How to Choose the Best Call Center Software for Your Business
Call center software can help your company manage large numbers of calls from various departments within an office, or from multiple branches across the world. Call center software offers companies a variety of benefits including lower costs, more flexibility, and higher productivity, making it a must for businesses today.
Call center software generally includes features such as live chat, social media integration, SMS, and others, making it difficult to know which call center software is right for you. Here’s a roundup of the best this industry has to offer as well as tips on what you should look for when choosing the best software for your company.
Top Features to Look For
There are some basic features that all call center software offers - and if they don’t, you definitely shouldn’t be considering them). Features like controlled calls (mute, transfer, hold calls), multiple phone connections, calls from anywhere, call routing extensions, and voicemail are all standard. There are more advanced features available, however, that will make your business run more smoothly and enable you to further assist your customers.
Here are some things you should look for when shopping around:
- Ease of Use -
How quickly you can set up your call center will affect your entire business. Some systems, even those with impressive features, require hours or even days of complicated network setup, external gear, and outside maintenance. Businesses have to weigh the benefits of the software versus the time, money, and aggravation spent on complicated configuration to see if they’re worth the costs. Alternatively, software like ZenPhone will allow for a nearly instant launch, with zero equipment and fast and easy setup.
- Call Queues -
A queue ensures that each call is answered in an organized and fair fashion. Instead of getting tossed into a huge vat of waiting callers, each customer is assigned to an agent, and each agent has a queue – that agent is then responsible for making their way through the queue as quickly as possible. This creates more accountability and better response time. Look for organized, logical, and universal call queuing.
- Call Quality -
Being able to field a high volume of calls is one thing; handling those calls in a qualitative manner is another. Look for a system that ensures:
- Superior voice quality
- Uptime guarantee
- Large volume handling
These features are key to successful call center software, but they’re surprisingly rare to find. Vonage is one of the best systems for call quality.
- Analytics -
Data analytics is an important feature for all software, and call center software is no different. Reporting allows managers to see call volume, average call duration, wait time, quality of service, and more, all organized according to department, agent, region, time, etc.
- ACD (Automatic Call Divert) -
This is probably the most important feature for most businesses. The ability to automatically divert calls to the appropriate department or representative without any intervention is really the reason many companies opt for call center software in the first place. It is a cost-efficient, fast, and dynamic way of maintaining order, consistency, and call flow. Additionally, make sure your call center software allows you to customize the call priority management, allowing you to make high priority calls get to where they have to go faster. Customization is key here since what’s important to one company will not be of significance to another. A service like Grasshopper offers a useful feature known as Find Me/Follow Me. This will redirect the call to a specific agent from one location to the next until the agent is found (for example, at the agent’s desk, cell phone, or house phone, respectively).
- IVR (Interactive Voice Responses) -
Some people love this feature, and others can’t stand it, but Interactive Voice Responses are the wave of the future. As the generation of do-it-yourself millennials take over, businesses are learning that they need to adapt to this mounting DIY attitude. With IVRs, callers can choose from a list of menu options, and get things done faster and more proactively than waiting on the line for a rep to take care of their issues.
- Unlimited Calls -
This is a feature that will end up saving some businesses thousands of dollars on their annual phone plans. Companies like Ooma offer unlimited national calls, which is ideal for small businesses with a local clientele. Conversely, MegaPath offers unlimited international calling for enterprise customers. This offers invaluable savings for major corporations that regularly make overseas calls throughout the day.
- Training Features -
When training new employees, it is helpful to be able to subtly coach or in some cases intervene when calls get too difficult for them to handle. Training features include call barging which allows a trainee to transfer the call to a supervisor and whisper coaching which enables the manager to speak to the agent without the customer hearing. Alliance Phones does a good job of offering varied manager rules and features.
- Disposition Codes -
This feature allows your agents to take notes on how the call went, record which follow-up actions are required, and detail the outcome of the call. Labels such as “transferred to marketing” or “refund granted” can give managers a much clearer picture of where to look and an overview of what’s going on at a glance.
- Voicemail Options -
There are various features involved in call center voicemail systems. The more professional or involved your company is, the more these features will appeal to you. Voice-to-text transcription can be helpful for reading your voicemail while sitting through meetings. Alternatively, the text-to-voice option can assist the agent on the go who is trying to catch up on some SMSs while driving.
- Cost Analysis -
Some brands will offer a trial version so you can see how the system works, how easy it is to learn and customize to your needs, and how responsive customer support is. Additionally, companies like RingCentral will let you sign up without a contract. This means that you can test drive the system and cancel when you’d like (some restrictions may apply). The company also offers free setup, and a money-back guarantee, making it a cost-efficient option.
Other features that deserve an honorable mention include:
Quality and available customer support: You can’t be of help to your clients if your system is down, your site isn’t running properly, or your signup form has a glitch. Look for software that is known for its reliable customer service, so they’re available when you have questions.
Mobile compatibility: This is extremely important for agents who are do business outside the office
Conference calling: Getting all your agents, managers, or departments together can be problematic, especially if your enterprise is spread out across multiple states or continents. Conference calling bridges this gap efficiently, for the kind of seamless communication your business needs to succeed.
The Right Fit for You
What’s good for one business won’t be the right solution for another. Your goal is to find the best call center software for you, so look for a brand that has the features that will make your jobs easier. Bear in mind that…
Small businesses will need a cost-efficient solution that will also help them save money in other areas (an auto-receptionist, for example, cuts back on an entire salary).
Medium businesses may be seeking something more extensive with more options and the capability to easily scale up with future growth. Money is still a consideration, but a quality call center is well worth the investment at this stage.
Larger businesses need a comprehensive system that will not only connect all the various departments and branches via fast, efficient, and smart solutions like live chat, live conferencing, and direct calling, but these corporations will also be able to afford extra features like voice-to-text, 24/7 live support, and translation.
Look for the features that appeal to your business model, size, and industry, and then read some in-depth reviews to give you a good idea of which call center service is the best fit for you.