Lastly, you’ll need to know what your customers need to get the right software to support them. What channels are your customers using? What knowledge do you need from them and where will it be stored safely? Perhaps your customers could benefit from more self-service tools and a better IVR to answer their basic questions.
The technology you use will play a fundamental role in how you deliver service and prosper internally. You want to make sure that you gather the needs and feedback of those who have to use the software daily before diving into vendor research. Start with an inside-out, then an outside-in, approach to help you make informed choices that are relevant to your team’s goals. Include both your agents and customers into this stage for a more successful implementation of the software.
2. Choose the Right Vendor
Whether through an RFP or extensive research, your management team will need to find the right software vendor to partner with. Use your wish list as a starting point and work with your finance team to understand budget limitations. Vendor selection is tricky business. Include your IT team and any software engineers you may have on staff in the decision process to know you’re covering all your bases.
Then consider the following questions to narrow your search:
- What vendors do your competitors use?
- Which vendors have strong reputations in the industry and why?
- What features do they have and which are they looking to add/improve with time?
- Does the vendor offer tiered pricing and feature packages? In other words, how scalable is the product?
- How secure is the software and who owns what data?
- Will the vendor treat me like a partner, or like a number?
Once you’ve narrowed the vendor list, you should consider what support they provide you. Do you have an individual point of contact with the company that you can trust to support your use of their product? Do you have an assigned project manager to guide you through the customization of your software?
Of course, you can’t just throw the new technology at your team and expect them to pick it up. So, how will your vendor provide continued learning resources and training? How well does your vendor know their own technology? Do they send someone onsite to train you and your agents or does the burden of training fall on you?
Then with some of these questions answered, demos watched, and sales pitched, your team will have a better idea of their options. Then, you can deliberate and choose which product you’ll adopt.
3. Create Processes for Successful Deployment
Call centers need more than phones, computers, and people. Successful call centers run smoothly only with established processes to follow. Using your vision for your team come up with the processes that will make the deployment of your new software most efficient and valuable.
When you pair your new software with the right processes, you can reach new heights, solve issues faster, and have happier customers.
Consider what questions your call center processes need to answer with your new software:
- How will you assign incoming interactions if they come through different channels?
- What KPIs are a priority in tracking for quality assurance?
- How will you integrate your CRM to track customer history?
- How will your agents document each customer interaction?
- Will calls be recorded?
- How will you use training and coaching tools through the software?
- Do you use self-service tools? If so, where are they housed and who manages and updates them?
If you’re adding cloud-based software, you may need to also think about how this impacts your agent’s workspace. With cloud-based software, perhaps it’s unnecessary for employees to come into the office to get work done. Will you allow for flexible workspaces? Will you allow for remote work options?
Answering these kinds of questions will help you map out processes for the smooth deployment of your call center. With a strategy set, you have a set response to the drastic effects your team faces with new technology.
4. Focus on Future Growth
Your customers are always changing expectations. So, your call center should always be evolving. Your processes and performance metrics should support future growth and greater customer loyalty. Plus, they should work for improved agent engagement and retention, too. What works one quarter may not work for the next. Your agents will grow more comfortable with the new software and your customer expectations will shift to meet what you offer. So, for successful deployment of your call center technology, be quick to adapt your processes.
Perhaps you’ll need to expand or add features as you grow and as your customers expect more from you. With time, you’ll notice the ways you need the software to grow with you. Whether it’s because your team is growing, or because your customer base is shifting.
Anticipate this change and future growth. As you plan each new quarter, consider the ways that your customers are pushing you to provide new levels of support. Look ahead at trends in your industry and keep close contact with your vendor so you know how to jump ahead when necessary.
The best way to anticipate and prepare for coming changes? Routinely evaluate your call center’s performance and goals. This is where your software’s reporting tools can make all the difference. Create a process for your team to consistently track important call center metrics, like customer satisfaction, first contact resolution, and abandon rate.
This will uncover important customer trends and patterns that will show you what’s working and what’s not as you scale. According to the Harvard Business Review, almost 80% of businesses use customer satisfaction metrics to analyze and improve their own service. Look inward at these measurements to see where your call center software can continue to support your team.
Want to see how you compare?
Think on some of these industry-standard metrics gathered by Call Center Helper to see how you compare:
- 90% of calls should result in a satisfied customer
- 70-75% of issues should be resolved during the first contact
- Call centers should have 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds
- Only 5-8% of calls should be dropped before resolution
Take advantage of your software and its ability to show you how you measure up. With the right reports and scalability, you’ll have all the insights you need to grow and prosper for years to come.