Customer service has reached new heights with varied groundbreaking technologies in today’s digital transformation era. However, despite the growing use of many customer service tools and channels, one support channel still remains the popular favorite – traditional phone support!
Phone support is an irreplaceable tool, even in some of the best call centers, as many customers still prefer talking to a live agent for problem resolution. The familiarity and speed that comes with a human conversation on the phone help build trust and comfort between your customer and the support agent.
While phone support is a great way to interact with customers, it is often the most time-consuming and least cost-effective on the business end. This is why it is crucial to have the right call center tools to empower your support reps to engage meaningfully with customers and deliver speed and accuracy with agility in high-pressure environments.
This article will dive deep into the world of call center software to keep your call center running smoothly! We’ll analyze the following topics:
Table of contents
What is call center software?
Call center software is a technology solution that helps companies handle large volumes of inbound and/or outbound calls. It provides a centralized call, messaging, queuing, routing, reporting, and measurement platform.
Call center software generally pulls customer data from one system and pushes data to another, configuring calls according to business guidelines. This way, sales agents retrieve specific customer data to provide personalized customer experience (CX).
Call centers and contact centers are used interchangeably in today’s world. However, the traditional difference between the two comes down to the channel each center uses. While call centers use legacy phone systems, contact centers leverage multiple (often digital) support channels for better customer service.
With CX evolving rapidly to meet skyrocketing customer expectations, most businesses offer at least an omnichannel customer experience or multichannel. This means that support is facilitated across channels, including email, social media, self-service portals, and chatbots.
Some essential call center software features include:
1. Intelligent Call-Routing
If call centers had one secret code to success, intelligent call routing would be it. With intelligent call routing, your system identifies the caller and the reason for calling to connect them with the right agent. This way, your customers get the support they need with the most experienced agent in minimal time.
2. Omnichannel support
According to a report by Omnisend, organizations with omnichannel support have a 90% higher customer retention rate than those that are single-channeled. Since modern call centers provide support across channels like emails, social media, and chatbots, providing consistent and smooth CX across channels is crucial for customer satisfaction.
3. Tool integration
With call center tool integration, different applications can exchange data and sync. This feature helps synchronize customer data, unify processes, and automate functions to boost operational productivity.
4. Call center analytics
In a fast-paced environment like a call center, keeping track of metrics and analytics is crucial to gauge operational efficiency. Call center analytics provide the big picture of the overall functioning of your call center. Data collected can be used to identify the following:
- The optimal time to reach customers
- Average handle time of calls
- The busiest periods of call volume
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Key benefits of using the right Call Center Software for your business
1. Improved agent productivity
We all know that the call center workload is huge. That’s why investing in the right contact center software can bring technological sophistication to facilitate your agent’s ability to engage with customers and provide on-demand quality service back-to-back.
Smart technology is a great way to automate monotonous tasks to divert your agent’s energy and time to more productive and critical tasks.
2. Reduced support costs
Time is money, and this is true in call centers.
With every second as crucial as the next, the right call center software will help with faster call resolutions, streamline communication, and improve agent performance to ensure quality service in a minimal time.
3. Higher first-call resolution
First-call resolution (FCR) is one of the most vital call center metrics, measuring how satisfactorily an agent solves a customer query in the first call.
Since call center tools have access to customer data and track records, agents can give contextual support customized to the customer’s problem, thus resolving the issue efficiently in the first interaction itself.
4. Enhances customer experience
Did you know that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more in exchange for a better customer experience?
This means that providing a seamless customer experience is the demand of the hour.
Advanced call center tools help provide smooth and personalized customer service for superior CX. For instance, customized caller greetings are one of the many ways call center solutions can help you deliver a tailor-made customer experience.
With the right contact center software, you can deliver consistent customer service across touchpoints to meet your customer’s high CX expectations.
5. Improved data security
One of the biggest concerns in any call center is keeping customer and client information confidential. Sophisticated call center software keeps all customer data safely secured via cloud backup.
These systems also enforce strict security protocols like strong password protection, data encryption, and user access controls to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing sensitive data.
Top 5 Call Center Softwares To Have In 2023
In a fast-paced environment like a call center, technological sophistication can make all the difference in your customer service quality and support costs.
Now that we know how contact center software can benefit your CX let’s move ahead with the top tools to keep your call center running smoothly.
The rest of this blog will discuss the five essential call center software that every contact center needs and the best software solutions to stay ahead of the curve.
1. Knowledge Management System (KMS)
A knowledge management system breaks data silos across the organization by storing, organizing, and managing enterprise-wide information under a single roof. Modern, omnichannel knowledge management systems with advanced search functions make contextual knowledge readily available to users across touchpoints.
In call centers, support champions are often at the reactive end of things. And in an environment where speed and accuracy are equally crucial, making relevant information as readily and quickly accessible as possible to support agents is key to their success and productivity.
Here, a KMS solves all your data storage woes. Using a KMS as a one-stop shop for all customer-related information and queries, your agents will no longer need to spend inordinate amounts of time locating the right information.
Instead, all the relevant knowledge is a click away, improving employee and customer experience.
Essential features of a KMS:
- The knowledge that integrates effectively with other systems
- Ability to create and edit content easily
- Intuitive search to make relevant content easily findable
- In-built analytics for assessing user engagement
- Feedback mechanism to improve user experience
- Consistent, high-quality content for agents to provide quality service
- Decreased dependency among agents on peer support for information
- Faster decision-making due to improved access to data
- Reduction in average handle time (AHT) as relevant knowledge is easily accessible
- Ability to track agent performance and improve their experiences for better customer service
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Top 5 KM-Software for Call Centers
Knowmax is an AI-powered, full-suite knowledge management system that helps create, curate, and distribute content effectively. Built by CX experts, Knowmax helps you better manage organizational knowledge to make searching and accessing knowledge promptly and hassle-free.
With AI-backed content modules and an intuitive search function, Knowmax makes contextual and actionable knowledge readily available to users across touchpoints.
This improves agent productivity by reducing time spent searching for information and improving CX by helping support teams deliver prompt and efficient customer service.
- No code DIY cognitive decision trees for SOP adherence
- Visual picture guides for immersive customer experiences
- Help articles and FAQs for centralized knowledge management
- Micro-segmented analytics to track knowledge base health
- AI-driven content migration and creation process for a hassle-free experience
- Multilingual capabilities for global audiences
Price: Contact [email protected] for more information
Zendesk’s knowledge base platform makes it easy for agents to assist customers quickly. It also allows customers to independently solve their own queries through a simple process on their knowledge base.
With CRM integration, live chat, SMS messaging, and more features, Zendesk provides a complete customer service solution.
- Full-text search
- Content management
- Analytics and Reporting
- Includes AI and ML-powered bots
- Customizable branding
Price: Free 14-day trial. Contact Zendesk for more information.
Hubspot’s Knowledge Base Software is an extensive knowledge management tool included in the Hubspot Service Hub. This contact center tool is a customer service reference for all customer-related queries.
With a focus on open communication, Hubspot’s knowledge base makes knowledge access easy for your employees and customers. The platform includes strong feedback metrics to provide your team with actionable insights to improve their processes for a better customer experience.
- Omnichannel communication support
- Intuitive user interface
- Mobile Accessibility
- Analytics and Reporting
- Fast installation
Price: $450/month/5 users for Professional Service Hub
Bloomfire’s knowledge management platform is a highly functional cloud-based tool to create a limitless organizational knowledge repository. As it is cloud-based, it is accessible conveniently, even on the go.
Its AI-powered search engine digs through every word of files and even transcribes words in videos to fetch the exact information you need at any time.
- Text editor
- Content tagging with AI
- Analytics and Reporting
- Bulk import and export content
- Huge storage volume
Price: Contact Bloomfire for pricing.
Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer support software to increase customer engagement through omnichannel help, self-service portals, and smart automation.
This platform allows you to easily convert agent responses to solutions and help articles with a few clicks. Its SEO-friendly search engine allows instant access to relevant knowledge only a search away.
- Monitor and manage content on the platform
- Analytics to gauge content quality
- Bulk actions to avoid repetitive tasks
- Multilingual, with up-to-date translation capabilities
Price: Contact the team for pricing
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Customer relationship management or CRM software is a system that helps manage all your company’s relationships with existing and potential customers.
When frustrated customers contact your company for support, they expect instant, efficient support. Repeating information, long wait times, and incorrect information is a recipe for customer experience disaster. According to Forbes, up to 47% of customers will shift to your competitor after continuously receiving poor CX!
Call center CRM software helps agents access customer information and track past transactions. This allows your support team to better assist your customers with personalized customer service for superior CX. The CRM stores customer records and provides up-to-date and relevant information to call representatives for support.
Essential features of call center CRM software:
- Integrated desktop application to make calls as well as access call logs on desktop
- Detailed customer history to know their customer journey
- The transparent telephonic process to enable intervention and feedback as needed
- Quality-based lead distribution to agents according to availability
- Call prioritization depending on the urgency
Benefits of a CRM:
- A complete view of the customer journey across touchpoints to increase customer satisfaction
- Reduction in turnaround time by automating suitable processes
- Strategic planning by monitoring data like call volume, revenue per call, and more
- Omnichannel contact management across support channels
- Targeted employee evaluation to generate helpful feedback
Top 5 CRM Software
Freshsales, a tool by Freshworks, is an intuitive CRM with built-in telephony tools such as call queuing, call recording, automatic call routing, and easy call functions. Although a general CRM, Freshsales offers relationship management and customizations for call centers.
- CRM customization
- Sales pipeline management
- AI assistant called Freddy AI for predictive contact scoring, forecasting insights, smart matching, and more.
Price: Starts with a free plan
2. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is a robust CRM suitable for smaller organizations for cost-effective solutions. With its in-built telephony system, your support champions can use features such as one-click call dialing, call reminders and analytics, and team collaboration to coordinate calls and tools in use.
Integration with Zoho Desk is recommended for better call management and customer service features.
Zoho CRM features:
- CRM customization
- Marketing and sales force automation
- Zia AI for reminders, smart automation, conversational AI assistance, and more
Price: Starts with a free plan
Bitrix24 is a CRM with integrated project management features. It offers a unified platform for files, tasks, projects, and contacts. For instance, inbound calls can be assigned as tasks within a project. It supports a fully-featured telephony module and social networks and communication channels integration.
- CRM marketing like segment-based email marketing, Facebook advertising, customer segmentation, and more
- Sales intelligence for customer journey tracking, call tracking, and analytical reports
- Customer support through the help desk, online training tools, and email support
Price: Includes a free plan and professional package
Pipedrive is an easy-to-use CRM platform with pipeline management functionality and essential calling features like call routing and recording. Pipeline’s contact center CRM allows easy contact imports and automation of your call center workflows.
- Call routing and monitoring
- Workflow automation
- Customer data synchronization
Price: Starts at $14.9/month per user
5. Hubspot CRM
Hubspot CRM, part of its Service Hub, offers user-friendly software to help your support team deliver better customer service. Besides smart automation and in-depth analytical reports, Hubspot CRM has a shared email inbox, call-tracking features, and a self-service option. It allows team leads to directly coach their support staff through conversation intelligence.
Hubspot CRM features:
- Activity tracking across all conversations and tickets
- Daily dashboard with crucial information like tasks and quota progress
- Email templates with pre-written samples to save time
Price: Starts with a free plan
3. Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
An automatic call distributor, or ACD, is one of the most commonly used tools in the telephony industry. This system automatically receives inbound customer calls and distributes them to an available agent.
An ACD helps call centers manage large call volumes not to overwhelm the support teams. It also enhances customer experience as calls are routed to an agent most suitable for the customer query in the shortest time possible.
Using a rule-based routing strategy, your ACD will follow instructions on how incoming calls should be directed and handled. The multiple variables determining the call routing and handling process aim at the same goal – connecting the caller with the most qualified agent for immediate assistance.
The call distribution process by an ACD can be divided into three steps:
- Caller information and identification – This step identifies the caller’s purpose to help connect them with an agent.
- Call queuing – This step sorts callers into a list based on caller status, waiting time, and query.
- Call routing – This last step will route callers based on their preferred distribution method- immediately to any available agent or the best one despite a longer wait time.
Essential features of an Automatic Call Distributor :
- Routing incoming calls to specific support agents
- Integration with CRM for up-to-date customer information
- Multiple call queues to streamline calls for different departments or support teams
- Redirection to voice mail in case of call center overflow
- Integrated auto-attendance to speak to a specific agent directly
Benefits of an ACD:
- Better workforce management to equally distribute calls among different agents
- Improved CX by connecting customers directly to agents who are best qualified to handle a particular type of query
- Easier agent coaching by identifying strengths and weaknesses of agents and providing actionable feedback accordingly
- Overall expense reduction as transfer of calls to multiple agents is minimized
- Reduced AHT as calls are directed strategically to qualified agents for each customer query
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Top ACD software for your call center:
RingCentral is a cloud-based business communications platform. It has integrated contact center solutions. Its ACD software is effectively built to improve first-call resolution (FCR) for single and multi-site locations, including remote ones.
- Automatic callback capability
- Auto attendant
- CRM integration
- Advanced queue management functionality
- Call barging, monitoring and reporting
Pricing: Contact the team for pricing
Genesys ACD is an all-around platform beyond ACD and IVR capabilities, including workforce management and quality assurance tools. Its ACD offers multiple routing options such as first available, skill-based, and even AI-powered call routing.
It allows digital and voice communication, enabling customer comments on social media to transition to calls with agents.
- Callback scheduling ability
- Drag and drop call flow
- Call recording and monitoring
Pricing: Stating $75/month per user
Talkdesk ACD is a cloud-based solution that uses advanced speech analytics to offer customer sentiment analysis and natural language processing (NLP) for transcribing calls to text. It provides detailed historical details and live analytics to improve overall call center operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
- CSAT or customer satisfaction surveys
- Customizable agent dashboards
- 60+ external platform integrations
- Advanced call routing capabilities, including VIP queuing
Pricing: Starting $45/month
4. NICE CXone
NICE CXone is a SaaS contact center software designed to improve the quality of leads and save costs during client interactions. Built on the foundation of a multichannel ACD, NICE CXone helps contact centers process inbound calls to connect them to agents. It also offers advanced omnichannel routing, a unified agent interface, and task management tools.
Some key features:
- Automatic callback capabilities
- Call recording and transcription
- Ability to detect customer sentiment
- Ability to customize dialing speeds
Pricing: Contact NICE for pricing
Five9 ACD software is a cloud-based call center solution that helps route inbound calls intelligently to provide effective support to your customers. It allows users to prioritize calls and interactions depending on urgency and select the resource to serve the customer best.
You can improve CSAT metrics and contact ratio by leveraging the ability to route calls to the right queue and agent.
- CRM integrations
- Intelligent routing
- Displays caller data on screen
Price: $100.00/month per user
4. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, is a telephony software used in call centers that allow businesses to interact with customers through an automated menu series.
As customer queries can be multifold and wide, the same agent cannot be expected to solve all kinds of customer problems effectively. This is why segmenting calls per query type can help better manage and direct calls to the right agent.
With an IVR system, callers use their dial pad or voice response to input the service option they need for easier identification, segmentation, and direction of calls to the right agents.
Depending on the query, IVRs systems use pre-recorded messages to give callers options to choose a self-service route or contact the support representative. This way, your customers no longer need to wait long periods, and your agents get valuable time to solve more critical tasks.
- Call filter to route calls to specific agents, divert non-essential calls to reduce time and effort wastage, and reduce call queues
- Self-service actions through pre-recordings to speed up problem resolution
- Voice recognition through natural language processing (NLP) allows customers to navigate the system through their voice alone
- Cross-platform integration for multidirectional data sharing
- Elimination of connection errors as customers select their own transfers to the desired department
- Increased capacity for inbound calls as IVR receives all calls. As customers sort through the IVR responses, agents get time to resolve previous calls
- Faster processing as customers enter a process of elimination to find the closest possible option
- Presented options. Depending on the complexity of the problem, customers can opt for self-service or talk to live agents
- Cost savings due to overall operational efficiency
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Top 5 IVR software for call centers:
Zendesk offers a multi-level IVR system that allows your support team to route calls to the right agents, record calls to the most frequently asked questions, and convert voice calls to text, to name a few of its functions. The system can be set up in minutes, with options to create menus and record greetings easily with customizable options.
- Multi-level IVR
- Mute, hold, and warm transfer
- Call quality notifications
- Call monitoring and barging
Price: Starts at $49/month per agent
2. Twilio Flex
Twilio’s IVR call center software offers flexible API tools that help you integrate all the required data and processes to get your IVR system running. Twilio allows for a completely customizable platform that you (or your developer) can design according to business needs. Twilio also offers an open-end infrastructure to allow you to integrate apps that you could possibly need.
- Free Text to speech support
- Call transcription
- Smart voice assistance
Price: $150/month per user (flat-rate)
CloudTalk’s IVR software makes handling all your inbound calls simple and hassle-free. It syncs calls with caller contact information to make it easier for your support agent to provide context-specific help, improving customer experience. With call tagging, commenting, recording, and queuing, CloudTalk helps boost your agent’s productivity to systemically handle incoming calls.
- Ring groups
- Call flow designer
- Skill-based routing
- International numbers3
Price: Starts at $25/month
Aircall’s IVR system is geared towards providing cost-effective service solutions for both inbound and outbound calling centers. With this software, businesses can record automated greets, call routing, and self-service options for both inbound and outbound calls.
Aircall features (essential plan):
- Unlimited calls within US and Canada
- Voice mail
- Call queuing and recording
Price: Starts at $30/month per user
Like other IVRs, GoToConnect allows you to create menus to present your callers with suitable options for query resolution. Depending on the problem’s complexity, the system offers self-service options or direct support with an agent. This software’s design aims to connect customers with the right representative most efficiently to improve the user experience and customer experience.
- Intelligent call routing
- Auto-queue callback
- International calling for more than 50 countries
Price: Starts at $24/month per user
A dialer is a call center software tool used for dialing customer numbers automatically and documenting the outcome of these calls. Dialers are used in call centers to simplify the outbound call process.
While manual dialing has not become obsolete in call centers, automatic dialers have significantly improved the efficiency and productivity of call center operations.
According to reports, sales reps make an average of 52 calls per day, with 15% of their time spent leaving voicemails, causing a time wastage of 36 hours per month!
With a dialer contact solution, the calling process is automated from the existing customer base. This way, much time is saved from manually entering customer numbers or busy signals.
Depending on whether the customer answers the calls, the dialer software routes the customer to the right agent, plays messages, uses a bot to collect data, or moves on to the next customer in case of busy or unreachable signals.
Features of a call center dialer:
There are three types of auto dialers in the market currently- predictive, progressive, and preview.
- Predictive dialer features:
- Smartest of the dialer lot
- Automatically dials a phone number from the list of contacts and routes the call to an available agent
- Automatically screens out busy, disconnected, or unavailable numbers
- Progressive dialer features:
- Considered to be the middle ground between manual and predictive dialers, progressive dialers also automate the outbound call process
- Differ from predictive dialers as they wait for the agent to complete their ongoing call before dialing the next number
- Preview dialer features:
- The dialer sends the call to the agent along with the customer history before placing the call
- Does not allow the agents to proceed or skip a call
- Deflection of unproductive numbers
- Increased efficiency of support agents by making the calling process easier
- Real-time monitoring and reporting
- Improved business efficiency eliminating misdialing, call drops, and other call constraints
Top 5 dialers for your call center:
Genesys Cloud Dialer CX is Genesys’s all-in-one contact center software. It allows multiple dialing modes- predictive, preview, and manual. Genesys allows contact routing through multiple channels where your agents can send outbound IVR messages, texts, emails, and more to customers.
- Includes analytics for speech, text, and emails
- Inbound and skill-based routing
- Contains modes for preview and manual dialing as an add-on to predictive dialing
Price: Starting $75/month per user
Talkdesk’s predictive dialer includes IVR and allows integrations with more than 60 CRM and non-CRM platforms. Talkdesk offers a 100% service level agreement (SLA) that provides call centers a complete guarantee of calling capability every second all year round.
- Integrates with Salesforce and other CRM software
- ACD and IVR included in one of the lowest-cost plans
- Robust omnichannel contact sections
- Complies with Do Not Call (DNC) rules
Price: Starting $75/month per user
Voicent’s user-friendly call center software allows predictive, progressive, preview, and manual dialing. It allows call centers to better manage agents, incoming calls, outbound call campaigns, and sales leads.
- It comes with a built-in CRM
- Automation by integration with workflow management
- Automated phone and survey polls
- Real-time call reports based on call results
Price: Starting $110/month per user
Nextiva is an all-in-one contact center software with features including outbound dialing, skills-based routing, IVR, ACD, and more. It provides custom dashboards for call barging and monitoring, analytics, and supervisor tools catered toward decision-making.
- CRM integrations with top brands like Zendesk, Salesforce, Hubspot
- Competitive price range
- Unlimited voice calls
Price: Starting $14.95/month per user
ChaseDialer’s auto-dialer software allows predictive dialing to handle large call volumes. Call centers can use a minimum of 3000 minutes to call multiple clients simultaneously without compromising quality and speed.
- No coding integration for easy access to data
- Includes automated scripting platforms
- Supports tool integrations
- Free trial for all its features
Price: Starting $89/month per user
Call centers are fast-paced work environments where speed and accuracy are crucial parameters. With the stress of solving customer problems efficiently and speedily, contact center tools can help agents better manage their work to deliver quality customer service.
Adopting the right call center software for your business is a productivity hack to skyrocket your operational efficiency. Not only do contact center tools help manage knowledge and customer relationships better, but they also reduce the burden of tedious manual processes on the agent.
This allows your agents to spend valuable time solving more critical customer issues and deliver better customer experiences.