B2C call centers that are frequenlty operations that require a large budget and take up a lot of space in what’s usuall an offshore base. They receive and place thousands of calls and emails every day. If you own a cloud-based home-based call center service, your CRM requirements are more likely that of a small business rather than a big company. In our other guides you can find more information on how to choose the best CRM software for small business or the available types of CRM software for B2C.
CRM provides a holistic view of the customer, profiling his buying history, personal data, credit line and, now, social media sentiments. It makes sense that the first early adopters of CRM are sales and marketing and customer support, two things that call centers are about. Still, call center companies need to consider their specific needs when looking for call center CRM software.
Call centers vary in operation and business model. Some are into outbound marketing, while others focus on customer support. Some provide multi-channels of communication (email, VOIP/phone, IM chat, social media), while others concentrate on a single channel. Across these variations, here are fundamental features to look for when buying call center CRM software:
Whether you’re using email, VoIP, instant messaging, social media or another communication platform, the CRM software should allow you to get real-time operational metrics. The best or top CRM software for call centers offer features like flash reports and trend reporting. These are essential to quickly address customer queries.
What is the best way to piss off a customer? Give her the wrong answer. In fact, the International Customer Management Institute said that contact agents with the right knowledge of the customer issues can increase first call resolution (FCR) by 30%-50%.
Make sure the call center CRM software you’re buying can be smoothly integrated with your existing systems. The CRM vendor should give you flexibility to integrate the channels you’re already using, such as: email, IM, portals, community forums, social networks and VoIP. Having agents to change platforms that they have become adept at using may mess up customer communication; hence, it’s vital to think of compatible integration. Think of other systems that need integrating to the CRM software. They can include: computer-telephony, interactive voice response, automated call distribution, enterprise resource planning and accounting systems.
Ask the CRM vendor for training geared towards call center agents. Look for training session packages, free trial or demo versions, web tutorials and on- and off-site training. Keep in mind that a good enough CRM software product that comes with full training module may be better than a highly technical CRM solution with scant training support. Also consider the option of requiring an on-site training (for a fee, of course) for your line managers, who will be the key to the success of your CRM integration.
Spend time to make a background check on the vendor. Preferably, the vendor should have an extensive experience with the call center industry. As such, it should know the common systems and practices used in the industry, and it should have a solution to integrate these specific needs to the CRM software.
Likewise, check for the basics. How many years has it been in the industry? The older vendor may not necessarily mean better; at least you know it’s not a fly-by-night business. Also ask for referrals on other users. A vendor that cannot give you this simple request may be hiding something.
Whether it’s cloud hosted (also called web based or online) or on-premise the CRM software should be set up in days not weeks. Each delay costs money and, worse, makes your operation more vulnerable to muddling customer communication. Likewise, make sure the deployment will not interfere with daily operations.
Adopting a CRM program starts with understanding your unique business needs. Thereafter you can select the right CRM software for your call center operation and merit its benefits to increase productivity and grow your business.
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