Increasingly, organisations are understanding that customer-centricity and a strong focus on customer care are critical differentiators in a highly competitive marketplace.
Key to customer focus is the ability to communicate effectively with them and provide relevant information when it’s requested. Good customer communication has always relied on a well-staffed and effective multi-channel contact centre.
Much focus is placed on a contact centre’s agents and even its management; what is not always given due consideration is the technology that keeps it operational. And yet this technology is critical to the success of such a contact centre. With this in mind, here are five key features that any good contact centre solution should have.
- Having the ability to choose your own device is critical to modern call centres. Depending on the specific needs of the call centre, some may choose to have desktop devices, PC soft clients or a combination of both. Any of these choices need to be flexible enough to work with each other without sacrificing functionality, thus making day to day duties of the agents and the supervisors much easier.
- A critical component is connectivity, as this is vital in respect of both reliability and redundancy within a contact centre. In particular, if the centre utilises a voice over IP (VoIP) solution, good connectivity is a non-negotiable. This means having a dedicated fibre line with a failover solution that uses a different transmission medium, such as microwave.
- Access to statistics and reporting, a facility that enables centre managers to understand from a glance at the wallboards exactly what is happening within the centre, is vital. It also enables them to focus on both queue monitoring – keeping track of numbers of calls answered or abandoned, hold time and similar statistical measurements – as well as the agents themselves. By better understanding agent actions and reactions, managers can more easily maintain service thresholds.
- It is equally important to obtain a stable, feature rich platform that is cloud based, as this allows the centre to be more flexible and scalable, making the running of campaigns more cost-effective. It also enables additional features like Instant Messaging and Click-to-Dial, and being cloud-based, means you need never fear losing anything important in the event of any calamity, from load-shedding to natural disasters.
- Finally, if your centre is inbound, the last feature would be a strong Interactive Voice Recording (IVR)/call queuing Ideally, you want an IVR that can drill down granularly, enabling customers to navigate their way through the system without having to speak to an agent, thereby freeing agents up for more complex tasks. On the other hand, if your centre is outbound, then the fifth critical feature would need to be an effective predictive dialler. Ideally, this should be a solution that is intelligent enough to vet the numbers beforehand, so that only valid calls are sent through to agents, and one which – through the understanding of average call times – is able to begin establishing the next call even before an agent has completed the current one.
While such features are available from a multitude of providers, you can further reduce complexity and possibly cost by obtaining all of these offerings from a single service provider, which offers you a single point of contact.
It goes without saying then that the best option is to seek out a one stop shop, an organisation that is not only an expert in the provision of voice and data services, but one that has a particular affinity for contact centres.