Posts Tagged ‘integration’

The Benefits of Computer Telephony Integration in the Call Center

Posted on: September 26th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Exceptional customer service is the backbone to any company, as it paves the way for significant business growth.

Considering the increasing demands of today’s customers, however, providing an exceptional customer experience is no small feat.

Luckily, rapidly advancing technology tools are here to help out. Computer telephony integration, in particular, is a technology that helps call center agents to win the battle for customers. Check out how below!

What is Computer Telephony Integration?

Computer Telephony Integration, or CTI, is a technology that allows computers to interact with telephony systems and forms of digital communication. A CTI system can handle both incoming and outgoing communications such as phone calls, SMS, email, fax and video chat, and route them to the appropriate person or device.

A Cost-Effective Solution

Call centers managers are always on the lookout for cheaper solutions for their call center. And a computer telephony integration system is one tool that allows call centers to help cut their expenses.

A CTI system doesn’t require a PBX and key system telephones, meaning that agents only need their computer in order to be able to work. By adopting a CTI system, you can forget about the costly purchasing, maintaining and replacing of physical hardware solutions.

CTI systems also support remote work: a VoIP system, for example, matches a session to every agent, so agents can use different computers remotely from home, allowing the call center to significantly reduce costs related to office space and IT infrastructure.

As such, computer telephony integration is not only more cost-effective but is also highly flexible, enabling call centers to easily scale up by hiring remote agents when it’s needed.

Improved Agent Productivity

A CTI system allows agents to take and receive calls on their computer with a single click, saving significant time in picking up phones. Agents can also leverage call control functions, including call answer, call hold, hang up call transfer and call mute on a single screen, without having to switch between applications and leave their desks while on the phone.

 Furthermore, good-quality CTI systems come with handy features that enable call centers to improve their productivity. The “interactive voice response” feature, for example, filters customers and route them to the most skilled agent, boosting first call resolution and customer experience. And features such as “click-to-call” allow agents to start a call without having to dial a number.

Last but not least, the fact that a lot of customer information is available even before a call begins (more on this below) means that call duration times can be reduced, as agents do not have to start calls with questions they already have the answers to.

Provides Valuable Customer Information

They say you need to know your customers in order to be able to provide them with outstanding customer experience. It’s no surprise, therefore, that collecting customer data is now crucial for any call center that strives to shine in the long run.

With computer telephony integration, agents can assess all customer information they have from a single platform, making customer interaction far more efficient.

Important customer information such as name, company and previous interactions or purchases can be made available to agents, allowing them to add personalization to customer interactions.

Furthermore, CTI not only helps make your agents’ jobs easier, but also makes your call center supervisors’ job easier as well, as it supports call monitoring, call recording and real-time statistics.

Amongst other things, supervisors can track agents’ performance and even use call monitoring to assist them in real-time if necessary.

Moving forward in our ever-competitive business environment is a major challenge. But if you leverage CTI technology, you’ll be able to take customer excellence in the call center a step further. 

VCC Live® Now Integrates With MS Outlook Calendar

Posted on: March 8th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard on a new feature that allows VCC Live® to integrate with MS Outlook Calendar. We’re delighted to announce that the new feature has been launched! 

Integration, integration, integration. It’s a major buzz word we hear all the time in the call center industry, and not without good reason.

In call centers, it is integrations that help keep your customer data consistent and up-to-date throughout all your systems. It is also integration that allows your agents to use one single platform during customer interactions, instead of switching from one system to another.

As a leading call center technology solution provider, integration is a vital part of our work here at VCC Live®: our solution already works with several systems, including CRM tools, Facebook Messenger and Google Calendar.

However, although VCC Live®’s system already works with Google Calendar, many companies also use MS Outlook Calendar to organize their work schedules and share events with co-workers. And so, a few months ago, we received a customer request from one of our German clients who wanted to also be able to integrate MS Outlook Calendar with our system.

And so now it can! How does it work? It’s simple. Using VCC Live®’s interface, when an operator schedules a meeting during a customer interaction, the meeting is automatically added to the operator’s calendar.

Similarly, operators can also schedule meetings, let’s say a customer meeting for the company’s sales representatives, on behalf of their co-workers, without having to switch from VCC Live®’s interface to Outlook Calendar. Furthermore, if an event is scheduled via Outlook Calendar, operators can see and check scheduled dates using VCC Live®’s interface.

Our mission here at VCC Live® is to continually provide our customers with a product that is custom developed to fit their needs. The introduction of this new MS Outlook Calendar feature is further proof of this mindset, which is one of the key reasons for VCC Live®’s worldwide success.

Why Your Call Center Needs an Integrated CRM System

Posted on: September 19th, 2018 by Roland Háry No Comments

Customer service departments have a bad reputation all over the world. The thought of contacting a company’s support team makes most customers roll their eyes in irritation.

But, with competition between businesses increasingly fierce, many of them already realized that one way they can stand out from the crowd is by providing exceptional customer service.

And in our ever-more connected world, where businesses need to rely on the latest technology solutions, one thing your call center can utilize in order to deliver exceptional customer service, is an integrated CRM system.

A CRM system allows your business to collect customer data, identify the most valuable customers over time, and even increase customer loyalty by providing personalized customer service.

But why is it essential for your call center to opt for an integrated CRM system, than just a simple CRM system? Read on and see for yourself!

The importance of using integrated systems in call centers

Most call centers use several technology solutions on a daily basis, and one of the biggest challenges they face is to integrate these systems, while keeping customer data consistent and up-to-date between the systems.

If your systems are not integrated, your agents, for example, will have no choice but to switch from one system to another during customer interactions. And it goes without saying that making your agents navigate among several systems will hurt both your team’s productivity and your customer experience.

Furthermore, it’s crucial for call centers to utilize data analytics in order to make good use of the tremendous amount of data they store and process on a daily basis. And with managing customer data manually no longer a realistic option, if your solutions are not capable of transferring data from one system to another, your employees will face a significant administrative burden, as they will be doubling the amount of data they deal with.

By integrating your solutions, however, you won’t need to worry about having to keep updating and transferring your data.

Establishing communication with API integration

Unfortunately, I still see that many companies focus on keeping data up-to-date in one system, while failing to do so in another. The consequence is inconsistent and outdated customer data, which typically results in customer complaints and frustrated employees overwhelmed with disorganized processes.

In order to ensure that agents have all the necessary information they need to make customers happy, you need an integrated CRM system that is able to communicate with your call center software.

If your systems are integrated, your customer data can be stored, processed, tracked and transferred automatically. As a result, your agents will be empowered to deliver an improved customer experience by accessing all the information they need using a single platform.

Of course, there are several methods possible for integrating your systems. Many companies choose to rely on third-party system integrators that develop an additional system, enabling integration between call center software and a CRM system.

However, having an additional system is not an ideal solution as it requires additional costs, time and resources. And as we all know, the more systems, the higher the risk of errors. There is a better way, though, to integrate your platforms without having to develop a third system. In fact, the best way to integrate your systems is by using API integration.  

An API (Application Programme Interface) is a tool that makes a website’s data digestible to a computer. With the help of an API, a computer can view and edit data, just like a person can, by loading pages. When call center software and a CRM system are able to communicate through an API, they are integrated.

Improve CX by using an integrated CRM system

By relying on API integration, you’ll discover new opportunities you never thought were possible. Amongst other things, you’ll be able to integrate your call center software with your Facebook or Google applications, and thus provide a unified customer service on multiple channels (If you’re wondering why your software should be integrated with your social media channels, make sure to check out our previous article on social customer service).

In addition, as we all know, automation has taken the call center industry by storm. Considering  IT security risks and the increasing number of cybercrimes, it’s essential for call centers to be able to easily transfer their data via a classified channel, preferably automatically without any human interface. And with GDPR already in force, it is also essential to ensure that data transfers are 100% secure and safe. Luckily, API integration makes it all possible!

In terms of performance, a well-structured API workflow can transfer thousands of pieces of customer data per second. VCC Live®’s software, for instance, uses Json rest API integration, meaning that, for example, after a closed deal the software automatically sends the customer’s data to the CRM system, while at the same time a third inventory management system indicates the purchased product.

Integration works best if your CRM is able to talk to your other systems, and vice versa, through API integration. Let’s say that your operator is closing a deal with a customer, but the purchased product is not available in your warehouse. If your call center software, CRM system and inventory management system are all integrated, they can immediately send a message to your operator, allowing them to inform the customer that the purchased product is not available while still in the call.

Another great advantage of API communication is that it allows your agents to deliver personalized offers to your customers by using up-to-date customer data stored in your CRM system. For instance, if you run an inbound call center, you can cross/upsell your products or services during wait times. An integrated CRM system will be able to send a message to your call center software informing your agent that the customer on the phone already purchased a TV subscription, thus your agent can offer, let’s say, an Internet subscription to them instead of wasting time on offering a service your customer already has.

With a well-structured API integration, you’ll not only be able to boost your team’s productivity but also increase customer satisfaction. For instance, if your service is down in one region, it’s very likely that calls from that region will immediately increase. In such cases, you can simply identify your customers from that region based on their phone number and display a message to them regarding the relevant issue without any human interaction.

The above-mentioned examples clearly illustrate that if your systems are integrated your business will be able to multiply its productiveness as well as deliver an improved customer experience. Ensure your call center leverages an integrated CRM system and make things easier for both your customers and call center agents. You’ll see it’s worth every penny.

A more transparent way to manage audio files

Posted on: January 26th, 2017 by viktorvarga No Comments

For call centres, it is an important legal question to find the right way to manage audio files and data produced, in connection with the calls and to decide about their storage warranties. Thanks to our new application, not only storing, but archiving audio files will also be much easier and safer.

During the development phase of our new solution we have revisited the complete storage and archiving system of audio files. Although, the regulations are different in each branch of the industry, our users are bound by the Data Protection Act and the Consumer Protection Act to record certain conversations, to store them in a safe way and to make them searchable; making also sure to perform their permanent deletion periodically. It is advised to save audio files in a transparent system not only because of the compliance required with legal requirements but also for the purposes of quality assurance.

Audio file management is a substantial part of our service, but in order to ensure a better manageability the other steps of the procedure have also been renewed. As one of the most important changes, our previous downloading software will be replaced by a new archiving solution. This version, that must be adopted by our customers no later than 31 March 2017, is capable of archiving not only operator-owned audio files, but mobile ones as well. After the download, the new software uses the API key of the Database that is well known from the VCC Live system. Taking into account that it is required to preserve certain complete audio files, in order to ensure safe archiving, the digital imprint (MD5 checksum) of all downloaded audio files are controlled bit by bit.

The application has been written in GO language by our developers; the programming code (with the corresponding API sources) will be published soon. This is an exciting experiment for us, given that this is our first “open” development which can serve as a reference for those that are considering to write an own archiving software, answering a specific need.

Regarding audio files, we have prepared another important modification: we have modified the settings of automatic deletion, overriding the rules of our previous hosting service. For the time being, our customers can get to know the Beta version of the new solution which, according to our plans, will bring transparency to the set of the audio files that are archived, placed into the bin and deleted permanently.

The interface of the Call Centre Settings can be used to define the number of months for the audio files after which they need to be placed into the bin and then deleted permanently from the date of their creation. It is also possible to configure, if only the already surely archived audio files shall be deleted by the system, regardless of the general deletion deadlines that have been defined. It is important to note that the audio files placed into the bin can no longer be accessed, they will not be listed in any reports, therefore they cannot disturb the work and the assessment activities at the call centre. Nevertheless, they can be restored if needed.

In connection with the new development, the storage conditions of the audio files will be modified. Instead of the 30-day limit for free storage, 10 GB free storage will be provided in all packages. Besides the audio files, e-mails and their attachments will also be included in this limit. Regarding storage size, information will be provided in the status bar of the client software.

VCC can now be connected to more than 500 applications

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by viktorvarga No Comments

One of the advantages of cloud-based solutions is that they can be easily connected to other systems. Our latest development makes it possible to integrate VCC with more than 500 other applications, helping you to organise your work and manage your partner relationships.

No matter what kind of company you are, cloud-based technologies are getting more and more popular, helping to make information sharing, out-of-office accessibility and real-time project editing and document storage easier. In particular, those working in companies’ contact centres and customer services departments now use Google products, such as the increasingly-popular CRM and project management software, for specific tasks when needed. VCC has always been committed to cloud-based solutions and our goal, along with developing cutting edge technologies, has been to make it possible to flexibly connect VCC with other, already-established business data processing systems.

Our new Zapier application, based on transferring data packages via API, now makes it possible to connect VCC to more than 500 different cloud-based products and services, and to log every single step in any process – including recording a successful payment or adding new client information. Zapier already has a number of data connections built in, and there is also the possibility to add future connection options as they become available, making the application as user-friendly and future-proof as possible.

The application is based on the ’trigger-action’ principle – an event in the connected application acts as a trigger to send data to the Zapier system, and this trigger results in a predetermined reaction, and a resultant action. In practice this means, for example, that new customer data inputted into CRM software is also made available in VCC’s system, and after a call is completed, information can be sent back to sales management software.

The number of business software systems that can be connected to VCC is ever expanding. At the moment Zapier can register the addition and modification of data in VCC, and add or modify records accordingly. Connections don’t need to be supervised by a computer programming expert, as they work automatically and can be customised for an even more user-friendly experience.

Our application is available here. To access the full interface, you must register an account for Zapier first.

New functions now available in VCC’s Mobile App

Posted on: March 31st, 2016 by viktorvarga No Comments

According to feedback from our clients, our Mobile App application, which has been available since December, makes field sales and customer management much easier to track. New features are constantly being added to the app, with our latest additions, including voice recording, form-filling and call disposition functions, continuing to support companies’ process management activities.

It is clear from the success of our Mobile App service that we are on the right track with our developments, focussing on full-scale optimisation rather than individual client functions on mobile devices.

Initial client feedback made it clear that a combination of non-call-centre-based sales and customer management functions, integrated into customer communications, was required. As such, the app was created specifically to support field representatives and door-to-door sales staff.

Our latest update makes it now possible to record incoming and outgoing calls and upload them automatically via a wi-fi or mobile connection. HTML-5 based form filling, another new feature, was developed as a tailor-made service, and is ideal for field representatives and door-to-door sales staff. Script editing will soon be available to every subscriber, and will no longer demand coding knowledge from the user.

The app also now comes with a call disposition function, which allows users to categorise each business conversation according to their own requirements. They can also assign the appropriate subsequent steps to calls.

The latest version of the app is available now in the Google Play store.

IVR system – dynamic IVR – part 5

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by tszabi No Comments

Dynamic IVR – the customer’s best friend

The Interactive Voice Response – IVR is defined as a user-friendly menu system, where a customer can get access to the desired information or to a live operator with the help of his/her phone keypads. This system has a constant, static menu. The dynamic IVR’s menu offers multiple possibilities to clients the other side of the line.

What is a dynamic menu?

Briefly: a dynamic menu is a menu that changes based on information from the customer. As an example: the customer gives his or her identification number. Due to this number, the system allocates all user histories to the call (e.g. past interaction with customer care). But this identifier also opens up the possibility for a personalized menu, where items offering a quick problem-solving list. When a customer has an ongoing complaint, the system recognizes it and brings the mentioned personalized menu in, so the caller does not need to get through the entire IVR system one more time.

A basic version of the dynamic menu is when customer is identified by its previously recorded phone number. Based on customer interaction history a personalised menu proposed. Virtual Call Centre uses this version of dynamic IVR.
Personalisation includes more opportunities that speed up information exchange: customer data (numbers, texts) is associated with this personal IVR menu, and this data is available for the client as well (e.g. bank account balance).

Also, there are more sophisticated dynamic menus; the system becomes more intelligent when additional variables are introduced. Besides the caller’s phone number, location or other customer provided data (e.g. customer identifier) can be taken into consideration when building the personalised menu. True dynamism is provided by the combined use of menu items and available data, which build up several alternative menus according to the navigation of the customers during call.

Benefits of a dynamic menu

With the help of a dynamic menu IVR greatly improves so that it takes a lot shorter for clients to get the required information. Faster process results in efficiency improvement and keeps costs on lower level. Waiting time becomes shorter, which saves time also for clients. Live operators could also be more efficient and work faster because the customer’s interaction history is already displayed on their computer screen.

Further articles on IVR

IVR system – choosing voice – Part 4
The user friendly IVR menu – Part 3
IVR system’s menu development – Part 2
History of IVR – Part 1

Key to success: the user-friendly IVR menu – Part 3

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 by tszabi No Comments

Customers navigate and make decisions through IVR with the help of its menu. It’s highly important that this menu should be user-friendly, not taking too much time to sort it out, and should not confuse customers. Navigation through this menu has to be easy and transparent, and all unnecessary information recommended to be cleared out.

Main characteristics of a well designed menu system

  • menus are understandably formulated, for an easy comprehension
  • menus do not need too much information, and at the same time they have to be short, and express easily their goals
  • the perfect IVR is not too deep
  • one menu item has to offer a limited number of choices, experts recommend maximum three or four, more choices are hard to remember
  • menu items containing popular information should be placed at the top of the hierarchy
  • the description of the menu item must precede the number of the keypad
  • customers must be allowed enough time to choose a menu item
  • possibility to ask for an operator should be available in every place possible
  • recorded sound has to be high quality, no matter if we talk about machine-generated or recorded, human talks
  • it has to be customisable; which can be achieved with the help of software support, e.g. local information and promotional offers should be only delivered to relevant customers
  • menu system must be designed considering the customer experience, and, if needed, by polling the calling customers

IVR has a bright future

Interactive response systems are constantly developing due to the advances in computer telephony integration and in supporting software. Research in artificial intelligence also shapes the future of IVR. According to expert forecasts, self-service systems based on MI will be widespread in the future. Voice recognition systems will have a big role to play. Voice based conversational IVR can become the path of future development.

Further articles on IVR

IVR system’s menu development – Part 2
History of IVR – Part 1