March 19, 2021
Stay in the Know
The demands on small and mid-size business (SMB) teams are different from those at larger organizations. From sales and marketing to customer support to technology resources, SMBs must be nimble and responsive. The strategies that big enterprises use aren’t always the right fit for smaller companies. And they definitely don’t have the big pocketbooks – so their solutions must be cost-effective and generate added value. This is especially true for managing customer contacts, which, while vital to growing a business, can have negative impacts if not done well.
Call Center Software for SMB
Every business that takes or makes calls, especially to sell to or service customers, essentially has a call center – whether they have hundreds of agents or a handful of agents (or a team of multi-tasking employees). These teams can benefit greatly from call center solutions for small business that can help them manage customer contacts and improve SMB customer service delivery.
In the past, the technology required to power small business call center software and hardware was usually expensive and bulky. The costs and office space were often prohibitive for small organizations. While many large enterprises still use these on-premise systems, SMB call centers can now take advantage of today’s cloud call center software for small businesses.
Cloud Contact Center for SMBs
Cloud contact center software systems offer smaller teams the benefits of the same tools and technologies used by big businesses. And they eliminate the need for bulky on-site equipment and a large telecom network or a team of IT experts to maintain it. They also offer a lower cost that is spread out month to month, rather than requiring a large up-front investment, making them more affordable.
With not much more than a fast and reliable internet connection, the cloud provides access to a wide range of customer contact software small business solutions. And because they can connect from anywhere, smaller companies can take advantage of using a virtual call center for small business – staffing their teams with remote workers in multiple locations, rather than requiring a large site with physically-wired agent workstations.
The Best SMB Call Center Solutions and Features
Advanced call center features can help your SMB grow with the ability to manage a variety of programs, including marketing, lead generation and sales, customer service, helpdesk support, collections, surveys, and more. Let’s take a look at the best small business call center software features. (Learn more about specific features for Telemarketing or Collections teams.)
• Auto-Attendant and IVR
The auto-attendant frees companies from needing to have a live person ready and waiting to answer every phone call. The auto-attendant greets incoming callers and performs basic call routing. Adding an IVR (interactive voice response) to the mix provides additional options, such as gathering more specific information to help send the call to the right place (ie, differentiating between a new order, customer service on a previous order, or a billing question). You won’t have to transfer a caller around to get them an answer – which is often one of the biggest customer complaints about customer service.
The IVR can also provide advanced features, such as self-service for items that don’t necessarily require a live person (ie, checking an account balance). A good auto-attendant and IVR system will help you handle more calls and handle them more quickly. allow the number. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system takes this a step further, providing more flexible rules for routing calls and even the ability to handle certain calls without human intervention (for example, checking your credit card balance).
With a good auto-attendant and IVR system, you can handle more calls, and handle them more quickly. This not only uses your resources more efficiently and reduces costs, it helps make for happier customers.
• Predictive Dialer (Auto-Dialers)
For managing a large number of outbound contacts, predictive dialers are key. They use advanced algorithms to automatically dial numbers from a list or at random. There are many methods for automated dialing, including power, progressive, preview, and predictive – which one you use depends on what your goals are, and what resources are available. Regulations prohibiting “robo-dialing” to numbers for a range of reasons continue to grow. That means that it’s also crucial for the system to support options for manual dialing without using an auto-generated list or number so you can stay in compliance.
A blended system will let the same agents work on both inbound and outbound calls at the same time, managing the workflow to let incoming calls be answered and making outgoing calls to keep agents busy while they are waiting. Integrated platforms mean that agents don’t have to manually switch between inbound and outbound campaigns. It does it automatically for them, while tracking all of their activities.
• ACD & Intelligent Call Routing
Inbound call management can begin at the auto-attendant and IVR (as mentioned above), but intelligent call routing can take it to the next level. The ACD (automatic call distribution) lets you direct traffic more efficiently including advanced routing tools such as multiple call queues and agent groups, hold and overflow routing rules, and more. Priority routing based on account attributes (sending a VIP customer to a special group), or skills-based routing (sending older aging accounts to agents with a higher recovery rate), helps get the desired result the first time. Intelligent routing can help manage workflows, improve agent productivity, and improve customer service – all of which are valuable benefits for small businesses that need to do more with fewer resources.
• Built-in Automation
Efficient automation is key to managing busy workloads, especially for SMB call centers with limited budgets and staff. Automation not only speeds up processes, it helps eliminate human error. A call center for small business can move routine customer queries to self-service, such as confirming appointments, checking order status or account balances, or even paying a bill. Automating these activities can free up a huge amount of time and agent resources. That means your agents can focus on more complex issues, and reduces on-hold queues so that your agents can help those customers more quickly.
Automated Callbacks can also be supported with IVR, so that rather than sitting on a busy hold queue, the customer can request a callback when an agent is available. You’re not only using your agent’s time more effectively, you’re also not eating up your customer’s time. Faster and more customized service helps improve customer satisfaction, and happier customers are more likely to be repeat customers.
• Real-time Agent and Activity Management
A robust set of supervisor tools for managing and monitoring agents and activities is a must-have for call center managers. This includes dashboards that show real-time agent, queue, and service status and the ability to drill-down to a specific agent, line, or queue, or even to the call level. They need a 360-view of what’s going on at any time. Armed with this powerful information. they can make sure agents are on task, service levels are being met, and performance is on target to achieve KPI goals.
• Call Recording and Monitoring
Call recording and monitoring are crucial to managing and measuring quality. Call and screen recording captures customer conversations, creating valuable data that can be used for a variety of reasons. Sales or promise-to-play verifications are one use. Confirmation of regulatory compliance is another. As are agent training, best practice conformance, and identifying trends to help improve processes and drive a better customer experience. Clearly, recording is an important part of the SMB call center software platform.
Call monitoring is another essential component for the small business call center, for both agent performance metrics and quality assurance. Managers can listen to an agent’s call in real-time. Popular monitoring modes include listen only, in which the agent may not even know they are being observed, and coach monitoring. In the coaching mode, managers can assist the agent during a call, but the customer can’t hear the manager. A third mode – often called Barge – lets the manager take over a call from the agent; this is useful when the agent is having a difficult time resolving a customer’s issue. Live call monitoring, including the ability to see the agent’s screen, can be applied to help improve agent training, adjust call scripts or workflows, and ultimately, to improve customer satisfaction.
• Real-time Insights and Analytics
Reporting is one of the pillars of the small business call center software platform. Managers need to have the right information at the right time to make more informed decisions. They need better insight into critical KPIs and program results, with real-time activity views, summary and drill-down data, and historical results reporting. If you can’t measure the activities and results of your programs, you can’t manage them. Real-time dashboards, standard report libraries, and tools to create customized queries are the basics. Data and speech analytics tools can provide even more insight into their contact centers for small businesses that organizations can turn into actionable intelligence.
• Database Integration
Integrations between phone systems and databases – or computer telephony integration (CTI) – such as CRM, can quickly deliver customer information to agents. Integration helps lower call handling time, improve agent efficiency and performance, and reduce costs. It can help small business call centers gain a competitive edge and take a more data-driven approach to interacting with their callers. CTI capabilities provide a range of features for your SMB call center software to help improve productivity and efficiency with better call management.
By pushing information to the agent’s screen, companies can remove the time it takes an agent to change between programs, manually search for customer information. Thus, they can handle calls more quickly in a high-volume call environment and provide faster service. With fast access to caller information, including history and context of calls and issues, agents can confidently and quickly solve customer problems. These advanced calling capabilities make agents’ jobs easier while providing better customer experiences.
• Omnichannel Contact Capabilities
Consumers have growing expectations about how and when they interact with companies. Beyond traditional voice, omnichannel contacts open up a range of alternative methods. Chat, email, text, and social media are all options today, and making them available to your customers can improve their satisfaction and help solve their problems more efficiently. The ability to have your agents support both voice and non-voice channels at the same time, rather than having dedicated teams for each one, helps you optimize your use of resources, without requiring more staff. In fact, your agents can be more productive, with the ability to handle more than one session at the same time – filling in the downtime that often happens in an email or web chat conversation. And, the added variety of not just taking one type of contact all day, every day, can help deter boredom and improve job satisfaction.
When supporting omnichannel contacts, it’s important to also have a total combined view of the customer journey, across all platforms. Otherwise, you’re just offering multi-channel options, not a true integrated omnichannel experience. That ability can differentiate your small business call center from the competition.
• Workforce Engagement and Optimization
For any organization, your employees are your most expensive, and most valuable, resource. For small business call centers, keeping your experienced and trained team members is preferred. Especially given the high cost of finding, on-boarding and training new agents. And when establishing a strong relationship with your customers plays a factor in your business, it’s even more imperative.
Workforce Optimization (WFO) is a concept that’s been around for a while. It encompasses a range of activities designed to get the most value from each team member. WFO is focused on improved call center performance and SMB customer service. Workforce Engagement (WEM) is a newer approach to the same basic principal, but expands it to take into account the employee’s experience – what they get from the company and their role in it – rather than just their contribution.
Features include a range of tools we’ve talked about already, such as call recording, speech analytics, and performance management. Workforce Management (WFM) is also a key component. With WFM, companies can forecast for future activities and make sure they have the right staff in place to meet service levels, without overstaffing to avoid inflated overhead. It also improves efficiencies by automating the process of building work schedules, as well as making it easier to manage time-off requests, shift swaps and bids, and helps improve schedule adherence.
Gamification is the latest player on the WEM field, and it’s quickly becoming an MVP in the employee engagement arena. Gamification takes otherwise routine tasks and makes them fun. Using challenges and competitions and recognition and rewards, it motivates and incentivizes your team members for achievements and desired behaviors – and encourages them to repeat them. It works across all levels of the organization to help everyone understand their goals and what they need to do to reach them. More engaged employees are proven to be better performers and happier. And happier employees who are well-trained provide better experiences for your customers, which results in higher customer loyalty.
An All-in-One SMB Call Center Software Solution
When selecting the right technology partner for your small business contact center software, you’ll need to carefully compare the different providers. What can they offer in terms of solutions, services, and the overall value proposition? Can they meet your needs and grow with you? The provider you choose should be invested in understanding your day-to-day business and operations so they can help you customize the right solution for your contact center.
The best call SMB center software solution for your business should provide you with long-term value and a significant return on your investment. You also want an experienced partner with the knowledge and service to optimize your results.
The small business call center software system needs to be multi-faceted and cross-functional, just like your hard-working team. It should deliver all-in-one value in a unified platform, with only one source for support. But you may not need all of the functionality right now. So, it should let you start with what you do need, and then add more features as you grow and your needs change.
Are You Ready to Take Your SMB Contact Center from Ordinary to Extraordinary?
Delivering an extraordinary customer experience demands a well-tuned technology platform and a well-trained team. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t have top-tier solutions. Give your small business the tools it needs to succeed and grow.
Clearly, the job of assessing your company’s needs and evaluating potential solutions is daunting. Noble Systems can help you navigate the process and ensure that you’re making the best decision for your business. The key is to take an honest and comprehensive approach. A small business contact center software solution should provide you with long-term value and a significant return on your investment.
Contact Us to get started.
6 Reasons Why Noble Systems Should Be Your SMB Call Center Technology Partner
|1.||30+ years of experience with Year-over-year Growth & Profitability… Contact centers are in our DNA. We started out as a small business call center, where our founder wanted an affordable solution that would help improve efficiencies. We offer strong customer relationships, a stable business structure, and tailored services – regardless of your company size.|
|2.||Customer-Centric Approach… Your success – and your customers’ satisfaction – are at the heart of our business. Our small business call center solutions are designed to help you get the most for your money, so you can grow your business without breaking the bank.|
|3.||Tailored Technologies … Flexible systems designed to provide the just-right fit your company’s needs (not vice-versa). Get only the tools you need to impact your SMB call center performance, with room to grow in the future.|
|4.||Reliable Cloud Services… Six-9s uptime and reliability and service guarantees in compliant-certified data centers. Small business call centers need top-notch technology, but they don’t have the resources of a large technical team to maintain it. No problem. We’ll take care of the hardware and give you the reliability of always-on services, so you can focus on what you do best.|
|5.||Transformative Results … We help deliver improvements in target KPIs that drive true growth. Our call center solutions for small business are packed with features and tools to help you do more with less – so you can get the performance you need while managing costs.|
|6.||Future-Ready … Continuous innovation to provide the best call center software for SMBs and enterprise organizations and stay ahead of a constantly evolving industry and keep up with compliance requirements.|
Contact Us to get the industry’s best small business call center software.
Ebook: Buyer’s Guide to Contact Center Technology
Navigating the contact center technology buyer’s journey can be a daunting task – no matter what your business size. This guide provides you with tips to determine what your needs are now (and how they might change in the future) so you can choose the right partner and solution to help you meet (and exceed) your goals.
Noble Cloud Call Center Software for Small Businesses
Confidence comes standard with Noble Cloud Contact Center software for SMBs. Our industry-leading reliability gives you a 100% SLA and unbeatable security in PCI-DSS Compliant and SSAE-Certified datacenters. And, because our premise and hosted call center solutions are built on the same code base, you get all of the features and functionality of our award-winning and patented technologies without the infrastructure costs and maintenance requirements.
Compliance Briefing – Are You Ready for the New CFPB Rules?
New rules published by the CFPB are expected to have a significant impact on consumer communications for collecting debts. Managing call frequency limits and rules for times, locations, messaging can challenge all operations, both large and small. Companies need a comprehensive view of the problem to design a flexible solution that allows them to adapt for changes. A Campaign Attempt Management System can be a critical component to help small businesses contact centers manage regulatory compliance. Watch our Compliance Briefing with Noble Systems’ resident compliance expert, Karl Koster, to learn how your contact center can get ready for the new rules.