call center software guide

How is CRM Used in Call Centers? A Call Center Software Guide

In this post:

What does CRM stand for?

CRM is short for “Customer Relationship Management”. 

It’s a piece of call center software that CX teams use to manage information about their customers. 

There are two main reasons that businesses need this:

  • First, businesses need a straightforward way to view their customer data. That’s especially true when they have millions of customers!
  • Second, businesses want to get the most out of that data which, in the right hands, is gold dust!

With great CRM –  and other key call center software – customer experience specialist  design teams are able to both improve the way they engage with existing customers and make more sales to new ones!

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call center software

Isn’t CRM also the name of a business practice? 

Yes, “CRM” is often also used to describe the general set of practices around maintaining customer relationships.  

Let’s not make this any more confusing than it needs to be though – we’re only talking about the CRM call center software here!

How is CRM used in call centers?

There are two answers to this question – what is possible to do, and what most call centers actually accomplish. 

In particular, integration with other pieces of call center software is vital for getting the most of a CRM. 

When a call center operations uses its CRM as a glorified database… well, they might as well save some money and put customers’ name in an excel spreadsheet! (But not really! Don’t do that…)

So, let’s think about what call centers can get out of their CRM if they’re really committed. 

How *should* CRM be used in call centers?  

We’ve already touched on the idea of integration a little – bringing the functionality of different pieces of call center software together. 

That might mean adding the functionality of an auto dialer to your CRM and making outbound calls based on what you know about customers. 

But to do that effectively you’ll also need automation. In particular, you’ll need a way to create an entirely automated process in a timely and cost-effective way. 

Sounds pretty complicated!

It doesn’t need to be. In fact, it’s quite simple once you break the problem down. 

Software integration

In a modern call center this means one thing – API integration. APIs are kind of like universal translators that help different pieces of software work together. 

That’s “interoperability” and these days it’s one of the first things you look out for in new software purchases. Old software too actually; even legacy systems can be integrated with the clever use of custom built wrappers. 

If you can’t integrate one system with the others, you’re building yourself a silo. And that’s a bad thing. 

(It’s like adding a new room to your house but failing to include a door. Sure, you could just go outside and climb in through the window. But in the end, you’ll just stop using that room.)

Call center automation

There are a lot of ways that organizations approach automation. If you’re a multi-billion dollar goliath like Amazon, you hire 1000 software engineers to build automated workflows all day. 

If you have a small set of highly specific processes (like filling in the same 3 forms a lot) you use RPA. 

But for our money, the best option for the contact center is No-Code automation. No-Code tools are basically a software developers toolkit that anyone can use, without coding skills. 

When you need to create an end-to-end automated process, you just assemble pre-built components. 

(We usually compare it to building things with lego bricks; the bricks themselves are really simple, but there’s virtually no limit to what you can create with them.)

So here’s the question – if you did integrate your CRM with surrounding call center software, what specific automated process would you be able to build?

Here are 3 that we’ve seen plenty of businesses bring to life with babelforce. 

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#1 Real-time customer data for agents

Here’s a jarring statistic – 72% of customers expect businesses to know three specific things about them from the moment they reach an agent:

  • who they are
  • what they recently purchased
  • what motivated their most recent interaction with your brand

I say “jarring” because it doesn’t seem like that expectation is met too often!

But, when a call center is able to do this it’s because of how they’re using their CRM software. 

First, their ACD registers the number that the customer is calling from. Then, it looks up the number in the CRM where existing customers’ phone numbers will usually be stored. 

If it finds a match, bingo! It can now send all of that information to the agent as it routes the call. 

This is a great way to lower your Average Handling Time while actually increasing service quality – a rare thing indeed!

call center software

#2 Personalized contact routing

Let’s do one better and think about how CRM is used in call centers that really want to impress inbound callers.

There’s no point sending customer data to an agent if it’s the wrong agent. It stands to reason that the customer and the agent and *you* want the right agents for the right queries. 

So, while your ACD is looking up customer data like “name” and “recent purchases” it could also check out categories like:

Call routing decisions like whether to route to a specialist retention team, or provide an automated update on a ticket. 

The right intervention at the right time can massively increase First Contact Resolution rate and turn your customers into real advocates. 

After all, 71% of consumers report that valuing their time is the most important thing a business can do for them! 

call center software

#3 Proactive customer service 

If you really want to test out your CRM and call center software, then the final step should grab your attention.

We’ve looked at two ways to improve inbound services; now, let’s think about using the blended call center model to get proactive.

Proactive service basically means going from fighting fires to preventing them. Rather than waiting to hear from customers who have problems, you reach out to customers and offer help.  engaging their VIP customers; upselling; retention; debt collection; proactive service; and virtual queuing.

How do you know who needs help?

Let’s say your business sells smartphones. There’s no way for you to know when a customer has dropped their smartphone in the toilet and needs a replacement. That will still be an inbound call. 

But plenty of businesses make outbound calls to brand customers to make sure they’re happy with the service and product so far. 

There are six common use cases we see all the time for outbound service:

  • Engaging their VIP customers
  • Upselling
  • Retention and onboarding
  • Debt collection 
  • Proactive service “check-ins” 
  • Virtual queuing

Those are 6 excellent reasons to start getting in touch with customers. The added benefit is that blended contact centers have a far better Average Speed of Answer, as well as a more predictable occupancy rate.

This use case, like the others we’ve looked at, hinges on integration and automation for key pieces of call center software, and has the potential to be one of the most impactful ways that CRM is used in the call center industry.  

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