‘Informal’ contact centres in the SME market

Tollring perceives the contact centre SME space to be in the range of 5-20 seats, a size rarely spoken about when discussing contact centre management, even though a huge number of businesses fit into this category.

At the low end of this range, the contact centre is ‘informal’ (a mix of incoming, outgoing and other business activities) and becomes more ‘formal’ at the larger end (specialists in inbound or outbound calling).  The ‘informal’ contact centre consists of customer-facing teams that needs to meet service level or sales targets.  No matter the size of the contact team, the same level of management information is required to effectively meet business goals.

Informal contact centres are becoming more prevalent due to the in-built intelligence that can now be found in most telephony platforms whether they are hosted or premise based.  As a result, ‘in-skin’ informal contact centre solutions that utilise the call routing intelligence of the telephony platform allow businesses to understand the complete customer experience – a ‘cradle to grave’ understanding not typically available in a ‘siloed’ formal contact centre environment.  Calls can be easily transferred to any part of the business and customer facing teams have access to all members of staff and not just those within the boundaries of the contact centre.  This allows businesses to be more agile in the way they utilise staff.

The cost of staff resources will always be the biggest cost to a business with a contact team, but managing call flows and customer interactions in order to retain high customer service levels does not necessarily mean employing more call handlers.  Performance monitoring, queue management, staff modelling, caller tolerance, managing agent status and reporting on unreturned missed calls or grade of service are all vital to maximise efficiencies, no matter how large the contact team.  It is almost more important for a small business, where one additional team member adds a large percentage of cost.

Call recording has become an essential training component for any business with contact teams.  By analysing inbound and outbound calls regularly it is easier to identify issues and problems and put preventative measures in place. Live statistics delivered via dashboards enable managers to base decisions on accurate and invaluable data. Listening to calls helps to establish trends, select and correct areas of improvement and evaluate other key information which would otherwise be lost.  Businesses are now realising that it is no longer just about having access to the odd call recording due to a complaint, it’s about maximising your customer intelligence, which is made easy with a fully integrated call management solution.

Although some phone system manufacturers have ‘in skin’ products, very few of these are affordable to SMEs with teams of 5-20 people, for whom contact resolution is critical to the success of their business.  Bespoke integration specifically for a PBX system provides the most seamless functionality.  Tollring delivers exceptional expertise in developing ‘in skin’ white-labelled solutions, which are proven to be a cost-effective option for SMEs with customer-facing teams.

icall suite from Tollring is a fully integrated call management suite, suitable for any size of business, that can be delivered via web browser from any device or as an on premise solution.  If an SME opts for a cloud-based telephony solution, it would make sense to extend the features within the cloud.  icall suite cloud integrates seamlessly with the BroadWorks and Mitel hosted platforms to meet such needs.

Tollring will be showcasing the new icall suite cloud on stand 9 at Convergence Summit South this Autumn.

Read an article quoting this release in Comms Business.