Customer support has come a long way, thanks to the many automation tools currently on the market. So there’s no excuse for your business not to provide top-notch assistance to all its customers. The best call center software offers multiple features—from call routing and queuing to interactive voice response (IVR) systems. As a result, you can track key metrics with analytics and reporting features, view customer data for personalized interactions, and more. The best call center software optimizes the customer experience while helping to scale your business.
With so many different systems available, what are the best call center software features to look for? And is it better to have an in-house or an outsourced call center? This comprehensive guide will give you a better idea of the options out there, and the pros and cons attached to each. Let's dive in!
Call Center Software vs Outsourcing
Before talking about the best call center software to invest in, first consider whether it’s the right fit for your business. Using call center software has several advantages over outsourcing the job. For instance, it allows your operation to be more cost-effective and flexible—and it lets you keep customer support services in-house.
That said, your own call center software may require a substantial upfront investment in terms of technology and training. In addition, it may not provide the same level of expertise and support as an outsourcing partner can. Startups and small businesses can especially benefit from outsourcing.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at what you stand to gain, or lose, by outsourcing call center operations.
Benefits of Outsourcing Call Center Operations
Outsourcing is a smart way to optimize your processes. You maintain your focus on business operations, while an experienced partner keeps your customers satisfied. Here are a few good reasons to outsource call center support to a professional:
Small businesses operate on tight margins. With outsourcing, you’ll see significant savings on administrative costs. This means not having to budget for renting additional office space—not to mention the furniture, equipment, utilities, and maintenance that go with it. Moreover, it will keep payroll costs in check.
It Can Improve Your First-Call Resolution Rate
When it comes to delivering stellar customer service, you can leave it to the professionals! Specialist call centers have a huge talent pool and well-trained agents ready to assist customers. Letting an experienced team take over may be just what you need to ensure quicker resolutions and boost customer satisfaction.
You Can Provide Round-The-Clock Support
Call centers have large teams that work in shifts. This means that customers can get round-the-clock support, something that small businesses may not have the capacity to manage.
Major Call Center Outsourcing Concerns
The main call center outsourcing concerns typically revolve around the following aspects:
Quality of Service
Outsourcing a call center may result in varying levels of service quality, as external agents might not possess the same level of expertise or product knowledge as in-house staff. Ensuring that the outsourced team maintains high-quality standards and delivers exceptional customer service is crucial.
Training and Onboarding
Ensuring that the outsourced agents receive adequate training and onboarding to understand the company's products, services, and brand values is essential. Inadequate training can lead to inconsistencies in service and a lack of alignment with company culture.
Companies need to consider whether the outsourced call center can accommodate their growth and scale their services accordingly. Limited scalability may hinder a company's ability to expand or adjust to market fluctuations.
Addressing these concerns requires thorough research, careful partner selection, and ongoing communication and monitoring to ensure a successful outsourcing experience.
What to Look For in Call Center Software
Each call center software option comes with different features—even though your business may not require all of them. Consider including these top 10 features:
1. Interactive Voice Response
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a core feature shared by all the best call center software packages. Customers don’t like to be kept waiting when they call you. Here, an IVR automatically answers their call and resolves any query with an electronic voice menu. If they need further assistance, the IVR simply redirects them to the support team.
It’s a fundamental yet intuitive tool—think of it like Siri for clients! You can record the database to help resolve client queries at the very first contact. Additionally, IVR will schedule callbacks and prioritize VIP numbers.
2. Call Recording
This feature gives you invaluable data—instant feedback. For example, you can listen to recorded conversations to understand how your clients feel about your brand and the gaps in your customer service.
Further, you’re then able to analyze the calls to check whether your agents are following the script, offering cross-sells and upsells, and resolving issues by giving accurate information. These recordings can also be used to coach agents to improve their performance and the overall quality of service.
The best call center software can record both calls and videos.
3. Customer Relationship Management Integration
Every time a customer interacts with your brand, they generate data. Sounds good—unless the data remains scattered among various departments, thus creating a gap in information. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is able to gather this data into one central location for ease of access.
Therefore, when a customer calls, your agents can pull up the relevant data from the CRM software in seconds. This might include information such as their purchase history and buying and spending patterns. Ideally, you’ll be able to use this information to cross-sell and upsell services.
Another benefit of CRM integration is that it provides business intelligence. For example, you can analyze your customers’ pain points and use the feedback to identify gaps in your service.
4. Multichannel Support
Multichannel support is an all-in-one solution for interacting with your customers on a centralized system. The same customer might use multiple channels to reach out—perhaps via a phone call, chat, or email. With multi-channel integration, you’re able to view all their past interactions on a single dashboard.
Multichannel capability is also important to delivering a quality customer experience. Did you know that customers switch between three and five different channels when looking to buy a product or service? For instance, from an app, to a website, and then to social media. Utilizing multichannel features, you can respond to their queries across multiple channels, while delivering a seamless and consistent customer experience.
5. Whispering and Live Coaching
With the live coaching feature, managers can discreetly join the conversation to provide support. This can be extremely useful when an agent is tackling a tough scenario—such as negotiating a price, onboarding new customers, or dealing with irate callers. Managers can whisper instructions or share notes via screen sharing.
You can also train new agents with real-time call monitoring and ensure they follow quality standards consistently.
Reach out to new customers with auto-dialers. Whether they’ve requested a callback or shown interest in your product, this is a great way to reach out to them quickly.
That said, how exactly does an auto-dialer work? Essentially, it automates the call-back process, so when the user answers the call, they hear an automated announcement. This could be, for example, a reminder about a webinar that they might have signed up for.
As an added feature, auto-dialers can transfer the call to an agent as soon as the user picks up.
7. Computer Telephony Integration
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is a cloud-based solution that turns your office computers into a call center. It’s a centralized communication hub that’s needed to run interactive voice response, auto-dialers, and call monitoring. In addition, you’re free to integrate it with different channels, such as chat, video calling, and SMS.
CTI’s most useful feature is that it eliminates the need for a landline. Agents can call customers using VoIP from their computers. During an incoming call, CTI pulls up client information from the CRM and displays it as a pop-up. This helps agents resolve queries faster.
8. Call Scripting
The call scripting feature works like a chatbot. It picks up keywords from the conversation and troubleshoots responses to general queries. This works especially well if you have a large number of customers calling with regard to similar issues.
Drafting a scripted protocol for all agents to follow will bring uniformity to your communications. Furthermore, you’ll be able to provide a consistent experience for your customers—regardless of which agent they speak to.
To formulate a great call script, start by listening to past recordings to get a handle on typical communication gaps. Then, you can create a set of standard responses based on this research. Remember, however, to keep the script short, actionable, and polite.
Whether you run a successful small business or are just starting out, numbers can be your friend. The best call center software has an analytics dashboard that provides an overview of useful metrics—such as call volume, call length, and agent downtime. This data tells you a lot about how efficiently your team deals with customer interactions—even during peak hours—and what sort of additional training and support they might need.
Reporting and analytics insights also shed light on customer pain points. You can identify specific issues that customers have with your products or services, and use these to set actionable goals for your team.
10. Workforce Management
Call volumes vary by the hour. The workforce management (WFM) tool helps you make provisions to ensure that enough agents are deployed during peak times. WFM identifies call volume trends and creates a daily, weekly, or monthly forecast based on these metrics. Once you have an idea of the expected number of calls, it’s possible to anticipate workloads and plan accordingly. This approach does away with the need for spreadsheets to schedule staff manually. Instead, WFM enables automated staff scheduling.
Top Call Center Software
If you think outsourcing isn’t ideal for your business, rather set up in-house call center software. There are several vendors offering customized solutions. You can request a free trial or subscribe to their paid plans.
Here are some of the best call center software solutions currently available:
Zendesk began as a CRM software but has now expanded to a call center solution. It’s fairly easy to set up and is fully cloud-based.
- Omnichannel support to reach customers by phone, email, or Instagram
- All standard features, such as IVR, call monitoring, and routing
- The ability to easily track and measure customer service interactions and agent performance.
- A user-friendly interface that can be set up within minutes without assistance from specialist staff
RingCentral is a robust software option that offers full omnichannel support and CRM integration.
- Can be integrated and customized with several software solutions that you may already be using
- Has an advanced IVR with speech recognition
- Its “RingOut" feature enables one-touch calling
- Offers skills-based omnichannel call routing
- The “Workforce Optimization Pro” tool allows you to create schedules, manage agents, and select calls for a review
- Offers high-quality video calling
It’s easy to use and connects you with more callers, in less time—and with fewer agents. Nextiva has standard features such as IVR, automatic call routing, and call queuing. An added extra is virtual agents who help to automate interactions.
- Handles 525 calls in the queue, and as it runs on the cloud, agents can answer as many inbound calls as needed
- The Call Flow Builder tool helps create call routing workflows in simple steps
- Can be integrated with CRMs such as Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle Sales Cloud, and more
- Offers application programming interface (API) to set up workflow automation
- Provides real-time analytics on a customized dashboard
Aircall markets itself as a productivity-enhancing tool for your support team. It has standard features, such as IVR, cloud-based calling, and routing. In addition, it offers skill-based routing, call queuing, queue callback, and live call monitoring.
- Aircall’s Power Dialer automatically identifies phone numbers and allows you to make up to 80 calls in an hour
- Can be integrated with your existing CRM with a few clicks, and also offers over 50 different integrations that can connect with Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk, and more
- Supervisors can join trainees’ calls with the call whispering function
- Real-time analytics
CloudTalk is one of the best call center software solutions that you can invest in. It helps optimize your operating costs, and intelligently monitors the quality of your process with advanced analytics. Its key features include click-to-call, predictive dialing, and real-time customer information.
- Creates customized call queues
- Smartly reroute calls using automatic call distribution (ACD), which also lets you pair agents with clients to build relationships
- Personalized voicemails and greetings
Choosing the Best Call Center Partner for Your Business
Cost optimization is critical for businesses to remain profitable in the current market. Installing in-house software has prohibitive costs, including manpower and infrastructure. If this doesn’t fit your budget, then you should look at other options, such as outsourcing. At present, nearly 59% of businesses prefer to outsource some services to save costs.
That said, cost savings is not the only reason that companies turn to call center partners. The right partner can also help you increase the customer satisfaction rate, provide 24/7 support, and free up time so you can focus on growing your business.
Moving forward, how do you identify the best call center partner for your business? Look at some of these crucial metrics:
- What is their first-call resolution rate?
- What is their average call-handling time?
- How do customers rate their services?
- Do they hold regular training to train their representatives?
- Which tools and software do they use?
- Will your data remain secure and private with them?
Here are some other call centers that can help you:
Inbound Call Centers
These centers handle incoming calls, which is useful when you receive a high number of queries and requests for assistance with your service or product.
Outbound Call Centers
These centers handle outgoing calls. You should use this service if you actively want to promote a new product launch or reengage customers.
Virtual Call Centers
These call centers have agents at various locations and geographies. This type of service will be useful if you offer services in locations with different time zones.
How Helpware Gives an Edge to Your Customer Service
Helpware uses a modern approach to outsourcing. We work closely with you, so you get to know and interact with our team and feel like you’re on the same journey. After assessing your specific needs, we recruit and retain a custom-built team. The candidates are hand-picked and undergo comprehensive training to ensure your brand image is preserved.
Our tech stack includes AI, machine learning, data modeling, verification, content labeling, and moderation. We lean towards automation solutions so that your business can scale, and thereafter we provide consistent quality.
You can use our interactive dashboard to view real-time and historical data to measure our performance, gain insights, and share feedback. With Helpware, you can rest assured of quality as we emphasize quality monitoring and continuous improvement.
Supercharge your Customer Service with Helpware
Many of the best call center software offerings provide beneficial features. However, not all of them are scalable. On the other hand, a call center partner can help grow your business by engaging customers and providing quick support.
Helpware has a 90% CSAT (customer satisfaction) score, which is among the best in the industry. Simply put, this means, we can turn confused customers into satisfied, paying clients for you! Furthermore, we are trusted by over 150 clients around the world.
Join us to see how we can transform your customer service and improve your bottom line. Contact us today.