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Call Center and Contact Center

More businesses than you can imagine have a call center. To put it simply, a call center is defined as two or more people performing the same function using the phone system. Phone systems that do not have call center functionality refer to these features as groups or hunt groups, where two or more people are inserted into a group due to commonalities. When callers reach out to your business, do they ever ask for a certain department? Do you have a sales, support, customer service, billing, operator, or reception group?

Companies that use standard groups to distribute department calls can benefit from call center features. This will allow for more appropriate and effective call distribution within that group. Automatic call distribution (ACD) can distribute calls to the next person in the group. You can also adjust how these calls are distributed. For example, Avaya IP Office allows for the establishment of calling groups to distribute calls in any of the following ways. These are all extremely standard distribution methods for phone systems with call center features built in:

  • Simultaneously with one call presented at a time will ring all users in the group at once. However, if a user is in busy status, then the call won't present to that end user.
  • Simultaneously with multiple calls presented will ring all users in the group at once, even individuals in busy status.
  • Linear will allow you to place end users in a line and always start from the top of the line, working your way down. This allows you to put the most proficient person at the front of the line. This method is commonly utilized for groups that require a more proficient person for technical support or even for businesses that support bilingual methods.
  • Rotary refers to a round robin distribution. Inbound calls will go to the next user in the line, and then the phone system will repeat where it left off. If an end user is busy, it simply skips that user.
  • Most Idle Agent will calculate the idle time of the end user and present the call to the person with the most idle time. This is the most effective method of call distribution to evenly share phone calls with all members in the group.

Once your business has identified a call center need, Converged Communication Systems will simply convert the calling group into a queue group. This allows callers to be handled on a first-come, first-served basis and effectively provides waiting messages or queue announcements - as well as a menu of options for any caller that has to remain on hold. Providing a better experience during hold times involves allowing impatient callers to leave a message, select a self-service option, or be transferred elsewhere, as opposed to remaining stuck on hold with no alternative aside from abandoning the call. You can also play customized messages, based on wait length or other variables.

Call Center Reporting

Businesses can take their call centers to the next level with call center real-time and historical reporting. This allows each department to review drilled-down statistics on call volume, abandon rates, call hold or wait times, and more. Using those reports, your business can gain a full understanding of caller experience and use that knowledge to provide the best possible customer support to clients and prospective clients, while also minimizing abandon rates. In addition, reporting and statistics can help your business decrease hold or wait times to keep your clients happy and prevent them from hanging up and calling your competitors instead.

Call center reporting is also a great indicator of staffing: Ensure you have enough employees to support your call volume. Furthermore, it can give you information on call length that can help you uncover other self-service features you might want to implement to improve the caller experience and save money. One easy solution is providing an automated self-service menu and interactive voice response (IVR) system to automate the process of sending invoices to clients, instead of having customer service representatives spend 15 to 30 minutes per instance.

Real-time reporting also allows managers and supervisors to see end users or agents available in departments or groups, in addition to providing real-time alerts on calls waiting. This allows you to instantly help answer calls during high call volume times and have other team members join the group. As a result, your company can reduce abandon rates and increase customer satisfaction. Manage at a glance and assist end users or agents with calls that have longer than normal talk times.

The Evolution of Call Center Solutions to Contact Center

For more advanced call center setups, more and more businesses have turned to contact center solutions that provide more flexibility, skills-based routing, and multimedia (SMS, email, web chat, fax, etc.) integration. Contact center pricing previously focused on larger businesses, but pricing for contact center solutions has changed to become more attractive to small- and medium-sized markets.

For example, Avaya has introduced Avaya IP Office Contact Center (IPOCC) and Avaya Contact Center Select (CCS) to Avaya IP Office, which was traditionally a phone system from small- to medium-sized organizations.

In addition, hosted and private contact center offerings allow businesses to pay a monthly fee to obtain contact center functionality. The contact center solution provides everything that the call center solution provides - and more. Skills-based routing is extremely important for intelligently directing calls to the end user or agent with the appropriate skill set. Subsequently, your company can separate callers more effectively and quickly connect them with the right resource, without transferring them to another department. In addition, when clients call in, the contact center solution can present the end user or agent taking the call with screen pops to a Web browser or CRM. Contact center solutions can also provide agents with scripts to reduce talk times and boost effectiveness.

The rising popularity of multichannel communication - such as text messaging or SMS, Web chat, email, and fax - presents a major problem. The end users or agents who handled voice calls now have to handle multichannel communication. However, there was previously no way to intelligently distribute or report on those communications. With contact center solutions, your business can integrate methods to evenly and fairly distribute and track communications across all channels. This will allow you to get you a realistic view of how your end users and agents manage customer or prospects. A contact center solution can also track response times to ensure your end users and agents aren't missing critical communications.

Some other common features of contact center solutions include the following:

  • Call recording
  • Automatic call back
  • Interactive voice response (IVR)
  • CRM or database integration for screen pops and auto routing
  • Salesforce integration
  • Supervisor monitoring and coaching
  • Busy, not available, and reason codes to show an agent's status
Can Every Business Benefit From Call Center and/or Contact Center Features?

The answer is yes. Whether your business has 20 employees or 2000, your company can benefit from utilizing call center and/or contact center features. Doing so will help you retain clients, increase customer satisfaction, and capture more new prospects.

For more information about call center or contact center solutions, contact our sales team at (877) 598-3999 or sales@convergedsystems.com.

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