Today’s ever-advancing call center technology serves to streamline everyday functions of customer service and support operations with solutions drastically proven to improve efficiency, increase productivity, and help serve customers faster, easier, and better. Additionally, these new apps providing self-service, automation, and powerful yet easy-to-use functionality make it easier for customers to access information, make purchases, call businesses, make payments, and get directions...all done with just a few clicks of a mouse or even a tap on a mobile device.
The development of automation through technology has made all of this possible. The result– cheaper yet more effective customer service.
In essence, consumers are now accustomed to receiving quick and personalized services, allowing them to do what they want quickly–without delay. A 2015 study performed by MasterCard found that eight out of 10 consumers now use a computer, smartphone, tablet, or in-store technology while shopping.
Customers’ have become dependent on technology, which has in turn caused a drastic change in not only the interactions between customers and businesses, but higher expectations that companies should also be implementing the latest technology as well.
These expectations are highly relevant for call centers operations and their customers. Wading through endless automated voice prompts or being transferred multiple times only exacerbates a customer’s frustration – making them highly susceptible to seeking alternative solutions that meet their technological and customer experience demands.
It’s important that call center managers realize that if they continue to implement their existing and outdated call center applications the growing demands of customers will make it difficult if not impossible, to compete in this advanced market; a practice that will become unsustainable and impede on the success of their operations.
Call Centers must adapt their processes to meet the demands of modern day customers and their expectations. To do so they must take a longer look not only their current system, but really consider the long-term implications of the quality of their system and whether or not it is capable of helping your operations meet the growing technological demands of consumers Some key questions you should ask yourself:
- Is my call center software/on-premise system enhancing my customers experience?
- Can my current system provide services that compete and provide the same quality as the newest technology?
- How is my current system impacting my CSAT, NPS, FCR, Customer Churn, and other major customer support KPIs?
- Does my current system have the new technology that would drastically improve my call centers customer experience?
How New Call Center Technology Has Streamlined Processes
An intuitive, feature-rich call center software is designed to automate many processes that were often done manually, such as making payments, call transfers, reporting, and self servicing. These enhancements save money for the business by eliminating waiting time, creating a database of customer information, holding agents accountable, and overall reducing frustrations for the consumer.
Some notable call center software features/technologies that have greatly impacted customer experience are:
Skills based routing: using customer data, call center software can route a call to the person most capable of helping the customer. This allows the customers to instantly talk to the most skilled agent immediately. Thus reducing the potential redundancy of being transferred amongst various agents, lowering average handle times and improving FCR.
Advanced Reporting: This has helped eliminate the need for the customer to keep repeating information, and also provides call center operatives with historic information to reduce wait times. Advanced reporting has allowed for call centers to be much more efficient than years past by automating reporting–allowing the most important call center metrics to be sent straight to call center managers.
VOip: Otherwise known as Voice over IP, this technology has been a major factor in the rampant improvements within call centers. VOip has made WebRTC possible and has drastically reduced the monthly expenses of running a call center. Since VOip technology has made carrier costs shoot way down–allowing for greater carrier uptimes, much cheaper telephone rates, and allows for greater staffing of call centers.
Hosted IVR: Hosted IVR has allowed for intelligent self service for the customers. Prior to IVR systems, customers had to call in for what we all see as automated processes: store hours, billing, store addresses, hours, etc. This has allowed for customers to get easy answers, be routed to the correct department, and has freed up agents to take on more difficult inquiries.
As technology continues to advance, the above features and many others serve to create a new type of call center expectations, especially as more consumers encounter these features (even if they don’t realize what is going on behind the scenes.)
How Call Centers Can Meet the Demands of Higher Customer Expectations
As mentioned above, customers who call your call center will expect to be connected to someone who can help them as quickly as possible. So it is important to have the technology in place to meet and hopefully exceed those expectations.
Additionally, as much as call centers focus on improving technology to make things more efficient while also reducing costs, they must also focus on being proactive when providing customer service. Because consumers today are very engaged with the companies they choose to do business with through social media interaction, they also expect a rewarding, engaging experience when speaking with someone at a call center.
In conclusion, technology can make things easier, but strong customer service skills can make things better. Training employees to provide excellent support is key in ensuring that consumer expectations are met, instead of just letting technology do all the work. Employees, along with your company, will benefit largely from gamification– a system that rewards agents for their hard work and lack of reliance on technology.
Imagine what you as a customer would expect from a call center when you make a call, and you'll probably realize that you consider a helpful call center operator more valuable than an automated process.
As technology advances ( including integration of artificial intelligence in call centers) call centers need to be ready for the increased demand that more complicated technology brings to them. The more complex the technology, the more complex the issue. As your call center and your company develops realize that the technology you use to help your customer should be up to par with the technology your company provides them.
Current day technology has raised the bar for call centers to compete with technology that their customers use everyday.
The slow adaption of many call center technologies has changed the way we all live, yet customers see these advances as an everygrowing standard.
Call centers must not be reliant on last minute measures to stay barely current. They must always stay in touch with the newest technology that their customers need to solve their problems efficiently.