We’ve detailed exactly how contact centers differ from the traditional call center, and we’ve also defined VoIP in numerous articles. Now, it’s time to combine what we know about each and reveal the VoIP features that have the power to elevate contact centers above the noise of the ever-growing industry.
Here at CCi Voice, we’ve made it no secret that we believe in VoIP. For systems stretched across businesses big and small, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, the healthcare industry, and contact centers, there’s simply no better option for crystal clear, reliable communications than VoIP.
And if you count yourself in the camp of VoIP nonbelievers, we’re confident that even a quick glimpse at the features below will shine a light on the possibilities of a cloud-based communications solution for your contact center. It’s no longer enough to have talented agents and great calling strategies—your agents need the right software to give them the right information right when they need it.
Switchvox Powers Unified Communications For Contact Centers
Thanks to our partnership with Switchvox, CCi Voice customers have access to enterprise grade features and an all-inclusive pricing model. Switchvox gives Contact Centers the necessary tools to truly unify their communications systems, without a price tag that leaves you little-to-no wiggle room in the budget.
Features such as Call Distribution, Call Queues, Music on Hold, and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) all come standard in the Switchvox package. That said, we also can offer higher-end functions in elevated product sets that do cost a bit more—and for some, that extra investment is totally worth it. Either way, the many varied features of VoIP allow callers and agents more ease of communication.
Automatic Call Distribution
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) software is a major part of how contact centers function. This system helps your contact center sort and manage large volumes of calls to avoid overwhelming your team, which can lead to caller gridlock. Also known as call routing, ACD directs incoming calls to the appropriate rep based on your company’s preferences and needs. It effectively closes the gap between customer expectations and business resources.
Without any expensive add-ons, our cloud-based VoIP system powered by Switchvox provides ACD software that automates call flow and optimizes staff efficiency. ACD distribution methods vary company to company, with options including:
Fixed Order. Sends calls to agents in a preset order, with each call starting at the top of the list, ringing for a time, and then routing to the next agent in the list until someone answers.
Simultaneous Distribution. Calls ring for every available agent at the same time, with the first to pick up handling the call.
Time-Based Routing. Agents set specific availability times, and callers are routed to these “on duty” agents. Decreases wait times without interrupting busy agents.
Agent Talk Time. Calls are handed over to the least-active agent—the ones with the fewest calls or the longest stretch between calls.
Skills-Based Routing. A higher-end tool we can offer (though not available via Switchvox), this is an intelligent routing system that hands off callers to specific agents or departments and is so much more efficient, helping customers in a more direct manner. It’s enabled by a predetermined guideline for agent skill levels, pinpointing precisely which agent should handle a particular call. The system can send simple requests to a low-level agent and more complex issues to upper management, if necessary.
Interactive Voice Response
A contact center’s ACD is powered by Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a system that consists of a greeting, audio instructions from a virtual operator, and the ability to interpret key selections and, in higher-end systems, voice responses from callers. Also called an auto attendant, it helps to present a consistent message while quickly sorting calls to their ideal destination.
IVR prompts can be as simple as “Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Support” or include more advanced steps, such as interacting with a customer database to retrieve account balances or take payments over the phone.
An even more advanced form of IVR has everything to do with artificial intelligence (AI). Your contact center’s IVR system can be completely transformed by integrating AI, providing a huge boost to customer relations and overall customer satisfaction.
Advanced VoIP systems (that tend to cost more per month and per agent) make it possible to implement IVR tools like automated speech recognition and sentiment analysis, cluing you into not only the reason for the call, but also the emotion the caller might be expressing. Not only that, an advanced IVR could greet callers by name and, based on their order history, make an educated guess about why the customer is calling. This enables better decision-making, support, and outcomes.
Music On Hold
In the early days of inbound contact centers, callers would wait on hold while being subjected to insufferable Muzak versions of elevator music. But now, Music On Hold delivers a pleasant audio experience while your callers wait on hold. In the modern days of VoIP systems, users can upload MP3 files to play, not only music, but also advertisements and messaging that best suits the business.
Along with music and messaging, Music On Hold can also provide callers with estimated wait times and inform them of their place in the queue. Through Switchvox, we can also allow for Aux-In Music On Hold, enabling you to utilize an external source for Music On Hold. (For Aux-In Music On Hold, you must supply your own third-party device).
An enhanced customer service experience is exactly what callers will find when you deploy powerful call queues built into your VoIP system. With cloud-based communications, it’s easy to allow several employees to field incoming calls to the main call-in number or any other phone numbers related to your business.
VoIP takes special care to provide managers and supervisors with the tools necessary to ensure a high standard of performance, even if your contact center is spread out over multiple locations. Call queue visibility gives permitted users the ability to see who is handling calls and who is available to receive calls. Sales and service teams can also enhance office communication with chat, email, and more.
While not every business needs an app, those that do rely on this technology can benefit greatly from an added, customer-facing connection. With support capabilities integrated within the basic framework of the app, customers never have to leave your business’ app to get the help they need. This removes any unnecessary friction in the support process, ensuring a positive customer experience for mobile-focused users.
We can help recommend different solutions so that your business can establish an entire support system integrated into your existing mobile app. The in-app support system features tools such as a visual IVR to meet specific client needs, self-service options, and the ability to connect directly with an agent for further assistance.
In-app support puts you right where your customer already is—so even when they need to reach out, they don’t have to go very far.
We’ll be the first to admit that chatbots can come off as less-than-human to customers that really require help. With canned responses that can—at times—be transparently robotic, chatbots don’t have the greatest reputation. But these omnipresent website features aren’t merely a necessary evil for businesses. Instead, they are your company’s first line of defense in your contact center’s customer service.
Chatbots are basically a text-based IVR system. And much like automated IVRs, chatbots are at their best when bolstered with AI to give the caller the direct assistance they need. An Al-powered chatbot can help route customers to the correct place early in the conversation, before they end the chat.
However, even an advanced AI chatbot system cannot replace the improvisational skills of an actual human agent. But here’s where a functioning chatbot is really useful. Chatbots should be used for basic support requests, such as checking the status of an order. And with these basic questions handled by a chatbot, your human agents can focus on tackling more complex issues.
Dedicated Agent Numbers & Voicemail
The cloud-based VoIP systems we provide can also humanize your agents, and not just proliferate the existence of chatbots. Dedicated numbers and business voicemail greetings for each specific agent, or team of agents, personalizes the customer experience, giving callers the feeling that they’re receiving dedicated support—and not just the same old script.
A dedicated agent number and voicemail setup supplies callers with a dedicated, direct phone number to an agent at a desktop who can handle the request, from the initial communication to the resolution. With no need to dial an extension or decipher a complicated company directory, customers can have a simpler, more direct, and personalized experience. A seamless interaction with a personal support rep elevates the support your contact center provides.
Meanwhile, dedicated voicemail for each agent becomes necessary when you have dedicated agent numbers, as follow-up calls will likely be received. And to make it easier for your agents to manage voicemail, you can also implement voicemail transcription through VoIP.
Contact Centers are more diverse and more spread out than ever before. As such, untethering your center with a cloud-based VoIP system expands the universe of features that truly drives success. From the above mentioned features, to others such as real-time reporting and queue callback, and more, VoIP for Contact Centers clears the path between callers and agents.