Call Center Software & Metrics
How the call center has transformed and ways to leverage call center metrics
The History of the Call Center
How the call center has transformed into the contact center
From its inception, customer service technology has been focused making sure customers are heard and that businesses can respond, and until recently, that meant voice to voice contact. In the 1950s phones started ringing off the hook and it hasn’t stopped—connecting customers and companies around the clock to answer questions, sell products or services and solve problems.
The Call Center
The first call center was created in 1957 by Time, Inc. and was established to increase LIFE magazine subscriptions1. Over the next three decades, as companies added their own call centers, basic telephone technology evolved. The 1960s brought Private Manual Branch Exchanges (PMBXs), which were essentially in-house switchboards for large corporations. In the 1970s the computer age heralded the move from manual to automatic, and computer telephony integration systems included game changing technologies like Automatic Call Distribution (ACD). The PMBX became the PBX and eliminated the need for operators to manually transfer calls.
In the 1970s Automatic Call Distribution further automated the process, and in the 1980s, Interactive Voice Response began delivering more efficiencies and faster service. Soon, the internet and the evolution of smart phones and tablets gave people entirely new ways to communicate with businesses, and the focus of the call center underwent a revolution.
Changing Customer Needs
As communication habits changed, so did the call center. As early as 2013, the Contact Center Satisfaction Index reported that only 54% of customers preferred phone contact.2 The increasing use of email, chat and social media were already becoming commonplace.
Today, it’s estimated that only 37% of people use their smart phones for making phone calls, and amongst millennials and Gen Z those numbers are even lower3. 68% of Gen Z surveyed say they prefer email to communicate with their favorite brands.4
So, is the phone call dead? Is the call center going to become obsolete?
The Call Center Today: Trends in the Contact Center
Despite the shift toward chat, email and social media, the call center remains central to customer contact center strategies. Even though phone calls are not the only or even primary way customers interact with businesses, they remain the most important part of the contact center mix.
The call center is important not because of the volume of communications, but because of the types of interactions that happen over the phone. Most customers, especially when dealing with complex issues, or when dissatisfied, prefer to talk to a real person-and these are relationship-defining moments that directly affect customer retention and satisfaction. Plus, the call center is an important extension of your brand, and one of the most powerful ways you communicate and reinforce your company personality and values.
Two Ways to Maximize Value of your Call Center
The call center is central to customer retention and satisfaction, and here are two key ways businesses can maximize the value of their contact center.
1. The Elastic Workforce
Technology has enabled support and service teams to work from anywhere, through the same platform and with access to the same customer information. This enable businesses to leverage an elastic workforce to better meet customer needs and operate with just-in-time efficiency. When demand is high, businesses can add remote workers to meet the demand, and reduce the number of agents when demand drops.
Here are some key indicators that an elastic workforce approach is right for you:
- Your business has predictable times of increased demand
- Your department needs a cost-effective way to improve metrics
- You need trained agents for a back-up plan
- You need temporary support for new business initiatives
Learn more about Packet Fusion’s Elastic Workforce Management Solution.
2. Understanding and Leveraging Metrics
Call center software and contact centers churn out massive amounts of data, but getting actionable information from that data can be challenging. Understanding the reporting tools, accurately interpreting call center metrics and then using those metrics to build strategies is key to improving customer satisfaction and retention.
- Understand your reporting tools. Gain expert guidance through the wide range of reporting features and data that will help you generate some eye-opening statistics.
- Accurately interpret metrics. Once you understand the reporting options your platform offers, you can piece together what traditional KPIs are telling you. Begin to sketch the customer experience from wait times, dropped calls, wrap-up times, call forwarding, and more.
- Use metrics to build strategies. With new information in hand, you can make data-based decisions for your business. Metrics will help you pinpoint the challenge areas and address problems quickly.
Packet Fusion helps thousands of call center managers put their metrics to work. Learn more about our training and metrics services.
Choosing the Right Call Center Software
The purpose of call center software is to help businesses manage customer communication coming from multiple channels and sources such as phone, email, live chat, instant messaging, SMS text, and social media. It can be used as a part of a customer support or help desk software with a ticketing feature to help agents respond to customer queries and resolve issues.
At Packet Fusion, our engineers are certified in the top industry call center software solutions, including those from Mitel, 8×8, LogMeIn, Dialpad, Ring Central, Genesys and Talkdesk, to
name a few.
We also provide end-user and administrator training, which increases adoption so our customers get the best return on their investment.
Don’t Know What Your Call Center Needs?
Let’s have a conversation to get to the heart of your challenges.