Call centers play a crucial role in helping companies keep their customers satisfied. From technical support to payment questions to login issues, when customers are satisfied you can expect reduced churn rates, more upsells, and brand advocates.
How can call centers reach this success? By using the most updated call center technology. The best call center technology helps organizations make data-driven decisions about customer success as well as product changes, service updates, and organization-wide policies.
What are the most important call center technologies? And what trends should call center professionals be aware of? Here is an overview of call center technology types, tools, and trends of this year.
Call center technology refers to the various systems and tools that call centers use to successfully manage customer interactions.
This can include everything from automatic call distributors (ACDs) and interactive voice response (IVR) systems, to call recording platforms and analytics dashboards.
Call center technology aims to:
Advanced call center technologies go a step further by:
One of the primary goals of call center technology is to improve customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction, or CSAT, is a measure to determine a customer’s satisfaction level with the interaction they received.
Using tools like call recording and call monitoring, managers can monitor the quality of calls between their agents and customers. With analytics tools, they can track the call abandonment rate (ABN), the average speed of answer, first call resolution, and more. And with reporting dashboards, managers can identify areas that need improvement to increase customer satisfaction.
Call centers must be able to handle a large volume of calls while still providing quality service. The more efficient a call center, the lower the AHT (average handle time), the lower the ABN – and the higher the CSAT.
For example, IVR technology provides customers with information via a voice response system of pre-recorded messages without having to speak to an agent. IVR is particularly effective during high call volumes and helps customers avoid hold times by helping them find answers and perform tasks themselves. However, the IVR must provide relevant self service options based on the customers’ true intent.
Call center agents are the heart of the call center, and their productivity levels directly impacts call center performance, and again, customer satisfaction.
There are various call center technologies that are designed to improve productivity, such as automatic dialers. These dial outbound calls for the call center agents, so they can make more calls in less time. There are a variety of different auto dialer types available, including predictive dialers, which start placing phone calls even before the agents become available, and power dialers, which automatically dials phone numbers on a list as soon as an operator completes their current call.
These call center technologies help ensure every customer issue is addressed promptly and efficiently, leading to an overall more productive talk time for the entire call center.
Call centers must understand their customers' needs and preferences in order to provide them with the best possible service. Plus, understanding the root cause of customer issues can lead to necessary product and service changes, and other company-wide initiatives.
Sophisticated analytics apps use natural-language processing to help call center managers and executives understand what drives customers to contact them. Collecting data over an extended period can produce predictive insights that help businesses forecast customer behavior and anticipate their needs – meaning even greater levels of preparedness and efficiency. This ultimately enables a proactive customer service offering.
There are many different types of call center technologies and software. Some of the most common include:
Call center analytics is the process of tracking, monitoring, and analyzing call center performances to improve efficiencies, customer service, and ultimately the organization. The analytics aims to identify areas where improvements can be made – both within the call center and company-wide – and track the effects of those changes.
These platforms measure a wide range of metrics, including:
Call center analytics can help identify areas that need improvement, such as wait times, call abandonment rates, quality of service, and customer satisfaction scores. This information can help businesses optimize their call center operations, improve the customer experience, and understand the root cause of why the customer is contacting the call center.
This data can uncover specific issues within the product, service, or company practices that are causing issues for customers, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and efficiency.
While some center technologies can pull this data, it can take months of manual and complex analytics and diagnostics to help organizations make better decisions at scale.
Operative Intelligence is the next-gen analytics platform for enterprise call and contact centers. Unlike traditional call center analytics tools, Operative Intelligence automatically transforms an organization's existing call center data into real-world, actionable insights.
The no-code automation identifies both macro and micro insights including:
Users can identify the highest impact opportunities to improve the customer experience, reduce costs, and boost operational efficiency.
ACD, also known as automatic call distribution, typically uses computer telephony integration (CTI) systems and interactive voice response (IVR) to route calls efficiently to the most appropriate agent. It’s an integral part of a call center and allows for smoother communication overall.
IVR and ACD are often mistaken for one another, but they’re different call center technologies. IVR allows users to interact with an automated machine to determine query type and assistance needed while collecting customer data. ACD then uses this data to sort and distribute the calls to appropriate agents.
ACD systems help call centers route calls more efficiently. Callers can be connected to the right agent the first time and get their issue resolved sooner, reducing call center abandonment rates and improving first call resolution rates.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated voice response system that greets callers and provides them with various options for interacting with the call center without speaking to a live agent. IVRs can provide callers with information about the company, its products or services, and answer common customer questions.
Menu options are offered by touch-tone keypad selection or speech recognition that will route their call to specific departments or specialists.
IVR can handle a large number of calls simultaneously, which is critical during periods of high call volume. Additionally, IVR can help reduce customer wait time and improve call center efficiency by providing customers with self-service options for simple tasks such as checking account balances or making a payment.
IVR technology also quickly and seamlessly routes calls to the best call center agent when a customer needs or requests to speak with a person. This helps ensure that each customer receives the attention they need and improves overall customer satisfaction.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a traditional telephone line. VoIP services offer features that traditional phone systems do not, such as call recording and call monitoring.
VoIP services are often more affordable than traditional phone services and they allow you to use your computer or mobile device as a phone. VoIP services can also be used to call other people who are also using VoIP services.
VoIP helps call centers reduce costs and improves scalability due to using broadband Internet connections rather than telephone lines.
Customer relationship management platforms (CRM) store customer information, such as contact information and purchase history, in a database. This information can be used to track customer interactions with the call center, such as the number of times they’ve called and the amount of money they’ve spent.
This information helps call center agents respond more efficiently to customer queries and can help determine which is the best agent to work with the customer.
Having access to customers' purchase history and contact information helps call centers identify their needs, preferences, and attitude. This allows call centers to provide customers with the best possible service by routing them to the right agent, sending them relevant communications, and approaching issues with the appropriate demeanor.
CCaaS stands for “contact center as a service.” These cloud-based applications help customer service organizations manage multi-channel customer interactions through both the customer experience and employee experience.
The core function of CCaaS platforms is to provide channel-agnostic service journeys. They also support personal customer engagement, manage resources, improve employee experiences, and provide operational insights.
Because CCaaS platforms are cloud-native, there’s little on-premise hardware to manage (and therefore fewer IT costs). They provide speed and convenience and their flexible delivery models means they adjust as operational needs change.
Callback queue, also referred to as automated callback or virtual queue, is a call center technology that enables callers to avoid waiting on hold by leaving their contact information with the call center. When an agent becomes available, the call center will automatically call the customer back.
This technology is beneficial for both callers and call centers. Callers no longer have to wait on hold, and call centers can reduce their abandoned call rates.
A call recording system records calls between agents and customers. Various call recording systems are available, including cloud-based and on-premises solutions. Cloud-based call recording systems are typically less expensive than on-premises solutions and can be easier to set up and maintain, but on-premises call recording systems often offer more features and flexibility.
Call recordings can be used for quality assurance purposes, to help agents improve their customer service skills, help resolve disputes, and to train new agents. They’re also a great source of data for call center analytics to review.
Reporting and analytics dashboard provides a visual display of call center metrics and KPIs. A good reporting and analytics dashboard provides insights into call volume, average wait time, abandoned calls, customer satisfaction, call center agent performance.
Dashboards allow managers to track the call center's performance, identify areas that need improvement, and make data-driven decisions. It can also show how different campaigns are performing and help pinpoint where resources need to be allocated.
The right reporting and analytics dashboard can give agents insights into how they are performing, what type of calls they are receiving, and how they can improve their interactions with customers. This information can help call centers improve customer satisfaction rates and reduce the number of callbacks.
Operative Intelligence provides your call center with an engaging, real-time dashboard that makes it simple for them to identify areas they can improve based on customer needs. You can also see where performance variability is driven at a team and agent level. Team leaders can coach with precision and drive measurable improvements.
Quality management and assurance software evaluate customer interactions and track agent performance. They also offer tools for delivering personalized feedback or coaching sessions to agents, and provide analytics that give you insight into team and agent performance.
Many products of this nature have the option to be integrated with other sales or customer service tools, such as CRM software or help desk software.
Quality management and assurance platforms allow managers to track the quality of customer interactions and identify areas for improvement. QM tools help optimize call center operations by identifying areas where agents are spending too much time on certain tasks or where callers are experiencing long wait times.
Operative Intelligence enables call centers to spend more time on developing their frontline teams and less time listening to calls and evaluating interactions. The platform automatically determines resolution and satisfaction for 100% of frontline interactions – without the need for surveys.
Using this data, call center management can quickly discover the span of performance across teams and channels and pinpoint which agents need more support and in which areas.
Workforce force management software helps managers and supervisors keep track of the number of employees they have working, how much work they have for those employees, and how best to deploy those employees to meet the needs of the call center.
WFM tools help call center managers:
This can all help increase efficiency, improve customer service, and reduce costs.
Computer telephony integration (CTI) is when a call center's telephone system works together with their other business applications. With CTI, agents don't need an actual phone – they can use their computer to do everything a phone would do by clicking on-screen controls for functions like answering and disconnecting calls, putting callers on hold, transferring calls, etc.
CTI is not only about adding phone controls to the agent interface. It also enables other capabilities that are essential to running an effective and efficient call center, such as call routing, interactive voice recognition systems, enhanced reporting, and more.
Computer telephony integration (CTI) not only decreases the cost of a physical phone and its maintenance, but also aids agents in reducing their average call handle time. CTI allows agents to take more calls without comprising customer satisfaction rates.
CTI technology pulls up a complete customer record as soon as an agent answers a call. This allows the agent to authenticate the caller by matching the phone number with what is in the call center database.
Text analysis, also called text analytics, involves understanding natural language text and extracting useful information from it. Text analysis tools can consume text data from various sources, including emails, phone transcripts, surveys, customer reviews, and other documents.
Businesses are better equipped to understand and analyze customer sentiment, intelligently classify documents, and improve written content. Text analysis software may be used in conjunction with other analytics tools, including big data analytics and business intelligence platforms.
While Operative Intelligence isn’t solely a text analysis platform, it does conduct text analysis to provide actionable insights. OI analyzes 100% of inbound interactions and shares the root causes of overall inquiries using actual customer words.
The platform also shows the volume, cost, and sentiment of every inquiry, so call center leaders know which changes will drive the highest impact improvements in their customer experience, operational and frontline performance.
Predictive analytics uses data mining and mathematical modeling techniques to identify data patterns and predict future events. Some of the most common applications include:
Call centers have been using predictive analytics for many years to improve the customer experience. This technology can be used to predict customer behavior, identify potential problems, and recommend solutions.
By understanding past customer behavior, call center agents can provide more accurate up-sales, improvements, or resolutions to common issues. Predictive analytics takes the guesswork out of these situations by providing data-backed predictions for what a customer is likely to do next.
Also known as automatic speech recognition (ASR), speech-to-text, or computer speech recognition, speech recognition is the ability of a computer to recognize and translate spoken language into text.
Speech-to-text technology has recently gained popularity due to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This call center technology is now more accurate and efficient than ever before, making it a valuable tool for call centers.
Speech recognition tools help customer service to process routine phone requests and save time and money by reducing the time spent on transcription tasks for data recording and later analytics. They also help businesses to improve communications and translate them into an easily-managed, searchable data format.
Plus, when these tools are used in conjunction with Operative Intelligence’s platform, you can transform large unstructured data sets into real-world, actionable insights that help improve the customer experience.
The call center industry has undergone a major transformation in recent years. New technology tools and trends have emerged that are revolutionizing the way call centers operate.
An important call center technology trend is the use of advanced analytics. Advanced analytics transforms a business’ existing contact center data into actionable insights. Unlike traditional analytics, advanced analytics can extract meaning from unstructured, complex, and incomplete or partial data.
Advanced analytics tools like Operative Intelligence makes it easy for users to identify the highest impact opportunities to improve customer experience and reduce costs. Operative Intelligence transforms the actual verbatims of customers from any inbound channels into unique drivers of customers demand.
Omnichannel solutions provide a unified customer experience across all contact channels, including voice, email, chat, social media, and more. Omnichannel allows customers to interact in the way that is most convenient for them.
With omnichannel solutions, agents can provide a consistent customer experience across all channels, leading to improved customer satisfaction and increased sales. While omnichannel solutions apply more to contact centers, they impact call center operations by managing customer queries before they even reach the call center.
Cloud-based call center solutions offer many advantages over traditional on-premise ones, including lower costs, scalability, and flexibility. With cloud call centers, businesses can pay only for the call center services they need, when they need them. This can help to reduce outsourced call center costs.
Cloud-based call centers are also scalable, meaning that they can grow or shrink as needed. This is a valuable feature for businesses that experience seasonal fluctuations in call volume. Additionally, cloud call centers can be quickly adapted to meet changing business needs. This can be a critical advantage in competitive markets where businesses must constantly adapt to new challenges and opportunities.
The call center industry is rapidly changing with the emergence of new technology tools and trends. One of the most significant changes is the increased use of automation, which is revolutionizing call centers in various ways.
Automation can be used for tasks such as frontline coaching, quality assessments, and engagement tools. AI & automation solutions provide complete visibility into every customer interaction across channels and take action to maximize the performance of your agents and sellers to improve customer experience and increase revenue.
Self-service customer services enable customers to handle their own inquiries without the help of a call center agent. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as chatbots, self-service portals, and IVR systems. Self-serve technology provides customers with instant answers to their questions and allows them to easily and quickly resolve any issues. It reduces the need for customers to reach out to the call center, freeing up more of the workforce, and allowing them to focus on more urgent and productive issues.
However, many of these solutions don't consider ROI. Before Operative Intelligence, customers struggled with finding and justifying which interactions could be automated, constructing a business case, and monitoring ROI.
With OI, this process is entirely automated – saving you months of time and effort – and the results are immediately available with a single click. You can be confident that the changes you’re making will give you expected return through unique value scores for every driver.
Call center technology is rapidly changing and businesses need to use the best tools available to stay competitive.
While there are many call center technologies available, Operative Intelligence helps businesses dramatically improve customer experience while reducing operational costs. OI empowers call center leaders to have data-based conversations with leadership to drive true operational change for better products, better services, and happier customers.
If you’re looking to drive impactful changes at every level of your business, book a demo with Operative Intelligence today.
When considering the future of customer service, the industry is largely evaluating new call center technology and the growth of artificial intelligence.