What Is Call Center Technology?
Call center technology is a tool or solution — be it hardware or software based — that helps streamline and optimize day-to-day call center operations.
The ultimate aim of call center technology is to enhance your business’s quality of communication.
Imagine for a second that your business is an orchestra. Your team needs someone — the conductor — who can keep your managers, employees, and contractors playing in tune to a perfect harmony.
And crucially, that conductor needs to know how to engage with your audience — the customers — to deliver a fine performance that will generate top reviews and keep them coming back!
While a human conductor is certainly capable of performing this synchronization in an orchestra pit, when it comes to call center management, you just won’t find one person that fits the bill!
So what’s the solution? How can a growing (and geographically dispersed) business keep its communication strategy coherent? Is it even possible to deliver top-notch customer service while minimizing expenses, human error, loss of productivity, and slow response times?
The simple answer is yes. But doing so effectively is only possible with the help of the right call center technologies.
If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, then keep reading this guide for the answers to key questions, such as:
What are the key elements of call center technology?
What are the real business benefits the right call center technologies can deliver?
Which technology trends could define the future of call and contact centers?
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the many call centers technologies that are available on the market today. You’ll gain insight into the use cases for the technology, along with its advantages, disadvantages, and top tips for getting started.
This guide will also cover upcoming trends in this tech space, so you can position yourself to stay ahead of the competition.
Key Elements of Call Center Technology
Modern call centers leverage advanced tools to hold meaningful, remote interactions with their customers. Let’s look at the key features that underpin and enable these solutions.
Cloud-Based Internet Calling (or VoIP)
Cloud-based internet calling, also known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), is a communications architecture that allows agents to speak with customers over an internet connection. VoIP eliminates the need for traditional PBX telephony hardware and legacy phone networks.
The beauty of cloud calling is that users can make and receive calls from any device, anywhere in the world (provided they’re internet-connected).
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Have you ever called a business phone number and been greeted by a virtual receptionist? Chances are, you were prompted to interact with your keypad, hearing a message like: “Press 1 for queries related to sales, 2 for support, etc. …”
This system is known as IVR, and it’s a popular choice for businesses looking to offer their customers a simple self-service channel that can reduce wait times.
One report found a positive correlation between the pandemic and the accelerating adoption of this tech — and it’s easy to see why. Essentially, as customer-support processes were moved online, call volumes increased, and businesses subsequently looked to more efficient means of resolving customer inquiries. Plus, these systems stay active 24/7, even while your agents sleep.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
Not all customer support inquiries are made equal, and ACD tech recognizes this.
Automatic call distribution seeks the perfect human agent to match a caller’s needs. For example, it could look at an inbound call and route the customer to an agent who’s been idle for the longest time.
Alternatively, skills-based routing ensures that only your employees with the most relevant skill sets are paired with customers that need their experience the most.
This helps reduce wait times by directing customers likely to have simple queries to one of the many agents who can help them, while routing complex calls to only the most experienced and skilled agents.
Integration With Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
CRM software is an indispensable asset to customer-facing teams. These programs deliver a dashboard view of a customer’s profile — their contact info, interaction history (calls, emails, and chats), sales opportunities, purchase history, and more.
Your call center tech should integrate with your CRM so that your reps are always well-placed to deliver an outstanding and tailored service.
With the insights made readily available by an integrated CRM, agents can more quickly and efficiently resolve customer issues. This has the double benefit of keeping call queue times as short as possible and boosting customer satisfaction.
When it comes to outbound calling, some call center services also offer dialer features that streamline customer or prospect interaction. With Vonage Contact Center’s dialer capabilities, for instance, your agents can:
Preview calls ahead of time — allowing you to prioritize contacting the highest-value leads, or flag complex queries to be handled by a supervisor
View CRM insights about callers — letting agents personalize interactions and close business faster
Deliver a pre-recorded voicemail message after ending a call — ensuring your agents don’t waste time leaving voicemails when they could be on the next call
Real-Time Call Monitoring and Recording
Call recording is another useful aspect of call center systems technology, as it allows businesses to draw deeper insight from customer interactions.
For instance, a customer’s voice could be transcribed in real-time, providing support agents with all the information they need at their fingertips.
Vonage Business Communications users can also easily add call monitoring features to their suite of call center technologies.
Managers can identify when particularly complex calls are received and listen in as part of the “monitor” feature. If the support agent needs guidance, they can provide “whisper coaching” without the customer being alerted. Alternatively, they could “barge” in to have a three-way call, removing the arduous process of call forwarding and further wait times for customers.
The Real Business Benefits of Leveraging Call Center Technology
Cutting-edge call center technology enables businesses to foster unparalleled engagement with their customers. The right solutions drive efficiency and excellence in customer service operations in a range of ways.
Tailored and Engaging Customer Experience
Everyone likes to feel special — and your clients are no different.
In fact, fifth edition of the Salesforce State of the Connected Consumer Report found that 73% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. So the ball is in your court to deliver this customer requirement. And there’s no better way to deliver that than by personalizing the customer support experience from start to finish.
Luckily for you, call center tech makes this easier than ever before. With CRM integrations, your agents will have instant access to customer profiles, needs, and preferences, allowing them to deliver an exceptional experience that won’t be forgotten.
What’s more, the right call center technology also helps you improve customer experience in other ways:
Efficiency: Call center technology optimizes call routing and handling, ensuring calls are directed to the most suitable agents based on skills and expertise.
Reliability: Cloud call center solutions built on cloud-based internet calling can provide reliable uptime.
Round-The-Clock Availability: With IVR and automated call center technology, you can provide 24/7 support to your customers regardless of your regular business hours.
The best part? Not only can these benefits improve your customer satisfaction rates, but they’ll also streamline your internal communication processes.
Productivity Tracking and Workforce Management
No matter how experienced your support team managers are — it’s a very challenging undertaking to run a B2C operation at peak efficiency manually.
During quiet periods, some of your agents may be sitting around with few calls to take. During busy periods, you’re equally likely to be overwhelmed.
Call center technologies help you ease this burden and maintain harmony in your operations. For instance, predictive analytics can forecast call volumes and propose agent scheduling to ensure adequate coverage.
Additionally, managers can gain insight into the productivity of various employees in support teams, with access to metrics like average handling time (AHT), first call resolution (FCR), abandonment rate, and CSAT scores. From here, you can easily identify your top performing employees and prioritize them for high-value inbound calls.
Advanced Tools for Employee Training
Ongoing training and development are critical in a call center environment. The right call center technology makes it simpler to coach agents at scale.
For instance, with call-recording features and transcriptions, your managers have access to a vast library of potential training materials. This can help agents learn how to handle customer inquiries appropriately versus how to not.
The key here is to provide tailored training courses for your employees, which will not only develop their skill sets but also boost their confidence and team morale.
Call Center Technology Trends to Follow
Call center software is an exciting field right now, and there have been many developments and new trends. Here are just a few exciting innovations in call center tech that you may want to follow closely.
Further Development of Artificial Intelligence
In March 2023, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates published a blog post on his GatesNotes blog, titled “The age of AI has begun.” In the post, he hailed AI as a stunning development.
To Gates, AI is “the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface.” He claimed that it’s changing the way humans work, learn, and communicate with each other. What’s more, he believes that “businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”
The case for business is also clear.
In short, AI is helping organizations meet changing customer needs faster and at a lower cost. Yes, it will disrupt (and potentially destroy the business model of) slow-movers, but at the same time it will offer unprecedented opportunities to trailblazing businesses that get it right.
So how is AI carving a new era in business communications and delivering more innovative call center technology? Let’s break down some of the key areas:
Conversational AI: While simple chatbots have been around for a while, a new wave of large language models (LLM) are gaining more sophisticated and natural language processing capabilities. In the future, these tools will be able to adapt their responses to customer queries based on contextual information and past conversations — until conversations with chatbots reach a near-human standard.
Sentiment Analysis: When powered by AI, speech analytics in call centers helps call center operators assess how callers are feeling both more quickly and more accurately. That makes it easier to deliver an ideal customer experience.
Predictive Analytics: Another exciting aspect of AI call center technology is the emerging field of predictive modeling. AI tools can conceivably produce forecasts on expected call volumes or even predict what issues a customer will have in mind when contacting service.
Omnichannel Call Centers
An omnichannel experience is one that provides consistent quality and branding to a customer regardless of how they interact with your business.
It shouldn’t matter if someone contacted your support team via phone call, your web store, or mobile app — each communication channel should provide a top-quality response and outcome.
With omnichannel call center technology, the context of conversations across different channels can be preserved and known to a support agent.
Providing a perfectly unified customer journey like this is no easy feat. But, with developments in automation and AI, these solutions are becoming more accessible to businesses by the day.
Social Media Customer Service
Social media is in some ways the “Wild West” of the internet. However, these days, it has become a landscape for interactions not just between peers, but also between people and brands.
In fact, according to a 2023 survey of over 1,000 people carried out by Khoros, nearly half of consumers who engage with their favorite brands on social media are also using the platform as a place to vent their frustrations and lodge complaints.
More and more businesses are realizing that, while social media is a good place to advertise, it also creates an expectation that you should engage with any unhappy customers.
Developments in automation technology are alleviating these concerns, as algorithms are now able to target negative sentiments in comments left on public forums. These comments can be added to a customer profile on your CRM software, preparing your agents for the context of a conversation that they may need to have.
The Future of Call Center Technology Is Now
Cutting-edge call center technologies can bring efficiency to all aspects of the customer-facing side of your business. But the best solution is one that can both meet your communication needs today and provide scalable opportunities for tomorrow.
Vonage’s UCaaS solution, VBC, can be customized into a call center that does all of this and more. With VBC, your business can eliminate concerns around low performance, lack of customization, or limited scalability.
Get in touch today for a demo or a quote.
FAQs About Call Center Technology
One of the main distinctions when it comes to call centers is where they’re physically based. On one hand, you have on-premises sites, where your agents operate from a central location (or a series of branches). On the other hand, you could have a dispersed call center team, with your agents working remotely at home or in co-working spaces.
Another distinction could be drawn at the purpose of a specific call center. For instance, you could have one team that’s dedicated to handling inbound calls for customer support, and one team for making outbound calls for sales and follow-ups. Or, you could combine the two — in what’s often called a “blended call center.”
A call center focuses on interacting with clients via phone call. A contact center utilizes a broader set of channels. Rather than just focusing on phone calls, it may also use other modes of communication, such as SMS, live chat, video calls, social media, and more.
There’s no concrete answer to that question, as so much depends on the size and scale of your operation. That being said, most small businesses tend to go for a cloud-based solution to save on hardware and maintenance costs.
Vonage offers competitive UCaaS pricing for the suite of features each plan includes. Plus, for a custom solution, there are loads of add-ons you can choose from.
It all depends on the type of call center operation that you intend to run.
For instance, a traditional call center would require a significant investment of time and capital to get up-and-running. Beyond your phone lines, you may also need an on-site PBX, physical servers, handsets, computers, and more. That’s not to mention the security precautions you’ll need to take when storing customer data yourself, such as IDPS hardware and endpoint security devices.
If you’re running a virtual call center on cloud-based technology, on the other hand, the upfront hardware investment will be minimal.
At the most basic level, all you’ll need are devices with a steady internet connection and your chosen call center technology solution, and you’ll be set to go!
Want to know more about call center technology and how it can drive better connections with customers? We’re here to help! Call us at 1-844-365-9460, or fill out this form! A dedicated specialist will show you:
- How you can up your game with VoIP, IVRs, automatic call distribution, and more
- The importance of integrating your call center with your CRM, arming your agents with the context they need to deliver exceptional service
- How analytics can help improve agent performance and boost first-call resolution
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