In the past 15 years, the percentage of households with a landline has decreased more than 50%. Now, only 2.3% of households rely on a landline (tell us… why do those forms keep asking us for a home phone number?!). It’s obvious that there’s been a stark shift in all areas of life towards the digital realm, and the call center space is no exception.
Where a traditional phone line was once all that was needed to engage customers, today, call centers must be able to provide their customers with real-time engagement, service, and support through multiple channels (get an instant benchmark on how you are doing in two minutes here). This blog features five categories of call center technologies that are fundamental to providing that type of experience.
We began to hear rumblings of the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in call centers more than 10 years ago. The talk got louder and louder as IVRs and web-based applications became more and more intuitive.
Now, the capabilities of AI solutions are evolving at an exponential rate. Rapid improvements in voice recognition technology, data management, machine learning capabilities, and sheer processing power have enabled AI “agents” to now process straightforward customer interactions, without any need for a human agent.
Here are a few examples of how AI can be used in your call center:
- Provide customer service through automated chatbots on your website and social media
- Analyze sentiments of customers’ messages for optimized call and chat routing
- Improve areas of your customer journey by assessing customer satisfaction
While AI is handling the simpler tasks and interactions, omnichannel software is what’s needed to provide more complex support. Omnichannel solutions allow customers to reach out through whichever channel they prefer – phone, web chat, email, text message, social media – and then seamlessly transfer those channels between agents as needed.
This provides a much better customer experience since they don’t have to explain their issue multiple times or worry about losing their place in line. In addition, it helps you optimize your workforce since agents can handle multiple channels at once.
Here are two things to consider when implementing omnichannel software:
- Choose a solution that specializes in navigating your customers preferred channels
- Ensure your choice integrates with your CRM for visibility into customer history
In addition to providing a great omnichannel experience, it’s important to give your customers the option to serve themselves. This can be in the form of an FAQ or knowledge base section on your website, or a chatbot (powered by AI) that can provide answers to common questions.
Not only does this free up your agents to handle more complex issues, but it also provides a better customer experience since they can get the answers they need on their own time and at their own pace.
Here are a few examples of how you can implement self-service options:
- Create a FAQ or knowledge-base section on your website
- Use an AI-powered chatbot that directs customers to areas of your FAQ or knowledge base
- Build an online customer portal that has documentation, forums, and automated ticketing
Customer Journey Mapping
Journey mapping is a process of visually documenting the journey your customer takes – from first becoming aware of your company all the way through to becoming a loyal advocate. Customer journey mapping technology not only provides a historical view but also a real-time view.
This is important for call centers because it allows agents to get a better picture of where the customer is coming from and what their needs are. In addition, it helps you to identify any potential pain points in the customer journey so that you can address them.
Here are two things to consider when implementing customer journey mapping:
- Make sure your solution can provide both a historical and real-time view
- Use data from multiple channels to get a complete picture of the customer journey
Reporting & Analytics
Finally, no matter how great your call center technology is, it’s only as good as the data that’s being collected and analyzed. That’s why reporting and analytics are so important.
With the right reporting tools, you can track key metrics like average handle time, first call resolution rate, customer satisfaction score, and more. This data can then be used to improve your operations proactively and make sure your customers are getting the best possible experience.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a reporting and analytics solution:
- Choose a solution that offers customizable reports
- Look for a solution with built-in dashboards and visualizations
- Check for integrations with other business intelligence tools
When it comes to call center technology, there are a lot of options out there, but these five categories are essential to providing real-time engagement, service, and support to your customers. By investing in the right call center tech, you can improve your operations and provide a better customer experience (Want to benchmark your center today? Check out this two minute FREE inspection).
What other tech types are important for real-time engagement in your call center? Let us know in the comments!