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Contact Center Technology 101

Offering exceptional customer service is the primary goal for call centers, whether they are focused on inbound calls, outbound calls, SMS, chat or social interactions. Depending on organizational needs, contact centers can implement an array of different technologies – from basic to sophisticated.

We have outlined the key contact center technologies here that you may want to consider for your business. These technologies can help businesses rethink the way they service clients, so that they are providing better service and utilizing resources more effectively.

16 CONTACT Center Technologies You Should Know About

1. CTI – Computer Telephony Integration

CTI is a type of technology that enables computer and telephone systems to interact together. Call centers implementing CTI can use computers to manage all telephone calls, which in turn leads to increased efficiency and better results.

When agents using CTI receive incoming calls, a screen pop up is displayed, showing the caller’s account information on the agent’s computer screen. This saves time for both parties by giving the agent the customer info she needs to lead the call and solve the problem. CTI screen pop is often used in tandem with a unified desktop, so an agent has complete access to customer data.

2. ACD – Automatic Call Distributor

ACD is a telephony system that recognizes, answers, and routes incoming calls to the terminal or agent that is best suited to handle the caller’s needs. Knowing where to send incoming calls before they are answered is a huge help for companies receiving a large volume of calls. ACDs help companies meet customer needs more efficiently.

3. Intelligent Call-Back

The Automatic Call Back feature allows callers to select the call-back option, so that they don’t have to wait in a queue on the phone. Instead, the caller can return to what they were doing, and the agent will call back as soon as possible.

4. IVR Interactive Voice Response

IVR is an automated phone system that allows incoming callers to access the information they need without having to talk to a person. Callers can help themselves by entering information via a touch-tone keypad or speaking into the phone. Different IVR systems have different levels of natural language speech recognition. Well performing speech recognition software has grammars and data to recognize different dialects and an expansive vocabulary. It operates on a strategically developed call flow and undergoes continuous tuning based on customer interaction with the IVR.

 5. Universal Queuing

The goal of Universal Queuing is to pool all customers on hold into a single waiting list, regardless of how the customer contacts your business (phone, email, chat, social media, etc.). Having one universal queue of customers brings increased consistency and efficiency for the customer.

6. IV – Interactive Video

Businesses can use IV technology to play videos for advertisements, promotions or entertainment while callers are waiting on hold.

7. Predictive Dialer

A predictive dialer automatically dials from a list of phone numbers. This saves agent time as the dialer will detect busy signals, voicemail messages, disconnected phone numbers and when there is no answer. Predictive dialing is applicable across channels: mobile, text, social, chat and email. It detects a customer’s channel of choice and delivers the interaction directly to an agent upon answer. It can also be used to deliver proactive outreach in the case of an emergency or to educate a customer on where their case is at in the queue.

8. Call Recording Systems

Call centers can use recording systems to capture all customer interactions. This is helpful should an agent or manager need to review what happened on a call. More advanced recording systems can record calls, as well as any other interactions associated with the call, such as emails and chat sessions. Call recording can be historical or in real-time, allowing a call center supervisor to intercept an off-script or out of the norm call and provide on demand coaching. Call recording goes hand-in-hand with analytics reporting to deliver in-the-moment insight that contact center leaders require.

9. Voice Biometrics

Voice has become a reliable way to authenticate a person’s identity, because it is unique to each individual. Voice biometrics software is crucial for preventing fraud and saving time and money for organizations. By reducing attacks, agents can spend their time focusing on customers, not fraudsters.

10. CRM /call center servicing application

CRM software gives agents the 360° customer info they need to solve customer needs as quickly as possible. Call center agents can also use the servicing application to document customer interactions that can be brought up if the caller needs more help in the future. Having a record can help agents resolve customer issues more efficiently. It can also help manage issues that need to be transparent to a sales team leader for further relationship building. CRM systems enable an organization to provide insight to all customer interactions across business units. Because they provide visibility into customer interactions with an organization, they also help with case and issue management: routing customer issues or cases through internal processes and keeping the customer apprised throughout the entire case lifecycle.

11. CMS – Campaign Management System

A CMS is most helpful for outbound call centers. The software provides the agent with a contact list, or other info needed to make calls to the right people.

12. Administration Console

An administration console is a web application that makes it easy for a contact center staff member to manage a server.

13. WFM – Workforce Management Software

WFM is used to forecast the volume of customer interactions, whether they are by phone, email, or instant message.  Call center managers can use the forecasts to hire the optimal number of agents to ensure customer transactions meet a certain standard of service. WFM systems often tie into other workforce optimization solutions to provide the tools to empower call center agents.

14. QM – Quality Management

QM applications give managers insight into employee performance so that any areas of weakness can be identified. Managers can also use QM to ensure that agents are adhering to internal policies and procedures. For instance, if a contact center agent is not taking his or her break at the scheduled time, it could offset staff to customer demand levels. Knowing how call center agents adhere to scheduling, training and workload balance creates a more efficient contact center.

15. Smartphones

Most people dialing call center numbers today are doing so from their smartphones. These personal pocket computers are playing a part in the advancement of call center technology by offering more convenient customer service options such as intelligent call back, visual IVR interfaces and automated pre-call questions for more efficient problem-solving.

 16. TDM – Time Division Multiplexing & IP – Internet Protocol

TDM was developed in 1870 for large system telegraphy implementation. The technology transports call center interactions by segmenting multiple data streams and then putting them in a single signal.

IP has replaced TDM as the primary mechanism for transporting call center transactions. IP offers easy access and value-added services such as instant messaging, video calling, and making phone calls directly from websites – all while moving through a less costly network.

Why CONTACT Center Technology Matters

In today’s oversaturated marketplace with thousands of choices to choose from, consumers are in charge of their buying choices more than ever. Don’t let a call center snafu be the reason your client moves to your competitor. Instead, get ahead by offering exceptional customer service no matter what.

Having all the technology in place, so that your businesses’ call center can run smoothly is crucial if you want to give your customers an experience worth repeating.  With these 16 key call center technologies, you are setting your company up for long-term success.