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Call Center Software – Does My Business Need It?

 

By Steve Norris


Ten years ago most businesses would not have considered owning call center software for their business telephone system unless they had a true call center environment. The cost was absolutely prohibitive for any other application, but with recent technology advancements it’s now time to ask, “Should I be using call center software for my company?” The financial case for doing so is overwhelming in several new market niches.

The definition and the perception of what a call center now is has dramatically changed in the last ten years. It is no longer just the large outbound telemarketing rooms or the huge inbound customer service centers that qualify. Many small call centers are essential profit centers for their companies, and many others are classified as “non income producing” overhead that are absolutely vital to their smooth operation and business model.

But how do I know if am running at peak efficiency? How do I know if I am understaffed or overstaffed? How do I know who is producing and who isn’t? Are my customers as happy as they should be? Do I really need a full time person to manage a small operation? Not knowing the answers to those questions could cost a company dearly.

When you take a closer look at what call center software reporting and management tools can cost effectively bring to an organization, a whole new set of questions come to mind.

  • How long do my customers REALLY wait on hold? Are my reps picking up in a timely fashion?
  • What are the most calls in cue that I get at one time?
  • How many or what % of abandoned calls do I have?
  • Do I lose calls due to excessive hold times?
  • What is the average length of call?
  • How long does it take to “wrap up a call?”
  • Who has the longest average call length? My best agent or worst? Why?
  • How do I know if I am properly staffed?
  • How do I know if my call center has trouble?
  • How do I solve it?

These are questions only large call centers with proper management tools could have answered in the past. With new cost effective technology, more and more businesses are looking to software solutions to streamline their operations and answer the essential questions that can differentiate them from their competition.

The person that is answering the phone or placing the call for a company costs much more than the actual call itself, so it is imperative to understand how one’s resources are being allocated. Being overstaffed one person could pay for software many times over in a single year. Being understaffed could be costing a company a tremendous amount of business and repeat business because of frustration and substandard service levels.

If the axiom holds true that “I can’t manage what I can’t measure,” being able to measure the business KPI (Key Performance Indicators) is essential. Here are some additional questions businesses use to consider if Call Center Software would be a benefit to their operation:

  • If I could recruit talent elsewhere in the country without the additional office space or overhead, yet maintain the same management tools and quality of service, would it be beneficial?
  • Is there an associated cost per customer? (Knowing this will help justify my ROI)
  • Do my clients know about additional services and products I am offering? Would a message playing while they are in cue be appropriate to create awareness and upsell?
  • Are there highly profitable new products I want my clients to know about?
  • Is measuring outbound sales call volume important?
  • What happens if I lose my best agent because they are frustrated with my infrastructure or processes?
  • How much does it cost me to train a new representative?
  • How will that affect my operation?
  • How much does it cost me to lose a client?
  • How much does it cost me if I lose my biggest client?
  • What is my actual call volume?
  • How good of a job does the person answering the phone do? Can I record their calls for verification and training purposes?
  • Are per minute toll free number charges attached to inbound calls? If I can reduce my average length of call and hold time 20% per call, would that assist customer satisfaction and cost control?
  • Are my representatives able to visually see, as well as management, exactly how they are performing in comparison to their peers via an electronic wallboard? Would that be beneficial?
  • What, if anything, do my customers complain about? Is it possible that other customers have the same complaint? How do I solve it?

If you have ever asked any of those questions or really need to know the answers to them, a telecom software solution may be right for your company. As a guide, always ask if the cost of not knowing the answers to those questions outweighs the cost of the software solution itself. As always, it is recommended you consult with your telecommunications professional to assist you in your search, as there are many options.

Steve Norris is a Texas based Independent Telecom Agent for over 80 carriers nationwide, and specializes in multi-location businesses with advanced infrastructure needs. In addition to representing carrier services with his company Telephone Guru, he also represents high end business telephone system solutions. Over 90% of his clients are able to implement new technology at little or no cost with his proprietary TeleTAP solution. Visit him on the web for Business Phone System options and http://www.energyretrofitters.com.

 

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