The do’s and don’t’s of using call centre software
The do’s and don’t’s of using call centre software
Call centre software – in an ideal world it should be plug in and play. And while you may need to fine tune its integration with your existing systems, in a lot of cases that’s not where the learning curve exists. In fact getting the right call centre software in place may actually be the easiest piece of the puzzle. Even if you have the best agents in the business, without the right internal policies and tracking, they’re not going to be able to do their job to their best of their ability, and you’ll be left with extra work behind the scenes to keep your call centre running smoothly.
Do: train agents to use the software effectively
Most call centre software solutions have a number of features designed to help make agents more efficient, stronger sales people and better at providing customer service. But to make the most of your call centre system, all agents need to be properly trained on how to use the software. When you switch to a new system, make sure you schedule appropriate time to train everyone on how to use it, and then include training modules in your onboarding procedure for any new hires that join the staff later.
Don’t: skip recording calls
Your call centre software should automatically record all calls that come into and go out of the call centre. Not only can this help in training, but it can help quality assurance as well. Managers can listen to any call at any time, to make sure agents are performing well and keeping quality standards where they need to be. Agents can listen to the calls to be sure they’re truly understanding customer needs and intent, plus get feedback on how they can improve the way the call was handled.
You have the freedom to choose to record all calls, only certain types of calls, specific parts of the call, calls certain agents handle, or exclude sensitive parts of a call, depending on the needs of your call centre.
Call recorder software will also handle getting legally binding voice signatures, and stops recording while credit card details and other sensitive information is being taken, to ensure your company can continue to meet PCI compliance requirements.
Call recordings are kept secure and protected by public key encryption to make sure customer data remains safe.
When you go over recorded calls, pay attention to the correlation between QA scores and customer satisfaction survey scores. Keep in mind only 20 to 25% of the customer satisfaction with a call is determined by the conversation with an agent.
Do: Use automated dialers
Automated dialers give you the power to call multiple numbers at once, and then instantly connect the agent to the numbers that answers. This way, your agents spend less time dialing, and more time talking to real people.
Many systems like ours offers a range of dialers to choose from, including multi, preview, and predictive, so you can set them up in the way that works best for the way you want your team to function. And don’t underestimate the importance of timing; reducing the time each agent waits between calls can have a significant financial impact on your call centre over a year.
Don’t: forget to clean your lists
Don’t let your databases fill with unreachable numbers or numbers on the Do Not Call registry. Look for a lead cleanser solution that allows your business to ensure that every number dialed is a potential customer. This sort of tool will remove any duplicated or disconnected numbers to ensure you lead lists are of the best quality, to keep your staff as productive as possible. You can even run the lead cleanser while your team makes outbound calls, and upload new leads into the system whenever you want.
Do: choose software suited to your call centre
Not all call centre software is created equally, so you’ll want to make sure you pay close attention to the features and customisations available. Many of the available options can be setup to work for several types of call centres, whether you’re running an inbound service team, outbound telesales or a blended mix of the two.
Don’t: opt for a one-size-fits-all approach
Choosing a generic call centre software solution could harm productivity, sales, and more. Make sure the solution offers the features and flexibility you need, and provides an option that’s easy for your agents to learn to use.
Do: Use software to schedule agents according to call load
The volume of calls coming in or going out of your call centre can change based on a variety of factors, such as the day of the week, time of day, and holidays. The right software can keep track of call volumes, and provide estimates on the number of staff members you’ll want to have working during each shift to appropriately handle the load.
A workforce management tool allows you to see what’s going on in the call centre from anywhere, and forecasts future performance. It even allows you to remind your agents when they need to be on break, and set up their preferred hours so you can make scheduling easier.
Don’t: guess your call centre’s scheduling needs
Think you can handle scheduling everything on your own with a spreadsheet? Of course, when you have a small team this could be easy, but you have to think about the practicality of this method when you scale your team. Plus, you never know what kind of shift restrictions your staff will have from week to week, and it will help you to have a solution that can adapt and grow with your business accordingly.
Do: consider cloud-based call centre software
Opting for web-based software means you can avoid costly capex costs like new hardware purchases or maintaining server equipment. It also allows anyone you choose in the company to access the system from anywhere in the world, which means you can allow your agents to work physically in the call centre, let your centre follow the sun, or provide the flexibility to telecommute from home.
One call centre chose to start allowing employees to work from home on the basis that it would help them save money on space and office furniture. They found the employees who worked from home completed 13.5% more calls than those who worked in the office. This equates to almost an extra workday a week out of the at-home workers, who also reported higher job satisfaction (although the downside is less birthday cakes to share).
Don’t: rely solely on an internal IT team to manage your solution
It’s not to say your in-house IT team can’t handle the integrations that may need to be made, but the cost of an in-house team can cut into the budget. With cloud-based call centre software solution, everything on the IT side of things is handled for you, and included in the cost of your software. Solutions like this can help reduce costs by up to 40%, while still giving agents everything they need to achieve higher sales targets – so your business can do more with a smaller team.
To learn more about how to effectively manage an outbound call centre, download our free ebook The Psychology of a High Performing Call Centre today.
Image via Flickr CC/Julia Webb