Call center technology: Trends and top tools for 2023.
Even though an increasing number of business functions are going digital, customers still prefer the human touch: nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer to speak with an agent on the phone instead of engaging in a live chat.
That’s why enterprise-level call centers are more relevant and influential now than ever. Customers are looking for an efficient, high-quality, and personalized customer support experience—and meeting these expectations remains the best way for enterprises to ensure business success.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how call center technologies add business value and reveal nine must-have call center software and tools that take the human touch and adapt it for the digital era.
What is call center technology, and why is it important?
Call center technology is an essential technical aspect that directly influences your customers’ experience.
When consumers engage with your brand via phone, chat, email, or any other channel, various technology options help the company facilitate the interaction. For example, this can include using CRM platforms to pull up customer information and histories.
Connections like these create a highly-personalized customer experience that deepens each time they connect with an enterprise. Moreover, call centers can provide a wide array of services and with various specialties—and they’re usually broken down into six categories:
No matter what services are offered, call centers are critical to customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction.
Take the data gathered by Forrester: Their study shows that phone (voice) support is still the preferred channel for customer service. Nearly two-thirds of consumers contact call centers to address customer issues instead of using other communication options.
It quickly becomes evident that incorporating call center software and technology to make phone calls more fluid and effective is essential for several reasons:
- It results in reduced call times, reduced call volume, efficient location of answers, automated outreach by phone or text, elimination of three-way calls, and enhanced job satisfaction for call agents.
- Work-from-home positions are good examples of how technology simplifies customer contact. If call center representative team members work from their homes, they’ll rely on technologies like cloud computing to operate as a cohesive group, despite physical displacement.
- Certain call center technologies like session replay reduce capability issues, which occur when employees cannot reach expected performance standards due to forces out of their control.
But call center technology tools can do so much more. Call center-specific tools can ease, guide, and resolve from when a customer has an issue to the second a solution is founded.
How call center technology tools add value to your customer’s experience.
To provide customers with the best service available, companies must establish a solid call center with the proper technology to satisfy their expectations.
The issue is you might not know what their expectations are.
Most consumers feel that a company should add tech solutions to make things easier for the customer journey. That’s because a call center becomes their primary touchpoint when consumers have issues, need help troubleshooting, place an order, or have any other inquiry.
Here’s how that primary touchpoint—combined with the proper technology—can add value to your company.
1. Improves brand perception.
Personalized interactions can transform a customer’s experience, directly influencing their future buying decisions. And since it costs less to retain old customers than to attract new ones, call center technology can boost or maintain brand loyalty while reducing attrition.
2. Keeps customers engaged.
Some consumers also aren’t comfortable conversing with a bot while shopping online. As brick-and-mortar stores are slowly becoming a thing of the past, remote support can help keep customers engaged.
3. Provides more flexibility.
Companies can handle high call volumes when they invest in technology that routes calls to the proper agents without long wait times.
Technology also allows for scaling, reduced call center expenses for the company, and a more flexible work environment suitable for working from home across multiple time zones.
Looking ahead to future call center technology trends.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a particular challenge for call centers: Many companies began transitioning workers into remote situations, which caused several problems.
For example, difficult calls increased by 50%, resulting in fewer satisfied customers, more escalations, and longer hold times. Without the right technology to handle these calls efficiently, customer complaints skyrocketed, and reps had issues with an unreliable internet connection and manually routing calls.
The good news is, in recent years, call center technology trends have changed because of specialized software and hardware that enables customer service representatives to reduce issues through automated support features.
An example is integrating customer relationship management (CRM) into support calls and harnessing predictive analytics software to track customer behaviors. These call center technologies help lessen overload and make reps more productive (and profitable).
Besides these innovations, here’s a list of upcoming modern call center technology trends that enterprises are looking toward in the next coming years.
In 2023, companies will increasingly turn to virtual reality (VR) tools to assist companies with training and development for contact center agents.
At least 65% of call centers will use VR technology by 2025 as customers want to explore the metaverse and engage their favorite brands in virtual spaces. Engaging in more interactive and realistic situations helps to reduce operational costs and training time while enhancing agent performance.
Chatbots are a prominent addition to the customer service department in many industries because they’re valuable as artificial intelligence assistants.
From revising or scheduling appointments to answering basic questions, displaying account information, accepting payments, and sending reminders, chatbots remain an integral part of omnichannel call centers seeking to meet consumer needs comprehensively.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has already infiltrated nearly every industry and aspect of society that involves human interaction and B2B sales. And it looks like enterprises will continue to harness AI’s capabilities, seeing it transition from a futuristic tech tool to a standard expectation for many call centers.
Specifically, AI software applications can minimize manual route programming by redirecting the caller to the customer service rep most qualified to help—and this significantly reduces hold times.
Increased IVR use.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology became a necessary technology tool at the height of the pandemic. So it’s no surprise that, by 2022, 42% of businesses implementing IVR increased their usage—and it’s still the primary channel for all call centers.
Along with automation technology and advances in conversational AI software with speech recognition, IVR will take center stage as the workforce shifts to creating more work-from-home opportunities. This allows companies to optimize processes, manage high-priority consumer interactions, and securely collect sensitive customer data.
To gain a competitive advantage, businesses should seek to incorporate an integrated omnichannel as a customer engagement strategy that improves the overall customer experience. Over the years, virtual reality, chatbots, and omnichannel integration have become increasingly popular with major corporations.
By making every step throughout their journey more personal to their needs and behavior patterns, omnichannel contact centers permit agents to move across interaction touchpoints and channels seamlessly.
How customers feel they should interact with your business as it relates to making purchases, solving problems, and asking questions, has dramatically changed in just the past couple of years.
Based on current studies, more than half of consumers are willing to switch companies after just one unpleasant experience.
Customers also expect to be able to communicate through multiple channels. This expectation mimics social interaction behaviors online, connecting with friends and family on social platforms. Multichannel interaction means companies can lead with their values and conduct seamless online transactions.
In other words, customer expectations set the “new normal.”
Advanced call center technologies are the keys to making customer support systems more efficient, leading to improved customer satisfaction. That’s why investing in any—or all—of the nine call center tools explored below can play a critical role in your company’s success.
9 call center software and tools for enterprise success.
Call center technology includes a wide range of software and hardware that can automate processes, manage customer relationships, analyze data, and predict behavior. Here are nine call center technology and tools for enterprise success.
Session replay is a valuable tool that allows an enterprise to visually playback and record a user’s session on the software’s website.
This tool gives enterprises visibility into how visitors engage with their websites. Of course, they’ll also capture errors, confusing moments, bugs, or any other interactions that may block the user experience or preclude them from conversion.
Session replays offer invaluable context to show the customer support agent what’s happening on the site. Furthermore, support agents will have all the relevant information necessary to address customer issues conveniently by linking session replays with customer support tickets.
Besides visual data, a session replay feature that empowers this increased support is collaborative browsing (co-browsing). This feature gives customers and agents the ability to look at mobile apps or websites together in real-time:
- First, an agent invites a customer to join a session during these correspondences.
- Afterward, the agent shows the customer how to work through their problems.
The relay will show you every step the user takes. This puts it miles ahead of other user experiences and quality assurance tools that attempt to guess or deduce what steps the customer took based on user behavior or past data.
Automatic call distributor.
Automatic call distributor (ACD) is a specific feature found in VoIP systems that collect a caller’s information, puts them in the queue, and then uses the rules established by the company to route their call to the next available customer service rep.
An automatic call distributor contributes to a better customer experience for several reasons. Among the most important are that it reduces call waiting times and customer frustration, and customers don’t have to continue calling back to get problems resolved.
Interactive voice response.
Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated phone system that allows callers to get information through a voice response system of pre-recorded messages without talking to a person. They can also make touch-tone keypad selections (DTMF tones).
A well-made IVR software system can help improve customer satisfaction. When there are a lot of calls, an effective IVR System can help customers find answers and do simple tasks without having to wait on hold.
So when a customer needs or wants to talk to a customer service team member, IVR technology can help quickly and easily connect them to the best call center agent to field their question.
Customer relationship management platform.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a way to keep track of all the interactions and relationships your business has with customers and potential customers. This data can help improve customer service processes by staying in touch with their customers, streamlining their processes, and increasing profits.
We all know the hallmarks of an excellent customer experience when we go through it ourselves: The information an agent has about your past requests is precise, their understanding of your current problem is almost intuitive, and there’s a feeling that you matter. The contact center agent’s responses are prompt, natural, and conversational.
The good news is that businesses can enjoy reduced business costs, higher retention rates, better brand loyalty, and streamlined data management by investing in a quality CRM program. Having this database at your disposal also allows the company to record and analyze consumer feedback about its services or products.
The result is a better understanding of the customer’s needs while fostering more meaningful customer relationships.
Call recording technology.
Call recording records both what is said and what is shown on the screen during customer phone calls. The conversation between a customer and an agent gets saved, retrieved, and evaluated based on business needs.
There are three types of call recordings:
- Mode 1: Record All – Records all conversations between customers and agents.
- Mode 2: Record at Random – Randomly records conversations between customers and agents.
- Mode 3: Record on Demand – The agent or the contact center managers can choose to record a conversation.
While this call center technology tool is quite standard across enterprises, call recordings are a fundamental need for businesses that plan to both understand their customer and offer better training for their contact center agents.
Voice bots are artificially intelligent conversational communication systems that record, analyze, and respond to human speech in a human-like manner.
Based on a Gartner study, by 2026, there could be nearly $80 billion in savings in the call center industry due to replacing human agents with chatbots.
Incorporating voice bot/AI technology can benefit executives in the call center industry by improving first-contact query resolution, reducing wait times, reducing operational costs, increasing query responses’ accuracy, and boosting customer satisfaction.
Computer telephony integration.
Computer telephony integrations (CTI) allow contact center agents to connect their phones to their computers. This program allows for more advanced communication and processing options.
CTI contains routing, screen pops, call monitoring, automatic dialing, and more—which is why many call center employees can work remotely. These tools can boost efficiency and promote better phone call management while decreasing employee burnout.
A predictive dialer.
Predictive dialers are automated outbound dialing software that calls from a list of phone numbers and utilizes algorithms to filter out busy signals, answering machines, disconnected phones, and no replies, quickly connecting sales professionals with prospects.
To maximize the efficiency of sales teams, modern predictive dialers may also utilize data to optimize the calling sequence. Predictive dialer technology enables agents to work from anywhere, improving productivity and ultimately leading to higher revenue for contact centers.
Workforce management software.
To meet consumer demands, businesses want a way to bring out the best in customer service reps while producing higher-quality results.
Workforce management software (WMS) can successfully create and manage staff schedules to ensure the completion of specific tasks throughout the day. This software can also forecast labor requirements and involves analytics, data reporting, and other KPIs.
The primary benefit of a workforce management system is to upgrade staff scheduling, spend less time assigning shifts to call center agents and reduce the time needed to manage the day-to-day workload for call center team leaders, contact center managers, and supervisors.
Invest in advanced call center technology, improve customer satisfaction.
Business owners intending to scale and handle a higher call volume can’t capitalize on the benefits of phone support over live chat support. But with these key call center technologies, along with the evolving options set to make an impact in the next decade, this vision can become a reality.
Quantum Metric empowers these goals specifically through features like session replay, experience alerts, data capture and visualization, and more. For enterprises planning to reduce customer friction during a call, optimize key customer contact touchpoints, and harness real-time data, we ensure customers continually remain at the center of every interaction.
See firsthand how Quantum Metric can ensure you never lose sight of your customer. Request a demo today.