The contact center is a vitally important part of any business' customer experience. It’ll usually be the first port of call for consumers, and the expectations of these people are changing rapidly.
In today's environment, customers will have little patience for having to wait on hold, navigate complex menu systems or being passed around between agents in order to get the answers they need.
Those that have a poor experience will often take their business elsewhere, and tell others about it. But on the other hand, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a strong customer experience, so the rewards for getting this right can be significant.
Therefore, ensuring your contact center is able to meet the growing demands of today's consumers is essential. And one of the key ways in which businesses are doing this is by adopting VoIP communications services, taking advantage of the range of additional features and benefits this provides.
VoIP uses broadband data connections to make and receive phone calls rather than traditional analog lines, and offers a wide range of opportunities for businesses. In 2010, there were around 6.2 million VoIP business lines in the US. However, by 2018, this had jumped to 41.6 million. This means nearly a third of all businesses (31%) now use VoIP in some form.
While it can be used to benefit all aspects of a business' communications, it has proven to be especially useful for contact centers. Here are a few of the benefits you can gain by adopting VoIP technology.
1. More features
A key advantage of VoIP is the range of call handling features it can offer, and the ease with which these can be customized to a firm's own needs. For example, technologies such as interactive voice response, intelligent call routing and caller recognition are all highly useful for contact center deployments, as they can help ensure users are directed to the right people more quickly and agents have the correct information on hand.
2. Improved flexibility
Smart call handling can also offer greater mobility for businesses. For instance, it can allow you to redirect calls to other devices such as mobiles or laptops. This means your agents don't have to be tied to a specific desk, allowing them to hotdesk, be reachable on the move or better support home working - a benefit that's become especially relevant for many firms in 2020.
3. Reduced wait times
The call handling features offered by VoIP can also help firms cut down on wait times, which are one of the biggest bugbears for many consumers - with around one in three people hanging up if their call isn't answered quickly. While smart call queuing and routing ensures people are directed to available agents, VoIP can also make it much easier to implement callback features, which the majority of customers prefer to queuing.
4. Better reliability
A concern for some firms may be, with their contact center dependent on their broadband connection, that if their internet goes down, so will their phone lines. However, VoIP actually offers a highly dependable connection provided you have the right infrastructure, while it can also help you out in other ways. For example, if your primary location suffers an outage or a weather event, you can easily reroute calls elsewhere to keep up and running.
5. Improved reporting
VoIP tools typically come with a wide range of monitoring and reporting tools that you can use to improve your overall performance. For instance, analytics services can show you average wait times and call lengths, how many calls are abandoned before being answered and how many customers are calling repeatedly about the same issues. This can give you insight into who your best performers are, where there’s a need for more training, and where any problems are arising.
6. More communication options
VoIP also allows you to more smoothly integrate your phone systems into a wider omnichannel contact center, meeting consumer demand for more options when they want to get in touch with a business. For instance, it can allow you to offer video calls and instant messaging services as part of the same platform, providing a consistently easy-to-use experience across multiple channels.
7. Lower costs
Contact centers aren't just about receiving inbound calls. If you want to offer features like callbacks, follow up calls or engage in outbound marketing, VoIP can offer a much more cost-effective solution for this. There are no extra charges or geographical restrictions, while many services offer a much simpler subscription pricing plan than traditional services.