Pre-COVID, the world entertained the notion of home-based and mobile workforces with an amused chuckle. Working remotely was permitted in some industries, “impossible” in others, and often viewed with a vague sense of disapproval. The office was real — that’s where real things were done. Those seeking alternative routes were in reality seeking a way to avoid really working.
Mentalities evolved quite rapidly (and in a very droll way): the world locked up tight and it saw that real work had to keep happening — and it had to be done from our homes, even the “It’ll never work”-grumblers.
The idea of the remote workforce proved itself right. It won the approval of the public fair and square and is now understood to be a productivity enabler rather than a distraction. COVID necessitated the shift, both in the capabilities of remote workforces and in the attitudes surrounding their viability.
This new global understanding led to the rapid development and proliferation of software solutions designed to help manage multiple contact methods: live chat, email, phone, texting, collaboration, and more.
Fewer companies now find themselves able to do without the benefits call centers offer, and to maximize their services, savvy leaders are employing turnkey platforms to solve their businesses’ varied communication dilemmas.
Cloud-hosted software systems act as tool aggregators, simplifying multi-channel contact management via cloud-based software. These programs are being designed to improve how organizations interact with their customers while eliminating equipment costs or the costs of hiring additional staff.
Virtually all UCaaS companies focus on addressing these areas in order to better serve their clients and their organizations.
Coordinating a virtual workforce must include a means to communicate in real time. Phone systems enable this by providing the ability to conference multiple parties together from any location, at the press of a button.
Phone systems also include the option of group messaging, allowing remote managers to send messages to their teams. While some UC administrators might not yet recognize the importance of a modern phone system to a remote workforce, workers are sure to appreciate such a service.
When used in tandem with a solid QA program, remote team members will see improvements in the quality of service provided, response times, and ease of transferring.
Though the dinosaurs of phone systems still roam, their numbers are thinning fast. These are the final days VoIP and legacy systems will both have roles in call centers. Cost-wise, most companies now lean on inexpensive and streamlined VoIP options.
Collaboration tools help remote workforces’ complete tasks faster and more efficiently by bringing their exchange of information online. This includes chat applications, document sharing programs like Google Docs, and remote desktop software that allows one agent to access another’s PC screen for training or troubleshooting.
The benefits of collaboration — from anywhere and on any device — are innumerable for businesses seeking efficiency. Any remote or mobile workforce can benefit from implementing an appropriate collaboration tool.
The CRM is designed as an information database containing vital information about each customer. It helps reduce the time wasted hunting for data by accessing all relevant contact information in one place. This ensures that agents can act quickly should an issue come up while the customer is on hold.
Top CRM software gives organizations the ability to track chats across channels and in real time, letting managers monitor performance and take action when necessary. This can include custom-routing among different agents, according to expertise or availability. Control across the lifetime of an inbound call ensures customers are attended to seamlessly across channels by the agent statistically most likely to truly help.
The benefits of using chat for customer service have outnumbered the drawbacks it presented in its infancy. From cutting back on hold times to speeding up the response process, chat systems are powerful tools for maximizing call center productivity and efficiency. When all available agents are busy with other tasks, live chat tools allow customers to leave information — name, email address or phone number — and receive a call back when an agent is available.
These chats can be triggered automatically or manually depending on company preferences. Many also provide location detection so consumers in specific regions receive immediate answers, eliminating wait times entirely in some cases.
Email integration has been a must-have call center tool for some time. There exists a range of products that can be used to integrate email with customer relationship management systems (CRMs), including third-party add-ons and built-in features across most solution platforms.
An effective email integration tool enables remote agents to triage and better prioritize their work, dealing with important emails first while queuing less urgent correspondence for later resolution. This distinction allows companies, in effect, to apply the vetting benefits provided by a call center to their emails, too.
Like email integration, voicemail transcription options allow businesses operating through remote workforces to provide better service — smarter direction of agent focus means fewer breaks in communication. Voicemail transcription programs automatically transcribe voice messages, sending complete transcripts to screens remotely. These transcribed messages can then be viewed alongside emails — choose your own email platform.
Implementing a system with voicemail transcription frees up time your agents otherwise spend listening to long messages and manually typing smaller ones, resulting in most companies today considering this call center tool to be indispensable.
Phone system integration lets companies automate their interactions with customers. Integrated, these systems are able to record and replay calls instantly and can improve agent skills and provide performance feedback when applicable.
It’s also useful in managing call quality. It gives its users instantaneous access to critical metrics like hold times and abandoned rates. Not having to wait until end-of-month reports lets clients leverage data and drive results extemporaneously.
These tools help remote workers better serve clients while also increasing their own efficiency in the process. And like many tools, they’re best used in coordination with one another.
We’re passionate about communication management at CallHarbor. We developed a simple, comprehensive software any company can use and are dedicated to unifying the communications of all enterprises. Unleash the potential of a remote workforce with our tailored platform of award-winning features, built to maximize the care an organization provides its customers.
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