Contact Center Features for Phone Systems

By Gene Teglovic
Updated: February 15, 2011

Implementing a new business phone system for a contact center operation can result in lower costs, increased efficiency, and improved customer relationships. Ever-changing technologies continue to bring better features and lower costs. When the time comes for your company to either install a new phone system or upgrade an existing one, a good understanding of available features of a basic business phone system for contact center operations will help the decision-making process.

The purpose of a business phone system for a contact center is to handle inbound and outbound calls for sales, customer service, and customer support. The features needed in a business phone system contact center environment vary based on the size of the company, its customer base, and whether the contact center is located on a company premise or is extended to allow remote workforce access.

Most businesses tend to use either inbound or outbound services most heavily, although some may use both. For example, a bank or other financial services company would tend to use inbound services to take applications or service customers. A telemarketing company would be mostly outbound call focused, to contact potential customers. A product sales company may use both heavily: inbound to service customers, and outbound to drive sales.

Contact centers can be built and run on a company premise, or they can be Internet-based using technologies such as a VoIP PBX, which allows remote employee access. Many businesses also outsource their entire contact center operations to professional contact center companies, which specialize in handling inbound and outbound calls for several simultaneous companies and their customers.

The features available on business phone systems are rich and varied. Some of the major features include:

  1. Single Inbound Toll-Free Number: Allows customers and prospects to call a single number, which dramatically increases efficiency and lowers marketing costs.
  2. Automatic Queuing, Distribution, Routing and Forwarding: Contact center software can automatically queue incoming calls, distribute them among representatives based on skills, forward, and otherwise intelligently adjust call distribution based on a wide range of parameters (volume, customer support contracts, product, etc.).
  3. Call Monitoring: Allows supervisors to listen in on calls to improve quality and performance.
  4. Interactive Voice Response (IVR): Routes calls based on customer voice recognition.
  5. Automatic Dialing: Dials numbers for contact center agents based on tables, caller ID, or other previously defined rules.
  6. Predictive Dialing: An evolution of automatic dialing, which uses algorithms to monitor calls, predict availability of contact center agents/sales representatives, determine how parties will answer, connect sales representatives to prospects, deal with unanswered calls, and perform other intelligent call automation services.
  7. Call Recording: Records and stores audio files of conversations with customers for quality, legal and regulatory compliance purposes.
  8. Call Scripting and Instructions: Prompts contact center agents with customer responses and actions, based on previously defined rules.
  9. Analytics and Other Reporting: Detailed, intelligent reporting is available in contact center phone systems, which can be used to measure contact center agent performance, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiencies.
  10. Workforce Management: Adjusts contact center agent schedules based on information gathered by the contact center system such as changing skills, performance targets, and call patterns.
  11. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration: Contact center phone systems can provide their own CRM software, or integrate with existing CRM systems, giving contact center agents a 360-degree view of a customer.
  12. Self-Service via the Internet: Allows customers to browse a knowledge base of possible solutions, potentially eliminating the need for support calls.
  13. Survey Capabilities: Allows customers to rate their contact center experience, which provides important performance improvement data.

A new phone system in a contact center environment can provide the tools to improve the customer experience, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. These tools continue to improve rapidly

Featured Research
  • How to Scale a Contact Center in 2017

    Are you on the fence about scaling your contact center and not sure how or whether or not now is the time? Studies have shown that 93% of executives expect that contact volume will remain constant or increase within the next two years. This means that now more than ever is the time to begin scaling and we are here to help. more

  • eBook: Engage With Customers in an Ultra-Connected Era

    Your customers are ultra-connected. Make sure you are as well. Finding new customers and maintaining relationships with those you already have takes time and effort. When your customers are ready to engage, are you meeting them where they are? As the world becomes more digital it’s vital for all businesses to be able to communicate with customers whenever and wherever the customer wants - be that via phone call, SMS, online chat, or social media. more

  • Frost & Sullivan: Are You Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

    Small and mid-sized businesses are in a unique position and have an advantage in customer experience compared with their larger competitors. Read this report from Frost & Sullivan to learn how to leverage this advantage. more

  • Best States for U.S. Based Contact Centers

    Are you planning on building out a contact center? One of the first questions that must be answered is just where you want to have it located and this is no easy decision. Luckily for you, we've gone ahead and created a must-have download Best States for U.S. Based Contact Centers to help guide you in this decision-making process. Don't finalize your plans without it! more

  • eBook: Keeping Pace With The Modern Customer

    Your customers’ expectations are higher than ever. The millennial generation demands ease, speed and consistency, no matter how they choose to connect with companies. Instead of facing the problem head-on, companies have tried to adapt their aging software by simply bolting on new channels (and software) as needed. As with any “Frankenstein” approach, the resulting contact center becomes a slow-moving monster, full of disjointed parts. It’s time to dismantle the monster—tool by tool, process by process—to find out exactly what is holding the contact center back. more