Call center managers can use workforce management tools to forecast call volumes, predict agent staffing based on historical trends, optimize agent schedules, and monitor schedule adherence. A well-managed workforce ensures the correct number of call center agents is available at the right time to handle the expected volume of calls.
Like CRM, workforce management tools are widely used by a majority of contemporary companies. As per Statista Research Department’s study, 88 percent of organizations, in 2019, said that they already adopted attendance and time workforce management tools. That indicates that not using sophisticated workforce management tools can put a business behind the curve and make it uncompetitive.
8. Analytics tools
Analytics tools are extremely important to analyze data and gain valuable insights. Call center analytics tools must have real-time reporting capabilities as well as predictive analytics. The latter accurately predicts future trends by analyzing customer behavior.
By using sophisticated analytics tools, call center managers can track various call center KPIs and metrics to gain valuable insights into the call center’s performance, customer satisfaction score, training needs, and many more. Make sure your call center analytics tool can easily integrate with your CRM, ERP, and other systems.
Choosing the right equipment and tools can mean the difference between success and failure for call centers. High-quality tools provided by reputable and trustworthy solution providers will automate many manual processes and enable agents to focus on providing the best customer service.
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