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Call center software can help your business improve customer service by routing incoming calls and answering some of the basic questions customers have through recorded responses. This type of software makes use of an automatic call distributor (ACD) to ensure your customers do not receive a busy signal when they call. Instead, customers are immediately routed into a system that engages them and lets them know that their call will be handled as soon as possible. Automatic call distributors also save you money on staffing and increase the productivity of your customer service operations. The system even allows your customers to obtain basic information when your business is closed for the day.
Improved customer service
Automatic call distributors route incoming phone calls as soon as they are received. This means customers do not get a busy signal when they call, nor do they have to wait to be routed to a live operator. In an interview with CBS News, author Emily Yellin says that call centers in the United States receive 43 billion calls per year. If you do not have an automatic call distributor, you run the risk of losing customers due to long wait times or difficulty reaching your call center operators.
If you do not have an automatic call distributor, you must rely on a receptionist or switchboard operator to route calls. In the United States, the median annual salary for a switchboard operator is $28,265, according to Salary.com. If you offer health insurance and other benefits, you will pay more than $30,000 per year just to have someone answer the telephone and route calls. An automatic call distributor allows you to eliminate this significant expense.
Using an automatic call distributor allows you to increase efficiency in your business. If you use a receptionist or switchboard operator to route calls, that person must remember or look up names and telephone extensions before routing calls. While a few seconds to look up this information may not seem like much, it adds up if you receive a lot of inbound calls. If a receptionist handles 700 inbound calls per day, for example, you could lose as much as 58 minutes of productivity if he has to look up routing information. An automatic call distributor immediately routes calls, helping you increase efficiency and improve productivity.
Expanded call capacity
When you rely on human operators to handle calls, they can only handle a certain number of calls per hour. If it takes an average of two minutes to handle each call, one person can only handle 30 calls per hour. When you use an automatic call distributor, you increase the number of calls your business can handle without the additional expense of hiring more operators.
Extended hours of operation
If an operator only receives incoming calls during certain business hours, you lose the opportunity to connect with customers who may call in the evening or early in the morning. Having an automatic call distributor allows you to accept incoming calls at all hours of the day.
The installation of a state-of-the-art automatic call distributor system can be a large expense. You will need to pay for call center software, additional handsets, additional wiring, and the creation of a company directory. Though this type of system can reduce the cost of retaining a human operator for your company, you may still need to have a receptionist available to speak to customers who are not able to navigate the phone system.
A common pitfall of an ACD system is that, like any computer system, it will malfunction from time to time. When this happens, it may take one or more days for the system to be repaired. If you do not have a backup system, that could be a significant inconvenience to your employees and your customers. Creating a backup system to handle inevitable malfunctions may pose a considerable added expense.
Some customers find automated answering systems in any setting to be frustrating and even offensive. If you do not have an easy way to bypass the system, such as pressing “zero” to reach an operator, you may lose the business of customers who do not have the patience to navigate the automated system. If customers are unable to call their contacts within your company directly and must instead use a complicated dial-by-name directory, that may add to their frustration.
The way that your automatic call distribution system is set up will affect how customers and prospective customers perceive your business. If the voice of the automatic system is unprofessional or difficult to understand, customers may not attempt to navigate it at all. In fact, they may call a competitor instead of attempting to understand your system. Similarly, it is important that the accent of the voice on your calling system is either neutral or matches the accent of the majority of your customer base.
Basic call center software can be relatively inexpensive compared to the benefits it offers. If you only require automatic call distribution for one call center, an inexpensive basic software package can cover your business needs.
More comprehensive automatic call distribution software is designed for companies that need to cover several call centers or terminals. There is also software available to link on-site workers with people who are working from home. The various add-ons available for call center software can bump up your overall cost. According to the Call-Center-Tech website, the most advanced and expensive software has the ability to reroute your calls based solely on customer recognition.
An automatic call distributor can improve customer service and lessen your reliance on live phone operators. Call center software has many benefits that can save you money and increase operational efficiency by making sure every customer call is answered, even when your business is closed. Implementing basic call center software is affordable, but more sophisticated software packages that offer advanced features can be very costly. These sorts of systems can malfunction and tend to frustrate customers who do not like dealing with automated interfaces. Before you make an investment in call center software with an automatic call distributor, make sure it is a suitable customer service direction for your type of customer.
If your business has a call center, then you might need automatic call distribution systems that will make it possible for your employees to take care of customers in a timely manner. Although there are several types of distribution systems, many of them use software to redirect customer calls to the next available operator. This could reduce the amount of time that customers spend on hold and improve the efficiency of your employees.
Some automatic call distribution systems are designed for large call centers with hundreds of employees. Not all of them, however, are specifically designed to meet the needs of large call centers. Even if you have a small business, you might still benefit from the advantages of call distribution systems. The ultimate goal of these systems should be to make your office work more efficiently so that you can meet customer needs faster.
By exploring the links on the left, you can learn more about the benefits that various call distribution systems could offer your business. Business.com provides a long list of links to help you compare and contrast the various options available to you. This could help you make a more informed decision that improves your customer satisfaction and employee efficiency.
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