The right communications platform for you is the one that delivers. And while there are many ways for customers to communicate with businesses, voice remains the most personal.
And the move today is towards cloud-based solutions. A cloud communications platform is, essentially, a tool that helps your team process communication streams. For instance, Voipnow is a productivity-enhancing, highly efficient cloud communications platform used by many call centers. It makes call center employees more efficient and more productive. And it does so with smart features, previously impossible.
Navigating through such features takes a lot of time and effort. Here’s a quick guide to what you need and why. Essentially, what you want is at least the starter package. And, if you can afford it, get a booster package. These are advanced telephony features that make the difference.
The starter package of any communications platform
Any communications platform should offer you a minimal set of features. These should come as standard. Hence, this tip is simple to understand. If you don’t have these features, move to another communications platform. You might not think you need one of them, but still. Even with extra airbags, you don’t need them until you do. Besides, the starter package features what everyone expects from a top tier business.
1. IVR is a must-have for any communications platform
Interactive voice response, or IVR, is one key feature of any communications platform. Without it, you experience a whole range of redundancies. IVR manages calls for you, redirecting them to the right people. You can configure IVR to simplify call management.
2. Calls with superpowers are a prerequisite
This means you have features such as call monitoring, call control, call recording, call screening. Many of these make a lot of sense. Call control, for example, allows your team to hold, mute, forward or transfer the call.
Call screening is, essentially, a way to filter calls by destination. Meanwhile, call recording is a great feature to have, both for quality control and legal precautions.
Better yet, call barging allows a manager to take part in the conversation. And talk with both customer and team member. It’s a match made in heaven. You can take action right away, whenever necessary. Many times, acting on the spot saves a lot of wasted productivity later on.
3. The Agent should be at the core of the platform
There are many features that enable agents to do better. Process more requests, convert more customers, ensure better flow.
“Local agents” is a typical feature that allows local agents to process several call queues. This enables a quicker response to customer demands. Moreover, you can have some of your agents perform as supervisors. It is a high-volume training opportunity. And your communications platform should offer it.
Booster features of any communications platform
Whichever communications platform you choose, it should be an enabler. Something that offers the best bang for the buck.
Booster features allow you to do a whole lot more than standard features. In a sense, they are the true innovation. Booster features are what makes communications platform stand out.
4. Go mobile with your communications platform
Mobility is more important than ever. After all, most of your customers are mobile. Perhaps it is time for your business to be more mobile too. But this goes further than merely improving mobility features for customers. Here are the hot features you want to go mobile:
- Remote agents are a feature that allow your agents to assist customers from wherever they are. This, in effect, responds to an already mobile culture. Besides, it helps accommodate a growing remote work culture. Moreover, it will help you keep in line with the co-working trend.
- Cascade calls allow you to take a call anywhere you want to take it. It’s essentially a “follow me” type of feature. All phones (office phones, home lines and mobile phones) ring when you get a call. This means all calls get taken, no matter where the agents are.
- Hot-desking and extension virtualization. This is pretty much how calls should happen. By virtualizing phone lines, teams can share desks and physical equipment. Essentially, you are no longer tied to the physical placement. Any phone becomes a shareable resource.
5. Look for enhanced coaching
The best way to transfer experience is through mentoring, coaching and training. Yet no amount of training can cover what you could do live. Hence, the issue. You could use the best training strategy. You could try mentoring and coaching. But you can’t intervene when your trainee is live, struggling. Most of all, it would be an interruption. And interruptions affect performance.
Instead, imagine being right there, next to your trainee. Whispering the right tip at the right time. As unobtrusively as possible. Call whispering is a great way to train, assist, support. When to do it? Just use call monitoring to figure it out. Listen in on any conversation and intervene when needed.
You can even go further. Call barging allows you to step in and talk with everybody. Much like a mini-teleconference. It’s for whenever you need to manage things hands-on. Coaching, however, means that you don’t barge in that much. It still remains a pretty useful feature to have.
At the end of the day, however, you need to know two things. The first is which features work for you. The second is how to have them working for you. After all, your purpose is to provide the best possible customer experience. And not to stumble over features you don’t need. Hence, make sure your next communications platform offers all of the above.