Expert tips to get the most out of your call center software in 2023
How many times have you heard your call center team complain about the software they use? The right system is meant to make their lives easier, delight prospects, and scale efficiency. However, too many systems get the reputation of bogging employees down, creating confusion, and frustrating prospects.
As you choose your call center software, your selection shouldn’t be based on features available. Rather, it should be focused on features you will actually leverage and the simplicity of the user experience. To that end, there are five key tips for getting the most out of your call center software.
1. Review Call Recordings
Practice makes perfect. One simple tip to maximize your call center software is to listen to call recordings with prospects and customers. When you play call recordings – what stands out? Are you using the same call script over and over? Are you not letting the prospect have enough time to respond to your questions? Are you dominating the call? Are you talking too fast and pressured?
While call recording is great and a very effective tool for training and dispute resolution, not many have time to listen to hours of recordings. That leaves you with the need to transcribe and search your calls for keywords. Leverage call center software that simplifies the call review process and doesn’t just require hour after hour spent listening to frustrating calls.
2. Know Your Software
Knowing how to use your software is more important than understanding features offered. As with most things, the utility of your software is directly related to how you use it, not just what you use. Feature-loading looks great on paper. However, it also creates frustration. Focus on diving into the software yourself, experiencing what your reps will go through, and perfecting the customer experience.
The best way to think about your software, reporting, etc. is to come up with the business questions you need to answer first. For example, do you really need to know talk time of each rep, or is it more important to have less calls with a higher success rating? It’s up to you to plan out what is most imperative for your operation, but this leads to how you will use and analyze your call center software.
3. Ditch the Scripts
When we’re talking about outbound sales call centers, scripts are outdated and often end up forcing sales reps inside a box of restraints. I am the first to bash the use of call scripts. They sound awkward, forced, and not personalized to each prospect and customer. With that said, sales reps still need a general idea of how their calls should go, what their goals are, what are the right questions to ask, etc.
It is important that sales reps have product knowledge and understand the systems they are selling. Ditching scripts is not the same as being unprepared or unintelligent. The intent is to go into your calls knowing your product or service, add personalization, and develop a relationship with each prospect. Prospects prefer a personable sales rep who stutters, asks genuine questions, and seems down to earth compared to a script-reading robot. Go into an outbound call with the right intent and a list of questions that might arise from the prospect.
On the customer support side of call centers, scripts can be helpful, but it depends on how they’re structured. If you’re a consumer-facing behemoth of a company, you will be able to get away with more rigid, structured calls. However, most companies don’t have this luxury. They still need to delight customers and focus on their experience. As such, created scripted answers to tough questions and provide an outline for the call, but also give your team some liberty to make a human connection with a frustrated customer.
Whether on the sales or customer service end of a call center, your software should act as a call playbook. Your technology should provide the quick responses needed on a support call while giving a less-restrictive outline for sales calls.
4. Cross-Check Your Team
How is your team presenting themselves to your prospects and customers? Just because you are sitting behind a desk and not in front of your prospect – doesn’t let you off the hook for how you portray yourself over the phone. Here are a few areas of engagement I recommend evaluating:
Sales reps should be using a rate of speech that the average person can relate to. If your team speaks too fast, they might lose the customer. If they speak too slowly, the prospect will lose interest. The rate of speech directly affects how clearly reps communicate, how someone comprehends what you are saying, and your customer's overall experience with you. Teach your reps to speak around 150 words per minute to ensure effective communication. A good call center tool will provide speaking pace metrics and enable you to coach reps more efficiently.
Tone of Voice
Every mother has likely used the phrase “it’s how you say it, not what you say”. This is true in a call center environment where the only reference point of the framing of the conversation is based on tone of voice alone. How your team sounds directly affects your customer and prospect. If reps sound sluggish and/or unfriendly because of personal issues, your customer will most likely reciprocate this. People are mirrors shining back at each other. You get what you give to others. With the rise of tools like Gong and Chorus, call center companies are now following suite and bringing tone-of-voice metrics like sentiment into play.
Attitude and Approach
This goes hand in hand with tone-of-voice, but is broader than simply how reps say what needs to be said. Is your team being patient with a prospect who is on the fence about your service or product? Is your support rep coming off too harsh and abrasive? Demeanors can be picked up over the phone, email, text, etc. It is crucial your team checks in with themselves daily. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward with your prospects.
While very corny, one of the tricks I used very early on in my career is putting a mirror in front of myself while making calls. This forces you to smile and emit a more helpful tone of voice. There are few better ways to cross-check your team than having them look at themselves while they talk and represent your company. That said, whether or not you are on a phone call or video calling with your prospects, you should try smiling more. Research shows that the simple act of faking or forcing a smile makes us feel better, meaning we will do better on our sales calls.
5. Automate your Workflow
A blog on tips to maximize your call center software isn’t complete without focusing on automation. There are many tasks that sales reps can automate with the help of call center software. Ideas range from auto-logging calls and using a power dialer to generating customer context as the next call is taken and reporting on results.
While the statement was made earlier that you need simplicity in the experience of your software, that doesn’t mean that you don’t put in the work upfront to create complex automations. The more you leave to your reps to do, the more likely your call center engine is to break down. Spoon feed your teams with automation to keep reporting on track, efficiency high, and morale increasing.
In conclusion, the effective use of call center software is crucial for improving efficiency and delighting customers. It is important to not only consider the features offered by the software but also to focus on how those features will be leveraged and the simplicity of the user experience. By following these five key tips, call centers can ensure that their software is being used to its full potential and providing the best possible experience for both employees and customers.