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Call centers and CSRs have more frequent interaction with customers than any other role in the company. Further, their intersection points—such as resolving a complaint, taking an order, renewing a warranty or up-selling a product—are pivotal in accomplishing strategic business objectives. Call centers stand to be top beneficiaries of CRM software, yet for too many service agents CRM under-delivers and objectives such as customer experience, customer loyalty or increased customer share remain elusive. This forum shares the information to better select and deploy CRM systems, and improve call center performance. Call Center CRM Software
 

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Top Call Center CRM Software Reviews
Featured Articles

Social CRM
4.5 stars
RightNow CRM Deep Dive Review
RightNow CRM Review RightNow CX doesn't squarely fit in the traditional sales, marketing and service CRM software review format. RightNow CX covers the CRM bases, and stakes unique ground in the areas of customer service and customer experience—particularly for B2C and select industries such as Government. In this CRM software review we examine RightNow's position in the competitive landscape.
line
4 stars
Avaya Aura Contact Center Software Review
Avaya Contact Center Software With a strong combination of social media integration, the linking of content with context, and a focus toward customer experience management, Avaya Aura Contact Center is SIP-based multimedia routing software that connects customers and their information to the right agent or expert via voice, video, email, Web chat, SMS and IM.
line
4 stars
Sword Ciboodle BPM / CRM Customer Service Review
Sword Ciboodle Sword Ciboodle has more than just an interesting name—in fact it delivers a BPM-based CRM customer service application that fits a number of business and call center scenarios. Here we examine the process centric Ciboodle CRM application to better understand fit, differentiation, strengths and weaknesses.
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3.5 stars
Vertical Solutions CRM Review—A Deep Look at Best of Breed Customer Service
Vertical Solutions Vertical Solutions delivers a contact center CRM solution with on-demand or on-premise choice in deployment, rich functionality and specialized tools for business process management or software customization. In this contact center CRM review, we go beyond the basics to more closely examine strengths and weaknesses as they directly affect contact center operations.


Contact Center CRM Thought Leaders In Their Own Words

4 stars
The Objectives & Characteristics of Best In Class Contact Centers
Kate Leggett In this podcast discussion, Forrester analyst Kate Leggett discusses the characteristics of best in class contact centers, the factors causing an evolution from CRM to Customer Experience Management (CXM), and many of the disruptive technologies making their way into contact centers—including cloud systems, social CRM, voice of the customer programs, speech analytics and mobile.
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3.5 stars
Contact Center CRM—How Cloud and Social Transition Contact Center Strategy & Delivery
Esteban Kolsky Esteban Kolsky, veteran CRM analyst and CEO of ThinkJar, discusses what makes CRM for contact centers different than CRM for other lines of business — and advises how new thinking and new technologies such as the cloud and social are influencing contact center strategy. This is a helpful discussion for aligning strategy, process and technology in the contact center.

 

Contact Center CRM Articles
Featured Articles

3.5 stars
What To Know When Buying Call Center Software
Call Center Software Selection Like any software technology selection or implementation, there are steps to take - and avoid - when it comes to selecting and buying the most appropriate call center software for your business. An investment of up-front time is much more likely to result in strong financial and operational returns. Here are some helpful tips to reduce risk and make an informed decision.
3 stars
How Call Centers Benefit from CRM Software
Call Center CRM More often than not the call center serves as the most visible public face of the organization. To operate the most efficient and effective call centers possible, companies need to equip their call center agents with powerful, data-rich applications that enable them to provide optimum service to customers and prospects. CRM software is vital to achieving agent productivity and customer satisfaction.
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3.5 stars
Questions To Ask CRM Customer References
Call Center References Call center references are one of the best ways to gauge how effective a CRM solution may be at improving call center results and also a good way to pick up some best practices and lessons learned for your CRM implementation. However, while vetting information with call center references is vital, there are traps to avoid.
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3.5 stars
Building Better Call Center Metrics With CRM
Call Center Metrics Numbers are the life blood of contact centers. But while call center software produces a slew of metrics, most of them are very low level. The paradox of these measurements is that while they’re useful for managing the call center, they don’t do much to advance the customer relationship or further the purpose of the call center.
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3.5 stars
Call Center Learning | Achieving Best In Class Performance
Call Center Learning Every customer who interacts with the contact center offers a chance to learn more about what works and what doesn’t. However, most companies don’t learn from customer experience, and instead, leave valuable information on the table—information that could be used to improve customer satisfaction while drive higher customer share and company revenues.
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3.5 stars
Contact Center Successes: New Technologies To Advance The Call Center Mission
Call Center Technologies Social media and new contact center technologies offer a powerful combination in transforming the contact center from a cost center to a profit center. New call software tools, such as smart agent desktops, natural language search engines and speech analytics offer new and innovative answers to decades old business problems.
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3.5 stars
4 Ways CRM Can Improve Call Center Agent Productivity
Call Center Agent Productivity A great strength of customer relationship management software is that it can present an integrated and holistic view of the customer. It can also dramatically improve the performance of contact center agents by offering a 360 degree customer as well as deliver a major improvement in the automation, management and information reporting for the call center.
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3.5 stars
Call Center Avatars
Contact Center Avatars Organizations are always searching for ways to improve customer service, reduce wait times, and save money. Some believe they have found an answer — in interactive virtual agents, known as Avatars. These personalized self-service applications are increasingly being positioned as a compliment or an alternative to live call center agents.
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3.5 stars
Call Center Successes and CRM Software
Call Center Success CRM software vendors claim their products will benefit customers in a number of strategic ways. Fortunately, through customer success stories users can learn from real world successes the tangible benefits of customer facing strategies and software solutions. In this article, Denise offers several CRM-driven call center enhancements culled from “real-world” implementations.
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3.5 stars
CRM Software Selection Advice For Call Centers
Call Center Software Selection Advice Call centers stand to gain a lot from effective use of a CRM system. But what are the key factors in determining which product makes the most sense in a call center environment? Price and product feature set are obvious selection criteria. But the decision-making process should go well beyond that if companies are to ensure their CRM delivers what their call center needs.
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4 stars
The Virtual Contact Center, Will It Work For Your Business?
Virtual Contact Center Traditional contact center challenges have led more and more companies — some household names and a lot of smaller companies as well — to move to the virtual contact center model. Although agents are in multiple locations, they are, with the help of call center software designed for this purpose, managed as a single entity.
3 stars
Contact Center of the Future
Contact Center Future Most contact center predictions run along the same lines—they will have sophisticated technology like universal queuing, multi-channel integration, speech analytics, load balancing across channels, expert agents, geographically dispersed call center representatives, sentiment analysis, and take full advantage of whatever social media is most prevalent at the time.


CRM Call Center Thought Leadership Views
Social CRM Headlines

  Top Customer Service Capabilities
  Downplay the Largest CRM Providers
Kate Leggett 90% of customer service decision-makers told Forrester that a good service experience is critical, and 63% think the importance of the service experience has risen Go To ... Go To Gartner The 2011 Gartner CRM Contact Center Magic Quadrant suggests larger CRM providers are the most expense, the least flexible and the least innovative. Go To ... Go To


Call Center Market Briefs
More References

  • Survey Shows Contact Center IT Complexities
    Over 70% of contact centers that participated in Rostrvm Solution's survey rely on back office operations to complete customer transactions, yet the front office and back office operations are not integrated and about half were not measuring back office performance. Another key finding was that while Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) continues to grow, over half of respondents still do not use CTI in their contact centers. The survey included both public and private sector contact centers and attempted to better gauge real world insight into contact center IT complexity. The findings also revealed that two out of three call centers still use three or more software applications at the agent desktop to process transactions. End

  • Gartner Ranking of Contact Center Customer Service Vendors Notes Social Still Hot
    Despite the fever pitch rhetoric regarding the implementation and adoption of social media tools in the contact center, Gartner analyst Michael Maoz says "Most gave it lip service as opposed to really doing anything about it, if you looked at it from the customer service side." While CRM software vendors such as Salesforce.com did release social media tools such as Chatter, Maoz comments that these tools still focus mainly on sales. "The only one that made a true move was RightNow with their purchase of HiveLive," he said. Looking forward, the most recent Gartner research report suggests integrating social CRM data will be one of the major customer service initiatives through the next several years. Maoz predicts that by 2013 at least 35% of contact centers will integrate some form of social media tools as part of their core CRM system. The report highlights a new generation of consumers who resist telephone-based interactions and leverages multiple online channels. These customers prefer self-service, peer-based communities and social networks. Gartner also predicts that by 2017 all contact centers will provide improved access to mobile users and social communities. End

  • Senator Calls for Tax on U.S. Call Center Offshoring
    New York Senator Charles Schumer is pushing for a tax on U.S. companies that outsource their call centers offshore. The proposal is an attempt to stop the flow of American contact center jobs going to countries such as India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Ireland. Schumer also proposes that companies be forced to tell their customers which country their calls are directed to. According to Schumer, "This bill will not only serve to maintain call center jobs in the United States, but also provide a reason for companies that have already outsourced jobs to bring them back." End


Call Center CRM

Call Center CRM adoption has grown in parallel to increased demands on call centers. CRM software can provide the point of integration and key enablement factor for company strategies, customer information, transaction history and business processes. The three most cited factors collectively contributing to the rise in Call/Contact Center CRM software, from annual single digit growth to low double digit growth, include decreased CRM application software costs, new software-as-a-service contact center solutions and the pursuit for increased business process automation and labor efficiencies by contact center management teams.

 

 

 

 

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Customer Service Lessons Learned
  • Gartner reports that 68% of customers will switch brands based on a poor service experience.
  • A Purdue study shows 92% of customers form their opinion about a company based on their call center experience.
  • Bain Consulting reports that 90% of executives see Customer Service as crucial to their future business success, yet the same study shows more than 70% of senior call center executives state that their companies fail to meet their customers' expectations.
  • A Strativity Group reports indicates only 37% of executives claimed that they had the tools and authority to resolve customer problems.
  • According to Ventana Research, 12% of call center companies do not measure Customer Satisfaction at all and 60% rely on the agent to assess the customers satisfaction.
  • An IDC report calculates call-center-based agents cost companies $31 per hour, including overhead and training, while home-based agents cost $21.
  • The Harvard Business Review shows that cutting customer churn by 5% has the effect of boosting profits between 25% and 95%.
  • 58% of call centers are under 100 seats according to Ventana Research.
  • According to ACCN, approximately half (48%) of Call Centres in Australia are equipped for fewer than 20 agents. Just over 1 in 10 (12%) Call Centres are equipped for 100 or more seats.

 

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Customers don't expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong."

~ Donald Porter

 

 

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