Call center software can be a big investment. It’s not just money; a new platform takes time to set up and can radically change how you talk to customers.
There’s a lot riding on your success. So what should you look for when comparing your options?
1 – Call center software needs to be adaptable
Ask yourself two important questions:
- What are our current needs?
- How might our needs change?
‘Change’ has been a keyword in the 21st-century call center. New channels and higher customer expectations have radically shifted the industry’s priorities.
That doesn’t mean you should lose sleep over AI or new social media platforms, but it does make sense to stay flexible. The systems you put in place now should be adaptable to the next trends in customer experience, like the growing reliance on self-service.
In other words, your call center software should let you adapt the service you offer. One way to do that is with a platform based on No-Code tools.
‘No-Code tools’ are just what they sound like – tools that you can use to change and improve services without programming skills. That’s important because it means you can change anything about call or process flows without starting a lengthy software project.
You can change at any time, meaning you’ll be ready for whatever industry trends come next.
2 – Call center software should allow automation
New tech means that the call centers of the near future will run with fewer members of staff. That’s going to make a big dent in your costs – good news. But it will also raise questions about how to handle the small everyday tasks that agents perform manually.
Take data hygiene. At the moment, a lot of call centers rely on agents to keep customer records up-to-date by checking information during calls. But what happens when more calls are handled by non-agent resources?
Let’s put it another way: you can’t shrink your workforce without reassigning the work they do. That means you need to automate simple tasks, like data entry, creating call lists or scheduling next actions.
It’s not a problem, so long as you can design and build the automated process – again, without coding – and let it work across several different systems.
3 – Call center software should be user-friendly
Some systems claim to be user-friendly because they’re bright and colourful. Some claim to be user-friendly because they’re so limited you can’t go wrong.
Our view is that you should set the bar… higher. Your user-friendly call center software should make complex tasks as doable as simple ones.
Let’s think about continuous improvement projects for a moment. You could probably write down ten minor improvement you’d like to make to your IVR. Solving them all could have a huge impact. But to do that, you need to start a software project (or ten software projects), making the whole idea unfeasible.
Is there an alternative? Absolutely. The developers behind call center software are starting to think hard about who will actually use their platform, and what skills those people have.
As a result, we’re seeing drag-and-drop style tools at the heart of service design. These are aimed at industry experts who can design a customer experience but don’t have a background in coding.
Basically, they’re making complex tasks as doable as simple ones.
4 – Call center software should work with other systems
One of the big questions you’ll face is ‘how will this software work with our other systems?’
Usually, the answer is ‘it won’t.’
The fact is, most call center software does little or nothing to address the problem of data siloes. You can invest in the newest platform on the market, and still have to manually scour your database for customer data.
That’s why ‘interoperability’ has become an unlikely buzzword over the last few years. With the right solution, APIs make it possible to move data between systems quite easily.
It’s useful in a number of ways. For example, when a CRM is integrated with IVR, they can share data to make better routing decisions. Likewise, a lot of the automation we’ve already talked about would depend on one system sharing data with others.
If your software doesn’t share, there’s a good chance it’ll create as many problems as it solves.
5 – Call center software should be reliable
Call centers are only as good as their infrastructure, and your success means guaranteeing high-quality audio with minimum downtime.
Low-quality audio is perhaps the most lethal flaw a call center can have, for obvious reasons.
When you’re comparing call center software, look for resilience. A multi-carrier platform should hold up under even the worse conditions.
You also need to make sure your call center software will reliably connect with the hardware you already have, whether that’s SIP softphone, desk phone or VoIP.
The quality and reliability of your platform are vital, so don’t overlook them.
For example, babelforce uses over 40 carriers and 300 integrated service providers; our customers aren’t stopped by fire, floods or power failure.
In fact, there’s nothing on this list that we can’t do; we’re the industry leaders for integration and automation.