Software that can benefit customers, employees, and businesses, sounds a little too good to be true, but that's exactly what modern customer service management software is capable of. Companies are fighting battles to win and keep customers based on the experiences they provide, and using the right software in their contact centers could give them the competitive edge needed to win.
If you visited ten random contact centers, you would probably find a large variety of customer service management systems. Those organizations that have modernized are likely using cloud-based solutions that are tightly integrated and infused with artificial intelligence (AI). You would also find some call centers with outdated, on-premises systems that don't provide much flexibility and can take too much effort to support.
Guess which type of customer service management software makes everyone a winner?
In order to fare well in the Experience Economy, organizations need contact center solutions that create optimal experiences for both customers and employees. When you take care of both groups of people, the business results will follow.
What is customer service management software and what are its capabilities?
Customer service management software, also known as contact center or call center software, enables organizations to manage customer interactions and call center operations. It typically consists of a suite of specialized applications that automate functions such as routing and volume forecasting. Good software also allows businesses to assess performance through reporting and analytics tools.
Customer service management software has evolved significantly over time as software vendors have incorporated leading technology to create innovative functionality. While early versions of customer service systems mainly focused on getting calls to the next available agents, today's solutions have features that creatively optimize CX, engage agents, and add efficiency and accuracy to operational processes.
Below are some of the capabilities that enable modern customer service management software to transform contact centers and make everyone winners.
Automatic contact distributors (ACDs) are one of the oldest customer service management applications and foundational to contact center operations. Early versions of ACDs routed calls simplistically, according to time-based rules. This approach didn't always match a customer to the most qualified agent. Today's ACDs are capable of much more sophisticated routing, matching customers to agents based on factors like personality and agent skills. Additionally, modern ACDs don't just route inbound calls; they can also route digital interactions and outbound calls. This makes some ACDs capable of facilitating omnichannel experiences.
More accurate forecasting and scheduling
In your fictional tour of those ten contact centers, you would probably come across at least a couple that use spreadsheets for forecasting and scheduling. While spreadsheets may be fine for small, simple call centers, when operations grow or add complexity by supporting additional channels, they should consider implementing workforce management (WFM) software. WFM applications add efficiency and accuracy to forecasting, agent scheduling, and intraday management, which enables contact centers to provide better CX and more effectively manage labor costs.
Efficient quality assurance
Quality assurance is, of course, a critical process that supports a contact center's CX and agent development goals. Today's customer service management software supports QA efforts with call recording abilities that capture audio and agents' screens; make it easy to pull samples and find specific calls; and support compliance requirements. Additionally, the best quality management modules support multiple channels, allow end-users to customize scorecards, and empower agents to dispute QA scores.
Voice and digital channels
In today's digital world, businesses need to support digital channels like email, chat, and social media in addition to traditional inbound voice. The best customer service solutions include multiple, integrated channels that streamline agent processes and enable omnichannel experiences. Having these channel capabilities within one system reduces complexity and improves agent and customer experience.
Not only do consumers want to be able to choose among voice and digital channels, but many times they just want to solve their own problems. Industry-leading customer service management software helps organizations meet these expectations with interactive voice response (IVR) systems that have self-service features. Additionally, their chat applications may integrate easily with AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to give customers digital self-service experiences.
Contact centers are fast-paced and data-intensive environments, which means leaders need accurate, real-time information in order to make timely decisions. Modern customer service management software includes reporting tools with a multitude of out-of-the-box reports. These tools make it easy for end-users to also create their own reports, and exporting or importing data feeds is simple and straightforward.
These are common capabilities of modern customer service solutions. Some software packages may include additional applications like outbound dialers and customer survey tools. There are benefits to implementing contact center systems that include a variety of applications and capabilities. Natively integrated software will work seamlessly together from the beginning of the implementation and throughout the system's life cycle.
Modern technology advances have improved customer service management software
Software vendors have been quick and creative about incorporating new technology into their software suites. Modern technology advances have improved CX, agent experience (AX), operational management, contact center flexibility, and software pricing. Many of the capabilities previously discussed have been enhanced by these advancements. Let's take a look at how innovation has improved customer service management software.
Modern customer service management software is in the cloud, which means hosted by a vendor in a contact center as a service (CCaaS) arrangement. A cloud platform provides organizations with agility because it makes it easy to scale up and down, add other applications within the suite, and integrate with other third-party systems. Because the vendor is responsible for the hardware and software, CCaaS allows contact centers to focus on their customers. Additionally, CCaaS typically has a more favorable pricing structure than premise-based software.
The right customer service management software can be great by itself, but it's even better when integrated with other systems. As mentioned, the best cloud-based customer service solutions enable easy integrations because they use open APIs. When customer service software is integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) applications, that enables smarter routing and provides agents with immediate context so they can personalize interactions. And integrations with back-office systems enable customers to self-serve transactions such as scheduling appointments and paying bills.
Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of consumers expect businesses to enable them to seamlessly move across channels within the same interaction, but consumers and businesses both agree that businesses still have a lot of work to do. The best customer service management software has capabilities that enable these omnichannel experiences through intelligent routing and by making sure agents have information from all channels so customers don't have to repeat their identities or their issues.
Artificial intelligence can now be found in many customer service applications. AI-infused WFM software produces more accurate forecasts and schedules. When ACDs leverage AI, they can route customers based on factors like personality and preferences. Interaction analytics can comb through 100% of interactions to determine customer sentiment, identify contact drivers, and provide a more comprehensive view of quality. And AI-powered chatbots and virtual agents can provide customers with satisfying self-service experiences 24/7.
How customers win with modern customer service management software
Today's customer service solutions are designed with the customer experience in mind. Here are a few ways this turns customers into winners.
Consumers in the digital age have been conditioned for channel choice. In a single day, a person might call her mom, email her client, text her kids, post something to her blog, and comment on her friend's Facebook post. This preference for choosing communication methods isn't just limited to consumers' personal lives. Our research revealed that 90% of consumers say they are more willing to do business with a company that provides more ways to communicate. The right customer service management software supports both voice and digital channels, empowering customers to use the channel most convenient and appropriate for their situation.
Fast, accurate resolutions
When people contact customer service, they don't want to wait long to be connected to an agent, and they want the agent to accurately resolve their issues during that first interaction. Smart WFM software that produces accurate forecasts and agent schedules can help ensure queues are adequately staffed so customers don't have to wait long. And tools like modern ACDs and quality management software ensure customers are routed to agents who have been trained and coached to handle their specific issues.
Real-world example: See how Signify was able to improve same-day resolution rates by 13% with CXone, an industry-leading customer service management software solution.
Satisfying, personalized CX
In addition to speed and accuracy, many people want an experience that shows the organization values their business. This is why so many businesses are focusing on personalization that uses customer information and history to create unique, satisfying experiences. This is possible in the contact center when the customer service solution is integrated with the CRM system to provide agents quick access to customer data. Additionally, smart routing that considers customer personality and preferences will ensure customers are matched to agents they're more likely to make a personal connection with.
How agents win with modern customer service management software
Modern contact center technology can also improve the experience for customer service agents. Read on to learn how.
Job success and personal development
Many of the capabilities we've discussed can make agents more effective at helping customers. For example, accurate forecasts that lead to adequate staffing ensures agents can take the time needed to help every customer with their specific issue. And smart routing means agents will only get interactions they're qualified to handle. Additionally, good quality management software can facilitate better and more timely agent coaching, which can be professionally satisfying and make agents better at their jobs.
Better connections with customers
If you were an agent, would you just want to robotically process transactions all day? Or would you want to have enjoyable conversations with the people you're helping? The second option makes for a more satisfying workday. When agents have access to customer history, they can connect with customers on a deeper level. Statements like, "Hey, I see you recently bought my favorite pair of socks. How do you like them?" become possible. Additionally, the AI-infused routing that leads to better CX works both ways - it can also improve the agent experience.
Higher engagement and satisfaction
Improved AX can lead to higher agent satisfaction and engagement, which should increase retention. When an employee is engaged, he's committed to the organization's goals and willing to put in extra effort to help his employer achieve them. These days, younger employees especially place a high priority on organizational goals and values. Businesses that invest in CX and AX by implementing modern customer service management software are demonstrating to their employees that they're genuinely committed to their values. When the organization shows this level of commitment, employees feel better about working there and become more engaged.
Real-world example: Learn how Australian media company Nine increased employee engagement by 8% and reduced agent attrition by 55% with CXone.
How businesses win with modern customer service management software
The benefits of improved CX and AX translate into business benefits. Additionally, a cloud platform offers some additional perks. Let's discuss what businesses stand to gain by using industry-leading contact center solutions.
A cloud platform provides businesses with the flexibility to weather unexpected disruptions. For example, cloud customer service software is uniquely suited to support a remote agent model, which proved to be a lifesaver to many contact centers at the beginning of the 2020 lockdowns. Additionally, because other software applications and channels within the suite are easy to add, businesses can quickly add non-real-time channels, like email, to take pressure off busy phone and chat queues. The ability to quickly scale up is also important for when a crisis drives up volume. Finally, the best solutions include intuitive design studios so end-users can quickly change upfront IVR messages or ACD routing rules.
Real-world example: Learn how CXone enabled Trupanion to transition 900 employees to work from home in less than 72 hours.
When a business is able to consistently deliver great CX, it will improve customer loyalty and turn more customers into Promoters. Promoters are more likely to refer friends and colleagues to a brand, which increases revenue from new customers that didn't cost anything to acquire. Additionally, loyal Promoters tend to purchase more and are less sensitive to cost. And loyal customers have longer relationships with brands, which increases their lifetime value.
Customer service management software that includes modern WFM tools enables contact centers to better manage agent labor costs through optimized forecasts and schedules. Additionally, solutions with effective self-service capabilities allow organizations to reduce costs by empowering customers to solve more of their own problems. And when software is in the cloud, businesses have less technical infrastructure to support and don’t have to purchase inflexible software licenses.
Thinking about upgrading to modern customer service management software?
If your legacy contact center technology is preventing you from hitting your business goals, it's probably time for an upgrade. As you can see, the potential benefits are substantial.
NICE CXone is the market-leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences.