In the extremely competitive world of business, customer experience is paramount. When a company delivers exemplary products and services then a high level of customer satisfaction is guaranteed. If a company doesn’t deliver this kind of experience, though, then there’s a chance it could lose customers.
Consider these customer satisfaction statistics:
- 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service than in previous years.
- 66% of customers within the age range of 18 to 34 years old have very high expectations for customer service.
- 89% of companies will strive and compete with rivals for customer experience.
- 52% of customers worldwide believe that companies should act on consumer feedback.
- 96% of consumers state that customer service highly affects their decision to be loyal to one brand.
At the core of this customer experience is a company’s call center whose agents can make or break a company’s relationship with its customers.
Advances in call center technologies and trends aim to improve customer experience, streamline processes, and lessen costs for a company. Let’s take a closer at the call center technology and trends every business leader must know in 2020.
Call center technology
Before we start the list, let’s clarify what call center technology entails.
This term refers to the set of hardware and software that a company uses as inbound and outbound communication tools. This includes Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), predictive dialer platform, call queuing, call routing, call recording, and other systems.
Call center technologies and trends
1. Virtual Call Centers
Software Advice’s 2014 report showed that 58% of companies buying call center software were interested in SaaS (software-as-a-service) or web-based systems developed and operated outside the company by a third party.
Beyond using a third-party service provider, companies are also switching to all-in-one cloud communication technology, which offers the following advantages:
- Bundled systems. A cloud-based system has a phone, CRM, and internal communication bundled into one package. This is both a cost-effective and unified system for any type of business.
- Unlimited scalability of communication systems. Businesses that expand their operations can broaden their systems and those that lose profit can go down one tier if necessary.
- Wider range of directions. Service providers like Telnum create cloud-based phone systems and numbers that reach more than 100 countries. This is a more inexpensive and efficient way of contacting potential and current customers.
- Easy deployment and operation. A company can acquire a cloud-based system in just a few clicks and a short amount of time. Further, a company does not need to cover startup costs, which makes it more affordable to switch to a new system.
- Provides increased reliability and performance. New technologies provide superior sound quality ensuring crisp and clear communication anywhere in the world.
- Allows work-from-home systems so companies can hire talented employees from anywhere in the world. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic made work-from-home a necessity, there was already a growing trend of companies offering remote positions. Cloud-based technologies allow employees from different countries to use one system without the need to be in one physical office.
2. Unified Communication (UCaaS).
Team collaboration is necessary for modern businesses. So, a company needs to institute a solid communication solution that merges different digital channels into one system. This means that different offices like sales CRM, helpdesk, and virtual team meetings use only one system to communicate with each other and with the customers.
This allows all employees, whether they work in one area or across the globe, to do their jobs without worrying about technology. It also lets a business work with just one service provider that can deliver all the communication needs of a company.
3. Multiple channel service
It’s already a given that customers expect quality service. But, nowadays, customers want consistent service across different channels or platforms. This means that a company needs to offer support through different channels like email, call, SMS, or chat.
This unified system also makes work easier for a company’s agents because they can access a customer’s information across different platforms with just a few clicks.
This saves time and streamlines the process for both agents and customers.
4. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive voice response has become a must-have for any type of business. It allows a company to customize its pre-recorded greetings, menus, and routing systems so that customers get vital information on their own if they want, or talk directly to an agent if necessary.
This automated customer service system expedites customer support and lets agents handle only the cases that need human intervention.
5. Predictive Dialer Algorithms
Time is extremely important for both a company and its customers. A predictive dialer algorithm allows your company to set up automatic dialing, call screening, and call queuing. This system saves a lot of time, especially if your company makes a lot of outbound calls.
For example, the system can dial several numbers while an agent does other tasks. Only when a customer picks up the call will it be assigned to an agent. So, the time traditionally spent on waiting for a customer to answer a call is eliminated.
6. Call center metrics
To continuously improve customer experience and service, a company needs to set clear standards for the performance of its systems and agents. Depending on what a company values more, these metrics may include:
- average speed for calls to be answered,
- time and number of calls in the queue,
- percentage of calls answered,
- hold time,
- average handle time, and,
- customer satisfaction.
Technology can be used to measure these metrics and to ensure the productivity and efficiency of agents.
7. Call recording and monitoring
Related to call center metrics, call recording and monitoring are essential in ensuring quality.
A recorded call can be analyzed to check if agents deal with customers according to standard procedures. The analysis can be used to determine what an agent needs to improve or if procedures need to be updated.
Meanwhile, a supervisor can monitor an ongoing call for some on-the-spot quality assurance and guidance for better customer experience.
Call center technology is going virtual for faster, customized, and better customer experience. As the technologies and trends evolve, a company needs to invest in the proper tools that will generate the most number of satisfied customers.