UPDATED: February 2020
Although there’s a plethora of intelligent call center technology to take advantage of, many organizations still only have basic functionalities in place.
This is a mistake because contact center technology is evolving faster than ever before; new technology brings with it new opportunities to improve your contact center’s infrastructure and performance.
In this blog, we’ll take a look through some essential infrastructure for the modern contact center, before taking a look at some emerging solutions that could greatly benefit your contact center.
Why does contact center technology matter?
Today’s consumers have more flexibility and buying options than ever. And it’s been well proven that if they have a choice, most customers will leave a brand after a poor customer experience.
Contact center technology is the difference between an average customer experience and an exceptional customer experience; the kind that gets people talking about your brand.
What technology is used in a contact center?
The quality of a contact center’s infrastructure ultimately determines its success. If the technology in your call center is sub-par, it’s going to be very difficult to provide a service that’s more than that too.
And there are some elements of a call center that you simply can’t do without; the contact center technology essentials.
It’s rare that you’ll find a call center operating without the following basic tech:
Essential Contact Center Technology:
1. An Interactive Voice Response System (IVR)
An IVR is a system that allows you to use the dial pad on your phone to make selections in a menu, identify yourself, and direct yourself to the right department in the organization for your inquiry. This usually sounds something like, “Press 1 for sales, Press 2 for billing inquiries …”
They also allow businesses to include common or promotional messaging, collect information about callers, and route inquiries to the best agent to deal with that issue. This helps to improve efficiency within a call center, saving both the call center and the customer’s time.
2. An Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
An Automatic Call Distributor is software that distributes incoming calls to the best possible agents using pre-defined rules. ACDs are one of the most commonly used technologies in the telephony and contact center industry.
Traditionally, the distribution strategy would be based on getting the caller to any agent as quickly as possible, however, advances in AI technology have allowed much more accurate skills-based call routing; where calls are directed to the agent who is most competent at resolving the caller’s particular issue.
Adding skills-based routing to your ACD could radically improve first-call resolution metrics, as well as CSat and average handle time.
3. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
Computer Telephone Integration, or CTI, is a common name for another essential contact center technology.
It’s the software that connects the telephone lines to the computer so that agents can handle inbound and outbound calls without physically using the phone.
In the past, this may have been a stand-alone software, but most integrated cloud-based call center platforms now come with a computer-telephony integration as standard.
Aside from making calls physically easier to handle, computer telephone integration has several advantages; most CTIs now come with analytics modules that can both provide the agent with caller information and history, and record information about the calls themselves for analysis later.
4. A Workforce Management (WFM) solution
Workforce management software is an umbrella term for any software that helps a business manage its employees.
Although it is now widely used, the term actually originated in contact centers. This is hardly surprising as — and any good call center manager will tell you this — managing the human elements of the contact center is one of the most difficult aspects of running one.
WFM solutions help to alleviate this with a wide range of tools around labor scheduling, vacation management, and other HR-related activities.
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides businesses with a better way to manage their customers.
With a 360° view of the customer lifecycle, agents have access to a customer’s purchase history and have the ability to document interactions for future inquires. Having a track record of the customer can help customer support agents resolve issues more efficiently, freeing up their time to service other clients.
Other Types of Contact Center Technology
- Email Response Management Systems
- Knowledge Management Systems
- TTY/TDD Communications
- Toll-Free Telephone Services
- Trunk Circuit Networks
- Web Chat
Now, instead of discussing the solutions that you should already have in place, let’s focus on some innovative call center technology that you likely haven’t implemented yet.
New Contact Center Technologies You Should Consider
Gamification uses the typical elements of game playing in the contact center as a way to encourage agent engagement and improve retention. By introducing gamification, contact centers can induce healthy competition and make the workplace fun. This will inspire agents to put forth more effort and increase their efficiency at work.
You could implement this in your contact center with either specific contact center gamification software, or simply by tacking a leaderboard on the wall and deciding some rewards and prizes for hitting key milestones.
2. Voice Biometrics
Voice Biometrics technology extracts personal voice patterns and verifies the speaker’s identity using just their voice. Because it’s unique to each individual, voice biometrics has become a reliable way to 5 authenticate a person. This technology is fundamental for preventing fraud, which ultimately saves time and money for organizations.
3. Speech Analytics
Speech analytics is the process of analyzing recorded calls for the purpose of identifying customer needs. The process is primarily used to extract useful information buried in customer interactions. This technology has the potential to reveal rising trends and areas of opportunity or concern. In the call center, speech analytics can also identify competitive conversations and the underlying reason for a customer to stop doing business with you.
4. Call-Back Solutions
75% of customers find that calling a business is still the most effective way of getting a quick response. However, when a customer is put on hold the overall customer experience is negatively impacted. Luckily, offering a call-back is a great solution to this problem. Call-back solutions will lower your abandon rates, reduce spikes in call volume, and improve the customer experience, simply by reducing your contact center’s wait times.