Call-Centre Technology Gears
Call centre technology tools can be a challenge to sort out. The options are numerous, attention-grabbing and often a nuisance. Still, there are a few handpicked call-centre technologies that are so powerful, so intrinsically useful, that it would be unwise not to take advantage of them. Here they are:
Predictive dialling realizes these goals by using pre-set algorithms to determine when an agent will become free and then dials the next number just as the agent is wrapping up his or her current call. A predictive dialler can also eliminate the need for an agent to choose a number, dial it, listen to busy signals and encounter wrong numbers or answering machines. This technology increases agent productivity and efficiency.
This technology satisfies callers by placing them in touch with the person who is most likely to answer their questions quickly and authoritatively. Skill-based routing automatically matches call inquiries with the most appropriate agent or system resource based on topic subject, service level and agent aptitude, as well as agent availability and workload.
In any call centre, knowledge is power. Screen pop technology ties agents’ workstations directly to a company database to instantly view important information. A caller’s records are automatically retrieved and “popped” to an agent as soon as the call arrives. The technique allows an agent to greet a caller by name and to view the caller’s location, past sales and returns, product and service preferences and other relevant data.
Click to Talk, Click to Call
One method of linking call centres to the Web is click to talk (also called click to call). This technology connects Web site visitors to agents via a simple, clickable icon. Click to talk typically allows agents to answer questions about a product or to complete a sale.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response): This is perhaps the most popular and useful call-centre technology. An IVR responds to caller-entered digits or speech in much the same way that a computer responds to keystrokes or mouse clicks. The system lets users’ pre-route calls to the agents best-equipped to handle their inquiries. When an IVR is linked to a database, callers can also perform specific tasks, such as checking their order status or transferring funds between accounts, all without agent intervention.
The flip side of click to talk is Web call-back, a tool that permits customers visiting a company’s Web site to request a call-back from an agent, usually within a specified time period.
This technology links both caller and agent browsers, enabling both parties to see the same Web page simultaneously. This technique can be highly useful for troubleshooting computers, software products, mobile devices, Web-based sales orders, Web-delivered media and a variety of other tech products and services.
Lower calling costs, simplified computer-telephony integration, easier call centre management, lower infrastructure expenses and Web compatibility are just a few reasons for basing a call centre on VoIP. As quality concerns recede, VoIP is becoming a modern call centre cornerstone.
Virtual Call Centre
Skip the cost and headaches of a brick-and-mortar call centre by creating a virtual substitute. A virtual call centre features geographically dispersed agents who, through the use of the VoIP and other advanced technologies, function as single entity that can span continents and time zones.
Disrupting background noise, generated by nearby people and equipment, can gradually sap agent productivity and efficiency. Noise can also irritate callers when they are forced to frequently repeat words and numbers to agents working in clamorous call centres. Noise-cancelling headsets are more expensive than their standard counterparts, but businesses usually recoup the additional cost through improved agent morale which slows workforce turnover and enhanced caller satisfaction.
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