VoIP call centers have evolved from an infancy of simple interactive voice response units to complex communications platforms that enable customers to communicate with customer service through a variety of devices and networks. These days, VoIP call center platforms are using social media as a solution to better interact with clients via voice, IM, chat, or social networking.
New social-media features and functions are being added by makers of the platforms in order to draw on social networking benefits and to support the move toward mobile devices in the call center. Some companies are increasingly looking at VoIP call centers as revenue-generating profit centers and not only as customer-support tools.
A report called "VoIP Call Centers Adapt to a BYOD World" from Heavy Reading IP Services Insider, a subscription research service of research firm Heavy Reading, analyzed several companies including Aastra Technologies, Avaya, Enghouse Interactive, Interactive Intelligence, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, M5 Networks, VisionOSS, and Voxeo (News - Alert) Corp.
VoIP call centers have evolved from an infancy of simple interactive voice response units to complex communications platforms that enable customers to communicate with customer service through a variety of devices and networks, noted Culver.
An IP-enabled contact center leverages VoIP technology to extend contact-center functionality to branch offices, satellite locations and agents anywhere, anytime.This real-time communications system converts voice traffic into digital packets that travel over networks via Internet protocol.
Key Features of an IP-Enabled Contact Center
Some important features of an IP-enabled contact center include:
Screen pops to expedite caller inquiries
Advanced routing based on customer-database information
Call transfers among geographically scattered sites
Skill-based routing, so that callers speak with those agents best qualified to address their needs
A console for centrally managing multiple locations and agents
Adaptable call handling to customize call routing and treatment
Real-time displays of call-center activity to chart performance and respond quickly to changes
Customizable reports chronicling call history and forecasting staffing needs
Configurable telephony user interface
Unified business-VoIP messaging tools
What to Consider When Deploying an IP-Enabled Contact Center
Unfortunately, sharing IP contact-center technology resources across multiple locations can give rise to security concerns. Whether issues revolve around communication between business units or the ubiquitous threat of network intruders, securing an IP-enabled contact center calls for important security measures. Companies need to safeguard against DoS (denial-of-service) attacks, unauthorized access to the VoIP network, computer viruses, identity theft and eavesdropping.
VoIP isn't just for making cheaper calls. It's a well known fact in the communications space that VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol, comes with its many benefits, including a host of features and yes, a cheaper bill at the end of the month. In call center management, VoIP has an integral role when it comes to what call center managers rely on for quality control, and that is call recording.
Monet Software recently highlighted VoIP call recording and its role in call center management. According to the call center management solutions provider, it can get pretty technical when breaking down VoIP call recording, but knowing how it works is essential to proper call center management.
With VoIP call recording, there are three different kinds: trunk side, station side and random sampling. Knowing what to pick depends on what you need it for when it comes to call center management. For example, a call center manager would choose random sampling if he or she had 300 agents to monitor, and from there a schedule can be created to record a certain amount of agents per month. With trunk side recording, calls can be recorded without investing in a record channel for each phone. Station side is a little bit trickier, as it requires the ability of the recorder to interface to the existing digital phones.
VoIP has always been a good choice for businesses who have a lot going on with their communications. Whether it's a single building, or connecting multiple locations, VoIP can come as integrated as necessary, all depending on call center management needs.
Call center software has come a long way. Once upon a time, it did very little. It allowed you to keep track of your agents' schedules, it let you know how big your queues were, and it let you know weeks after the fact where you went wrong.
Today, you can find call center software that does a little bit of everything. Sometimes, a little bit too much of everything, resulting in a confusing, patchwork of functionality that you neither need nor want. It litters up your agents desktops, it adds complexity to your training process that keeps your agents permanently confused, and it gives your IT department a migraine headache. In the confusion, it's easy to lose track of the types of call center software you really need so you can help pare out the rest.
Customer communications tracking. When your customers call, you need to know who they are. You need to know who they've been to your company in the past, and you need a heads-up on why they are probably calling. The critical point is that this tracking solution must be fully multimedia, and allow you to track everything from phone calls to social media posts.
Ideally, a call center solution may be able to offer all of these features in the same package, be easy to use, easy to interpret, and easy to deliver to agents' desktops. Today's call center software solutions have come a long way from days past, and multiple delivery options mean that you can often configure your call center software solution to meet your needs precisely.
How to Set Up a VoIP Contact Center
ince VoIP contact centers can cut a business's operating costs and increase sales, it’s no wonder that they are cropping up everywhere. For starters, an IP-enabled contact center lets a company set up shop anywhere in the world at record speed — and without costly infrastructure investments. What’s more, an IP infrastructure allows for remote, at-home agents, which can enhance customer service while slashing overhead costs. And by converging voice and data traffic, a company can reduce operating expenses and simplify call-center-management processes.
Establish Security Measures
Security is a factor that companies simply cannot afford to overlook when establishing a VoIP-supported contact center. In fact, according to McAfee Inc., VoIP attacks are expected to increase by 50 percent in 2008. And more than twice the number of VoIP-related vulnerabilities were reported in 2007 as opposed to 2006. For this reason, a company needs to establish best practices for its agents, as well as measures for its IT managers that cover everything from encryption and authentication procedures to the handling of privacy breaches and DoS (denial-of-service) attacks.
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