The Must-Have Contact Center Technologies

A contact center, which is normally referred to as the e-contact or customer-interaction center is the nerve of your business communication or customer interaction. It is the central point in any given enterprise from where all the business’ customer contacts are managed.

An enterprise’s contact center typically comprises of one or more virtual call hubs. They may however include other forms of customer contact details as well. These details may include email newsletters, Web site chats and inquiries, postal mail directories and a collection of customer information put together during in-store purchasing. Normally, this center makes part of the general customer relationship management (CRM) of an enterprise. Regardless of the nature of your business, here are some technologies that make your contact center live to its task.

The Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

An automatic call distributor (ACD) or dialer is something that every call center should have. It will help manage all incoming calls to the call center and route them out to the right party basing on some handling instructions that are pre-established in the system. Most of these ACDs or dialers have skill-based routing technology which directs calls to the appropriate agent at the call center based on their skillset.

Email response management software

Emails are an important and common means through which every organization communicates with not just the customers but all stakeholders as well. The email response management software will automatically handle the enterprise’s emails based on user-defined rules. This email software is currently used by different call centers to manage enormous volumes of mails. The software can track and record the status of every email message and even a follow-up message. Email response management software is often used also to provide automated responses to different incoming mails guided by similar email responses from the past.

Campaign Management

This contact management technology is used in the call center to let the dialer know who is supposed to be contacted. With that information, it produces a list of telephone numbers or enables the dialer to create a list of email contacts. If you have a more advanced campaign management solution then it will also show you the response activities for each customer.

Call recording solution

The call recording is often required in the call center industry to keep a record of call interactions for use in the future should need arise for the same. Call records can always be required for legal matters or as evidence of interaction that has taken place before. The needs for call recording may differ from agency to agency or with circumstances. The technology will capture all interactions that can later be replayed if necessary. These call recording solutions may capture only the call, or may add in other related screens along.

The IVR

At times you may not require a live agent for communication interactions regardless of the business or industry being served. These are common interactions requiring certain specific responses, and that is where the interactive voice response solution comes in. In addition, the contemporary increasingly mobile consumer is more interested in the ability to handle their own interactions, which makes the IVR an indispensable solution. The interactive voice response (IVR) technology enables self-service and lessens the organization’s cost of operation.

Quality Management Solution

This solution provides the management with the needed insight into performance and interactions that involve service to the customers. Organizations must be so concerned with the way they (their staff) interact with customers since that will determine the overall performance of the organization and the image the public will attach to them. Call center agents are supposed to adhere to particular procedures and policies within the organization and the quality management solution makes this much effective.

The News – Alert (CTI)

With the Computer telephony integration or news alert, the call agents no longer have to spend time looking through customer directory for customer information. Neither do the customers have to provide pertinent information any more at multiple stages of the call. This advanced call center technology links up the ACD and the CMS app to deliver a screen pop up with the basic needed detail.

Is Your Business Systemized?

It’s critical to have some type of soft-interface to communicate with your virtual team. We use a software called Sales Stream specifically for telecom, there are many other systemized tools out there, Salesforce, Infusionsoft, TeamPM, the functionalities of the systems will vary and should depend upon what your specific needs are. The important thing is to develop a system of communication with your team, or have someone help you implement one if you don’t have one already.

We use a variety of tools: video cameras on our phone system, PCs and in the offices. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and project management tools, we use Infusionsoft in our office. We have many tools and systems in place because it helps keep everything accounted for and organized.

In the case of redundancy, make sure that you have emergency plans in place. If there is a failure, backup capacity allows you to continue operating. Even if production is at 50 percent, it’s 100 times better than being completely down.

We have multiple redundancy pathways in place, yet there are still times we get caught flat-footed. The unthinkable takes place and there you are. Make sure that you have other suppliers in place to handle extra work that you can offload to until you get back to 100 percent. The last thing you want to happen is for any disorganization to filter into your clientele business or lifestyle, depending upon the clientele you serve.

Nothing will cost your business faster than an inability to supply your customers with what you promised. This can be a hard, expensive lesson to learn. Be proactive and look at all the systems you have in place and ask yourself, What is the cost to build a system that won’t work?

Start with making a list of similar businesses that you can offload work to on a short-term basis while you work on your own infrastructure. Are there multiple pathways into your building if you lose Internet connectivity? If your building floods, is there a system in place to send people home and work as efficiently as they do in their offices? These are a few contingency plans that should be put into place.

Let’s take a look at other steps and aspects of building a virtual team.

First and foremost, if you walk away with one thing after you’ve read this, it should be the importance of changing your job title. Examine the way that are currently doing business, if you have a failure is there a contingency plan in place. Furthermore if that contingency plan fails is there a redundant contingency plan in place. A well-designed plan should have a minimum of two consecutive failures and still be able to maintain operations. The old adage applies here of Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” And I think is most of us can attest to, system failures often do create other failures. That’s why it’s critical word ever possible to have multiple redundancy plans in place.