10 fundamental call center tools any company requires

Developing a successful contact center isn’t an easy task, especially if you want to provide top-notch customer service.

But what makes a difference today is call center tools which help you to handle customer calls, automate processes, and enhance customer experience. We have gathered all such vital tools in one list so you can learn out what you need to set up a really successful call center. 

What tools do you require to set up a contact center?

To provide customer service, call centers use numerous tools, including:

  1. PCs
  2. PBX switch
  3. Interactive Voice Response (IVRs)
  4. CRM systems
  5. Call conferencing
  6. Call monitoring
  7. Call center insights and reports
  8. Call recording 
  9. Outbound dialers

1. Call center hardware

The point where everything starts is call center hardware. No matter what are the other tools you use, without hardware call centers just can’t operate properly. 

a) PC

Let’s start with the basics— you’ll need a computer to access your call center software or cloud contact center (as well as your customer relationship management (CRM) system and email).

Fortunately, there are no advanced requirements for your PC. It just has to be reliable and operate enough amount of operational memory to run call center software. 

b) Headphones

Headphones are must-haves for all call center agents and even supervisors, because they are the tool agents use to communicate with clients. The minimal requirements for your headphones are comfort for agents as they will use them 8 hours a day, and good quality for proper sound. 

2. PBX Switch

PBX is an acronym for Private Branch Exchange – an internal business communication system that was formerly used to let employees communicate with each other inside the company. Nowadays, PBX systems also allow the processing of external communication. 

A PBX is a basic version of call center software as it has limited features and functionality.

PBX systems can be set up as on-premises (inbox) solutions on your own physical infrastructure, or as cloud solutions with no physical infrastructure at all. For many companies, PBX systems are the starting point on their path to building an advanced call center. 

3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

‘Press ‘one’ to make a payment, press ‘two’ to speak to our customer service team….’

The IVR system is familiar to any person who has ever called the customer service department for help. This is the automated voice response system that provides self-service options to customers, route calls to agents or to submenus of itself based on customers’ choice, and it can also manage call queues. Without IVR system, you won’t be able to manage your inbound call volume and provide customers with basic service 24/7. 

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

The Call center has to provide first-class customer service to every person who contacts it, and that’s why understanding who are your customers, what are their needs and expectations, and what the best way to service them is vital. There is only one tool that helps to collect and analyze customer data – and it’s the CRM system. 

The call center CRM system integrates with the call center solution to work in a single environment. CRM system is the way to understand customer preferences – for instance, you can see customer’s preferred contact channels, shipping options, payment methods, language, etc. 

5. Call conferencing

Conference calls are considered to be used for some formal meetings, but they are also great to communicate with customers and to help employees collaborate. 

Call conferencing also eliminates one of the biggest call center problems – you will no longer need to put customers on hold, as needed customer service agent can be just invited to a current conversation. 

Secondly, call conferencing makes it much easier to train customer service agents. 

6. Call monitoring 

Call monitoring is a tool that allows you to listen to live calls. In most cases, this tool is used by team leaders to ensure that agents work properly and service customers in accordance with company standards. It has three modes: hidden mode, whispering, and barging. 

Hidden mode is used when you want neither the agent nor the customer to notice you listening to the call, the whispering mode is used to advise the agent as the client doesn’t hear you, and barging mode is used to take part in the call as a third party. 

7. Metrics and analytics

Your call center software is capable enough to measure all vital call center metrics and KPIs, so you can understand your imperfections, areas for improvement, and main problems to resolve. 

There are plenty of important metrics to measure: inbound call volume, call abandonment rate, average handling time, average call duration, and so on. Measuring those metrics will help you to improve your call center performance and operational efficiency. 

8. Real-time reporting

Real-time reports provide you with numerous rates and scores you have to know, including operators’ productivity and performance, call center metrics, customer service metrics, and other information regarding your call center operations. 

The best fact about those reports is that they are customizable, which means you can choose what KPIs and metrics you want to to check out. Also, those reports are always up-to-date. 

9. Call recording 

Call recording is another vital tool that automatically records all customer calls you have processed. In some jurisdictions, it is a legal requirement to record calls, while in most cases, it is done for quality assurance purposes. 

Call recordings are used to train agents, help them identify their errors and improvement areas, and also, to understand how to service your customers better. Most call recordings are stored for at least 6 months. 

10. Outbound Dialers

Outbound dialers are specific software tools that are used to automate outbound calls. In other words, outbound dialers are systems that automatically dial phone numbers from the contact lists. 

Thus, outbound dialers improve your telemarketing performance by boosting the number of dialing attempts per hour up to 3 times, and also by improving contact rates. For example, the Predictive dialing mode provides around 75% of the contact rate, while for manual dialing it will be less than 30%. Therefore, outbound telemarketing is impossible without outbound dialers – at least when it comes to efficiency.