If you are a call center manager, meeting Service Level Agreement (SLAs) is probably your biggest challenge right now. The pandemic may have exposed some major shortcomings in your operations and fixing them quickly- and in the most cost-effective way- is critical. But for the uninitiated, Service Level is nothing but the number of inbound calls answered within a few seconds of being received.
If agents do not respond fast enough, many callers hang up or abandon their calls. This is known as Abandon Rate, or the number of calls lost before connecting to an agent.
Needless to say, a high abandon rate means fewer sales and more repeat calls – a double whammy in terms of conversion and customer satisfaction.
You might say that the obvious solution is to get more agents on the phones. However, that is only a part of the equation. Forecasting the total call volume accurately is just as important to decide how many agents will be needed to service them. In turn, this requires constant monitoring and reporting. That’s not all. Call routing and queue management also need attention. Now, if you use multiple applications for performing each of these tasks, this could be the crux of the problem.
Let’s take a step back and look at it from the macro level. It is common for call centers to scale their operations in increments because of the huge investment required. However, more often than not, you might end up buying tools from different companies that are not compatible with each other. If agents are constantly switching from one tool to the next, both average handle time and resolution rate are likely to be affected. The cost of integrating them through third-party software is often not justifiable when factors like speed and data sharing are taken into consideration. Besides, you may need to spend even more on maintenance and upgrades over a period of time.
In the digital era, customer experience relies on three pillars: flexibility and responsiveness, transparency, and accuracy. This means that call center managers need to design their workflows around customer expectations and use real-time analytics to understand customer expectations. This means 360-degree integration across channels.
Convincing Reasons Why You Need Integrated Call Center Solutions
Here are five reasons why integrated call center solutions are worth investing in:
1. Complete Omnichannel Experience:
Over the years, ‘call centers’ have been steadily evolving into ‘contact centers’ to keep up with changing customer expectations. After all, customers today want a wider choice of communication channels like chat and email rather than interacting with brands.
In fact, 8 out of 10 customers prefer self-service, if available. However, a true omni-channel experience is only possible if customers are able to switch effortlessly between multiple devices like smartphones or laptops.
An integrated call center solution can route customers to the right team and ensure that agents have access to previous interaction data across all channels. This can significantly improve response time, average handle time, and first contact resolution rates.
2. Ease of use for both agents and managers:
As new processes are introduced, you must be able to quickly add new IVR options and dedicated queues for ticket management. In the digital era, manual ticket assignment can affect resolution time and add to your workload. However, an integrated call-center solution can automate and streamline repetitive tasks such as ticket assignments based on customizable rules.
Switching agents between queues is also faster with a fully integrated call-center system. This is because they enable real-time visibility across different workflows.
For example, an integrated dashboard lets you view the number of agents available versus those already on a call. This can help you manage call routing effectively. In turn, agents can avoid transferring customers to a different queue and assist them more effectively.
3. Team collaboration:
Since the start of the pandemic, call centers around the world have switched to remote working. However, since their colleagues or superiors aren’t around anymore, agents are often unable to get help when working on unusual customer requests. This is where an integrated call center solution can be an asset.
Thanks to built-in instant messaging tools, agents can easily reach out to their teammates or supervisors, even if they are located miles apart. The result: better resolution rates and lower hold time. This capability can be handy in case of escalations or follow-ups.
4. Reporting and process management:
Integrated call center solutions come with several built-in workflows that can be customized to suit the unique needs of your call center. In addition, you also get access to standard reports providing performance insights in real-time. Further, they have an open architecture design which means easy integration with other business intelligence and CRM tools like PowerBI and Salesforce.
Most customer support teams use single-use tools for reporting and customer data management that are not interoperable with each other. This results in poor visibility for managers across different queues and makes workflows- such as customer verification, response time, resolution, and follow-up/escalation – more complex than they need to be.
5. Ideal for remote teams:
Since the pandemic, customer support teams worldwide have been uprooted from a familiar work environment and forced to work in isolation. The cost of this transition can be high. For example, new hardware like routers for connecting team members spread across a wide location can add to operating costs.
However, the latest integrated call center solutions negate the need for additional hardware as they are cloud-based. This means that as long as a team has a strong internet connection, they can seamlessly manage all their tasks without additional hardware.
In the post-pandemic environment, customers increasingly judge brands by the speed and accuracy with which they respond to them. Automation offers several advantages in terms of meeting those expectations. However, there is no substitute for trained and friendly agents when it comes to customer experience.
Helplama’s proven expertise in customer support management can help you navigate the challenges of the future in a cost-effective manner. We have a refreshingly different approach: zero contractual requirements and a one-of-a-kind Zero-Risk Guarantee that gives you a full refund if you aren’t satisfied. Contact us today for more information!