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Call Centre Software

Call Centre software automates and standardises the process of receiving and responding to customer phone calls. Contact Centre software enables better monitoring of the customer experience, workflow management and evaluation of employee performance. Whether designed for virtual or site-based locations, Contact Centre solutions manage and catalogue the process of customer calls and often allow customers to track the progress of their request via the internet. Call Centre software is related to Customer Service software and Help Desk software. Find the best call centre software for your organisation in Australia.

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Call Centre Software Buyers Guide

Call centre software, also known as contact centre software, is the name given to software solutions designed to assist businesses with managing call centres. Software of this kind is intended to improve efficiency and aid the management of call centre activities, including inbound and outbound calls. Moreover, the best solutions in this category will allow users to monitor the customer experience, record customer complaints, and oversee employee activities and overall productivity, to optimise responses and outcomes.

Inbound call centre software is primarily associated with customer service and support activities, where it can be used to manage customer complaints, provide solutions to customer problems, and obtain valuable customer feedback. However, this software can also be used to manage outbound calls, including business-to-business or business-to-customer calls made by members of a sales department or calls made by marketing professionals. Call centre software can benefit any organisation that needs to manage sales, marketing, customer service, and other inbound and outbound communications.

Despite the name, most modern call centre software goes beyond providing the tools to manage telephone calls. Instead, the software will allow users to manage inbound and outbound communication across several channels, including telephone, SMS, email, live online chat, instant messaging services, and social media platforms.

Call centre software can be categorised alongside call recording software and customer service software. However, the collection of data from customers and the focus on managing responses means that many organisations use these solutions in a similar way to customer relationship management software. In some cases, integration with third-party software solutions like these may also be possible, further assisting communication management efforts.

While the features contained within call centre packages can vary from one solution to the next, there are also some core features, the presence of which can help to define this category. The vast majority of call centre applications on the market will allow users to perform the following actions:

  • Automatically assign or distribute inbound and outbound calls to the right employees and departments
  • Create a log of all calls made and received, and store relevant data
  • Record inbound and outbound calls and store the recordings for future use
  • Create a call queue and manage queues so that calls can be managed in a logical order

What is Call Centre Software?

Call centre software is a type of software that is often used by businesses and other organisations to manage call centre operations. Also known as contact centre software, it can be implemented by customer service teams, sales teams, marketing departments, and various other workers to assist with a variety of activities related to the management of both inbound and outbound calls. These activities include creating and managing call queues, assigning responsibility for calls to individual agents or departments, and creating logs for any calls made or received.

Another crucial component of call centre software involves recording inbound and outbound calls, allowing those calls to be referred to again in the future, primarily for training purposes. This software can also collect valuable information about when calls came in, how long they lasted, etc. Furthermore, the most comprehensive packages will include options relating to other forms of communication, including email and live chat.

Call centre software is sometimes categorised into inbound call centre software, used for customer support activities, and outbound call centre activities, which may be more commonly used by business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer (B2C) sales teams, as well as marketing teams. However, many of the best call centre software options combine these two solutions into a single package.

What are the benefits of call centre software?

The benefits of call centre software are primarily related to managing both inbound and outbound calls. It can allow organisations to manage communications more effectively and develop better strategies. At the same time, call centre software allows businesses to improve outcomes and boost customer experiences. Nevertheless, it is recommended to examine some of the specific advantages associated with the use of this software, including the following:

  • Improved customer relationships: One of the main benefits linked to investment in high-quality call centre software is the ability to improve relationships with customers. Such improvements can also take many forms directly related to the use of the software. For instance, software with queue management and automatic call distribution functionalities can help to ensure that calls are sent to the right agent and dealt with in a logical order. This can then result in swifter response times and greater customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, the ability to log calls can help improve the quality of future communication with customers because data will be readily available, assisting agents to pick up where the previous agent left off. Moreover, the software can help organisations deliver a much more tailored and personalised experience, potentially leading to lasting loyalty.
  • Better sales and marketing outcomes: In addition to assisting with customer support efforts, call centre applications can also assist businesses with outbound communications. This can be achieved through automatic call distribution, which allocates outbound calls to agents, and call recordings and call logging, which improves the quality of calls. Ultimately, this can improve key areas, such as sales and marketing performance, because communication with clients will be improved. Furthermore, it means that call centre solutions have the potential to boost revenue and deliver better financial results.
  • Enhanced productivity and efficiency: When inbound and outbound calls are managed more effectively, with the responsibility for handling those calls is allocated to the right people, the overall efficiency of a call centre, sales team, marketing team, or customer service department is going to improve. As a direct result, each team member is likely to get through more calls, resolve more problems, make more sales, or close more business deals. With this in mind, investing in call centre solutions can help boost performance, resulting in more work being carried out and less time between a problem arising and it being resolved.
  • More relevant training activities: Another significant benefit associated with the use of call centre programs is the ability of leaders within businesses and other organisations to deliver training. This is primarily achieved through the use of call recording. This is where the audio from telephone conversations with customers or clients is recorded and then used for future training activities. These recorded conversations can allow businesses to use training sessions to explore real situations arising within the workplace. From there, employees can work through what actions were taken by agents on the call, whether alternatives would have been possible, and the best possible approaches to dealing with each issue. Ultimately, this can help make training activities much more relevant than more generalised sessions.

What are the features of call centre software?

The features of call centre applications are primarily based on improving efficiency and quality within a call centre or a similar setting. Organisations that adopt a strategic approach to handling inbound and/or outbound calls are more likely to achieve their objectives. The best call centre solutions can play a valuable role by providing structure, collecting valuable data, and automating some of the more unnecessarily time-consuming processes, resulting in greater efficiency. Although exact features can vary from one package to the next, the vast majority of software options within this category will include the following core and similar features:

  • Automatic call distribution: Capitalise on automation technology so that the responsibility for handling either inbound or outbound calls is automatically assigned to the correct department and the best agent for the job. Through the use of artificial intelligence, call centre software has the potential to learn where to route calls so that the chances of successful resolution are maximised. Furthermore, responsibility for calls can be distributed based on other information, such as agent availability. Not only can this help to reduce workloads or call queues, but it also removes the need for a human to assign responsibility, freeing them up to focus on other activities instead.
  • Call recording: Capture the audio from both sides of a telephone conversation to be referred back on. The most common use for call recording is to provide material for training activities. By recording conversations, an organisation can highlight successes and failures when dealing with customers or clients. Other employees can learn from how another agent dealt with a particular issue, while teams can contemplate alternate approaches to conversations that did not go well. This then makes it easier to train employees to achieve peak performance. Generally, once a call has been recorded, it will be stored as an audio file. All of the relevant audio files will usually be able to be accessed from within the software.
  • Call logging and call monitoring: Collect the most crucial data from telephone calls and store this data for it to be accessed in future. Examples of data that can be valuable when collecting call logs include the time of the call, the duration, the employee who handled the call, the telephone number of the client or customer, and whether or not the conversation resulted in a solution or satisfactory outcome. It can be beneficial to have this data available to refer back to so that an organisation can identify who handled a call and when it occurred. The information can be used to put a customer or client back in contact with the same call centre agent they were dealing with before. Some of the very best call centre software solutions may perform speech-to-text transcription, allowing a text log of the conversation to be collected and stored.
  • Queue management: Manage the queue of calls coming into a call centre or the queue of outbound calls that need to be made by sales teams. The main features of queue management include the creation of organised call queues. Inbound or planned calls can be organised into the line based on the order they came in or of urgency. Call centre staff will also have the ability to place customers on hold, switch to other calls within the queue, or move calls to a different queue if they could be resolved by a different department. Effective management of a call queue is vital for optimising efficiency within a call centre. By contrast, inefficient management can result in slow response times, fewer resolutions and unhappy customers.
  • Computed telephony integration: Coordinate and integrate calls utilising traditional telephone and computer-based technology. This can include combining conventional telephone equipment with more modern VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services. Integration of this kind can allow telephone equipment to be managed using a convenient, computer-based user interface. This can eliminate the need to dial telephone numbers that are stored on company databases and can provide the ability to automatically record and log data from each call. Telephony integration also makes it easier to make telephone calls directly from digital devices.
  • Reporting/analytics: Collect valuable data from calls and utilise it for reporting and analytics functions. The best software in this category will automatically collect data and make it accessible via a user-friendly reporting dashboard. This functionality can allow organisations to better understand the volume of calls they make or receive, and the busiest times of the day, month or year. This can be important for optimising staffing levels. Additionally, reporting and analytics may be utilised to monitor performance. For instance, call centres may collect response and call times, first contact resolution rates, the average number of calls required to resolve a problem or make a sale, etc. From there, areas for improvement can be identified and worked on. Solutions with this feature can also be used in place of standalone call centre reporting software.

With the Capterra call centre software directory, users can sort the available options based on the features included within that package. It provides decision-makers to optimise their search and begin the process by only seeing software solutions containing the major features they need. Following the removal of unsuitable options, it becomes significantly easier to sort through the viable options and find the most suitable solution.

What should be considered when purchasing call centre software?

When purchasing call centre management software, many different factors need to be considered, and it can be important for buyers to prioritise the factors that matter most to them. Generally speaking, a good way for organisations to approach this is to ask questions and come up with answers while factoring in their specific circumstances. Some examples of the kinds of questions that should be asked and answered include:

  • How much does call centre software cost? The issue of price is always a factor when acquiring software of any kind, but those seeking out call centre solutions need to think beyond the basic purchasing price. Instead, it is better to try to consider the total cost of ownership, as well as the cost of long-term use. This results in it being easier to compare cloud-based call centre software, where there is a subscription fee, with on-premise software, where there is an upfront price to acquire the software licence. However, it also means decision-makers can factor in some of the long-term costs that are sometimes overlooked, with examples including the cost of installing and otherwise implementing the software, the costs associated with data storage, training staff to full competency, and acquiring technical support and software updates. It is also vital to consider the concept of value rather than simply looking for the cheapest solution. A high-quality solution, which functions well and provides features that will make it useful for years to come, is likely to be a better purchase than a cheaper solution, which has basic functionality and may require an upgrade in the short-term future.
  • What is the best deployment option? The concern of whether cloud-based or on-premise software is better must also be considered when acquiring software of this kind. The on-premise vs cloud debate needs to be approached with an understanding of what is required within a particular organisation and what the priorities are. Cloud-based options are generally delivered on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis, meaning a third-party software provider manages and delivers the software off-site, using cloud technology for data storage. There are several key benefits to this approach, including the ability to access the software with more devices, remote accessibility, data security benefits, and lower startup costs. Furthermore, cloud-based software is typically paid via a yearly or monthly subscription, and this means the long-term costs, while predictable, can end up higher. With on-premise deployment, the software is installed on-site, and the buyer takes responsibility for data storage. The software purchaser must also take specific security steps, and a one-off fee is paid to acquire the software licence. This means that startup costs are higher, and long-term costs can be more unpredictable because new security measures that need to be taken are not factored into the expenses in the same way as with a SaaS subscription. However, there is a greater sense of personal control, and the long-term costs can end up lower due to the lack of subscription fees.
  • Does call centre software provide multi-channel support? Next, buyers need to explore whether or not the solutions they are considering will provide multi-channel support. The focus of most solutions in this category will be on managing inbound and outbound telephone calls, and the core features are likely to be geared towards this. Yet, the realities of modern call centre work are often more complex than this. In many organisations, call centre staff also need to deal with communication from other channels, including emails, social media, live online chat functions, and instant messaging apps. This can make it beneficial to find software solutions that allow communication from different channels to be stored in one place and accessed alongside data related to telephone calls. When this is possible, sales, marketing, and customer service activities can become far more effective, as relevant information can be utilised, rather than relying on a single communication channel.
  • What third-party integrations are available? It is also worth taking the time to think about possible integration options with third-party software solutions. For example, connecting a call centre solution to a customer relationship management software package could help to make the customer experience more seamless and may assist agents by providing them with more information about a customer and their past interactions with the business. The precise third-party integration options that are required will depend on the other software solutions being used. However, a call centre package that allows integration with third-party software can be extremely valuable.

The most relevant software trends related to call centre applications also need to be thought about before making a purchasing decision. Software that has been designed without any awareness of the latest trends is unlikely to provide all of the tools an organisation needs, and the long-term value of the software is going to be limited. By contrast, software created with an understanding of the latest trends is more likely to retain its value over the long term, and it is more likely to achieve what a buyer needs. Some of the main relevant trends include the following:

  • Remote and hybrid work: The rise of remote and hybrid working models is one of the most significant trends affecting the software. For call centres, it is becoming increasingly common for employees to have the freedom to work from home or the ability to move between office-based and home-based work. For this to be successful, call centres need to invest in software that can handle the related demands. In general, the shift towards remote accessibility has led to increased adoption of cloud-based software because it provides numerous accessibility benefits. Furthermore, remote accessibility has increased the importance of utilising VoIP services because moving telephone equipment between the office and employees' homes is inefficient.
  • Use of machine learning: The use of machine learning technology is already affecting customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions and is going to have an increased presence within call centre solutions in the years to come. Machine learning can potentially automatically analyse data and highlight relevant actions that may need to be taken. For instance, machine learning could alert an organisation if sales targets are in danger of being missed or if customer service resolution times are increasing. Alternatively, machine learning could be used within automated call distribution, with the technology gradually learning which agents are best at resolving different types of problems. This can then result in major improvements to the customer experience.
  • Deployment of AI chatbots: There has been a shift away from voice-based customer interactions recently, with instant messaging apps and live chat functions helping to reduce the burden on call centre agents. This trend has also been aided by the emergence of chatbots powered by artificial intelligence. As this trend continues to expand, call centre software is likely to place a greater focus on integrated functionality. In general, chatbots are a good first point of contact because they deliver rapid response times on a 24/7 basis. However, they can screen customers and collect the most important information before speaking to an agent. When coupled with call centre software, this could mean using chatbots to handle initial customer contact and then generating a log of the conversation. This chatbot conversation can be automatically sent to call centre agents if the issue needs to be escalated to a human level.