Here’s our hit list of the top 10 call center software features for 2018 you won't want to miss. They are not in any specific order, and for good reason: what will be most important in your contact center environment will largely depend on where your focus will be next year. Will you be looking into true omnichannel automatic call distributor (ACD) functionality? Extending your workforce management (WFM) capabilities? Will this be the year you start looking into providing proactive customer service? Are you growing? Thinking of adding channels?
The list below shows “everyday” call center software features that you will want to make sure you have available – in 2018, and beyond.
True Omnichannel: Customers expect service in more channels than ever before. And they want service across channels – customer sessions, really, that may involve voice and digital, self-service and agent assisted, inbound and outbound channels. Empower your agents to use any channel(s) that lead to First Contact Resolution, and enable them to reduce customer effort.
Scalability: Do you have seasonality in your business? Are your growing? Or are you being forced to temporarily scale back (hopefully not!)? If so, elasticity and scalability will be important for you; I mean, why pay more than you have to?
Integrated Surveys: NICE inContact research confirms that millennials and Gen Z (or Centennials) have no compunction whatsoever to look for better service elsewhere. American Express found back in 2014 that 37% of customers will immediately consider switching companies after one initial poor customer service experience. And NICE inContact research from earlier this year makes it abundantly clear: 8 in 10 customers agree that a bad customer experience will make them very likely to take their business elsewhere. You need to know what your customers think of your customer service.
Integrated Workforce Management (WFM): Your agents are your most valuable resource. More sophisticated scheduling helps both your service levels and your agent satisfaction. Look into features that help you keep attrition down and your agents engaged. Think accurate scheduling regardless of channel, gamification, vacation and shift bidding, more accurate forecasting. Much better than a spreadsheet!
Customizable Reporting and Analytics: Are you able to gain real understanding out of all the data your call center produces on a daily basis? Do you have the ability to combine those data with other key metrics, your business KPIs, your CRM data, and so forth, to capture real insights as to what is going on in your contact center and with your customers? Customizable Reporting and Analytics will provide answers, and if done right, give you the means to share your insights with anyone that needs to know, from Agent to Senior Executive.
Proactive Customer Service: If you are looking into proactive customer service, make sure your solution supports blending inbound and outbound, not only because it increases agent productivity by enabling you to fill potential lulls in incoming volume with outbound activities, but also because proactive service may help reduce inbound volume by deflecting some interactions to self-service channels. And on top of it all, many customers actually appreciate your being proactive – increasing customer satisfaction as well.
Integration Interfaces: This is already an important trend today and will increase. Customers expect personalized service which—more often than not—relies on the ability to integrate your contact center with one or more data sources. You may want to integrate enterprise tools or even build your own desktop. To do so, you need a partner that offers pre-built integrations, a large network of alliance partners, and easy access to an extensive, well documented collection of integration interfaces / APIs and SDKs.
Agent Interface: It’s true. You still need a user friendly, consolidated agent interface that helps your customer service representatives to be at their best by empowering them to concentrate on helping customers, not figuring out the tool (or, even worse, tools) they need to use. Make sure all channels are supported, otherwise you may not only challenge your agents, and you may — from a data perspective— lose insights across channels.
Integrated Quality Management: Do you have an easy, integrated solution for Quality Management? You’ll need a solution that enables your supervisors, managers and operations to improve both the customer and agent experience. Make sure screen and call recording, agent self-evaluations, automated feedback and work flows are included to help you create an effective balance between operational requirements and agent empowerment.
Streamlined Administration: The more integration, the less unnecessary duplication of work for your administrators, managers and supervisors. If you find a solution that provides an interface that allows non-programmers to build and maintain routing strategies, that’s certainly a bonus, as you will be able to make changes faster and your entire team will become more self-sufficient.
In summary, determine your goals and then leverage your call center software to help you achieve those goals.