Contact Centre Technology Guide
Finding the right Contact Centre Technology solution has never been more critical as more and more solutions flood the market and customer demands continue to increase.
But finding the right contact centre technology solution has also never been more challenging!
That’s why we’ve produced this free vendor-agnostic contact centre technology guide to help you learn more about the different options available.
There are literally hundreds of contact centre solutions companies offering different channels, integrations, support models, delivery models and more making it difficult to navigate the right way forward for your business.
With remote working now a permanent solution for many contact centres, there has been a fundamental shift in the contact centre technology landscape with cloud solutions offering a range of benefits from easier scalability, quicker setup, remote work, minimal capital investment and greater control over the solution so it’s no surprise there’s been quick uptake of cloud/hosted solutions.
But on-premise solutions aren’t dead just yet either! An on-site solution is still the norm for many large centres offering high security, higher control and a host of other benefits.
Integration is also becoming a critical factor for many businesses with Computer Telephony Integration, aka CTI (where the computer is linked to your computer system/CRM), enabling increased efficiencies and better customer experiences.
For example, your contact centre technology solution can identify the number that is calling, and then route that customer to a specific queue (or agent) and pop up the previous order before they’ve even said hello!
So whether you need a completely new technology platform, an upgrade to the latest contact centre technology, or a stand-alone solution to increase your capabilities and efficiencies, we’re here to help!
CX Connect is a free industry service provided by the Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA) that helps you define your requirements, and then connect you to trusted suppliers who are best matched to save time, money and stress!
Types of Contact Centre Technology
There is a constantly increasing list of call centre technology components so knowing what is best for your business can often require some educated fortune-telling on what is coming up in the future.
But there are certainly some key contact centre technology components that you should be considering for your contact centre.
In our free Contact Centre Technology guide, you can learn more about the various contact centre technology solutions below – just scroll through them all or jump straight to a section:
Shortcuts to the Different Types of Contact Centre Technology:
Cloud Contact Centre Technology
What is cloud contact centre technology?
Cloud contact centre technology is an internet-hosted (i.e in the cloud) solution where all inbound and outbound customer communication is processed often via multiple channels including voice, email, SMS and live chat.
It usually includes core contact centre functions that enable you to manage an efficient operation including call routing, reporting, IVR, outbound dialler and more. It’s appealing for many businesses as it does not require an investment in expensive hardware, software and infrastructure.
Benefits of Cloud Contact Centre Technology
Why are so many businesses moving towards a hosted and cloud contact centre technology solution?
It’s almost a question of why wouldn’t they!
Some of the key benefits of a cloud contact centre solution include:
1. Cost Savings
There is no expensive equipment to purchase upfront, you won’t need an IT department to administer it and there is typically a low cost per month per agent.
Some models also do away with the monthly fee and just charge a consumption model rate.
Most commercial models work on a per agent per month model that can be scaled up and down to align with your business.
You can literally add a new user in a minute and during the quieter times for your business, simply ‘turn off’ agent licences to avoid unnecessary costs.
As all you need is an internet connection and an IP Phone (you can also use your mobile phone with a dedicated App) you can essentially be connected to your call centre anywhere in the world.
Want to run home-agents? No problems.
A hosted cloud contact centre solution is available 24/7 to agents anywhere with a phone and internet access.
With hosted and cloud contact centre technology you have access to all the ‘standard’ call centre functions like an IVR (press one for this, two for that), call recording, Skilled Based Routing and so on to complete multi-channel and omnichannel solutions as well as Outbound Diallers, Speech Analytics and more.
Modern cloud contact centre platforms have high redundancy and continuity as well as inbuilt disaster recovery and even PCI DSS payment facilities.
As well as providing you with all your contact centre functionality, cloud contact centre technology can easily integrate with your CRM or ERP systems providing a single view of the customer etc
Types of Cloud Contact Centre Technology
The main decision you need to make is whether you want as minimal IT involvement as possible or if you have the internal resources (e.g. an IT department) to manage some or all of the components for you.
For smaller businesses, the easiest way to access hosted and cloud contact centre technology is to use a provider that essentially takes care of everything you.
They will supply the software, SIP trunks etc as well as help you set it all up, provide training for staff etc.
For some larger call centres, they may want to host their SIP trunks themselves and use a vendor to just provide the software.
Selecting the right cloud contact centre technology partner
The reality is there are hundreds of suppliers that provide cloud contact centre technology and making the wrong choice can be costly for your business.
Some specialise in larger centres, some smaller centres, some are better at outbound, some are easier to scale, some are better suited to different industry sectors and so on.
Don’t leave it to chance – use our contact centre technology wizard and it will help guide you through articulating your requirements making it easier to find the best-fit supplier for your business.
Contact Centre Dialler
Call Centre dialler technology takes away the manual work of agents entering a phone number to call a customer. If your employees are only making a few calls, then a dialler is not going to make any difference at all.
But if you are looking to increase efficiency for employees making large numbers of outbound calls such as in telemarketing, outbound sales, appointment setting/lead generation etc then a dialler is practically an essential tool!
We won’t go too deep into it here but essentially there are 4 modes of a Call Centre Dialler and you need at least 10 employees to get the value out of purchasing a call centre dialler.
Types of Call Centre Dialler Modes
The agent can see the details for the next customers on the screen, but has to manually choose to make the call. Typically used where a bit of research may be required before making the call.
The system will dial the next number as soon as the agent has completed the previous call.
The system analyses the number of agents and average call times and essentially dials ahead to maximise productivity given agents very little rest (albeit you can tweak the settings). As one of the most used, learn more about a Predictive Dialler.
The system dials a whole heap of numbers and once it detects a human voice it plays a pre-recorded message. Often used for large-scale surveys or in elections to get the “message out there”.
Skills Based Routing
What is Skills-Based Routing in a call centre?
Skills Based routing is the contact centre technology solution that enables you to direct calls to the most appropriately skilled or experienced call centre agent.
There really are many benefits to using Skills-Based Routing in your contact centre.
In its simplest form, you can use skills-based routing technology to split key functions in your contact centre like sales and service. But you can also use it to separate calls by product groups, easy and hard calls and so on.
Advanced Skill-Based Routing examples in a call centre
Towards the more advanced Skill-Based Based Routing you can route calls based on:
- Directing callers to the highest-ranked agent. – By ranking the quality of each agent in your centre you can route calls to the highest-ranked available agent to ensure your customers receive the best possible service.
- You can also use the same principle to direct the easier types of calls to your newer agents.
- Matching a customer profile to an agent profile to drive better performance. In a sales environment, you could match an elderly customer with one of your more senior agents as opposed to connecting a pensioner to a 20-year-old student. This can improve customer satisfaction and in a sales environment, improve sales conversion rates.
- Connecting customers to the last agent they spoke to.
Knowledge Management Systems (for Contact Centres)
What is Knowledge Management Technology for call centres?
Don’t be fooled – a Knowledge Management solution (also known as Knowledge Management System or KMS) is not Sharepoint, an Excel spreadsheet or some sticky notes on a computer screen!
Knowledge Management technology that is used in a contact centre is purpose-built software that can transform your contact centre and the broader business (it’s often used outside of the contact centre in admin, retail, marketing etc to enable a single source of truth for your business).
In short, a KMS provides the right answers to customer questions and the right time, instantly enabling a much better customer experience and a whole host of business benefits including:
- 25% reduction in Average Handle Time
- 50% reduction in induction periods
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Improved employee satisfaction
There are a number of different providers of Knowledge Management solutions so to make it easy to find the right solution for your business use our contact centre technology wizard >
What is CTI for call centres?
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is the magic that connects your phone system to your computer/CRM system. Enabling them to ‘talk’ to each other enables a whole heap of benefits that can increase efficiency and improve the customer experience. For example:
- When a customer calls, if their phone number is already recorded in your system, you can screen pop information about the customer including their name, address, previous order/complaint etc enabling a much more personalised greeting.
- You can also route your VIP customers to different queues (or to the top of the queue) or even to the same agent they spoke to last time. Now that’s VIP service!
It’s a critical piece of technology in your contact centre that you can’t afford to get wrong! And it’s not just important to get it right now, it needs to cater for your future requirements as well.
Intelligent Call Back
What is the technology that calls you back in the call centre?
Good question! If you’ve ever rung a contact centre and they’ve offered you the ability to hang up and retain your position in the queue, then that’s Intelligent Callback (although it does go by a few different names!).
There are lots of benefits to offering this technology to your customers including:
- It’s popular with customers
- It reduces abandoned calls
- It improves efficiencies
- Plus lots more!
A word of caution though, you still need to call the customers back! So it doesn’t actually reduce the load on your contact centre agents, but it does make it a better experience for your customers.
Intelligent Call Back is often included as part of your core platform so make sure you are clear on your requirements when completing the contact centre technology wizard and we’ll recommend the best platform(s) that can meet your requirements.
Contact Centre Chatbots for customer service and sales
Whilst they haven’t had the greatest start with many companies totally butchering the experience, there is no doubt chatbots are here to stay. In fact, Gartner recently predicted that chatbots will become the primary customer service channel for approx 25% of all organisations by 2027.
Modern contact centre technology solutions can incorporate chatbot functionality enabling you to automate conversations and then direct the chat to a live agent at the customer’s request or if the chatbot gets a little bit out of its depth.
Before you get too excited, there are chatbots and then there are chatbots!
Virtual Assistant, Intelligent Assistant, Bot, AI Chatbot, Conversational AI and so on – there is no shortage of names and to be fair, there are often significant differences between them.
What is clear though is that any customer contact technology solution needs to consider having chatbots as part of the mix either now, or with easy integration in the future.
Speech Analytics for Contact Centres
Speech Analytics software for Contact Centres
Speech Analytics/Speech Recognition software is a powerful new solution to the contact centre technology solution kit enabling a business to analyse voice recordings (or live customer calls) for quality assurance purposes or to easily identify trends and patterns across millions of call centre calls.
Want to know how many times someone said ‘I want a refund’ or ‘I want to cancel’?
The Speech Analytics software can simply present all the calls containing that word or phrases instantly on your dashboard.
It can even queue up the call at the exact point the word or phrase is used saving you time listening to the whole call.
And even more than that, it can detect emotional change – for example, a call that started ‘happy’ and ended up ‘frustrated’.
We are just starting to scratch the surface of just how powerful Speech Analytics really is so if you want to get the most out of your contact centre, make sure you include it in your requirements on the contact centre technology wizard >
How to choose the right Contact Centre Technology supplier
The contact centre technology guide above is just a fraction of the available contact centre technology solutions available today.
And even if you know exactly what you need, you then need to find the right supplier!
The easiest way to find the right suppliers is to complete our free online contact centre technology wizard. It’s designed to ensure you can capture all your requirements both with things you already know, and plenty that you may not have even thought of yet!
Completing the wizard then provides us with the information we need so we can recommend the best-fit suppliers saving you a lot of time, risk and money in trying to find the right contact centre technology supplier for your business.
What to consider when sourcing a technology solution for your contact centre:
There are lots of things to consider when looking for a contact centre technology partner including:
- The technology components you need – from an ‘all in one’ solution, systems you can add to as you grow through to stand-alone bespoke solutions.
- Scalability – do you need something that can easily scale up or down? Work from home, on-premise or both?
- What channels do you need to support – phone, emails, SMS, chatbots, live chat, video chat, social media and who knows what else is coming!
- Reliability – can you afford to have your system go down? If so for what period?
- Costs – there is a range of different commercial models available.
- Expertise – do you need a provider that can guide you and provide high levels of support or are you OK to go it on your own?
One thing is clear though – having the right contact centre technology solution is a critical decision for your business so take the time to complete the online wizard below to make sure you’ve captured all your requirements and you’ll be hearing from suitably matched suppliers in no time!