Phone support has long been the anchor of the customer contact center, evolving from the legacy phone lines of the past to today’s cloud-based call center software solutions.
There are lots of reasons to continue investing in call center software, even as newer channels like live chat and self-service gain ground. Phone support is among the most popular with consumers, and among the fastest growing channels, according to data from the 2019 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report. Furthermore, phone experiences make an impression, and not always a good one; people tend to remember bad phone support more than they recall bad experiences in other channels, according to the same report.
To stay ahead of the curve, Gartner recommends that “application leaders responsible for customer service and support technology adopt a holistic customer service application suite approach to procuring contact center technology, focusing on how the technology improves connecting with customers, orchestrating engagements, access to knowledge and coordinating resources,” according to findings published in The Future of the Contact Center, by Simon Harrison & Steve Blood, April 25, 2019.
Phone support remains an important piece of that puzzle. Here are just a few benefits of a modern, integrated call center solution that’s thoughtfully embedded into your support operation:
- Meet your customers wherever they are for a more seamless experience
- Derive deeper, richer insights from cross-channel reporting
- Increase cross-functional collaboration and agent productivity
Meet your customers wherever they are for a more seamless experience
Not all customers will search for a contact phone number on your website and then dial it once they have it in hand. That’s certainly one way they might get in touch, but it’s far from the only way. Perhaps they were browsing your website and then realized they had questions or needed help partway through that journey; this is why click-to-dial is such an important feature for customers today, allowing them to maintain the flow of their browsing experience without interrupting to search for contact information.
At meal-delivery service Freshly, for example, customers can type a question into a window that looks and feels like chat—an experience powered by an embedded widget. If they want to reach an agent, there are clear options for how to receive 1:1 support, either via phone or live chat. Though seamless to the customer, the experience depends on thoughtful integration between support channels.
Derive deeper, richer insights from cross-channel reporting
A holistic approach—namely an omnichannel support solution—provides all of the customer context a business needs in one place. Given its popularity with customers, phone support continues to play a big role in how seamlessly this comes together.
Agents using integrated systems can provide better customer service when they have a 360-degree view of the customer. For example, knowing that a customer was satisfied with their last support phone call or had an issue that needed to be escalated can go a long way. Other insights such as wait time, talk time, and time spent in an interactive voice response (IVR) system highlight opportunities to make improvements in the customer experience.
FINALCAD, a construction-software company, once depended on siloed tools, including a traditional phone line for call-in support. Making the switch to an omnichannel support solution allowed the team to track and log calls for the first time—a big win, considering half of the support team's volume comes via phone. FINALCAD customers are often on construction sites instead of an office, and their first tendency is to make a phone call when they need help. The switch centered their customers’ needs and improved their experience. Furthermore, with call center software fully integrated into their support solution, the team can track call activity and further streamline operations with that data in hand.
Increase collaboration and agent productivity
“This call may be monitored for quality assurance or training purposes” isn’t just a disclaimer thrown in before a support interaction.
Natively integrated workforce optimization (WFO) technologies, such as quality monitoring, call recording, performance management, and text and speech analytics, provide immediate benefits and lay the groundwork for contact centers to evolve strategically, according to research published in The Forrester Wave: Cloud Contact Centers, Q3 2018, by Art Schoeller & Daniel Hong, September 25, 2018. All of these innovations improve the customer experience, and they also have a huge impact on the team and agent experience.
Conference calling in particular can be a prime collaboration tool, allowing agents to bring a third party into an ongoing phone call with a customer. Though many solutions allow agents to transfer a call, conference calling provides an option to investigate further with a teammate or cross-functional partner, possibly even adding them into an ongoing call.
Investing in call center software doesn’t just impact the phone experience. Meeting customers where they are, providing rich insights and reporting capabilities, and increasing opportunities for agent productivity and collaboration stand to improve your entire support operation.