As consumer expectations for service rise, call center agents are arming themselves with tools that can help them better meet the needs of their customers. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is the tool of choice for most call center agents in their battle to win the hearts of their customers.
What is CTI?
CTI is a technology that allows computer systems to interact with telephones and other forms of communication (i.e., email, text messaging, web messaging, live chat, fax, etc.). Most progressive call centers leverage call center software with CTI functionality. It has helped these call centers gain a competitive edge in their industry as it enables them to take a more data-driven approach to interacting with their callers.
Below are some of the benefits of Computer Telephony Integration in the call center:
Agents can make and receive calls directly from their computer
With CTI, no phones are necessary. Call center agents can make and receive calls from their computer with just a click of a mouse. Additionally, with call control in the browser (i.e., answer, hang up, transfer, hold, mute, etc.), call center agents never have to go back and forth between their call center software and desk phone when handling calls. They have advanced call control functionality right where it should be — alongside the information that is fueling their conversation with the caller.
Agents know exactly who is calling before they answer the phone
With automated screen pop, call center agents can view detailed information about the caller (i.e., their name, image, phone number, dialed number, email, company, position within the company, etc.) automatically in their computer screen as they are being routed the call. This will allow them to greet the caller professionally by their name and have all of their relevant information ready to go when they speak with the caller. This significantly reduces handle time as agents don’t have to dig through multiple databases and business tools to find the caller’s information.
Automatic authentication of the caller
CTI helps to authenticate the caller by comparing the phone number they called from to information in the company’s database and integrated business tools. This saves a significant amount of time and eliminates one of the biggest pet peeves of customers today – having to repeat their personal information and account information over and over again so the agent can pull up their account.
The integration of relevant caller information into a unified dashboard
CTI allows for the integration of call logs (i.e., call history, call recordings, call transcripts, call metrics) and other relevant caller data (i.e., personal information, support tickets, cases, events, chat transcripts, emails, purchase history, order fulfillment statuses, billing, reservations, etc.) from integrated business tools in one unified dashboard. This allows agents to be more efficient when handling calls and provide more personalized service to the customer.
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More efficient routing of calls
Incoming calls can be routed to the agent who is most qualified to meet the caller’s needs based on:
- The IVR selections of the caller
- Where the caller works or lives
- The demographics of the caller
- The caller’s previous interactions with the company
- The agent’s skill, expertise, and specializations
- The geographic region from which the agent fields calls
- The agent’s language
- Agent availability
- Time of day and day of the week
- Any other construct that is meaningful to the company
Routing of calls based on comprehensive information about the caller, agent and team is essential to ensuring that company meets and exceeds the expectations of their customers. Not only will the caller be more satisfied with the service as they are matched with an agent who speaks their language and knows everything about the product they called in about, but call center KPIs (i.e., first contact resolution, handle time, etc.) are optimized as well. This is huge for the customer and the call center.
Better collaboration for better service
CTI is at the heart of the following call center software functions that facilitate collaboration within the call center:
- Video and voice call conferencing
- Whisper coaching
- Call barging
- Warm transfer
Agents who have access to these tools are more likely to solicit help when needed, thus increasing interdepartmental collaboration. They can add a manager or colleague to the call to help resolve difficult issues rather than having to transfer the call. When transferring the call is necessary, they can prep the agent about the caller’s issue before transferring the call. With CTI and real-time data updates, the next agent will already have the caller’s information in their computer screen before they take the call. This eliminates the headache associated with the caller having to repeat the same information every time they are transferred. These tools enhance agent capability, facilitate collaboration and reduce customer frustration.
More effective monitoring of agent, department and call center performance
CTI allows for call monitoring, call recording and real-time and historical reporting so call center managers can gain a comprehensive understanding of the performance of their team and make data-driven decisions accordingly. When managers are armed with this data they make more informed decisions and cultivate a more effective workforce of call center agents. This trickles down to the customers and translates into higher customer satisfaction ratings.
Gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage in your industry is never easy. Leverage cloud call center software with CTI technology to take a step in the right direction. Your agents, company and customers will benefit as a result.