Looking to start or level up a call center? What call center software and features do you need to be competitive today, and prepared to excel tomorrow?

 

Call centers are undergoing major transformations. Between the need for new ways of doing business, meeting modern customer needs, and being prepared for the near future, while being able to continue to deliver results clients and their customers expect, new technology is playing a major role in differentiating which call centers will make it and thrive.

 

Here are some of the types of call center software, tools and features that have become essential for being competitive, as well as those which are now becoming vital for maintaining an edge and being effective, and some of the next generation technology tools we might see in this space in the near future.

 

Outbound Auto Dialers

 

Auto dialers have now been around for close to 20 years or more. Any company or third party call center who wants to be competitive simply cannot afford not to have them if they are going to keep up when it comes to outbound calling. Manual just isn’t fast enough by a long way.

 

There may still be some place for outbound calling today and in the near future. This may not be a long term solution, especially when it comes to live cold calls. Though, don’t think you can keep up without automation.

 

Ringless Voicemail

 

Ringless voicemail (RVM) has emerged as a far superior method of outbound outreach. Even far more so than just voice broadcasts.

 

Ringless voicemail is even faster than autodialers, and doesn’t encounter the challenges of either live or pre-recorded voice broadcast dialing.

 

It leaps over the problems of time in dialing through lists and instantly delivers connections at scale. It skips the issues of so many calls being ignored or bounced, by ensuring delivery to voicemail boxes and the resulting notifications on users phones.

 

These voicemails have an average listen rate of 96%, compared to just 54% for live agents and only 39% for voice broadcasting.

 

These messages can be used to drive website traffic, and inbound calls from interested prospects and customers.

 

In turn this dramatically increases productivity and results from call center agents who get to spend their time only talking to ripe prospects, delivering far greater ROI on marketing, communications, labor and customer loyalty and customer service efforts and campaigns.

 

IVR

 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems can further compound the advantages of using RVM, as well as multiplying efficiency and results of any inbound call center services.

 

While sometimes notorious for being purposely designed to be complex and infuriating, IVR systems can also be programmed to deliver far greater customer service, efficiency, convenience and financial competitiveness for call centers.

 

Whether it is push button options, voice controlled, and directed to a live operator or AI, IVR software can be used to streamline the routing of callers right to the information and help they really want and need.

 

It does all of this while dramatically reducing costs and labor hours, and keeping live agents fresh for when it counts the most. Together with RVM, 10% or more of sales leads, and repeat customers appear to convert without ever needing to speak with a live representative. It is all automated.

 

SMS

 

Bulk and drip text messaging is proving to have become one of the most appealing and effective ways to reach prospects and customers today. People just far prefer text, even over social, email and of course taking inbound calls. Consider that the average open rate for SMS is 87%, versus just 23% for email ads.

 

This can be used as a stand alone campaign, in tandem with RVM campaigns, or as an integrated part of an even broader omnichannel effort. They can be sent individually, in bulk to thousands of contacts, or dripped out automatically to follow up over time.

 

Cloud Based Call Center Software

 

There are desktop and API versions of call center software. Then there are cloud based tools which have only become dramatically more friendly, reliable and efficient over the past few years.

 

Cloud based solutions are becoming increasingly vital. They provide access across different locations and even countries. They have proven invaluable for times of emergency relocations during natural disasters, terror attacks, and now viruses and large scale quarantines.

 

They are indispensable for the new world of remote work, where there may no longer be a place for large or even medium sized call centers where agents go to work every day in person.

 

This is all along with the advantages of different teams being able to access necessary information from different locations around the globe depending on their departments and time of day and day of year call routing programming.

 

Reporting

 

We’ve moved well beyond having to do business by guessing and assumptions to being able to work based on facts and metrics. The best call center reporting tools can give real time statistics and visual reports, allowing managers to immediately identify issues and anomalies, as well as to rapidly split test new campaigns and tweaks, with a tight feedback loop.

 

Call Recording

 

Call recording features have many benefits. In addition to compliance and liability protection, they provide your teams with even more intelligence about customers, which is readily at hand. Call recordings can be used to identify issues with staff members, while extracting what is being done well for training purposes, and optimizing scripts and sales processes.

 

CRM Integration

 

The more streamlined and integrated and automated your call center software the better. Being able to pull in, view and analyze data from fewer places is better. Consider this when running wider campaigns, involving email, SMS, website lead capture forms and outbound manual calls.

 

Other Key Features & Factors To Consider When Choosing Call Center Software

 

  • Affordability

  • Scalability for the future (up and down)

  • Ability to import and export records and contacts

 

Looking to the future call centers may also need to be more involved in and look for tools for:

 

  • Live chat

  • Social media direct messaging integration

  • Video chats