When you hear the phrase “call center”, what do you picture? Does your mind travel back a few decades to the telethons that used to play for hours on end? Perhaps you’re picturing a traditional phone bank staffed by dozens of dialers all talking at the same time?
Or maybe you’re picturing a much more efficient system that leverages the skills of a handful of salespeople to get the results of a massive team? To know how call centers work, it’s important to learn how they’ve changed over the years.
Evolution of the call center
Although they still exist, the “traditional” call centers have largely fallen by the wayside. Because of newer technology and more discerning consumers, classic calling practices are much harder to maintain. Some smartphones automatically block suspicious numbers, some preventive applications hide incoming calls, and most consumers immediately hang up the second they feel they’re being sold to. That’s why call centers had to implement a more strategic approach.
For one, cold calling is largely a method of the past. Though plenty of businesses still rely on cold calling for a handful of their leads, the majority of C-level executives feel more comfortable reaching out to warm prospects who already expressed some degree of interest. This means call centers don’t simply pull numbers at random anymore. Many of them instead utilize CRM applications and information captures to find better prospects for outreach.
Beyond that, there’s the concept of the virtual call center which is taking many call teams by storm. It’s no secret that being a phone representative is difficult and stressful at times. Virtual call centers seek to boost morale by allowing agents to be geographically dispersed. Remote work can heighten employee spirits and promote greater productivity, a win-win for many businesses.
Call center software
So, if call centers tend to rely on CRM systems nowadays, how does that translate to a more effective call process? That’s where call center software and auto dialers come into play. These applications integrate with CRM systems and information captures to pull relevant information, reach out to consumers, and quickly connect them with the most appropriate available agent at any given time.
It speeds up the call process dramatically by providing the agent with as much customer information as possible before the call ever takes place. This means less time spent on information gathering and more time spent on sales, upsells, renewals, and the like. It also translates to greatly reduced wait times for the consumer as they’re receiving outbound communications that they’ve already requested.
On top of this, artificial intelligence and natural voice processing are working to further streamline the call experience by allowing customers to interact with intuitive speech prompts to provide information and reach the right agent. While a good amount of this technology is still developing, it’s already proving to be incredibly effective for call centers nationwide.
An effective software solution also needs to incorporate some degree of cloud connectivity to be effective, especially if you’re considering a virtual call center setup. This way, you won’t have to provide uniform hardware solutions and you can rest comfortably knowing that each of your agents is always connected to the most up-to-date version of the call software available.
If you’re a business owner who’s considering incorporating a call center or auto dialer program into your operation, it’s important to be as informed as possible when selecting a solution for your company. Not all call center applications and provisions are created equally and the right ones shouldn’t have you feeling as though you’ve traveled back in time.
Look for call center components that are on the cutting edge of what technology is able to offer, so you can stay current and agile in today’s business climate.