With a vast number of calling agents currently working from home, call management has become more important than ever. Call management tools can help a call center thrive even in a competitive ecosystem.
For agents engaging in inbound and outbound calls at home, it amplifies common issues while creating new challenges. The biggest challenges that call center managers and business owners face are agent performance management and call quality control because remote workers face a lot of distractions. However, equipping your agents with the right tools can ease stress and improve customer interactions. Here are some call management tools that are imperative for your remote call center workers to perform effectively.
1. IVR Systems
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are essential for modern inbound call centers because they create a smooth experience for callers. IVRs allow callers to select an option, after which it routes them to the right department or the right agent using skill-based routing. Additionally, they can give generic responses to common customer questions. An IVR can reduce queue times for your customers while solving their common problems fast. You can also record custom messages to greet your callers and use them to make sure that your business is available round the clock.
2. Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
It’s important to keep the playing field fair when your agents are working remotely. ACDs ensure that calls are distributed fairly across your agent pool. They also route calls to the right department. The major difference between IVRs and ACDs is that IVRs route calls or provide answers depending on what the caller selects while ACDs route calls according to the call center manager’s rules.
They use the following methods to distribute calls:
- Circular distribution: Call distribution is a continuous cycle with the next call being routed to the agent who is after the one who received the previous call in the cycle.
- Linear distribution: Call distribution follows a pre-defined list that starts with the same agents. If the first agent on the list can’t answer the call, the call is sent to the next agent until it is answered.
- Uniform distribution: The next call is sent to the agent who has been idle for the longest time.
- Simultaneous distribution: All agents receive alerts of each call and the first agent to answer the call handles it.
- Weighted call: The qualifications of all agents are weighted and aggregated into a score. This ensures that calls are routed to the most qualified agents.
ACDs increase agent productivity while ensuring that calls are received by the most qualified agents which increases customer satisfaction. They are also useful in reducing customer wait times and handling a high number of calls.
The dialer is the most important tool for outbound call center agents because it places calls to customers automatically. It reduces errors and time wastage especially when it is paired with an excellent CRM system and real-time analytics tools. There are several types of dialers and some may be more suited for your industry than others.
Predictive dialers use algorithms to predict when your agents will be able to make the next call and set calling rates. They can be programmed according to agent data or by call center managers. Typically, the dialer will choose numbers from a call list and dial them automatically and then send them to agents when the recipient picks up the phone. These dialers are better suited for industries with broad sales tactics as they increase the speed of placing calls and increase agent efficiency.
A preview dialer provides agents with crucial information about a lead before they place a call. This information can help agents to prepare sales plans and sales scripts before speaking to leads which increase conversions. They are exceptionally useful in industries like real estate which requires highly targeted sales techniques. Whereas predictive dialers might reduce calling rates, they often lead to higher conversion rates.
4. Call Monitoring Tools
When your agents are working remotely, it more difficult to stay on top of their performance. Call monitoring software tools can help you evaluate and train your agents. Some of these call management tools include:
Call recording software helps in auditing the performance of your agents. You can review recorded calls to find out if your agents are complying with guidelines and to ascertain that your customers are getting the best help.
Recorded calls can help in identifying patterns of success or failure so that processes and procedures can be improved. This helps in the formulation of better strategies to keep up with the competition.
New or inexperienced agents can be trained using whisper coaching. When a manager or senior agent gives whisper coaching, the lead or customer can’t hear the coaching. This makes it a very useful tool to help new agents get hands-on experience.
With call barging, a manager or senior agent can take over a call if the original agent has trouble managing the call. Just like whisper coaching, this tool is very effective in training new agents and in evaluating the performance of more experienced agents.
5. Team Collaboration Software
Team collaboration and communication are imperative for remote agents. When working from home, it’s impossible for an agent to put a customer on hold and consult their manager or colleagues when they need clarification.
Team collaboration tools make it possible for agents to chat with their managers and colleagues when they need quick answers. Additionally, knowledge bases can provide an easy-to-access information hub for your agents. Team collaboration tools also create a sense of cohesiveness within your call center which improves team spirit.
6. Enhanced Caller ID
According to First Orion, 92 percent of consumers prefer to know who’s calling them before they answer a call because of increased robocalls. This is where a branded or enhanced caller ID comes in to provide accurate information about your company. This extra information can vastly improve answer rates because your customers will be able to easily and confidently identify your company.
7. Phone Number Monitoring
Monitoring your outbound numbers for flags from carriers and third parties is essential in outbound dialing now. Calls can receive flags by consumers through call blocking apps, or by carriers based on call frequency and patterns. If you are dialing consumers with flagged numbers, it is unlikely they will answer. This is especially true now that US phone users get more than 200 million robocalls in a day. In addition, this could lead to more flag reports on your numbers.
Monitoring your phone numbers and swapping them out is more important than ever now. If a particular agent’s answer rates decline, it could be a sign their dialing number might have flags.
Set Up Your Remote Call Center For Success
Managing employees remotely is challenging for any industry. In the fast-paced call center environment, remote agents experience additional challenges. However, equipping them with the right call management tools can set them up for success even in the most challenging circumstances.