Despite major improvements in other realms of customer service, many companies are using outdated technology and methods for providing customer service over the phone. Other channels, such as social media and email, are often integrated into a single ticketing system, creating a unified, streamlined customer experience. But too many call centers operate on siloed software, detached from other service channels, creating a disjointed and often frustrating experience for customers and agents.
Integrating a ticketing system with call center software—simply a “nice to have” in the past—is now essential for today’s call centers. It can provide the following six benefits:
1. Reduce call volume
Call queuing is one of the most effective ways a ticketing system can reduce your call volume. This feature generally involves placing incoming calls into a queue until an agent can take it. Call queuing is common to all call centers, but good queuing software also prioritizes the calls and provides callers with an accurate estimate of the time they’ll be in the queue.
Automatic call distribution (ACD) reduces call volume by routing calls to specific agents based on predetermined instructions, department, tier level, and agent skill set. This process generally involves answering a series of questions, which the ticket system uses to generate a routing algorithm. ACD can also identify idle agents and increase their routing priority accordingly.
An advanced ticket system may be capable of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), which connects the software to the telephone system. This feature provides agents with the caller’s account information before they take the call, including notes from previous calls. CTI can significantly reduce the average call duration since agents don’t need to spend time retrieving account information.
2. Handle call volume changes
A call center’s call volume can vary dramatically due to factors such as the time of day, number of agents in the call center, and the number of campaigns that the call center handles. An environment in which all agents are always busy generates the most revenue in the short term, but it doesn’t allow time for activities that provide long-term benefits such as training.
A ticketing system can allow you to effectively plan for downtime activities at a time when call volume is likely to be lower. These activities may include basic training for new agents and corrective action for experienced agents. Well-trained agents are vital for customer satisfaction and are better able to assume leadership roles in the call center.
3. Automate customer requests
A call center must provide current and prospective customers with a rewarding experience, which primarily involves answering their questions quickly and accurately. A ticketing system can automate many simple customer questions, which can eliminate the need for them to speak to a live agent. This capability can provide you with a competitive advantage, especially in industries that traditionally have poor customer service.
An advanced ticketing system should include call routing that allows callers to enter the reason for their call intto the system. This feature routes the caller to the most appropriate agent, or self-service options, reducing wait times. This helps you better provide callers with information in real time, which is an expectation for many customers today. Furthermore, it can help smooth the transition between the automated system and live agents by eliminating the need for the customer to provide information more than once.
3. Deliver seamless cross-channel support
Today’s customers communicate with companies over a range of channels including email, chat, self-service, and even SMS, and they expect a seamless experience across these channels. When customers call companies, they expect agents to know who they are, why they are calling, and that they emailed about the same issue a day before.
A ticketing system makes it easy to improve the customer experience, delivering seamless, consistent support across support channels. You can answer a phone call with “are you calling about the email you sent this morning?” You can respond to a chat with “would it be easier to talk it out over the phone?”
4. Improve scheduling
Optimal scheduling is one of the greatest challenges for today’s call centers. This task can be accomplished manually with a small number of agents, typically no more than ten. However, software quickly becomes necessary for scheduling as the number of agents in the call center increases above this number. The primary reason that scheduling is complex is because it depends on so many factors, including expected call volume, key performance indicators (KPIs), requested shifts, and training sessions.
A ticketing system can provide call center managers with the information they need to develop schedules within budget. This information includes the login and logout time of each shift, and when each agent will take a break.
5. Increase employee efficiency
Many call centers use a ticketing system’s reporting capability to increase employee efficiency. This process involves generating reports on each agent’s strengths and weaknesses, so call managers can help them allocate their work time more efficiently. Furthermore, it can shorten the learning curve of new agents by identifying areas where they require additional training based on the agent’s KPIs.
Integrated phone support also boosts agent productivity. Time-saving tools like automatic ticket creation and customer profile screen-pops allow agents to focus on helping customers quickly, not on searching for information or navigating multiple systems.
6. Obtain reporting and analytics metrics across channels
Call data is essential for effectively managing a call center. All call center software provides collective information such as traffic and call volume, but managers also need to understand how call data fits into multichannel operations. A multichannel ticketing system can help managers not only understand how to improve their phone support operations specifically, but can understand how it fits into a multichannel support strategy with centralized reporting.
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP and GetCRM trusted VoIP and CRM comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs.