The Evolution of Contact Center Software
Since its humble beginnings, the contact center has served the same vital purpose: being a centralized space for sending and receiving volumes of phone requests. Although the purpose of the contact center has remained untouched, that doesn’t mean the software behind it has. Quite the opposite, in fact: Contact center technology has become unbelievably sophisticated over the years, introducing its leaders to a wide array of spectacular solutions for accelerating business and seeing a more positive bottom line.
To further prove this point, let’s take a look at some contact center software from yesteryear, as well as contact center technology that has surfaced more recently.
Oldies but Goodies
- Automatic call distributor (ACD): An ACD—one of the most basic contact center features—is found within computer telephony integration (CTI). The software’s main function is allocating incoming calls to a specific group of terminals, and it has been doing so since the 1960s.
- Interactive voice response (IVR): Similarly, IVR and speech recognition technology are well-known for helping customers navigate through phone menus and more.
- Call recording: Call recording software is older but quickly advancing, especially as mobility becomes cemented into the modern workforce.
Advanced Contact Center Software
CTI screen pops: CTI screen pops are windows of dialogue that automatically appear on agents’ desktops, which display pertinent customer information. So, for example, the CTI system could derive information that a customer entered via the company’s IVR and display it to the agent in the pop-up. Better yet, that same information can also be sent to the agent’s telephone. Screen popping came to fruition within the last few years, and many have touted it as the new staple in call center software.
Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM software has been around for what feels like an eternity; however, it’s one of the most rapidly advancing solutions for the contact center – specifically due to the era of the “social customer”—individuals who use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for customer service. The growth rate of CRM hasn’t slowed; in fact, the CRM market grew 12.5 percent in 2012 – the same percentage it grew within the two years from 2006 to 2008.
Multichannel software: Multichannel software serves as the pinnacle of 21st century contact center software. With the advent and rise of social media came the need for software boasting powerful multimedia capabilities. But multi-channel means more than just social media. It also means the seamless integration of and navigating through multiple mediums and communication channels, including digital, social and mobile.
Contact center technology has certainly changed from the days of archaic in-house equipment, evolving into a truly integral part of any organization. Virtually every organization can benefit from the continuous maturation of contact center technology—from the small, “full-fledged” contact center to the enterprise facility with employees in the tens of thousands. Each of the above features and functionalities will help aid your contact center in its pursuit of ultimate service success. At the end of the day, that’s most important feature of all.