Call centers are an obvious necessity for large enterprises, but many small and medium-sized businesses are left grappling over whether or not they need call center functionality or even if they are already maintaining what’s essentially a call center without realizing it.
In nearly any industry, the phone is central to communicating with customers, and the way customer communications are handled can be a way to differentiate yourself among your competitors.
But it’s not as simple as just getting a phone answered. It includes everything from making sure calls are routed to the appropriate person, minimizing how long customers have to wait as well as allowing people to bypass the wait and immediately gain the information they need or process a request quickly.
In other words, there’s a lot more to ensuring a great experience for your customers than just making sure you have a phone number for them to call.
You May Have a Call Center If…
While images of warehouse-sized rooms lined end-to-end with cubicles and people robotically answering calls may spring to mind, in actuality, what can be considered a call center is flexible and will naturally adapt to the business whose needs it satisfies.
For example, if you have a sales team, customer support group, helpdesk, or any group of people dependent on telephone communication, you are probably already operating a call center.
A call center is just a term describing the central organization and processing of business communications. In other words, calls arrive at the same place where they can be answered, given a convenient menu of options via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) prompts, or transferred to the right extension.
It’s obvious that this type of functionality is incredibly convenient and efficient, but you may still be wondering whether your business needs such functionality to thrive.
Here’s a very simple test: how often during a business day are customers put on hold, and how many missed calls are blinking on your handset when you arrive back in the morning?
Both of those areas represent weak points in your business communication system because, in both cases, customers reaching out to you are told either to wait or to leave a message. Neither project an image of a business capable of wowing a customer with superior service.
Hitting an old-school voicemail with no options other than leaving a message or being asked to wait on hold are frustrating experiences for customers and can often be a selling point for competitors.
If your business receives or dials enough calls to necessitate frequent or long customer waits, upgrading your business phone system to include call center functionalities will help take your customers’ experiences to the next level while helping organize and de-stress call queueing.
And if your business is missing a lot of calls outside of your working hours, call center features provide the tools you need to capture those prospects even when your inbound call teams are out of the office.
You pay good money to reach your market, why let faults in your communications prevent your business from reaching its full potential?
Take Your Business to the Next Level
One of the most attractive benefits of expanding your phone system to include call center functionality is increasing the efficiency of business communications while reducing the costs of operation.
The use of an IVR can reduce the workload of handling calls by automating the answering, qualifying, and routing of incoming calls, as well as allowing callers to perform various tasks (such as requesting information, submitting changes of information, or even processing payments) without the need to wait for an agent to answer.
Eliminating potential frustrations and streamlining the call experience increases the quality of your customer service and builds the reputation of your business. Establishing your brand with a reputation for responsiveness puts your business at an advantage in the minds of consumers in need of your product or service.
The Case for UC
Unified Communications (UC) has been able to provide a brand new approach to call center productivity by unifying all the streams that modern communications can take and combining them with smart data analysis tools. A call center operating on most UC platforms is able to quickly and easily manage communications from many sources. It accomplishes this with an intuitive user interface, accessed through either a dedicated application or a web browser.
UC systems like Digium Switchvox ensure that voice and video calls, instant messages, email, and more are more promptly responded to because they are all accessible from the same interface. And supervisors are able to easily see the status of their teams (such as who is available, on a call, out of the office, etc.). They can also monitor performance and proactively prevent problems and downtime with robust, real-time data on nearly every facet of a call center’s work. These cutting-edge features magnify the advantages of a dedicated call center while increasing its capabilities.
Inherent in a UC model is a great deal of flexibility which allows the human work of maintaining and operating a call center to be performed anywhere. The call center that is central to your business could even be comprised entirely of employees or contractors working remotely.
Additionally, UC systems that integrate with CRM systems like Salesforce and customer service ticketing solutions like Zendesk can provide your agents with valuable information about customers each time they call.
Finally, investing in the latest technology provides a form of “future insurance” because as more and more industries adopt UC platforms, your business will already be operating on the best technology. This prevents the downtime and expense associated with performing a complete overhaul while trying to keep up with competitors who may have already adopted the future of business communications.
A good next step for any company exploring a better business communication system, whether you are operating a call center or not, is to analyze your current setup. Reviewing what works and where improvements are needed greatly simplifies the process of choosing and deploying new communication equipment.