Inbound Call Center Solution

Exceptional inbound call center services can elevate customer experience by providing efficient support and assistance. If you want to keep customer satisfaction high, it’s worth investing in a good inbound call center solution that can handle incoming calls with speed and efficiency.

So let’s take a look at the ins and outs of inbound call centers. Read on to find out how they can benefit your business objectives, as well as get some tips on how to manage them more effectively.

What is an inbound call center?

An inbound call center is a department or organization whose primary function is to receive incoming calls from customers. They are commonly used for providing customer support by resolving issues or answering inquiries.

Operating an inbound call center may seem pretty basic, but it’s not just about answering phone calls. If you want to provide your customers with the best possible service, here are some tips for improving your contact center’s operations.

How can I improve my inbound call center?

1) Prioritize exceptional customer experiences by implementing a customer engagement strategy

A customer-focused strategy takes into account the needs, comfort, and satisfaction of the customer when making decisions for your business. From choosing solutions to establishing management policies, prioritizing the interests of your customers will help maintain high satisfaction ratings and rapport.

2) Monitor agent performance

Highly-skilled call center service agents can provide better and faster real-time service to your customers. Monitoring the performance of your support teams will allow you to identify strengths that can be developed or weaknesses that can be improved.

3) Optimize distribution of inbound calls using intelligent call routing systems

A well-organized call distribution system can prevent backlogs and avoid long customer wait times. Advanced call routing systems can manage call volumes automatically without the need for manual operators.

Intelligent ACD systems equipped with skills-based call routing can also distribute calls based on specified criteria such as language, specializations, performance scores, and more. This ensures that your caller will have a personalized experience leading to better customer relationships.

4) Invest in high-quality call center technology

Sometimes, all you need for a call center is a phone and a computer. But equipping your call center with high-quality tools will not only optimize internal operations, it will also improve customer experiences. Let's take a deeper look at what call center solutions are, and how you can use them to enhance your customer service experience.

What are call center solutions?

Call center solutions are specialized tools that can streamline call and workforce management, automate processes, and speed up tasks for your agents. Inbound call center solutions focus on automating call distribution processes, but you can equip your center with as many features as you need. To help you gain a better understanding of how this works, here are some essential tools and software:

What are some essential inbound call center software?

1) ACD (Automatic call distribution)

ACD, also known as automatic call distributors, is a telephony system that automatically distributes incoming calls to available inbound call center agents. An ACD removes the need for operators to check agent availability before redirecting calls manually, streamlining the call flow process. This results in faster ticket resolutions, better agent productivity, and higher customer satisfaction rates.

2) IVR (Interactive voice response)

IVR (also known as auto attendants) is short for interactive voice response. It is a business phone technology that allows incoming callers to interact with an automated answering machine before being routed to available inbound agents. But unlike a typical answering service, IVRs can be programmed with selection menus which a caller can “converse” with using their phone dial pads. Inbound callers will be routed to the most appropriate agent or department based on their responses to the IVR. This solution is typically used to identify a caller’s inquiry or offer self-service assistance.

3) CTI (Computer telephony integration)

Computer telephony integration allows you to connect your computer and phone systems. This allows your agents to control calls, view customer information, and perform other tasks from their computer. With CTI, you can also optimize your call center with customizable features and app integrations.

4) App integrations

App integrations from third-party developers will allow you to tailor your call center software to your specific work environment. Assess the needs of your customer service team and choose an inbound call center solution that supports the API integrations for your particular needs. Popular choices include, but are not limited to:

  • CRM integrations with screen pops functionality
  • Single sign-on and security verification apps
  • Office app suites

5) Workforce Optimization Features

If you’re managing a large team of call center agents, having an all-in-one solution equipped with management tools would streamline your team’s workflow and give you critical insights into agent performance and productivity. Here are some examples of workforce optimization features:

Quality Management

  • Enhances agent coaching and training process through integrated evaluation tools and resources.

Workforce management

  • Allows you to forecast incoming interaction volume and demand, minimizing resource underutilization and maximizing agent productivity.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

  • Lets you identify opportunities for improvement by evaluating agent performance based on customer stories and feedback.

Call Recordings
  • Allows you to record and play back calls, providing supervisors with evaluation data of agent-customer interaction. Helps provide insight into your team’s performance, skill improvement potential, customer engagement strategies, etc.

Reporting and Analytics

  • Interaction analytics provides you with actionable data to identify possible issues within your call center. Presents information gathered in simple visual reports and dashboards, allowing analysts to interpret data quickly and accurately.

6) Omnichannel Support

Traditionally, call centers were only capable of handling voice calls. However, the rise of digital engagement channels saw an increase in customer interactions from other platforms such as email, live chat, etc. As a result, more and more businesses are switching to an inbound contact center.

If you're confused about what the difference is between a call and contact center, read on for a more comprehensive comparison between the two.

What is the difference between call centers and contact center solutions?

The main difference between them is the communication channels that they can support. Call centers are limited to phone or voice channels. Contact centers can support a wider range of communication platforms such as email, social media channels, chat, SMS, etc.

Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably because contact centers can cover both voice and digital communication channels. However, it's worth making the distinction since some solutions providers have separate offers for either type of center.

Here's a simple table outlining their key features:

Contact CenterCall center
Supported channelsOmnichannel - voice calls, social media, chat boxes, email, SMS, etc.Voice only
Ticketing systemOmnichannel routingOnly supports call queues
Hardware requirementsComputer and headset. internet modemComputer and headset, deskphonePBX (For traditional, on-premise centers)
SoftwareAll-in-one contact center software from your solutions provider, computer OS compatible with your provider's softwareAll-in-one call center software from your solutions provider, computer OS compatible with your provider's software or that can support CTI technology, softphone app*, ACD and IVR*, Customer relationship management tools*, Performance management apps*(*These tools are already included in all-in-one call center solutions. But for on-premise call centers, you may need to purchase and implement these tools separately.)

Things to consider when choosing a call or contact center software

Services

  • Check your service contract with your provider thoroughly so you know what services to expect from them. Do they promise 100% cloud uptime? Do they have emergency back up plans? Do they offer installation services? All of these and more should be discussed before sealing the deal and should be specified in your contract.

Features

  • Research the standard features offered by your potential provider. It may benefit you in the long run to partner with a vendor that has a wide range of features, whether or not you need all of them right now. This will help you scale your call center platform more seamlessly as your business grows.

Integrations

  • Ensure that the app integrations supported by your provider align with your current business environment. If you’ve already set up third-party apps for certain functions, it would make transitioning to a new platform faster and easier if your provider has integrations that can work with those solutions.

Pricing

  • Don’t just look at the pricing plans your provider gives you. Assess the total cost of ownership and calculate your return on investment to gain a better understanding of the solution’s financial impact on your business.

FAQs

What’s the difference between an on-premise and a cloud call center?

An on-premise call center has the telephony infrastructure on-site and is usually built and maintained by the business itself.

For a cloud call center (also known as a virtual call center), the infrastructure is kept and maintained remotely by a third-person provider, and the solution is implemented through the internet.

Cloud contact centers are also hosted in the cloud by a provider. The difference is that a cloud contact center solution has omnichannel support while virtual call centers are voice-only.

What are the hardware requirements for an inbound call center?

For cloud-based call centers, the only hardware requirements are a working computer and a stable internet. You can also invest in accessories such as a headset with a mic or a VoIP phone for cloud-based calling.

How do you set up an inbound call center?

Most cloud communications providers handle the setup and maintenance of the call center solutions on their end. Check with your provider if there are any additional setup requirements on your end.

What self-service features can I install on my inbound call or contact centers?

Voice-only call centers are limited to IVR self-service. You can program IVRs to guide customers through basic troubleshooting procedures.

Omnichannel contact centers can offer more self-service options by sending them links to official guides on websites, community forum posts, videos, and more.

What's the difference between outbound and inbound call centers?

An inbound call center receives incoming calls. Outbound call centers make outgoing calls to prospective customers.

Can I use my inbound call center for outbound campaigns?

Some of the solutions installed in your inbound call center might not be applicable to an outbound campaign. Outbound centers have their own tools, focusing mostly on dialing features like progressive and predictive dialers, auto dialers, etc..

However, if your inbound contact center solutions provider offers these tools, you could just ask for an upgrade from your existing plan.

Enhance customer experience and drive agent productivity with a powerful inbound call center. Contact sales or request a demo with 8x8 today.

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