Consumers today fully expect great customer service—and for that reason, call centers are upgrading the tools provided to agents to help them achieve that goal. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is the best technology available, and it makes a huge difference in the quality of customer interaction.
CTI is a technology that lets computers interact with telephones as well as email, web messaging, text messaging, fax, live chat and other platforms. Most modern businesses use CTI in call centers to gain an edge over the competition by utilizing a data-driven approach to their calls. CTI has many benefits, for both the customers and the call center agents. For instance, call center integration has helped agents and centers to reduce overall costs, improve productivity, decrease call handling time, and improve efficiency.
Let’s look a further look at some of the benefits of CTI call center technology:
1. Easy Call Handling
Calls can be made without a ‘real’ telephone and the inevitable fumbling between handset and computer screen. In a CTI call center, agents simply click buttons on their computer screens to control the customer calls and functions like answering, hanging up and transferring.
2. Software Integration
Call center integration does more than route phone calls to an appropriate agent. It also integrates with other technologies like automatic number identification (ANI), voice conferencing, and interactive voice response (IVR). This gives call center reps a much more complete picture of who they are speaking with and offers them additional information automatically.
3. More Data Available
The more detailed information available, the better for a sales or call center rep. The ability to access and scan through detailed data while speaking with a customer is priceless. Call center CTI offers a wide range of information, such as name, address, professional details, email addresses and history with the company. This info is all visible on the agent’s screen for quick viewing, allowing agents to offer personalized service and supportive conversation. Certainly, this will improve the customers’ perception of the business, and makes them feel more valuable. The wealth of information also helps reduce call time because call center reps don’t have to fiddle about in search of relevant data to handle each call.
4. CTI Call Center Technology and Call Logs
The call center CTI unified dashboard offers up a call log and data like the call history for the customer, purchase history, any problem cases or support tickets, and call recordings. Having this information at the fingertips of call center reps allows the to personalize the call because they can instantly see the customer’s association—if any—with the company over time. For instance, they might thank the caller for being a loyal customer for the past five years. Likewise, if this is their second call in as many days, the rep can verify that the prior issue was handled swiftly and successfully.
5. Improved Interdepartmental Collaboration
With features like call transferring, whispering, video conferencing, teleconferencing, and listening, CTI call center technology helps with a company’s overall service offering. There is even a feature where call center managers can listen to live calls and join the call as needed; a practice known as ‘call barging’. A ‘warm transfer’ allows agents to smoothly transition the call to someone who might be in a better position to help them with a specific issue.
CTI in call centers facilitates smooth collaboration between different team members and even different departments within the company. When a call center rep has challenges in solving a customer issue, it is easy for them to get help by initiating a conference call or transferring them to another department. With CTI in call centers, there is no need for customers to repeat information over and over. Research has shown that such repetition is a major annoyance when calls are transferred from one agent to another.
6. Reduced Costs
Because call centers receive such high volumes of calls every day, they require many reps and agents to effectively handle them. Managers know only too well that call abandonment or long hold times lead to loss of business and increased costs. In fact, there is even a website, On Hold With, that aims to shame businesses that keep people on hold for too long by curating Twitter mentions. For some upmarket companies, it has caused considerable embarrassment.
By adding call center CTI, business losses and added costs can be reduced or eliminated by shortening the average length of calls, and thereby the average wait time. Automated call back is also available for inbound abandoned calls by using ANI. Both of these technological advances help to reduce the number of staff members required to effectively service the customer base. Additionally, less phone lines are needed, another cost saving.
7. Increased Professionalism
Call center integration can enhance the caller experience as well as improve the company’s image and volume of calls. Knowing the caller’s identity before greeting them allows call center reps to address them by name and offer a personalized customer service experience. Not having to repeat information keeps the frustration levels low. This is of great benefit all round; it’s much easier to deal with a customer that is calm and cooperative than someone who is extremely annoyed.
8. Automated Caller Authentication
CTI in call centers can authenticate callers by matching the phone number the customer is calling from with numbers in the company database. This simple tool can save a substantial amount of time and effort.
Gaining a competitive advantage in today’s tough business environment takes a great deal of commitment, hard work, and consistently good customer service. Maintaining that advantage is even more challenging. However, leveraging CTI call center technology can help businesses in every industry to take better care of both their customers and their team members. Team members will be happier because their job is easier, and by extension, customers will receive the kind of customer service that brings them back for more. Sales professionals, call center reps, managers, and customers will all benefit when call center integration is an integral part of a business plan.