100 call center management tips: Insights & advice for hiring & training call center agents
Managing call centers today involves much more than scheduling agents to staff the phone lines. Working as a call center agent is a stressful endeavor
The Team at CallMiner
July 29, 2021
Call center management software makes it possible to optimize and make improvements in a growing contact center. Software options are vastly varied and designed to serve many different purposes.
Many modern call centers have painstakingly pieced together compatible software solutions for different aspects of call center management and operations, such as scheduling software, data mining tools, data analytics tools, sentiment analysis tools, and conversation analytics, but replicating their results can prove to be tedious and time-consuming without adequate guidance. This article's aim is to clarify what you need to know to discover and acquire the best call center management software on the market, whether you are looking for powerful analytics tools or automatic dialers.
Acquiring the right software for your call center begins with knowing what you need. Define your organization's goals upfront, such as call center KPIs and call center performance metrics, before beginning your search for the perfect call center management software solution. Once you know what your end goal of optimization looks like, you can begin to look for software that supports it.
The best software providers in any business niche offer world-class support services and robust feature sets and capabilities. Ideally, your choice of software should have a limited scope, specializing in a few key call center management processes, as opposed to generalizing in all of them.
There are numerous types of management solutions meant for use in call centers that you can adopt at your own. Here are a few popular management tools meant specifically for call centers:
Acquiring great call center management software is relatively simple once you know what to look for. The tips that follow should help you choose the most appropriate management software for your own call center.
1. Look for call center management solutions that provide insight into unsolicited feedback. “To truly deliver the best CX possible, it’s critical to understand the unsolicited feedback – including intent, action and emotional loyalty drivers – expressed by your customers from every channel. This deep understanding delivers two-fold results – it empowers contact centers to maximize CX with capabilities like AI-powered alerts and emotional scoring, and it enables businesses to change processes and make better decisions to ensure customer experiences are the best they can be, every time.” - Driving Business Improvement with Conversation Analytics, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner
2. Create custom phone number schedules for outbound agents to use. "Create a schedule of phone numbers for call center agents to call, reducing the need for endless, unnecessary contact searches. Your reps will have more time to make scheduled calls and converse with key prospects and customers within the CRM application." - 3 Benefits of Call Center Software…and Why to Choose CRM Software Instead, WorkWise; Twitter: @workwiseerp
3. Use call center management software to simplify and streamline existing workflows. "Call centers need strong processes in place to allow agents to deliver better service, streamline workflows and make sure customers are getting the best possible experience." - Amanda Greenwood, Call Center Software: The Secret Behind Call Center Success, Process.st; Twitter: @processstreet
4. Sort through gathered metrics and make meaningful changes. "Metrics are [...] stored in a database within your call center software for later analysis. The data helps to measure agent performance and improve customer engagement. Sorting through that information to find the pieces offering insight to drive change in your business will help your call center agents to perform better." - Patrick Bobilin, , GetVOIP; Twitter: @getvoipreviews
5. Supplement training with software but do not do away with training altogether. "Don’t leave new customer service agents to their own devices. Offer proper training from the very beginning to help prevent costly mistakes. Your agents will thank you for not throwing them into a ‘sink or swim’ situation and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief when it comes to disgruntled customers." - David Oragui, 20 Call Center Best Practices for Amazing Customer Service, Helpjuice; Twitter: @HelpJuice
6. Cut costs more effectively with predictive dialing. "Enhanced productivity and efficiency ultimately decrease call center costs because obviously less time and resources are being required to manage customer services. Call centers that employ a predictive dialing feature integrated with call center software reduce costs to a great extent. This is because the dialing feature automates and captures all-important call activity directly into the software for enhanced lead management while keeping track of the ideal times to call clients and providing useful real-time metrics that can boost sales without the need of installing any other costly telecom hardware." - Scarlett Erin, 12 Key Benefits Of Call Center Software Every Business Should Know!, Software Suggest; Twitter: @SoftwareSuggest
7. Leverage CRM software for deep caller insights in real-time. "The more you know about your callers, the easier it is for you to attend to them, right? If you know your caller’s details, you can resolve their needs and concerns quickly while also personalizing the interaction. But how do you store and access this information for hundreds of leads or customers? By using a CRM tool." - Liam McIvor Martin, Ultimate Guide To Call Center BPO Software (2021 Features & Pricing), Time Doctor; Twitter: @ManageYourTime
8. Keep up with both quality and performance using WFO tools. "Workforce optimization (WFO) software can ensure workforce satisfaction and productivity. With workforce optimization solutions, you can track quality and performance. All of this helps you manage your workforce better in ways that are beneficial to you as well as your employees." - Chase Rogers, Call Center Best Practices: 20 Proven Tips for 2021, Global Call Forwarding
9. Use voice data to enhance upskilling efforts. "Voice-based data from call center agents can be assessed for training and coaching purposes. For example, a call center supervisor can listen to voice-based data and determine if an agent is talking too fast or unclearly. The supervisor can coach the agent on how to hone their skills, which will ultimately improve call center performance." - Mary Shacklett, How AI and voice analytics can improve the call center experience, TechRepublic; Twitter: @techrepublic
10. Build better customer experiences using supportive technology. "Call centers that adopt supportive technology, like the digital care coordination model used by many health care organizations, often report noteworthy reductions in average customer call length. When aspects of the typical customer call can be automated, call center agents can more quickly serve the customer’s needs. Time is no longer wasted navigating old, analog systems or keeping customers on hold. Less time spent hunting and coordinating means less time on the phone — both for agents and customers." - Chris Lukasiak, Better Technology, Better Call Centers, Forbes; Twitter: @forbes
11. Leverage cloud-based solutions for greater flexibility and scalability. "Another big benefit of implementing a cloud-based contact center is the flexibility it affords employees in terms of remote working. Since agents and administrators can access the software online, it’s much easier for administrators to manage remote workers. Having a certain percentage of your employees work remotely can help cut business costs too (e.g., money saved on office space).
“Giving your employees more freedom and flexibility to work remotely may also boost morale and employee productivity. 54% of office workers report they would leave their current job for one that offers greater flexibility.” - Elizabeth Sullivan-Hasson, 7 Benefits of Switching to Cloud-Based Contact Center Software, TrustRadius; Twitter: @trustradius
12. Tailor QA software choices to team distribution across territories. "Growth is inevitable for any successful customer service team. For teams working in a BPO, there is also a high chance that your colleagues are dispersed across multiple locations and timezones. When selecting, be sure to take into account your team’s forecasted growth and ensure that your QA software can facilitate accordingly." - How to pick the perfect call center quality assurance software, Kaizo; Twitter: @KaizoHQ
13. Research the software vendor you are considering before you buy. "Spend time to make a background check on the vendor. Preferably, the vendor should have an extensive experience with the call center industry. As such, it should know the common systems and practices used in the industry, and it should have a solution to integrate these specific needs to the CRM software.
“Likewise, check for the basics. How many years has it been in the industry? The older vendor may not necessarily mean better; at least you know it’s not a fly-by-night business. Also ask for referrals on other users. A vendor that cannot give you this simple request may be hiding something." - Astrid Eira, Call Center CRM Software – How to Choose the Right Fit, Finances Online; Twitter: @FinancesOnline
14. Insist on choosing resilient software. "Your customers expect you to be available when they need you. You should expect the same from your system. Look for providers that maximize uptime with 24/7/365 support, SLA guarantees, redundant solutions, and strategies to help you mitigate service outages." - Choosing the Right Call Centre Management Software, Call Centre Helper; Twitter: @callcentrehelp
15. Choose feature-rich phone solutions to maximize optimization options. "With so many calls to handle and so much at stake, there is a pressing need for something more than just any phone system—one that’s easy to adapt to, simple to use, has enough features to streamline calls, is light on the pocket, and leverages technology to its advantage." - Haritha Sridhar, Call center best practices: The Good, Bad and Ugly, Freshcaller Blog; Twitter: @Freshcaller
16. Opt for interactivity. "It is crucial to make sure that the software you want to purchase has an interactive dashboard and is easy to use. The calling portal must accommodate all the necessary information like client detail, call history, number of calls, and more to help the agents and give them a clear picture." - Kritagya Pandey, How to Choose the Right Call Center Software?, Call Center Hosting; Twitter: @callcenterhost
17. Prioritize powerful analytics. "Data analytics tools are a must-have for modern call center solutions. These features make it possible to glean meaningful business insight from the work your customer service representatives do day in and day out. With call center data analytics software features, you can determine how long your call center employees have to hook a customer on the line. You can also use call center data solutions to identify high performing employees or the best call center sales strategies. Be sure to look for these data analysis capabilities in any call center tools you consider." - How To Choose The Best Call Center Software Solutions For Business, Business First Family; Twitter: @BusinessFF_com
18. Look for skill-based mapping abilities. "The call center software should have a skill-based mapping feature to route calls to the right agent and prevent frustration on the part of the customer while easing the workload on agents because the right agent gets to do what he can do best. This goes hand in hand with automatic call distribution feature to make call handling a seamless operation." - How to Choose Best Call Center Software for Your Business, HoduSoft; Twitter: @hodusoft
19. Decide if your center is inbound, outbound or mixed first. "Before selecting software for your call center, decide what kind of call center you need: inbound, outbound, or mixed. Customer support agents usually deal with incoming calls, though they may need to call customers as well (to follow up on cases, for example). Typically, call center software supports both inbound and outbound calls." - Gleb B, What Software Do You Need to Set Up an Efficient Call Center?, RubyGarage; Twitter: @rubygarage
20. Look for simplified software setup. "Another factor that should be considered is the ease of software set-up. This matter might not be as crucial for a more prominent call center that employs technical support. However, for small businesses, software that is easy to set-up can save time and money." - Best Call Center Software of 2021, Observer; Twitter: @observer
21. Consider security implications and limitations. "Consider potential vulnerabilities that come with deploying call center software. Does it integrate with your current security stack? If not, be sure to add the cost of securing your new IT perimeter to the total cost of ownership." - Neil Patel, Best Call Center Software, Neil Patel; Twitter: @neilpatel
22. Prioritize integration flexibility. "Making or taking calls isn’t the only task your agents will do. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you can seamlessly integrate your call center solution with other business tools, such as CRM, a help desk software, or maybe even some marketing tools. It will save your agents’ time because they won’t have to switch between all these applications." - How to choose call center software for customer service department, Talk Business; Twitter: @talkbusinessmag
23. Consider omnichannel capabilities. "If you're looking for a call center software, then you're likely supporting your customers through other communication channels as well (like email, live chat, or social media). It's important to consider how well your new call center software will integrate with your other channels." - Marcus Andrews, The 15 Best Call Center Software (& Features You Need) in 2021, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot
24. Look for cloud-native solutions to save money on infrastructure. "Moving to the cloud has become significantly safer and more business-friendly. Since moving to the cloud allows businesses to avoid investing in volatile technology, investing in cloud-based call center software will allow your business to focus on other areas of improvement." - Biodun, How to Choose the Best Call Center Software, HowToTech; Twitter: @howtotechnaija
25. Aim for excellent reporting and monitoring functionality. "While most call center software packages provide some simple reporting capabilities, only the world-class solutions deliver true performance management functionality. Ask each vendor about the features they provide for defining and communicating goals with all team members, setting key metrics and indicators, and continuously monitoring critical success factors. Without comprehensive performance management, managers will struggle to identify and correct the problems that negatively impact customer satisfaction and loyalty." - What to Look for When Choosing Call Center Software, Business-Software; Twitter: @biznesssoftware
What are your organization’s most important buying considerations when choosing call center management software?