This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Today’s contact center solutions are packed with multiple features, empowering businesses to deliver great customer experiences. The top-performing platforms offer a host of useful tools such as automatic call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), automated attendant, and call monitoring. For this article, we examined the top call center phone system features and explored which platforms offer these functionalities.
1. Automatic Call Distribution
Automatic call distribution (ACD) ensures all incoming calls are routed to the right agent or department based on predetermined rules or criteria. These factors include the time zone, agent availability, and skill set. The goal of ACD is to improve call center productivity and optimize customer experience by directing inbound calls to the right destination, thereby reducing caller wait time.
RingCentral Contact Center is one of the best call center phone systems with flexible ACD capabilities, optimizing customer interactions and boosting call routing efficiency. To learn more about its call management functionalities, check out our RingCentral review.
Learn all there is to know by reading our automatic call distribution guide.
2. Interactive Voice Response
An interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated phone menu that interacts with callers, helping them find assistance instantly. With IVR, callers navigate through various options by giving voice commands or pressing the keypads on their phones. Additionally, an IVR has the ability to help callers resolve their queries without speaking to a live agent.
For example, CloudTalk is one of the best IVR system for its multilevel IVR feature and intuitive call flow designer that enables you to customize and streamline the customer contact experience. To learn if CloudTalk is the right fit for your business, check out our CloudTalk review.
3. Automated Attendant
Also known as a digital receptionist, an auto-attendant is an automated answering system that directs incoming calls to the appropriate extension. It usually starts with a greeting, followed by a series of prompts that establish a menu flow, leading callers to the right person, e.g., “Press 1 for customer support.” This telephony feature doesn’t entirely replace live agents, but automates simple tasks and ensures callers aren’t kept on hold for long periods.
Nextiva is among the best auto-attendant phone systems as it offers a multilevel auto-attendant and free professional greeting recordings. Check out our Nextiva review to learn more about its contact center capabilities.
4. Call Monitoring
Call monitoring is the process of listening to a call between an agent and a customer. It enables you to listen in on calls, whether in real time or previous call recordings. This feature enables supervisors to make informed decisions on agents’ training needs and assess the quality of customer service.
Some advanced call monitoring features go beyond listening in on conversations. Call whisper allows managers to support agents during a call without the customer hearing it. The call barging feature enables managers to join in the call to assist, while call takeover lets the manager or other employees speak to the customer.
Freshdesk Contact Center is our best call center monitoring software with its real-time call management functionalities, including call recording and call barging. These phone system features allow managers to jump in on ongoing calls and listen to previously recorded calls.
5. Analytics & Reporting
Call center operations produce large amounts of data every day that needs to be converted into actionable information. To understand its impact, you need to track and measure your call center metrics, such as average wait time, first call resolution, call abandonment rate, and customer satisfaction score.
The right contact center software offers analytics and reporting tools to help you gain quantitative insights into your call center performance. Leading providers help you identify trends, address urgent challenges, improve customer service, and spot areas for improvement.
If you’re looking for a contact center software with robust analytics and reporting capabilities, consider Vonage. Vonage is one of our top-ranking competitors in our guide on the best small business voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service. It features custom-built dashboards to track agent and team performance and delve deeper into customer conversations.
Read our in-depth Vonage Business Communications review to learn more about its cloud capabilities.
6. Omnichannel Support
Contact center software offers omnichannel support to handle interactions with customers from various channels without having them repeat information as they switch channels. These channels include phone, text, chat, email, and social media. With an omnichannel approach, customers have different options to interact with a business, whether through a phone call or email for a single transaction.
By using a single software to manage all channels, agents are able to create notes for each caller and make them available for future transactions. Agents will also see the last time the customer reached out, the type of issue, and how it was resolved.
8×8 Contact Center offers omnichannel support and a digital channel experience, giving customers the freedom to choose a preferred channel when interacting with your business. These include email, chat, SMS, messaging apps, and social media.
Learn more about the unified communication features of 8×8 by reading our 8×8 review.
7. Call Parking
Call parking is a method of putting callers on hold so another person from your team can take the call from a different phone. It is a type of waiting room that puts active calls on hold but won’t stay connected to its original phone line. This is usually used in companies handling high call volumes that need to park calls until an agent is available to answer a call.
Dialpad is one of the few contact center platforms offering a call parking feature. With Dialpad’s call park feature, agents handle calls as a team by placing incoming call lines in a “parking lot,” allowing anyone to answer the call from another extension.
Learn more about its cloud-based platform by checking out our comprehensive Dialpad review.
8. Call Presence (Agent Status)
Call presence refers to the ability of managers and teammates to know the current status of other agents. Users broadcast their availability for others in the company to see and notify them of their ability to communicate with another caller. With call presence, it’s easy to redirect calls to available agents, reducing the wait time for callers and streamlining the customer service.
Freshdesk Contact Center offers an agent status feature that allows your call center team to create custom statuses depending on the situation that suits them best. In turn, this keeps supervisors updated on what a specific agent is up to when they’re not available.
9. Call Queue
When customers call a contact center and all agents are busy, they either wait until someone takes the call or call multiple times to get through. This is where the call queue feature comes in—it automatically lines up callers in a virtual queue. They wait to be connected to the next available agent who has the right skills to take the call. Using this feature enables you to answer calls as quickly as possible, improving average call handling time and first-call resolution rates.
CloudTalk has a smart call queuing feature that lets you create custom call queues. This means incoming calls are routed into call queues based on pre-established rules and then routed to the next available agent within the group. CloudTalk allows an unlimited number of callers in a queue for all paid plans.
10. Toll-free Numbers
A toll-free number is a phone number that doesn’t charge the caller for making the call. They consist of three-digit prefixes, such as 800, 844, and 888. This is often used for customer service or complaint lines to help customers get their assistance without incurring long-distance charges.
With the appropriate service provider, toll-free numbers are easy to set up. They offer flexible subscriptions or pay-as-you-go plans that don’t require a contract. One example is Freshdesk Contact Center, which allows users to buy toll-free numbers from several countries—making it easier for customers to contact you.
11. Third-party Integrations
Most call center phone software come with a host of business tools and applications to better handle agents and customers. These third-party software integrations connect your call center data to other tools, such as calendars, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, and workforce management solutions. For example, leading CRM integrations, such as Salesforce and Zoho CRM, connect information about customers and monitor them throughout the sales pipeline.
Some platforms offer an open application programming interface (API), enabling developers to establish call center communications straight into their website or apps. However, if you’re looking for a contact center platform with thousands of business tools and integrations, look no further than RingCentral. RingCentral is one of the best business phone systems, integrating with over 2,000 apps and allowing you to enhance productivity and maximize the platform’s call center capabilities.
Looking for a call center phone instead? Check out our guide on the best call center phones and find which one is right for you.
12. Mobile App
With the rise of remote working options, modern call center solutions now come with a mobile app, allowing agents to manage business communications from anywhere. This enables them to make and receive calls using a mobile device and a stable internet connection. In turn, it increases your business efficiency by providing the benefits of working remotely while having the ability to provide high-quality customer service on the go.
However, it’s important to note that not all contact center apps are created equally. Some services are a complete extension of its desktop platform while others offer mobile apps with bare minimum functionality.
If you’re looking for a mobile app with complete call center software features, consider the Talkdesk Conversations mobile app. This solution puts the entire capabilities of the Talkdesk Contact Center in the agent’s smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. With the mobile app, agents are equipped with real-time customer information and given the ability to handle inbound and outbound calls anywhere they go.
Managing a remote workforce? Check out our guide on the best remote access software and discover which solution fits your business needs.
Call center phone system features are a powerful way to efficiently manage inbound and outbound calls in your business. They are essential in handling high call volume and delivering better customer experiences. Essential call center features, such as ACD, IVR, auto-attendant, and call monitoring, encourage your team to engage with customers and drive positive results into your business.