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A PBX System for Call Center Environments

A PBX system for a call center environment is one that can handle large call volume as well as interface with other systems. In most cases, large call centers require more than just the PBX itself. Equipment such as a predictive dialer, VRU, and voicemail system must all easily integrate with a PBX system that is intended for call center use.

A predictive dialer is one of the most common types of equipment used to route calls to agents based on a campaign or job configuration. In most cases, a call center is set up to handle customer service or collection type calls. In the case of collections, account delinquency is often a large determining factor in which account holders are contacted. These accounts are entered into the campaign or job so that the dialer can automatically call these customers and deliver the call to the agents. Having a predictive dialer insures that calls are delivered evenly amongst available staff. This eliminates the possibility of one or more agents receiving the majority of the calls well other agents sit idle. This process makes the most of available staff and routes calls in a manner that increases productivity and efficiency. Analytical reports that the dialer provides helps management and executive staff determine when new staff might need to be hired or existing schedules adjusted.

Monitoring call-center queues is vital for optimal performance. In most cases, the dialer will have software available that will allow supervisors to monitor agent behavior and intervene when necessary. Monitoring software provides supervisors with away to determine if calls are waiting on hold, being serviced by an agent, or simply hanging up. This allows the supervisors to adjust agents staffed to accommodate the current call volume or demand on the system. Being able to make these changes at a momentís notice helps the business to keep call flow moving without bottlenecks. This feature combined with historical reports gives executive management a clear picture on call center performance as a whole.

CTI integration greatly improves productivity and the customer experience. This is where external systems use information received from the phone system to access customer information and populates it into a screen as the call is delivered to the agent. This way, the agent has immediate access to the customer information and does not need to question the customer on the account number or other pertinent information. Addressing the customer by name increases customer confidence and gives him or her a sense of appreciation. Many customers experience frustration when they are asked multiple times to provide an account number. Having multiple systems that interface with each other eliminates this frustration on the part of the customer. Even when the call is transferred to another agent, the information is transferred with them. When CTI integration is utilized, the need for phone sitting on the desk is eliminated. Calls are handled through the computer with the use of a headset where agents can answer and make calls through the use of software. Most of the time, most of the time headsets are generally less expensive than a phone sitting on the desk.

A voice response unit is often leveraged to allow customers to self-serve to minimize the number of calls that are directed to agents. The VRU must be able to access other systems so that it can provide customers with the information they need. This can be their account information, mailing instructions

or the location of the business. These types of calls are common and often take up a lot of time and resources. By using a VRU, the business now does not need to hire as many agents or have as many scheduled because the VRU can handle the calls without human intervention. In cases where the customer opts to speak to a customer service representative, the VRU can then transfer the call to the PBX system to be routed out to an agent. Many large call centers use VRU technology to minimize workload on their agents. Additionally, VRU reporting can provide useful information when making business decisions. These reports can show a good overview of customer behavior and which options customers find useful versus which ones result in the call being transferred to an agent. This allows the business to further streamline the VRU options for increased efficiencies. The more a business can get a customer to access information themselves, the less number of calls will be delivered to agents.

Communications for call centers involve a lot more than just the PBX system. For large operations additional equipment will be needed to ensure that the call center is both productive and efficient. Although there may be cost for the initial purchase and installation, the long-term return on investment can be significant. When implementing call-center strategies, more must be considered than just the cost of the equipment itself. When factoring in the cost of hiring personnel to handle calls, much of the external equipment makes financial sense and provides the business with an efficient way to handle calls as well as provide long term savings.

 

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