Do you ever feel like you're chained to your small business call center? Do you ever fantasize about rebuilding it from the ground up?
Call centers can be management-intensive, especially when they use outdated software. Antiquated call center technology can prevent you from meeting your CX goals, frustrate your agents, cause you to overrun your budget, and make the call center an internal punching bag. In short, it can really ruin your day!
But it doesn't have to be like this. Building your "dream" call center isn't such a stretch. Cloud-based small business call center software is within reach and just might pay for itself. With a contact center as a service (CCaaS) model, you get all the benefits of modern technology and none of the hassle of managing it yourself.
If revamping your call center is on your bucket list, this is the right article to read. This is the fourth article in a four-part series designed to help small businesses choose their next call center solution. So far, we've addressed using modern technology as a way to grow the business, create lifetime customers, and compete based on innovative CX and data-driven decisions. Now we'll talk about how to make your dream a reality.
The Joy of Designing Your Own Small Business Call Center Software Solution
Consumers are able to customize so many products these days. People building new homes can choose everything from the floor plan to the light fixtures. Car buyers can choose the exterior color, heated seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and so much more. You can even design your own Converse sneakers and put your business logo on M&Ms.
Savvy businesses realize the appeal of designing your own product and use customization to drive sales. And consumers appreciate the control they have in building exactly what they want - their dream home, car, and sneakers.
What if software worked that way? What if you could design your own small business call center software solution? What pain points would you resolve? What types of customer experiences would you create? Imagine the possibility of getting exactly what you need to make a fresh new start with your call center.
With CCaaS, you can design the solution to meet your needs. Industry-leading vendors offer a multitude of applications ranging from automatic call distributors (ACDs) to call recorders to sophisticated analytics and more. You can pick and choose the applications you need for your business and be confident that they'll all work seamlessly together. And, unlike cars or sneakers, when needs change in the future you can easily modify your solution set.
Stop Working for Your Call Center and Make Your Call Center Work for You
Working with outdated call center technology is a little like having a puppy - you can't leave it alone for very long and it tends to chew things up. But at least puppies are cute!
Older small business call center software tends to be inflexible, so it can't address consumer demands for digital and self-service support, let alone be integrated with modern technology like chatbots. It can also create a bad experience for agents who have to inefficiently toggle through multiple applications during customer service calls because none of them are integrated. And they can be resource-intensive - just think about how much time you and your staff have spent resolving glitches and outages or trying to extract data that makes sense.
In contrast, the best CCaaS solutions offer flexibility because they contain the latest capabilities and use open APIs for easy integrations. Additionally, agents can have everything they need with a consolidated, integrated desktop. The vendor is responsible for managing the hardware and software to ensure extremely high availability. And accessing data won't be a problem - you can even build your own reports if none of the dozens of out-of-the-box reports meets your needs.
7 Things You Won't Miss When You Switch from Outdated Technology to Cloud Small Business Call Center Software
Shedding your antiquated technology will take a huge weight off your shoulders. You may be surprised by just how much stress it relieves. You won't miss:
- Not being able to hit your goals. Technology is supposed to support meeting business goals, not hinder them. If your systems are doing the latter, it's time for an upgrade.
- Agent ridicule and frustration about systems. Agents typically aren't shy about expressing their opinions and they may be wondering why you haven't done anything about the clunky systems they've been complaining about. Give them the tools they need to deliver effective customer service.
- Internal disdain for call center quality. It's easy for call centers to become corporate punching bags. Outdated technology only makes it worse.
- Customer frustration with CX. The right small business call center software can reduce the number of those awkward, escalated customer calls you have to handle.
- Late night calls about system outages. If you go with a vendor that delivers 99.9% up time, those late night calls will be eliminated.
- Hair-raising software upgrades. Applying substantial updates to older software can take years off your life. With CCaaS, the vendor keeps the software current so you can rest easy.
- Throwing money at antiquated systems. Keeping outdated systems running is kind of like nursing a 20-year-old minivan along for just one more year - it's a money pit, likely to have unplanned expenses to keep it running, and at some point, you need to trade it in for something newer and more reliable.
Imagine the Possibilities of a Fresh New Start with Modern Small Business Call Center Software
The best cloud call center software enables businesses to adapt, compete, and meet their growth and profitability targets, all at an affordable, pay for what you use price. With the right solution (that you designed yourself), you can reinvent the way your call center operates and delivers customer experiences.
Imagine the following possibilities:
Satisfy your Customers
We're in the experience economy now. If you want to compete effectively, you need to consistently deliver satisfying customer experiences that build loyalty and increase customer lifetime value (CLV). Call center technology can enable exceptional CX. Here's how:
Channel Choice - Digital and Self-service
Today's consumers want to be able to choose how they interact with businesses. One-size-fits-all phone support isn't enough anymore. To satisfy customer expectations, organizations need to offer self-service and digital channels, such as email, chat, and social media. Look for interactive voice response (IVR) systems with robust self-service capabilities that you can configure yourself. Additionally, your new solution should include multiple channels that you can easily add or eliminate.
Intelligent Routing - Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
Agents play such an important role in customer service interactions, so make sure customers are being matched to the agents most qualified to resolve their issues. It's time to move beyond routing a caller to the agent who has been available the longest. Skills-based routing will help ensure issues are solved quickly and accurately, which will please both customers and agents.
Optimized Staffing - Workforce Management (WFM) Software
Part of providing great CX is not making customers wait too long for help. That requires having enough agents hired and scheduled. Workforce management software can ensure staffing is optimized by producing accurate forecasts and schedules. It also helps you control labor costs by avoiding overstaffing.
Refocus IT Resources
When you choose a cloud-based call center platform, you gain a new IT resource - the vendor. Your vendor will manage hardware, software, and security, freeing your IT team (and you?) from mundane tasks. This allows your organization to refocus those resources on more value-added efforts, such as innovation that will drive business results. Additionally, because you're no longer throwing good money at bad technology, you'll be getting more bang for your buck from those funds by redirecting them to areas that add value.
Improve Agent Experience
Your agents will think you're a hero when you provide them with tools that make them more effective, develop and engage them, and even provide them with more work-life balance. Here are some ways your new software can improve the agent experience.
Unified Agent Desktop
With a unified agent desktop, everything an agent needs to provide effective customer service is in a single interface. This can include all the channels they support, your CRM system, knowledge bases, ticketing systems, and back-office systems such as accounting and order management. This lays the foundation for a faster, more accurate interaction and sets agents up for success.
Most people want to get better at their jobs, and that certainly includes customer service agents. If you include performance management in your self-designed call center solution, agents can view their performance metrics on individual dashboards, motivating them to own and improve their results. And features like gamification can reward agents for hitting performance milestones.
Quality management is a fundamental process in most call centers. Quality management software streamlines the process through configurable scorecards and automated workflows. Agents will appreciate the increased transparency and ability to dispute evaluation results.
Work from Home Capabilities
Because your new small business call center software is in the cloud, it makes it very easy for agents to work remotely. At-home agents won't miss the commute or the gas and business clothing expenses.
Hit Your Call Center Goals
When you're no longer shackled by your outdated technology, you'll begin to consistently hit your performance targets. Capabilities that let you optimize staffing, improve agent performance, streamline interactions, and enhance CX will all positively impact your KPIs. And features like customer surveys and robust reporting tools will help you track these improvements over time and bring visibility to how well your newly revamped call center is performing.
Redeem Your Call Center's Internal Reputation
When your results begin to improve, the stigma surrounding your call center will begin to disappear. You won't receive as many calls from your boss and you won't avoid those weekly cross-departmental meetings. You might actually look forward to them because you'll be able to brag about your call center's improvements. Be sure to share some reports from your new software with your internal detractors. They'll come around eventually.
Redirect Your Own Attention
Once you have a fresh new start with a new call center solution you won't have to spend so much time and energy on keeping the wheels on the bus. Instead, you can spend your time and attention on more strategic efforts, like growing the business. Imagine the possibilities!
Reclaim Your Personal Time
No more late nights troubleshooting outages or weekends babysitting software updates. Sound good? Using modern call center software will allow you to reclaim your personal time and be able to truly unplug when you go home for the day.
How Your New Small Business Call Center Will Pay for Itself
There's probably a financial reason why that outdated technology is still in place. If you had an unlimited budget, you would have replaced it long ago. When budgets are tight, it can be hard to convince leadership to invest in something they might view as a cost center. But if you put together a business case, you just might be surprised by the ROI of cloud call center software. Here are some economic benefits.
CCaaS Offers a Favorable and Flexible Pricing Model
With hosted software, you typically pay a monthly subscription fee based on the number of users or seats. This model is often cheaper than purchasing on-premises software licenses, plus there's no amortization to carry on the books. Additionally, you only pay for what you use, which is especially favorable to companies with seasonal peaks.
Increased Revenue from Higher Customer Retention and Customer Lifetime Value
Our research shows that consumers are very sensitive about the quality of CX businesses provide. 84% of consumers are very likely to switch brands after a bad experience. Conversely, over 80% of consumers are willing to buy more from and recommend businesses that provide exceptional customer experiences. Your new and improved call center should be able to provide experiences that increase loyalty and share of wallet. Those benefits belong in your business case.
Cost Savings Due to Higher Customer Service Agent Retention
Giving agents modern tools that make them more effective will help with engagement and satisfaction and will lead to higher retention rates. There's a very real cost to agent attrition - it costs around $12k to replace an agent. Turnover rates for SMB call centers range between 17-37%. Decreasing that rate by five or ten points can yield a substantial benefit that will improve the ROI of your new software.
Cost Savings Due to Better Agent Utilization
Agent wages are your call center's biggest expense. Factors like average handle time, first call resolution rates and agent occupancy are all part of the labor cost equation. Tools such as industry-leading workforce management software, real-time reporting, and unified agent desktops help call centers to streamline interactions, optimize staffing, and better manage labor costs. The result is a tangible cost reduction that should be factored into your business case.
Start Designing Your Ideal Small Business Call Center Software Solution
NICE inContact CXone enables you to run your call center the way you want without the frustrating limitations of your current, outdated technology. CXone customers benefit from frequent, leading edge enhancements and can add capabilities as their businesses grow and evolve.
For advice on how to plan your new contact center, download this free guide: Contact Center Software Buying Advice
You can also check out our product suite and start building your ideal solution today. To get you started, we've put together some suggested packages.