A quiet moonlit night, perfect for a calm and cozy nap. And there’s Freida all tucked up in the comfort of her room. While she reaches out to pick her favorite copy of the Insider, she is startled by the ringing of her mobile. What a mismatched disgrace to an otherwise peaceful night.
She picks up the call to hear this, “Hey Frieda, why are there too many escalations from customers on unattended calls? This is certainly bringing down our customers’ trust and happiness in our brand” from her marketing head.
That’s when it hits Frieda that it’s high time to look out for a call center software or a virtual phone system to manage her support team. The person she is, someone who researches well before making a decision, had mentally made up her mind as what to look out for while trialing a virtual phone system.
And when it’s a virtual phone system, the trial phase is the best time for any of us to get down and deep to test the waters inside out. That bit of extra effort in closely watching and trialing the virtual phone system that seems to be a plausible fit is needed so that we don’t have to regret later for making a hasty choice.
And Freida seemed to know this quite well!
Afterall, no one knows your business as well as you do!
So, it’s only fitting that you make the most out of the trial phase and anchor upon as many data points as possible to substantiate your decision on a virtual phone system.
Now, let’s see what Freida planned to take note of while trialing the virtual phone system.
What to look out for while trialing a virtual phone system?
With any product, there are certain bare-minimum features that you can’t do without and other feel-good, luxury features that would enhance your business experience.
A wise way to go about would be to start with checking out for these basic features and then evaluating the benefits of the other feel-good ones.
The salt and pepper to a virtual phone system!
What salt and pepper are to any dish, certain features are to a virtual phone system. A slight spillover from the norm might be on account of some broad aspects of your business like the size of your business, geography, call volume and the likes. To factor in these aspects, you can check out our post on what to ask before choosing a virtual phone system to trial with!
Even though there is no hard and fast rule as to what the basic features are, the upcoming section gives you a decent idea of the most basic ones that you might want to look out for.
How intuitive is the setup?
While it’s not fair to expect that you’ll get to know the virtual phone system like the back of your hand right from the moment you start using it, it undoubtedly shouldn’t take you weeks together to make sense of it either.
So, it’s best to choose a software that lets you and your team be self-sufficient in onboarding and using the call center.
It’s also not all that wise a choice if the virtual phone system requires an external team to set it up and train your agents. Imagine having to dial up and reach out to a team that’s not physically within your reach to even make a small change when necessary. Right from having to wait until they respond to your request, understand the requirement and process the change, it will delay your response time to your customers.
The most intuitive and simple to use virtual phone system is your best bet since it helps your team onboard without having to depend on any separate training to get started. If they have too many bottlenecks while onboarding like having to navigate to the depth of the product to even find something as simple as viewing the call logs, it’s not really a good sign of a great product. And it’s only going to get difficult as your team scales up. You might not be able to afford the time and resource to train every new employee who steps in.
How many teams and agents can you add?
As your business grows so does the need for more players to support your journey forward. And when it comes to a call center, there is a perpetual need for more employees. So, it’s normal for you to add new teammates, move a few from your inbound team to your outbound or even across shifts and so on. Ensure that the virtual phone system that you choose is flexible enough to cushion these changes. It also needs to be able to handle your team’s growth and the data load eventually. Check what the upper limit to the number of agents is. And what it would cost you for every additional agent once you exhaust the limit too.
Can you transfer calls based on agent availability?
One of the biggest gaps that hamper agent productivity is not knowing the busy and the idle agents apart. A clear status flag on an agent’s availability—online, offline or busy can help streamline calls in the best possible way. Once you know the status of the agents, check if the virtual phone system enables you to judiciously transfer calls to the most suitable agent—both w.r.t availability and expertise.
Does the virtual phone system support call routing?
Check if the virtual phone system supports a set of rules that can redefine the way your calls are channeled. Call routing is one of the simplest yet effective ways of making sure that,
- Every call that comes your business’s way is never missed
- No one single agent gets to face an unfair share of calls
- The idlest of agents are assigned with the calls first
With the call routing feature in place, half your hurdles of managing a huge volume of calls are taken care of.
How good is the call quality?
Many times the devil lurks in the least expected forms. Something as simple as a muffled voice, bleary tone or cracked connectivity is enough to create tension with your customer. A clear, uninterrupted call quality tops the list of the most important features to look for in a virtual phone system. One common cause that every call center support agent attributes to poor quality is slow WiFi connectivity. So, apart from being able to make and receive calls using the virtual phone system also ensure that the quality of the calls is top notch with your wifi.
Can you set up an IVR?
Interactive Voice Response is a feature that every call center with multiple teams and high call volumes will find useful. And that’s also why it’s one of the basic features that’s a necessity. But, if thought through carefully, if not customized well, an IVR might mess up with your entire call center experience. Make sure that the virtual phone system that you are looking out for not just has an option to set up IVR, but also lets you
- customize the recorded message
- agent availability
- and can be connected with your call queues
- and routing rules
in a simple yet exhaustive manner.
Are you able to pull out timely and intuitive reports?
What can’t be measured can’t be improved. And undeniably, reports are your go-to feature when it’s to keep track of how your team is performing. You can easily spot bottlenecks and strategize your way around to improving your team’s performance with customizable reports.
Answers to these questions gave Frieda enough context to zero in on the best virtual phone system. But, wait up! That’s not the end of your story.
There is a wee-bit of unfinished business here! Here is an exhaustive list of features that you can look out for while trialing a virtual phone system.
Do let us know your thoughts and any additional feature that we’ve missed out on in the comments section.
Be like Freida 🙂
And for more such checklists and tips to enhance your call center experience, subscribe to the Freshcaller blog 🙂