Finding the best contact center software for your small- to medium-sized business can be a daunting task. With seemingly endless options to choose from, it’s hard to know which features will actually drive more meaningful customer experiences and which are just unnecessary fluff.
Here, we’ll highlight three key features found in the best types of contact center software and discuss why they’re so important if you want to empower your agents and provide quick, effective solutions to your customers.
3 Must-Have Features in the Best contact center Software
The modern customer demands choice and control. When they need help, they want to be able to reach you on their terms, on their timeline, and on the channel they prefer.
In its extensive research on customer care best practices, management consulting firm McKinsey found that not only have customers become more accustomed to interacting with companies across multiple channels, they actually expect to do so. It’s very natural, for example, for a customer to use social media interactions to gather information about a product, self-service tools like interactive voice response (IVR) to pay a bill, and real time communication channels like phone or live chat to get help when they encounter a problem.
The best contact center solution enables agents to handle conversations on any or all of these channels with ease. It’s a feature that’s necessary to both meet customer expectations and to minimize what McKinsey refers to as the “boomerang effect.”
In this phenomenon, a subpar customer experience with a company’s digital communication channels actually increases that customer’s demand for such capabilities. In other words, when a customer can’t get the kind of service they want on the channel they want, they perceive an even higher demand for it, leading to an increasingly negative customer experience.
Rather than focus on optimizing individual customer touchpoints, McKinsey argues, firms should focus on how these interactions coalesce as part of the overall end-to-end customer journey. Enter: channel layering.
With omnichannel ticketing capabilities your agents are able to easily communicate with customers on their preferred channel at any point in the customer journey. Agents can see conversation streams in real time and seamlessly switch from one channel to another, regardless of where the stream initially began. This not only breeds greater customer satisfaction, but provides a consistent brand experience across channels. It also helps agent resolve issues more quickly, avoiding the dreaded “boomerang effect.”
As your business grows, so will your customers’ support needs. Adding additional support channels is, generally speaking, a good thing. AI-powered chatbots, for example, can result in significant customer service cost reductions, while the option to live chat with an agent can boost customer satisfaction rates. Yet even the most tech-savvy users still tend to favor live agents when dealing with complex requests.
The takeaway? You need a contact center software that meets your customers where they’re most comfortable–wherever that may be, depending on their situation–while enabling both flexibility and speed on behalf of your agents. Look for a contact center solution that empowers agents to handle multi-step support requests just as easily as a quick IVR account inquiry or a one-off SMS question. LiveVox’s centralized ticketing solution lets agents not only issue tickets on any channel, but gain insight on all interactions occurring on a ticket regardless of where it originated.
Just as your ticketing challenges grow more complex with each new support channel you add, so will your data management needs. Each new platform comes with its own set of data, which grows in size with every new support inquiry. In its raw form, this data is disconnected and in a different format from what lives in your existing database.
To really get a handle on how disconnected data can cause frustration for your customers, all you have to do is think back to the last time you had this not-so-uncommon customer support experience: You call a company’s support line and get the interactive voice response system. Through a series of prompts, you enter your account number, verify your identity and explain the nature of your problem.
Unfortunately, after working through the voice prompts, your issue remains unsolved. You opt to be transferred to a live agent–great! Except when you’re finally connected to a real human, you’re forced to provide all the same information all over again. Maddening, right? This is just one of the many customer and agent pain points solved by unifying data across your contact center software platform.
With unified data, key customer and interaction data points are synced and standardized across channels into universal customer profiles. Universal customer profiles bring together everything you collectively know about the customer, from every available channel, in a format that’s standard from one customer to the next.
This unified data powers timelier, more relevant customer interactions, which are a great driver of both satisfaction and revenue. 49% of U.S. consumers say when they do repeat business with a company, they expect that company to know who they are, while 41% say they’ll spend more with a company that provides personalized service.
In addition to more meaningful, profitable interactions, unified data provides a holistic view of the customer journey that helps agents do their jobs faster and more effectively. All of this contributes to better cross-channel performance and ultimately, a more positive customer experience.
Finally, look for a contact center software that allows supervisors and managers to leverage unified data to make decisions. When data is fragmented across multiple sources, it takes time to search different systems for relevant information or wait on someone else to pull it for you.
This slows down business.
A single, unified data source accessible via a secure, cloud-based platform enables at-a-glance customer insights that can be used to spot trends, anticipate customer needs and make more informed judgement calls that–you guessed it–lead to more satisfied customers.
Your customer relationships are the lifeblood of your business, and not just in a feel-good sense. Failing to nurture strong relationships can have a direct impact on your bottom line.
U.S. businesses lose an estimated $62 billion each year due to poor customer service experiences, and it’s never been easier for a dissatisfied customer to take their business elsewhere. Your agents are your front-line representatives providing the positive experiences that lead to strong relationships.
To do their jobs effectively, agents need a modern CRM that allows them to leverage the two key features we’ve discussed thus far: channel layering and unified data. Yet upgrading and integrating such a system has historically required multi-million dollar, multi-year investments in capital and manpower. The best contact center solution provides a simpler alternative: an out-of-the-box CRM that replaces the clunky customer databases of yesteryear.
An intuitive CRM gives agents and supervisors everything they need to create, manage and monitor customer engagements across channels from a single location. Through an agent desktop that’s tailored to your organization, customer service reps instantly know who’s calling (or texting, chatting, and so forth), where they came from, and what kind of help they might need.
Agents can access situation-specific scripts to guide them through the full range of customer interactions, from onboarding to account maintenance to troubleshooting. Scripts are accessible directly within the CRM and are pre-populated with all of the relevant information on a customer, pulled straight from their universal customer profile for up-to-the-minute accuracy.
An integrated CRM has clear benefits for agents and customers, but it also helps conserve resources internally. User-friendly functionality makes it easy for managers to deploy tailored campaigns quickly, creating custom fields, setting up filters, and creating multi-channel workflows without having to enlist help from IT.
Finally, there’s the issue of consent–a critical area often overlooked by small- to medium- sized businesses. As consumers become more aware of the volume of personal data that exists on them, they also demand more control over it. A study by identity management software provider JanRain sheds light on customer attitudes toward consent: the majority of consumers are okay with brands using their data to contact them, if they’ve consented to it and if they can “turn it off” when they want to.
Built-in consent tracking capabilities let you meet two core requirements for security-minded companies: 1) adhering to the latest regulatory requirements, and 2) respecting customer preferences by capturing consent during every interaction across all channels. Channel preferences are automatically transferred to future campaign workflows to maintain customer trust and confidence with every interaction.
Winning CX starts with software
Finding the right software solution to run your SMB’s customer support doesn’t have to be a hassle. Look for platforms that prioritize agent ease of use,customer personalization capabilities, and best-in-class features like advanced IVR and virtual agents for self-service or real-time dashboards for rmeasuring every metric you need so you can satisfy all of your customer communication needs with one fell swoop when you make your purchase.
On the channel front, layering drives seamless omnichannel performance while unified data provides a comprehensive view of the customer at all times. An all-in-one CRM brings it all together to empower your agents, breeding personalized conversations that ultimately drive greater customer satisfaction.
Adopt a unified approach to business communications by requesting your free demo of the best contact center software today.
LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today.