Is your call centre fit for purpose?

Warning signs that your customer helplines could be damaging your business

Everyone has a horror story to tell about customer service lines. There are the call centres that put you in a queue for hours before answering. There are the ones you can’t get through to in the first place. And there are the ones that pass you from operative to operative without ever resolving your questions.

On the flip side, there are some companies that excel at getting it right. They answer your calls quickly. They are helpful and put you through to people who can solve your issues. They genuinely value your call, rather than just play you a message that says they do.

Making sure your call centre is fit for purpose relies on having the right infrastructure, the right systems – and, above all, the right people with the right training. Yet, no matter how good your people or your training, you’re still going to damage your business unless your call centre systems can cope with everything your customers throw at them.

Signs your call centre is struggling

These days, if your call centre is struggling, you’ll probably find lots of negative customer comments being left online –particularly on your social media accounts.

Your job is to find out what the problems are, and then find ways to solve them.

Let’s take the example of a travel firm such as an airline or a ferry operator. These companies need to take large numbers of extra calls during periods of disruptions – whether they’re caused by bad weather, industrial action or even terrorist scares.

Older telephone systems often limit the number of calls you can receive at the same time. If yours does, many customers won’t be able to get through at peak times. If they can’t get through, not only will they be dissatisfied, but you lose the chance to solve their issues. That can lead to lost business.

In the same vein, if your system can only handle a certain number of calls, it limits the number of operatives you can use to answer them. Traditional systems also rely on staff making it to a physical call centre to answer calls – meaning you can’t use homeworkers at periods of peak demand.

Another common problem is having a call centre system that isn’t properly integrated with your CRM or other key business software. This means you can’t get a single view of your customer, making it harder not only to solve their issues but also harder to market to them appropriately. Similarly, if your call centre isn’t integrated with functionality like webchat and email, you’re losing opportunities to help customers via their preferred channel (which can often be cheaper than taking further calls).

Taken together, these issues send a clear signal that your call centre is failing you.

How to improve your call centre

Modern call centres have moved on so much in recent years. Rather than relying on fixed lines and traditional systems, the most effective call centres are driven by cloud software.

This allows operatives to log in at a physical call centre, from home or from anywhere there’s an internet connection. That means, if you have an unexpected peak in calls, you can easily draw on extra trained operatives without them having to travel to your call centres. Importantly, good software will allow you to queue practically unlimited calls, meaning customers won’t reach the dreaded ‘engaged’ tone.

Properly integrated, call centre software can give you the single view of the customer that you need, and it will work seamlessly with other channels such as email and webchat. It will also work in tandem with your back-office telephone systems, making it simple to route calls to relevant staff.

Which call centre software to choose?

It’s easy to see the benefits good call centre software can bring to your business. Yet, with so many options out there, what’s the best one to choose?

There’s no simple answer to that. At Intergence, we work closely with clients to evaluate their current call centres and find out what extra functionality they need – and which business objectives they need to fulfil. It’s impossible to recommend a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

That said, with some of our large clients – including a major transport company and a local council – we have implemented a globally recognised call centre software system called Five9. This has brought with it all the benefits we’ve discussed, plus many others. Both of those clients have transformed the way they interact with their customers for the better – with positive effects for their bottom line.

Your business may benefit from Five9, or a different system may be better. Either way, we’re very happy to learn more about your business and work with you to find they best cloud call centre system for your needs.

Why not get in touch with us today to learn how we can do this?