Call center software allows customer service agents or similar staff to manage customer communications effectively in a corporate setting. Software products offer an array of features that enable employees to handle incoming and outgoing calls, track and analyze call metrics, and provide improved customer service. Small businesses can choose a software system based on their size, job scope, and industry, with all the available options available today.
Why Use Call Center Software?
Customers today expect call centers to be efficient and responsive, providing quick solutions to common issues and questions. Although automated systems and website bots have increased in popularity, people still prefer the experience of talking to an actual person who can act on the customer’s behalf.
Call center software helps agents meet customer expectations and improve customer experience in less time with fewer problems. While making the digital transformation to software presents initial organizational challenges, the rewards are significant. Both customers and staff appreciate the benefits.
Organizations that integrate software solutions into daily workflow reduce average call time by up to 40 percent. Using call center management solutions, administrators can generate customized call reports, view customer satisfaction ratings, track call volume, and schedule staff according to peak call times.
Call center software allows managers to monitor employee performance with greater accuracy while providing valuable feedback and insights to team members. Advanced software offers multi-channel customer support with supplemental features such as messaging apps, video chats, voice calls, email, and auto texts. The result is lower operational costs and higher profits for small businesses.
How Does Call Center Software Work?
Unlike older call center systems that rely on manual processes or analog equipment, call center software is fully automated with intuitive features. Representatives use a mix of call center phones and VoIP-enabled desktop and mobile devices. Phones deliver clear audio communications, an easy-to-use interface, and basic call management functionality.
When choosing call center software, small businesses need to match the product with their primary needs, considering qualities such as efficiency, cost, scalability, organization size, industry, and target audience. Small business owners also need to assess if they can transition from manual to digital processes with minimal workflow disruption. Some key considerations include
- Primary purpose of software
- Software type (on-premise vs. cloud-based)
- Integration with current business tools
- Scalability to match projected business growth
- Ease of use with built-in training materials
- Appropriate communication channels (SMS, calls, video chat, etc.)
- Required hardware, equipment, and accessories
Small Business Key Call Center Software Features:
Call center software is only effective if it aligns with current organizational processes and meets protocol objectives. Therefore, companies must understand software capabilities and what features it provides. Understanding the full range of features can help small business owners choose the right product without wasting money or resources. Key call center software features include
- Automatic call distributor (ACD)
- Skills-based routing
- Interactive voice response (IVR)
- Auto-attendant (digital receptionist)
- Anonymous call rejection
- Call recording
- Call presence (agent status)
- Call analytics
- Call pulling
- Transfer call with one click
- Internal chat
- Three-way calling
- Smartphone app integration
- Voicemail to email & text
- Priority alerts
- Softphones (telephony integration)
- Extension dialing number change
- CRM & business tool integration
- Automated surveys
- Automated workflows
- Call barging
- Call queue
- Call parking
- Toll-free numbers
- Ring groups (hunt groups)
- Push to talk
- Call notifications
- Direct inward dialing (DID)
- Hold music
- Omnichannel customer support
- Voice bridges (ATAs)
- Follow me
- Cheaper international and long-distance calling
- Call monitoring
- Conference calling
How to Compare Call Center Software Products
At its core, small business call center software should improve the relationship between the company and the customer. It should allow a call center agent to solve problems and answer questions quickly with zero issues. In addition, software should be cost-effective, reliable, and user-friendly. These qualities should serve as the guiding principle when comparing products and vendors.
Customer Support Options
Omnichannel support features act as supplemental solutions to one-on-one phone interactions between the call center and the customer. A top-tier customer management system should include various options such as email, SMS, video chat, bots (for web interaction), and social media capabilities.
Built-in automation replaces manual processes with automated processes, saving the call center agent time and energy. Automation allows the call center to delegate repetitive actions to the system, which consistently delivers these processes. In essence, the software becomes a virtual assistant. Automation also allows customers to be proactive in finding solutions on their own without interacting with the agent.
Workforce Optimization and Scalability
Call center software should improve company efficiency, organization, and communication on every level. It should enhance management’s ability to train employees and sharpen their skills over time. Software should be flexible and powerful enough to stay relevant as the company grows. It should also contain an API that can accommodate emerging trends in software and equipment.
One of the most valued features of call center software is the ability to help call centers gather and analyze data. Software should provide data on a range of queries such as time spent per call, time connecting to an agent, customer satisfaction, main issues or questions resolved, communication channels used, or agent activity.
Best Small Business Call Center Software
Below is a list of some of the top software products and vendors based on functionality, features, scalability, data analysis, and reliability.