This is a hard proposition to sell as, lets face it, the phrase “call centre” has an awful lot of negative connotations. These often stem from the experience we all get as consumers when large businesses use the technology badly to pare their transaction costs down to the bare minimum, often at our expense.
It is therefore quite understandable that many medium-sized business managers who take pride in providing effective personal customer service may well be less than positive about implementing functionality often associated with call centres on their phone system and sceptical that this will allow them to improve responsiveness.
There is also another issue: many legacy phone system vendors position “call centre features” as an esoteric and expensive add on that costs lots of time and money to set up. Taken together this can lead to users thinking that using intelligent call handling features to improve the way they deal with their customers isn’t a useful step for them.
This couldn’t be further from reality. Using well thought out auto-attendants to ensure that your customer always ends up talking to the right person in your organisation for their query improves the experience for the customer, but also improves business efficiency as they don’t also spend time first talking to the wrong person.
Using queues to manage peak time demand to key functions can help you to improve your response to all callers. Most callers will perceive say a maximum 2-3 minute wait, followed by instant access to the right staff to be better than a repeated engaged tone and random chance of getting through when trying to make an urgent query. This of course only works if you are able to deliver a consistent maximum wait by combining queue use with pro-active monitoring and clear reporting so that managers easily view historic patterns of calls and use these to best deploy their staff throughout the week and manage their performance. When combined with real-time alerting on building delays which allow an immediate response by adding resources or overflowing calls this removes the possibility of annoying customers with unacceptable queue wait times.
All of the above need not take any significant time or extra cost to set up. On our VoIPCortex platform all the basic customer contact features such as auto-attendants and call queues with real-time status monitoring panel and e-mail alerts on key thresholds as well as reporting of queue and agent performance are built in across the product range and accessed via our intuitive web-UI. There really is no excuse not to at least investigate what professional call management could do for your organisation.
So are call centre features something that can make a positive impact on your business or are they still not for you?