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Why a traditional call center CRM is no longer enough

14 min read
A call center customer relationship management (CRM) system equips your center agents with customer information - but can it deliver the right details at the speed needed for an unparalleled customer experience? Read on for an evaluation of why a traditional call center CRM is no longer enough and what you can do to provide experiences with ROI.

What is call center CRM software?

At its core, call center customer relationship management (CRM) software is a technological solution that collates all records on customers and provides it to call center agents. Information on each customer is kept in a central location so agents can quickly access details relevant to a customer call.

Ideally, call center CRM software will enhance the customer experience, as agents are able to personalize their communication across multiple customer channels with the information provided.

However, many call center software options don’t provide the level of depth needed in a rapidly-evolving market where customers expect higher levels of personalization and increasingly rewarding customer experiences.

Timeliness is also a pressing issue, as customers choose businesses that are able to not only know who they are, but are able to call up information and act accordingly with speed.

So why do businesses still use a call center CRM system, and what other aspects of customer relationship management should they be considering?

Enhance your call center CRM with our contact center software

Why do businesses need a call center CRM?

Brands need a call center CRM for the following reasons:

  • It keeps all customer data in one place: Rather than keeping customer data in several locations – or worse, not keeping it at all – your call center CRM software keeps all the information and history you might need in one place that’s easily accessible for your agents.
  • It enables personalization: Your call center team can better personalize a call when they know who they’re calling and their history with your company. You can also segment your customers so that you know what type of customer they are, i.e. a repeat customer, high-value customer etc.
  • It increases the chances of customer satisfaction and retention: Customers don’t want to feel like another number in your database – giving agents the opportunity to “recognize” customers using information they have on file helps your audience feel connected to your brand.

What features do traditional call center CRMs provide?

There are many options on the market, but there are certain call center features that are common to the majority of them. Here are some call center features that traditional CRMs usually offer:

Customer data storage

There’s a whole raft of information a CRM could have on your customers, but usually this data includes the customer’s:

  • Full name
  • Title preference
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Telephone contact details
  • Job title and other employment details
  • Social media account handles
  • Website (if they have one)
  • Connection to any other customers in your records
  • Language preference
  • Contact records

Management of Inbound and outbound calls

A traditional call center CRM should be able to route inbound calls to the available agents on your team, or to someone they’ve spoken to before (if it’s a call for sales, rather than for customer service). There will likely be rules in place within the CRM for call routing to ensure the calls are sent to the appropriate person.

If it’s linked to an interactive voice response (IVR) system, it will allow customers to choose why they’re calling or the department they’d like to speak to and route their call accordingly. This allows you to have one contact number for all enquiries, rather than a separate number for sales and customer service, for example.

It should also allow your team to make outbound calls via the call center CRM, and record details on that call within the database as well.

Customer service ticket information

Some call center CRM software also keeps details on customer service tickets the customer has raised, including those that have already been resolved and those that are still being dealt with.

Automatic call recording

Some call center CRMs have automatic call recording functionality, which retains an audio file of calls made so that customer support reps can be evaluated for performance later.

Problems with traditional call center CRMs

There are often obstacles to customer retention and satisfaction when using traditional CRMs – here are a few clear ones below:

It doesn’t automatically identify customers

Customers won’t enjoy their interactions with your phone support agents if they have to explain who they are every time they call. Some call center CRMs aren’t equipped with computer-telephony integration (CTI), which automatically identifies who’s calling and pulls up their data from your call center CRM software for your support teams. Ideally, you’ll have software in place that can not only identify your customers, but build a full picture of their demographics, segmentation, channel preferences, history with your brand and more.

It’s not fast enough

Legacy systems are often slow, and require an agent to manually search for details. There’s nothing worse than calling a company and having to wait an age for the call center team to find your details. For example, customers are likely to get in touch with your customer service team to resolve an issue – adding to the level of customer effort needed for your product or service to work is a guaranteed way to risk customer satisfaction.

It’s not detailed enough

Worse than having to wait is finding out a business doesn’t keep detailed records on past interactions in their system. Knowing a customer has called before is useful – but knowing that they’ve called several times about the same issue and that they’ve already performed certain actions to try and resolve the issue is even better. Information you could benefit from includes:

  • Past purchase history
  • Past contact history
  • Issues flagged
  • Customer emotion, intent, sentiment and effort
  • Omnichannel data, such as details on past interactions on other channels (social media, emails, live web chat)
  • Demographic and segmentation data

It doesn’t support your agents

One of the greatest problems a call center faces is high levels of agent attrition. Dealing with dissatisfied customers in a high-pressure environment can lead to increased turnover rates for call center staff – and dealing with a system that doesn’t provide you what you need quickly enough and in enough detail can be a deciding factor. Good call center software reduces the need to transfer calls to superiors to answer queries, because all the information agents need is provided.

For example, with the right call center software that integrates with your CRM, you might provide your agents with:

  • Artificial intelligence-based support to automatically deliver data-based insights to agents
  • Call transcriptions in real time and other automatic post-call work to use agents’ time effectively
  • Workflow automation

Why a call center CRM is no longer enough

There are several reasons why a basic call center CRM simply can’t keep up with customer demand in today’s market. A call center CRM by itself isn’t enough to meet customer expectations for personalization and experience – you need more encompassing call center software support to win your customers over.

The main issue of a traditional call center CRM is that it doesn’t provide the whole picture. Its main function is as a repository for customer information, rather than working to provide both your customers and your employees with the optimal experience.

Customer experience is a vital part of generating revenue for your brand. The XM Institute’s latest research found that the difference in stock prices between customer experience business leaders and customer experience laggards increased from 24% points in 2019 to 66% points by the end of 2021. This means that a lack of focus on customer experience can actively risk your company’s financial standing.

How to enhance your call center CRM

To enhance and expand your call center CRM’s capability, you’ll need to find software that can integrate with what you have and add more value.

Here are ways in which using a more encompassing call center solution can add to your call center CRM’s capabilities:

You can blend experience data with your operational data in one place

Having operational data on file is useful – but with the right software support, you can combine this data with experience data. You can extend your operational data with richer segmentation, based on all interactions and knowledge about your customers.

Having a single view of all your customer data in one place allows your agents to get a fuller picture of each customer that calls, increasing customer retention and satisfaction by speaking to your customers as individuals, rather than just another numbered call on a screen.

You can automate insights for maximum efficiency

Increasing your call center’s efficiency is often the main way businesses try to keep costs low. However, traditional call center CRMs don’t have the automation features needed.

For example, Qualtrics’ Real-Time Agent Assist provides contact center agents with live coaching during calls with customers. Utilizing artificial intelligence and natural language understanding (NLU) to analyze and develop real-time recommendations, the tool can automatically identify customer sentiment and motivations and instantly deliver those insights to your team. This can help to improve customer relations and your agents’ efficacy. Examples of insights include:

  • Brand-specific suggestions
  • Personalization suggestions such as experiences and offers
  • Relevant articles from your knowledge base or answer database
  • Prompts when the agent goes off-script or out of compliance
  • Prompts for empathy or discounts

With the right call center solution, you can also automate call summaries and other administrative tasks to free up your agents’ time to tackle more calls. Rather than spending their working time filling in details, your call center agents are able to receive and record insights automatically.

You can offer more personalization than just knowing who your customers are

Knowing who’s calling is undeniably a great place to start – but your call center CRM should be integrated into a wider knowledge base. With the right software, you can extend your customer knowledge with an understanding of customer effort and emotion in past interactions, as well as details on their habits, preferred channels and more to ensure that you meet your customers where they are and talk to them as individuals.

This allows your agents to make better upsell products, know which discount offers to make, and help them to empathize with the customer as an individual. All of these help to augment the customer experience greatly.

You can see where customers are on their journey with your brand

Rather than seeing each call to your customer service or sales team as an individual interaction, you’re able to see calls within the greater context of a customer journey with your brand. What prompted the call – a product issue, an experience problem, both? Are calls more common at particular stages of your customer journey? What can you do to reduce them?

With the full customer picture, your agents are able to resolve issues and upsell more easily. With insights automatically provided, your agents will know how to handle customers at higher risk of leaving and waste less time on finding pertinent details of past interactions.

You can track and improve agent performance more effectively

Logging call recordings is, again, a useful part of call center CRM functionality – but you can empower your agents to provide a better service and track their performance at the same time with call center software that automatically evaluates all calls.

A call center CRM by itself won’t necessarily monitor script compliance, empathy and other key factors that can affect customer experience. With more encompassing software, you can evaluate every single interaction with constant call monitoring, providing a more accurate view of each agent’s performance than sampling calls. Not only that, but you can automatically deliver insights after each call to the agent to help train them to be more efficient and effective.

The best call center CRM is one backed by experience

Make your call center CRM a cornerstone in a wider array of technological support for your contact center, customers and agents. With Qualtrics’ Contact Center Solution, you can embed your call center CRM in software that brings all your operational and experience data into one easy-to-use platform.

With live insights from each customer’s call and from millions of interactions your customers have had with you across all your channels, empower your agents to provide a personalized experience every time they answer a call.

Enhance your call center CRM with our contact center software