Contact centers are the beating heart of many businesses—driving sales, solving customer issues, and powering business growth.
But when handling huge, sometimes dizzying, volumes of inbound and outbound calls, texts, emails, and more, it can be easy for today’s call center managers, admins, and agents to be overburdened and overworked. Agents struggle to keep up, performance drops, and the health of the business suffers.
The upside is that there are a multitude of tech innovations that can help. With a robust suite of tools and features, new efficiencies will drive and maintain the health of your call center.
In this complete guide to the most important call center software features, we lay out a checklist of software requirements fit to power your call center.
Table of Contents
- Predictive and Power Dialing
- CRM Integration
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA)
- Skills-based Routing and Automated Distribution
- Call Whisper
- Call Recording and QA
- Caller ID Reputation Management
- Omnichannel Support
- Answering Machine Detection
- Smart Voicemail Drop
- Dynamic Scripting
- Compliance Tools
- Reporting and Analytics
- Customizable Dashboards
15 Most Important Call Center Features
1. Predictive and Power Dialing
If you’re trying to reach customers and lead with outbound dialing, you need to be able to reach them quickly—and without all the costly agent idle time. A call center software that features the efficiency and flexibility of both predictive and power dialing modes can help you do just that.
Leveraging smart algorithms, the leading dialers can boost call center productivity and deliver the speed to lead required to maintain high contact rates and profitability. By improving your team’s call-to-agent ratio, agents can spend more time on the phone, doing what they do best and delivering results for your business.
2. CRM Integration
To deliver the best customer service or sales experiences, call center agents need access to up-to-the-minute customer data. Call center software that seamlessly integrates with your CRM system—or offers a built-in CRM for lead management—can deliver that data while eliminating inefficiencies. Whether you’re fielding inbound customer support calls or dialing warm leads to drive sales, keeping all of your customer and sales data in one place can fuel more informed interactions, better strategies, and improved performance.
3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
A must-have for inbound operations, an IVR is an automated voice response system that uses pre-recorded messages to serve and route inbound calls. With customized greetings, prompts, and menus, callers can quickly and easily be routed to the proper department, eliminating the need for multiple transfers and the customer frustration that often results.
4. Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA)
Of course, while IVR is capable of handling and routing a number of common customer issues, today’s IVA solutions often offer a marked improvement. With the help of conversational AI, IVAs can fluently converse with customers and handle much more complex issues without needing to involve a human agent.
But IVAs aren’t just required call center software features for their intake and call routing abilities. They can also play a vital role in outbound lead generation and sales teams, effectively serving as an additional agent by holding text- and voice-based conversations with prospects. IVAs can text customers or be used to screen and qualify outbound leads before passing them off to sales agents.
5. Skill-Based Routing and Automated Distribution
When calls do get routed to agents, it’s important they’re directed to the agents best equipped to handle the interaction, whether that means solving an issue or closing a sale. Skills-based routing features for call centers enable teams to set agent skills and skill levels to make sure each customer or lead meets the right match. The result: improved handle times and service levels, along with more conversions.
6. Call Whisper
Work in a call center can often unfold at a blistering pace. And whether an agent is experienced or brand new to the job, they might not always see every opportunity in real time. Call whisper tools give managers and more experienced peers the ability to offer real-time advice while agents are in the middle of a call. This simple call center software feature can be used for both inbound and outbound calling and can enhance performance and results while streamlining the training process with real-time coaching.
7. Call Recording and QA
Managers and fellow agents won’t always be available to provide real-time advice. But now, with the help of AI, agents can still get the help they need to help customers and convert leads.
Rather than try to push a QA team to monitor more calls than they’re able to, AI-driven call center QA software can now support them by listening in on all calls. Identifying potential issues and escalation needs, while offering real-time guidance and post-call analytics that improve future outcomes, this software is fast becoming a requirement for today’s call center software.
8. Caller ID Reputation Management
Speaking of call center requirements: today’s teams desperately need tools that can help them combat the scourge of Spam Likely labels and blocked calls. With contact rates falling fast for many call centers in the age of state mini-TCPAs and STIR/SHAKEN, caller ID reputation management tools can help teams identify flagged or blocked phone numbers and call customers and leads more efficiently.
Convoso’s ClearCallerID™, for example, equips your outbound call center with advanced DID monitoring capabilities. With the transparency of a robust dashboard, managers can manage the health of their caller IDs and quickly swap out flagged numbers before KPIs are impacted.
Plus, with Convoso, customers can more easily spread call volume across enough phone numbers to limit the risk of being flagged and blocked in the first place. All told, caller ID management features can help you operate more efficiently, with higher contact rates and lower lead costs.
9. Omnichannel Support
To make the most of your sales leads and provide the best possible customer support, it’s also critical that you’re able to engage with customers outside of just the voice channel. In 2023, call center software should enable synchronized communication across voice, text, email, and more as part of a comprehensive, omnichannel experience.
With automated email and two-way SMS solutions built into your software, you can reach customers in the channels they prefer. And with workflow automation tools, adding these channels into your outreach cadences doesn’t have to require tedious planning or guesswork on the part of agents. Instead, they can stick to sales and support, while the software system handles the rest.
10. Answering Machine Detection
When agents are dialing leads, nothing interrupts their flow quite like a voicemail message. Working in tandem with a predictive or power dialer, answering machine detection software helps ensure that agents are only connected to live leads, not answering machines.
With Convoso’s highly customizable and state-of-the-art answering machine detection technology, your agents will spend more time talking to customers and selling. Trained on billions of calls, our solution delivers up to 97% accuracy. Plus, leads that answer the phone are connected with a live agent in as little as half a second to help prevent leads from hanging up the call before speaking to an agent.
11. Smart Voicemail Drop
When calls do reach voicemail, though, your team still needs to have a viable strategy in place. Smart voicemail drop features can help you deliver customized messages that vary according to your call cadence in order to maximize callbacks. Using this call center software requirement, you can develop campaign-specific messaging and drop cadences based on the types of leads you’re contacting.
12. Dynamic Scripting
Although no two customer conversations are the same, they frequently follow the same patterns. Equipping agents with the best sales messaging and rebuttals, and making sure they know how to handle angry and difficult customers is crucial to maximizing results.
But this preparation doesn’t need to entail hours upon hours of scenario building and coaching and on-the-job experience. Instead, dynamic scripting software can be used to easily create customized scripts that adapt to the flow of each conversation in real time. Following well-crafted scripts, agents have the tools they need to respond to any situation—while staying on message and in compliance.
13. Compliance Tools
Scripts are far from the only aspect of call center operations that need to support compliance, though. The wide-ranging reach of TCPA compliance regulations (not to mention the increasingly complex state laws) means that call center software needs to be equipped to respond.
Look for a call center software that takes a proactive approach to compliance issues, offering compliance-centered features and tools like DNC scrubbing, easy call scheduling, and automation that minimizes the risk of human error.
14. Reporting and Analytics
Of all the call center capabilities we’ve covered here, this might be the most important feature to look for in call center software. Robust call center reporting and analytics tools give managers and decision-makers a window into the inner workings of their operations. And they deliver the insights they need to make improvements and drive growth.
Not just any reporting and analytics features will do, though. To drive maximum efficiency, look for software that offers both real-time and historical reporting—with automation that eliminates manual digging for data and visualization that makes it easy to track the metrics that matter.
15. Customizable Dashboards
Every call center needs measurement and reporting to improve. But not every call center will go about it the same. Make sure that you can do reporting your way with customizable dashboards that help you zero in on the exact aspects of agent performance and lead management that you need.
Choosing the Right Contact Center Software
With so many options out there, choosing the right call center software can seem a daunting task. But with this list of the most crucial call center software features, you can navigate the issue much more easily.
Based on the particular requirements of your contact center, and with the help of the list above, build a software checklist and identify potential solutions that will meet your needs. Then be sure to demo software candidates to ensure they deliver on their promises.
Call Center Software FAQs
Call center software is a technology solution that enables businesses to manage and optimize their customer service, lead generation, sales, or support operations through a centralized platform. This software is designed to streamline communication between call center agents and customers or leads across various channels, such as phone, email, live chat, and social media. Call center software is typically designed to meet the needs of outbound call centers, inbound call centers, or blended call centers that handle both inbound and outbound calls.
How much does call center software cost?
The cost of call center software can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the deployment method (on-premise vs. cloud-based), the number and quality of features and capabilities offered, the size of the call center involved, and the provider’s pricing model.
Some call center software providers purport to offer free or low-cost solutions, however, these offerings frequently come with significant opportunity costs. Others may come with a higher price tag, yet these solutions may ultimately provide a significantly greater return on investment thanks to gains in productivity and performance they enable. That’s why it’s important to consider not just price but value and ROI when considering your software options.
How should I choose the best call center software?
Choosing call center software is all about selecting the best software for your particular call center. Evaluate your specific needs, budget, and total cost of ownership alongside the software options with the best available features and options that can solve issues your business currently faces.