contact center tools

Contact Center Tools of the Trade

In any industry, there are specific tools that are needed to succeed. If you asked a carpenter what tools he carries with him at all times in his tool belt, you would probably receive a response such as a tape measure, hammer, utility knife, chisel, framing square, and many others. Just as carpenters utilize specific tools for their trade, contact centers have a variety of tools that are available to help them become the most optimal and cost efficient.

There are many variables that come into play when determining which tools are right for your center. Some factors to consider are size, purpose, supported channels, locations, complexity or simplicity of the center, budget, and ultimately the contact center itself. Despite these variables, some tools are considered “must haves” for any true effectiveness within your center. Let’s take a look at some of these essential tools followed by workforce optimization (WFO) honorable mentions.

ACD/Dialers: Everything begins with initial contact. ACDs (Automated Call Distributor) allow for the processing, distribution and management of inbound contacts, whether they be calls, chats, emails, etc. A dialer is utilized to manage outbound call flow and customer contacts. This tool is the most essential for your tool belt and all additional solutions should complement the utilization of the ACD.

CRM Solution: With the “customer journey” being a key objective for many contact industries today, the CRM solution is next most important facet to be utilized within your contact center. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution allows for your agents to capture specific information about the customer, the reason for contact, problem resolution, and other business intelligence. This data can be utilized at a future date to improve interaction with your customers based on the captured information.

WFO Solution: This technology includes a variety of modules, all offering different features and benefits, depending on what and how you choose to use them. Here are the most common modules within a WFO solution:

  • Workforce Management (WFM): WFM software is one of the essential aspects of a WFO solution. WFM allows your center to accurately forecast call volume or interactions, schedule agents, and manage time and critical KPIs, as well as many other functions based on the vendor.
  • Call Recording/Screen Recording: These features allow for contact interactions to be recorded and replayed at a later date. Call recording and screen capture are typically utilized with quality management (QM).
  • Quality Management (QM): QM solutions are generally standard for most inbound call centers but are now gaining momentum in outbound centers as well. This solution allows for you to track your agents’ compliance to company guidelines and procedures, as well as adhere to customer service protocol and regulatory events. QM also provides valuable insight into your center’s customer service performance.

Other (good-to-have) “Honorable Mentions” of WFO include:

  • Speech Analytics: Analyzes customer phone transactions for keywords/phrases
  • Surveys: Surveys customers for interaction or performance feedback
  • Performance Management: Tool that allows dashboard reporting; combining various solutions for one stop shopping
  • Coaching/E-Learning: Commonly utilized to improve areas of opportunity discovered within the QM process
  • Gamification: Incentive based management allotting points or rewards for goal achievement

Contact centers are continuing to become more complex as the demands for better products and customer service grows. A carpenter has basic tools that are utilized to start a job but as the work becomes more complex, additional tools may be needed in order to get the most optimal results. The same holds true for contact centers. As the center grows in its complexity, the solutions must be sophisticated and advanced enough to compensate for the challenges. The more tools available allow for a better house to be built, a better picture to be painted; and provide more insight and visibility into your agents, contact center, and the customer journey.